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Cruz, Rubio, and National Security

January 8, 2016

By Roger Zakheim

Ramesh Ponnuru claims on Bloomberg View that Marco Rubio is trying to “turn Ted Cruz into Rand Paul,” and that attempts to label Cruz as weak on national security won’t work. I disagree. Ponnuru admits that his friendship with Senator Cruz could cloud his judgment, so I’ll state at the outset that I am biased too, inasmuch as I support Senator Rubio’s candidacy.

Setting aside for the moment whether this line of argument will resonate politically, there are at least three issues on which Senator Cruz clearly “stands with Rand.” Each of these raises serious questions about Senator Cruz’s true national-security views and his viability as a candidate for Commander-in-Chief.

The first instance was when Senator Cruz entered the Senate chamber to literally “stand with Rand.” Many will recall Senator Paul’s filibuster, in which he stirred up a frenzy over the possible targeting of U.S. citizens in the United States by U.S. military drones. In a bizarre attempt to suggest that a U.S. citizen sitting in a Starbucks café is at risk from the threat of U.S. Hellfire missiles, the senator from Kentucky held up Senate business until the attorney general certified that the president does not have the authority “to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil.” What a revelation!

Instead of focusing the Senate on the threat posed by radical jihadists, Senator Cruz chose not only to stand with Rand, but to join him in attempting to stir up libertarian passions and create a false choice between liberty and security. This may have been good politics and a great way to increase his Twitter followers (Senator Cruz, in fact, spent part of his time on the Senate floor reading tweets praising Senator Paul), but it certainly wasn’t the conduct of a credible would-be Commander-in-Chief.

Read the full article at National Review Online: Cruz, Rubio, and National Security

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