Marco Rubio's got a fee-vah and the only prescription is seeing Maduro killed

Normally I’d chalk this series of tweets up to an overzealous social-media intern channeling his boss’s foreign-policy instincts a little too eagerly, but I don’t know. Hyper-interventionism has always been the scariest element of Rubio’s politics. With the possible exception of Lindsey Graham, if anyone in Congress is likely to personally post a “sic semper tyrannis” photo series in a fit of regime-change enthusiasm to threaten a degenerate autocrat abroad somewhere, he’s the guy.

Is my headline unfair? Noriega was captured, of course, not executed — although Noriega’s also the only one of the three that required U.S. troops on the ground to remove him. Surely Rubio wouldn’t countenance American military intervention to oust Maduro. Surely.

No one’s going to cry if Maduro ends up dangling from a lamppost, but Taylor Millard noted the obvious problem with the Qaddafi tweet last night. If post-Maduro Venezuela looks like post-Qaddafi Libya, regime change will have exchanged one series of nightmarish problems for another. This is why I say Rubio clearly wants lethal justice for Maduro, not just his ouster: Three seconds of clear thought unclouded by bloodlust would have convinced him that a Libya analogy would backfire, giving more ammo to opponents of U.S. intervention in Venezuela than supporters.

But there’s a second problem with his series of tweets. Namely, he’s bolstering a point made by Maduro himself.

The pair of tweets were anything but subtle and clearly appear to be a message for Maduro. And it will surely be taken that way by Maduro and his inner circle in Caracas. After all, characterizing the Venezuelan president as the next in a line of leaders that the United States wants to depose is precisely the message that Maduro is spouting to Venezuelans as he rejects much-needed international aid.

“[T]he more Guaidó is viewed as owing his power to American intervention,” says Damon Linker, “the more his political enemies will ensure that he’s known as a puppet of the United States, undermining any attempt to establish his own legitimacy and increasing the likelihood that the Venezuelan military opts to take charge instead.” Every time a popular revolution stirs somewhere in the world, the local tyrant insists that the United States is behind it, creating a recurring dilemma for the White House and State Department about how vocal to be in siding with protesters. No dilemma for Rubio, though. He’s easily the most outspoken member of the U.S. government in supporting regime change, violently if need be, and is happily illustrating his preferences with dead dictators about to meet justice. Hard to see how he’s doing more good than harm with this latest detour.

His Twitter feed, by the way, is now basically all Venezuela, all the time. His office tweeted out dozens of posts on Saturday, the way you’d expect if there were a terror attack or mass shooting in the U.S., over the clashes between Venezuelan troops and protesters. You can lash him for having his priorities poorly ordered if you like but note one thing about all this: It’s good local politics in Florida. In fact, anti-Maduro sentiment is so popular among Latino voters in Rubio’s home state that some Democrats there are expecting a better-than-expected showing by Trump next year now that the White House has recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful president. I don’t think that’s what’s motivating Rubio — he doesn’t face voters again for three and a half more years — but it might be what’s motivating Trump. Smart politics if so.

You might see this on the air in Florida next fall if Sanders is the nominee, by the way.