Dick Cheney has finally found the Harry Potter to his Albus Dumbledore—Sen. Marco Rubio.
In a speech Wednesday, Rubio, R-Fla., called Edward Snowden a “traitor,” outlined an aggressive foreign policy platform, and took some not-so-subtle jabs at President Obama and some of his less-hawkish fellow Republicans.
Rubio’s speech was sponsored by the John Hay Initiative, an organization that doesn’t have its own website. The group, which is the brainchild of Mitt Romney’s former foreign policy team, has been discreetly working over the past year to help potential presidential contenders sharpen their foreign policy chops.
And 2016 provided the subtext to Rubio’s speech on Wednesday, as he verbally subtweeted his colleague and fellow potential 2016 candidate Sen. Rand Paul.
“Too many leaders in both parties, including our president and some who aspire to be president, have shown they would rather wait for poll numbers to change than demonstrate the leadership necessary to shape them,” Rubio said. “Instead of outlining the costs of inaction to our people months ago when they should have, they were content to take the political path of least resistance.”
Rubio also used his speech to urge Congress to authorize more defense spending—echoing a very similar pitch that former Vice President Dick Cheney made at the American Enterprise Institute one week ago.
“National defense is not an area where we can flip a switch when a need suddenly arises,” he said. “Modernization, innovation, and training must be sustained priorities, even in times of relative peace.”
Compare that to part of Cheney’s speech at AEI last week: “President Obama seems willfully blind to one of the key facts about the post-9/11 security apparatus: It is not self-sustaining. Those programs and policies must be kept strong and current.”
Rubio and Cheney’s simpatico philosophies are not new. Last year, while discussing Rubio on Sean Hannity’s radio show, Cheney said, “Marco’s great…. I’m a big fan of his.” Nor is it news that Rubio has become the Republican Party’s new face of neoconservatism, whether he wants to be or not.