Every move he makes from now until Romney chooses a VP will be seen through the lens of veepstakes maneuvering, no matter what Rubio’s true motivation might be. That said, it’s hard to believe the timing of this announcement is a coincidence. Today was his first big photo op with Romney on the stump, and speculation about Rob Portman has been much hotter lately than speculation about Rubio himself. This looks like his way of reinserting himself into the conversation and blunting the criticism that he’s not yet ready to be president in a pinch. Foreign policy is as core an Article II function as it gets, so here he comes to show that he’s qualified:
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will deliver what his staff bills a “major speech on the future of U.S. foreign policy” this week, the senator’s office announced Monday.
Rubio, considered to be a top vice presidential pick for likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney, is set to speak Wednesday at The Brookings Institution, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C.
His remarks will focus on “whether U.S. global leadership is sustainable and even necessary in the 21st Century,” his staff said in a statement, without releasing further details.
I’m keen to hear what he says this time because thus far Rubio’s distinguished himself as being a hawk in the neoconservative mold. Watch the second clip below of him making the case for nonmilitary intervention in Syria to help the resistance free the country from Assad. He’s right in line with McCain, Lieberman, Graham and other prominent Senate hawks on that. Is Romney willing to double down on interventionism by choosing him as VP when even a majority of Republican voters lately say they want out of Afghanistan? In one sense, there’s little risk to doing so since Obama’s hands are tied on the issue; the guy who ignored the War Powers Act to join a coalition in Libya isn’t about to knock anyone else for being too interventionist. (So hawkish is Rubio that he passed on a chance to criticize Obama for that in his WSJ op-ed on Libya last year, even though it’s the worst case of overreach in Obama’s experiments with executive power.) The question is, after 10 years of war, are there more votes to be had among centrists and indies by taking a more cautious line? What does having an outspoken interventionist on the ticket do to help Romney?
Should be interesting — especially his thoughts on how much longer to stay in Afghanistan.