Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has emerged as the last best hope of the neoconservative restoration. In recent days, Rubio has been courting Sheldon Adelson, who wants to nuke Iran, while Rubio’s outside spending group, which tried to kill the Iran deal by promoting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, has undertaken a big ad buy in Iowa. Rubio appears to be favored by neocon kingmaker Bill Kristol, who has defended the Florida senator from attacks, elevated him as “shrewd”–and meantime has trolled Jeb Bush (who made the mistake of naming James Baker as a foreign policy adviser).
AP asks, Can Rubio keep up with Jeb Bush? and says that Rubio dined last week with Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas:
Rubio shared a private dinner Thursday night in Las Vegas with Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who with his wife donated more than $90 million during the last presidential contest. Rubio, like other Republicans, has aggressively sought Adelson’s endorsement.
Adelson cares about one issue, supporting Israel through thick and thin.
Rubio’s big outside spending groups also have a pro-Israel connection; and they’ve raised over $16 million, and are spending a hunk of that money in Iowa. Las Vegas Review Journal:
Two outside spending groups, Conservative Solutions PAC and Conservative Solutions Project, have purchased a combined $2.1 million to air nearly 1,600 pro-Rubio spots on Iowa TV stations in advance of that state’s caucuses, The Des Moines Register reported on its website Saturday night.
The Conservative Solutions Project is a nonprofit that had raised $16 million in undisclosed donations as of last July, per the Times and Politico. The Times also reported that Conservative Solutions PAC and Conservative Solutions Project have raised a total of $39 million this election cycle, an indication that Rubio could take on Jeb Bush. The groups do not have to reveal the names of donors; but one of those donors is surely Rubio’s godfather Norman Braman, who is devoted to Israel’s security and who told the Washington Post last spring:
“If there is a super PAC that’s founded, I will give substantially,” Braman said in an interview, declining to be more specific.
The National Journal calls the Conservative Solutions Project a “secret-money group.”
The only known donor to Conservative Solutions Project is a political group: Super PAC for America, an organization once led by Michael Reagan and Dick Morris that raised and spent millions of dollars in the 2010 and 2012 elections but spent down its remaining money last year. The super PAC’s campaign finance reports include a $10,000 donation to Conservative Solutions Project in June 2014.
Conservative Solutions Project did say it would spend $1 million on ads against the Iran deal last summer, the Washington Post reported. One ad featured Rubio and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
The ad also shows footage of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking. Netanyahu has clashed sharply with Obama over Iran, aligning himself with congressional Republicans.
The narrator of the ad concludes: “Tell your senators to join Marco Rubio. Vote against Obama’s deal and stop Iran from getting the bomb.”
Also note that Rubio’s campaign titles itself “A New American Century.” The moniker echoes the most disastrous project of the last generation in American politics, the Project for a New American Century, led by neoconservatives Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, which counseled George Bush in 2002 that we should invade Iraq because Israel’s war is our war.
Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight.… For reasons both moral and strategic, we need to stand with Israel in its fight against terrorism…If we do not move against Saddam Hussein and his regime, the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear but a prelude to much greater horrors.
So these are the folks Rubio is auditioning for. Does America really want Bill Kristol (of the Emergency Committee for Israel) and friends back in business, influencing Middle East policy? I thought we had ushered these folks off stage after the Iran Deal, but Rubio’s campaign is surely their latest vehicle to power.
We reported on Rubio’s godfather, Norman Braman, last spring. The octagenarian and self-made billionaire has said that he would spend $10 million on the talented politician. Days after Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010, he went out to Israel to meet Braman there. Braman has given over $300,000 to an illegal West Bank settlement. I know, I keep bringing Israel into this post, when the connection is not always explicit. But it ought to be the business of our press, and of Democrats, to make these connections clear. As Peter Beinart wrote in Haaretz last week:
Rubio is an articulate spokesperson for the view that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deserves complete freedom of action, backed by American weaponry, money and diplomatic cover, and that the Palestinians don’t deserve basic rights. Democrats deserve spokespeople able, and willing, to explain why he’s wrong.
This is an ideological agenda, and it ought to be front and center in US coverage.
PS. Eli Clifton reports at Lobelog that Rubio will be coming to Manhattan this week to suck up to Republican Jewish Coalition stalwart Phil Rosen, who has said that President Obama feels “entitled to screw Israel.”
[Rubio] has said that he would “absolutely” revoke the Iran nuclear deal, even in defiance of Washington’s NATO allies, and has blasted the Obama administration for criticizing Israeli construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Here’s the Phil Rosen tweet that Clifton refers to:
So many of my good friends are Jewish!!! I’m entitled to screw Israel. Trust me