Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) still has not fully recovered from his work with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on S.744, but events in Venezuela and Ukraine last week have reminded many conservatives why Rubio would be a strong choice for the Republican White House nominee in 2016
First on Monday, Rubio gave an amazing 14-minute speech on the Senate floor taking Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) to task for his recent praise of the communist regime in Cuba. Rubio tied the Cuban regime to events in Venezuela and North Korea, making an impassioned defense of freedom and humans rights. Rubio's media team deftly got the video up on YouTube and it was admiringly posted on pretty much every conservative website (Townhall included).
And then, this weekend, after Obama declared it was "happy hour time with the Democratic party" while Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Rubio offered a much stronger and coherent response. On Saturday, his team placed a piece on Politico outlining "8 Steps Obama Must Take to Punish Russia," and on Sunday Rubio turned in a solid performance opposite Secretary of State John Kerry on Meet the Press:
Well, I think our policy towards Russia under this administration deserves a heavy amount of criticism. I usually shy away from that in moments of crisis, when it's important for the nation to speak with one voice. And I'm encouraged by much of what I heard Secretary Kerry just say a moment ago, although there are things I'd like to see a few in addition to the steps he's outlined.
I think moving forward, as you look at, for example, Secretary Kerry a moment ago mentioned success with the START treaty. Yet, we know that the Russians have basically violated every major treated they've ever entered into.
We see how they basically lied. I mean, let's call it what it is. They are lying and this government is a government of liars, the Russian government. And you see it, what's happening now in Crimea. I mean, they're claiming they're not there, you've got these individuals showing up in unmarked uniforms, wearing masks.
But clearly, they're Russian troops, even though they refused to acknowledge it. So you're dealing with a government that lies as a matter of course, and it's very difficult to enter an understanding with them on anything when they are willing to lie and cover things up in this way.
This is exactly the type of clear, tough talk that all conservatives want to see from their candidates on foreign policy. Obama's foreign policy vision, as even The Washington Post is now admitting, is pure fantasy. And no one is better positioned than Rubio to make that case.
I have been very critical of Rubio's effort to pass S. 744. But 2013 was a long time ago and will feel even more distant when White House hopefuls start debating in 2015.
Rubio may still be the Republican's 2016 nominee yet.