Rubio’s NSA Justifications Should Surprise No One, But Show Us Tea Party Growth

Back in 2010, when he won his place in the Senate, Marco Rubio was dubbed—mostly by the media I think—as “the crown prince” of the Tea Party. Kurt Nimmo in repeated that moniker in pointing to Rubio’s sad but unsurprising whitewash of the NSA.

I think, rather than be horrified by Rubio, we should all realize that the “Tea Party” is growing and maturing in a good direction. Back in 2010, it was not clear that the movement was going to be a genuine small-government groundswell. There was still reason to fear it was going to be a pro-warfare, pro-war-on-terror statist lobbying effort with a few conservative slogans thrown in as cover. It always had potential to be better than that, but it was still unclear if other forces would choke it off.

They haven’t choked it off.

That is why there is now a concerted campaign starting to destroy the Tea Party. It has become clear that it cannot be controlled by big business or military-industrial complex interests. As that has become clear, I’ve noticed Rubio is mentioned less and less in the news with the Tea Party label.

Rubio was never Tea Party material and will probably become increasingly hostile to them as time goes on (I would love for him to prove me wrong on that). Not only, as Kurt Nimmo points out, did he vote for the Patriot Act in 2011, but, as soon as he was elected to the Senate, in the words of the Daily Caller,  he “bolted” for Israel. This was portrayed as a vacation, but one which immediately started reasonable questions about whether or not he was aiming for the Presidency. That shows you the influence of Israel: everyone knows that getting vetted by a foreign government is a path to power for a Republican Senator. (No, I am not “anti-Israel”; I simply don’t like foreign influence over our elected leaders).

Rubio might be right about the universal practice of spying—his “everybody does it” defense. But just like we don’t appreciate our government trashing the Fourth Amendment and spying on us, citizens of other countries expect to be kept independent and secure by their own governments. They had thought their governments were protecting them from foreign governments. Now that they realize what the US is doing within their borders they are outraged.

You would be too.

In the USA or France or elsewhere, people wanted to believe, and governments encouraged us to believe, that we were protected rather than violated by our own government or by a foreign government. Rubio is right that the governments that are angry at the US are responding “to domestic pressures,” but those pressures are real. Governments that have already shown their people they can’t be trusted to protect their economic well-being cannot afford to side with the US when their people find how much we have been spying.

Announcing that all governments, even “allies,” are amoral sociopaths, is not an adequate way to get us to forget about the NSA and start paying attention to Rubio’s plan for immigration reform.