At CPAC, Marco Rubio Shows 2016 is Still on His Mind
Around the State
Marco Rubio is trying again to woo conservatives in the buildup to the Republican presidential primaries in 2016, this time by playing up foreign affairs.
Rubio started off 2013 in the pole position of the Republican presidential candidates. With his strong speaking abilities and appeal to Hispanic voters, Rubio appeared to be what the GOP needed after Mitt Romney’s loss.
Rubio has been trying to find issues on which to win back conservatives. Last year, he played up his support for moving the abortion ban from 24 weeks to 20 weeks after conception. Rubio also stressed his oppositon to Obamacare and called for repealing it.
But none of it has quite worked and Rubio remains in the back of the likely 2016 presidential candidates. In recent weeks, Rubio’s been using his place on the Foreign Affairs Committee to call for a more muscular foreign policy. Speaking at CPAC last week, Rubio called for strong responses to the Russian incursion of the Ukraine and the continuing mess in Venezuela. Rubio’s speech has won national attention with the likes of the New York Times covering it.
Rubio is trying to engage Paul on foreign policy, trying to paint his Republican rival as an isolationist. For the moment, Republicans are down on American military intervention abroad but that can easily change. The same Republicans who jeered Bill Clinton for nation-building in Somalia and Haiti and military intervention in the Balkans were cheering George W. Bush’s efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan,after all.
Things can still bounce Rubio’s way. None of the possible Republican candidates can be pinned as anything close to a near-lock or even a favorite and Christie in particular has been losing ground in recent weeks after Bridgegate. If Jeb Bush stays out, Rubio should be able to count on Florida, which is still an important primary, in his corner.
Rubio can also benefit from a conservative circular firing squad with too many candidates on the right taking each other out of the contest. It’s still an uphill climb, to be sure, but despite his numbers dropping after immigration reform, Rubio still has a chance to be the Republican presidential candidate.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.