Rubio hits Cruz on ISIS: He voted to weaken our intelligence programs, you know

posted at 2:01 pm on November 17, 2015 by Allahpundit

Here’s phase two of Rubio’s plan to parry Cruz’s attacks on the Gang of Eight by convincing voters that Cruz is sort of a RINO himself. Phase one, of course, was claiming that he and Cruz have similar positions on immigration, which isn’t true writ large but may be true on the narrow but important question of whether to legalize illegals. Rubio’s all for that; Cruz, despite pushing an immigration plan that would dramatically beef up enforcement, remains conspicuously silent on the subject.

Phase two is claiming that Cruz and Rand Paul are birds of a feather when it comes to stopping the NSA from fighting terrorism. Cruz voted for the USA Freedom Act back in June, which replaced key provisions of the Patriot Act — most notably section 215, the statute used by the feds to justify collecting metadata from Americans’ phone records in bulk. The USA Freedom Act puts the metadata in the hands of telecom companies instead of the NSA and it requires the feds to go to court and get a warrant now if they want data on a phone number that was used to contact a terrorism suspect. On the other hand, it does nothing to stop the NSA from gathering foreign data, including programs which “while ostensibly targeted at foreigners nonetheless collect vast amounts of American communications.” It also restored the Patriot Act’s “lone wolf” and roving wiretap powers before they lapsed. In short, the USA Freedom Act was a compromise between Rand-Paul-style strong-form civil libertarianism and ongoing counterterrorist surveillance in the digital age, leaning towards the latter. Paul voted against the bill because he thought it didn’t go far enough to protect Americans’ rights. Rubio voted against it because he thought it went too far in tying the government’s hands by eliminating section 215.

That’s a mighty arcane dispute on which to hang a primary talking point but the shorthand version of it isn’t bad, especially right after a major terror attack on the west — Ted Cruz, says Rubio, voted to weaken American intelligence, period. If you’re a standard hawkish conservative trying to decide between them and haven’t already been scared away from Rubio over immigration, the idea that Cruz is some sort of Snowden sympathizer might help you decide. (Cruz, the “conservatarian,” has been about as cagey on Snowden as he has on legalizing illegals.) On the other hand, how likely is it that anyone’s deciding on this issue when there are more current signifiers of hawkishness being debated right now? Anyone who’s worried about Cruz being soft on terror will pay more attention to his bill seeking to ban Syrian Muslim refugees from entering the U.S. In the meantime, Rubio had better be careful that he doesn’t turn an ally in the Senate into a frenemy by dumping too much on the USA Freedom Act. That Act was the baby of Mike Lee, who co-sponsored a tax reform bill with Rubio. Both Rubio and Cruz would love to have Lee’s endorsement (in the unlikely event that he plans to make one), especially Rubio given the shot of conservative cred that would give him. Now, suddenly, in the name of hitting Cruz, Rubio’s grumbling that Lee’s Act weakened national security. That didn’t escape the attention of Conn Carroll, formerly editor of Townhall Magazine — and now communications director for none other than Mike Lee:

Conant, Pounder, and Conda are top Rubio advisors. Look at it this way, though: Rubio’s being admirably true to his brand here, even if this attack backfires. He’s going to be every inch the Bush-style interventionist leader as president and makes no bones about it, to the point where he’s willing to jab at a bill sponsored by his buddy that achieved modest surveillance reform at best. If you want the most muscular possible counterterror policy, both abroad and here at home in the form of government data monitoring, he’s your guy. If not, look elsewhere.

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Comment pages: 1 2

is he referring to the spying programs that have never resulted in stopping one attack anywhere in the world?

burserker on November 17, 2015 at 7:28 PM

Sen Dondi is an old fashioned compassionate conservative–the kind that gave us nation building, open borders, TSA and spying on Americans.

Not a chance in he77 I would vote for him, in the primary or the general. He’s a walking disaster, a return to the bad ol days of the Bush 2nd term.

james23 on November 17, 2015 at 8:23 PM

swung by hotgas to see whats up….discussing 15%….hoohumm…back later

ConcealedKerry on November 17, 2015 at 8:25 PM

Senator Cruz :Protected the individual liberty of US citizens from government spying,while Gang of Eight Rubio wanted to protect illegal aliens( ISIS) come through the southern border.

searcher on November 17, 2015 at 8:33 PM

So where does Cruz stand on the illegals now in the US? When Kelly asked him point blank he dodged and when asked again he accused her of acting like the liberal media.

Coltrane on November 17, 2015 at 11:57 PM

I understand and sympathize with Cruz ducking the legalizing illegals issue. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it and sympathize with it. At least it’s not completely nuts, the way the GOPe positions are.

Once we’ve built the wall and instituted visa tracking and a strong, mandated e-Verify with serious penalties for employers who violate the law on it, then after a few years we’ll have a much better idea about how serious the problem of the current illegals actually is.

It just might be the problem will largely blow away in the form of self-deportation, in which case quiet legalization of “the good ones” a few years down the road won’t matter, since it won’t necessarily trigger another huge wave of illegals looking to circumvent the legal process.

But you can’t say that is what you are going to do, or it makes any enforcement problematical, and you don’t know the problem will ease. It’s just an educated guess.

So you just don’t talk about it. You talk about enforcement.

I get it. That’s why I still regard Cruz’s position as tolerable. I think he is serious about enforcement, and that makes a huge difference between him and the likes of Rubio, proven open borders liars I don’t trust at all to actually enforce.

fadetogray on November 18, 2015 at 6:39 AM

The Clean Latino steps in DogChit. And he smells.

Dirtt on November 18, 2015 at 7:34 AM

Ahhh…tater sawad found a new weettle friend…him and loving the usa now pwaying in the sandbawx toogeter…midint that special????

Indiana Jim on November 18, 2015 at 8:45 AM

Trump has employed illegals as well as foreign workers brought here on visas.

fight like a girl on November 17, 2015 at 7:05 PM

Lame. I asked for data on this but don’t expect you to provide any.
Your use of past tense is duly noted. Base on your intimate knowledge of this can we assume he doesn’t anymore?
And since his employee hiring record is your area of expertise, please shed light on the number of LEGAL Mexican immigrants he employs. Currently. You know the ones who side with him on immigration or do you prefer the leftard talking point that he can’t get the Latino vote.

Buttercup on November 18, 2015 at 12:20 PM

Rubio has one goal, AMNESTY! All the rest of his words are lies to get elected to institute AMNESTY!

Jpalm32 on November 18, 2015 at 1:05 PM

If this douchebag Rubio is on the ticket, enjoy voting against the ticket.

Have a “voting against the ticket” party.

kunegetikos on November 18, 2015 at 6:06 PM

f this douchebag Rubio is on the ticket, enjoy voting against the ticket.
Have a “voting against the ticket” party.
kunegetikos on November 18, 2015 at 6:06 PM
Rubio has one goal, AMNESTY! All the rest of his words are lies to get elected to institute AMNESTY!
Jpalm32 on November 18, 2015 at 1:05 PM

Two among the millions that don’t have a clue but ah, that’s the great/worst thing about our country. Misguided/clueless people voting for Obama; and these idiots, yes that’s you, Jpam32/kunegetikos! One way or another you may make Hillary’s presidency a reality. Rubio is not 100% the answer, but he is the only practical answer to the Democrat party nominee. I can’t help you, but sorry for your comments. I don’t sleep well these days, but I sleep better knowing, and I thank God, that you only have one vote.

whsiii on November 18, 2015 at 8:04 PM

Rubio is not 100% the answer, but he is the only practical answer to the Democrat party nominee…

whsiii on November 18, 2015 at 8:04 PM

You think legalizing 30 Million new Democrat voters is good for the party? If you mean the Democrat party then you are correct. Republicans won’t have a chance of ever winning an election again. Why do you think the Leftards are so gung-ho about amnesty anyway? Because they know illegals are just undocumented democrats.

Do you really think they’ll suddenly vote Republican because of this Amnesty shill? And you call others clueless idiots.

Buttercup on November 19, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Comment pages: 1 2