Almost immediately after his vote, word leaked that he'd try to mend fences with conservatives by taking the lead on abortion ban legislation, but almost as quickly, he backed away those reports, then said he wanted to take the lead, but that maybe he wouldn't, because maybe someone else would like to take the lead, in which case he'd be willing to selflessly step aside, thank you very much.
Meanwhile, as Rubio was meandering all over the place on abortion, he tried really hard to avoid commenting on his immigration reform vote. Ultimately, when forced to confront it, he hedged by claiming that he was only trying to stop President Obama from unilaterally legalizing undocumented Americans, and that he'd be willing to support a security only bill in any event—even though such a bill represents the exact opposite of the bill he actually voted for.
Given the way things were going for him on abortion and immigration, it's not a shock that he spent much his summer vacation trying to take ownership of Ted Cruz's doomed scheme to defund Obamacare, but when he returned to D.C., Rubio came face to face with yet another issue that he wanted to dodge: whether or not the U.S. should attack Syria. Sure, Rubio had long been a champion of military action in Syria and had repeatedly criticized President Obama for failing to act, but now that Obama was acting, Rubio's old position was no longer politically expedient. So, when the issue came up before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio flip-flopped, and voted no.
Yesterday, however, Rubio finally saw an opportunity to change his image from a calculating political hack to that of a true statesman: responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin's ridiculous op-ed in the New York Times. He didn't waste any time; within hours of the publication of Putin's piece, Rubio had penned an op-ed of his own:
In this morning’s New York Times, Russian president Vladimir Putin argued that America is not exceptional, and that American leadership does not make the world safer. I could not disagree more strongly.Wow! He disagrees with Putin, and strongly. Bold. Courageous. Leader. Exceptionally tough words, no! For example:
In his op-ed, President Putin said that action in Syria without the authorization of the United Nations Security Council would “constitute an act of aggression.” I believe that while we should always work to build international coalitions and consensus, we cannot place all of our faith in or compromise our sovereignty to the international community.Well if that's not a stiff uppercut to Mr. Putin's lips, I don't know what is. Sure, Rubio used to support a military strike on Syria, and now he opposes it, which means he flip-flopped to being on the same page as Vladimir Putin. But Rubio completely disagrees with Putin's argument in favor of their shared position, and he's not afraid to write an op-ed about it.
To be fair, just because two people share the same position doesn't mean the reasons for their positions aren't important, but if someone wants you to believe that's their explanation, it would be helpful for them to have a track record that demonstrates a commitment to principles, and that's not something that Marco Rubio has. It wasn't long ago that people were touting him as the Republican savior, but with every passing day, it's looking more like he's just another Republican failure.