The Washington Post reports that Marco Rubio is “making a push this week to burnish his foreign policy credentials and establish gravitas on the world stage ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run.” To this end, he traveled to London to deliver an address on foreign policy and meet British leaders.
In sophisticated circles, it is assumed that one can “establish gravitas” by going to a foreign capital and reading a sober speech about foreign policy. Those of us who are less sophisticated might wonder how a Senator who was so badly rolled by Chuck Schumer on immigration reform can be thought to possess gravitas.
As for the London speech itself, the Post reports that Rubio “articulat[ed] a worldview that places him neatly between the GOP’s tea-party-led isolationist wing and its more established interventionist wing.” The key word here is “neatly.”
Asked where he falls between the isolationist views espoused by Rand Paul and the interventionist approach of John McCain, Rubio replied:
I actually reject those two spectrums. That talk of hawks and doves is 20th century Cold War language that no longer applies. I believe in a strategic foreign policy. A strategic foreign policy has a toolbox that has at your disposal diplomacy, foreign aid, soft power, military power, all sorts of things.
Rubio thus rejects, Obama-style, a false choice and comes out squarely in favor of “all sorts of things.”
Most of us fall somewhere between Rand Paul and John McCain when it comes to foreign policy. Doing so does not demonstrate gravitas.
But the problem with Rubio is always whether he believes what he is saying. Given his flip-flop-flip on immigration, it seems impossible to know.