Marco Rubio is trying to turn Ted Cruz into Rand Paul. So far this effort is failing.
Senator Paul has been portrayed as an isolationist. He says he is actually a realist who merely wants to limit our foreign interventions to those serving the national interest. But the description of him as out of step with most Republicans on foreign policy has stuck.
In a speech in New Hampshire this week, Senator Rubio decried “isolationist candidates more passionate about weakening our intelligence capabilities than about destroying our enemies.” Candidates, plural: Cruz is lumped together with Paul. It is true that Cruz, like Paul, argues for placing more emphasis on protecting American security and less on promoting democracy abroad. Also like Paul, he says he wants anti-terrorist investigations to respect Americans’ privacy rights.
But I don’t think Cruz will be pushed to the margins of the party the way Paul has been. While my friendship with Cruz may cloud my judgment, I can see five reasons for doubting that Republican primary voters will conclude he is weak on national security.