Lame Duck Trolling and Cuba

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Obama Administration, Republican Party

For a lot of reasons many of you already brought up, there’s no downside to normalizing relations with Cuba. The old policy certainly did nothing to weaken Castro or set the people of Cuba free. Business interests in the U.S. welcome the change; Gulf Coast states especially could benefit. And, of course, this should provide an economic boost for the people of Cuba. Pope Francis himself helped broker the deal.

Republicans, naturally, are furious. They are working up plans to stop the deal. They are screaming about appeasement. Marco Rubio strongly hinted the Pope hates freedom.

“My understanding is that the influence that His Holiness had was on the release of Mr. [Alan] Gross, which I’ve not criticized. As I said, I’m happy that he’s with the Cuban people [sic]. I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy, which is critical for a free people — for a people to truly be free,” Rubio, a Catholic whose parents immigrated from Cuba to flee an oppressive regime, told reporters.

“I think the people of Cuba deserve the same chances to have democracy as the people of Argentina have had, where he comes from; as the people of Italy have, where he now lives. Obviously the Vatican’s its own state, but very nearby,” the senator and rumored 2016 presidential hopeful continued. “My point is I hope that people with that sort of prestige on the world stage will take up the cause of freedom and democracy. The Cuban people are the only people in this hemisphere that have not been able to elect a leader in more than 55 or 60 years. That’s outrageous.”

And the damnfool embargo has been in place for 54 years, and it wasn’t doing a damn thing to help the people of Cuba get voting rights. I’ve long thought that if we really wanted to help the people of Cuba enjoy the blessings of capitalism, allowing Cubans to do business with the U.S. would accomplish that a lot faster than not. As usual, the Right is oblivious to the real-world effect of doctrine and cares only about symbolism.

John Cole says most everything else I want to say, including this:

In the defense of Republicans, there used to be a train of thought that the way to liberate the world was through trade and travel, but that notion on the right is as dead as Dick Cheney’s dark heart after 70 years of eating cheesy Freedom Fries. So when you watch all these guys freak out, and seriously, they are freaking the fuck out, just realize that they are exhibiting all they know, which is the cold war mindset. Think back to not so long ago, when Putin was the man of their dreams and the ho yay was in full bloom- he was a real leader, riding shirtless on a bear as he annexed everything to the east of the Rhine while our waffler in chief just stood by. We’re all Georgians and Ukrainians and Romney was Right or whatever the cry du jour was from Johnny Get Your Guns McCain, another Cold War relic that needs to be put down, all while Lindsey Graham wearily lifted himself from the fainting couch long enough to emit a plaintive wail on Hardball. New Cold War! He wants to create a new greater Russian empire! We have to meet force with force! That’s all Putin understands!

Meanwhile, our Kenyan appeaser in chief had different plans, and worked with the international community to put in place a sustained series of sanctions aimed at punishing Putin for his aggression, and where are we now? Without a shot fired, without one casket wept over in Arlington, Russia’s economy is near collapse if it hasn’t already. The ruble is as worthless as Sarah Palin’s diploma, there is an astounding brain drain as the educated emigrate at astounding levels, Ukraine and pro-Russia rebels have agreed to resume peace talks, and just the other day, Obama supported another round of sanctions. Our President knows when and how to stick the shiv in, and it’s much more effective than the wingnut plan of launching a thousand tanks and ten thousand men eastward through the Fulda Gap.

For all the right-wing posturing, though, I rather doubt most Americans are going to get worked up into a snit about Cuba, other than to wonder when they can get the cigars. Republicans may find themselves whistling in the wind on this one, no matter how hard Fox News tries to gin up outrage.

Update: See also “On Cuba, Republicans Trapped by Old Think.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 18, 2014 @10:40 am

    First, again, my condolences to you, your family, and friends.

    It’s good that you jumped right back in.
    We all love you, and missed you and your wisdom – and wise-cracks! 😉

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 18, 2014 @10:40 am

    First, again, my condolences to you, your family, and friends.

    It’s good that you jumped right back in.
    We all love you, and missed you and your wisdom – and wise-cracks! 😉

  3. Lynne  •  Dec 18, 2014 @10:49 am

    I’m wondering how those old Cuban Republicans feel about this, as a whole. We haven’t refused relations with other Communist-led countries in the western hemisphere, although sometimes we have been rejected by those governments. Isolating a country never leads to it doing what we want, so I am puzzled by Cruz’ opposition – which is probably just pro forma. Are we worried about Communism’s eventual triumph? Not hardly.

  4. Chief  •  Dec 18, 2014 @11:23 am

    First, I want to second Mr. gulag’s comments.

    Second, as a 3rd class petty officer in the U. S. Navy I was in and out of Gitmo, Cuba in 1960 – 61 an awful lot. And I saw a lot, none of which is classified, as far as I know. I was there for the Bay of Pigs.

    As a teen in high school I payed a lot of attention to the 1 Jan ’58 takeover by Castro. The newspapers were somewhat sympathetic to why the revolution took place.

    I agree that it is time this silly embargo ended.

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 18, 2014 @11:29 am

    Second, someone please give that child, Marco Rubio, a pacifier so that maybe he’ll stfu.
    Preferably, one with a second nipple, so that Ted Cruz-ader can suck along.
    Maybe a third one, too, for Ted’s daddy.

    Fidel’s about dead.
    His brother is also ancient.
    Once we start trading with Cuba, the people will get a taste for cars that aren’t steel tanks on wheels, and love President Obama for doing what we should have done before Nixon put his satanic hand on the Bible the first time.
    They’ll also get TV’s, radio’s, PC’s, laptops, and handhelds, or, newer ones if they already have them.
    The Cuban people aren’t like the North Koreans – living isolated lives by government decree, half-way across the globe.
    The Cubans live right next to Florida, so they have a pretty good idea about us – good, and bad.

    Within a few years, Cuba will be a vacationing mecca for Americans – hopefully, not run by the mob.
    It may also become a retirement mecca for older and poorer Americans who won’t be able to afford to live anywhere in he USA.
    I can see myself in Havana, sipping a mojito, and watching the beautiful Cuban women walk by.

  6. joanr16  •  Dec 18, 2014 @11:34 am

    Yes, welcome back, we missed you.

    Remember the Elian Gonzalez hysteria? That was what showed me the true, mindless-shrieking nature of the anti-Castro refugee community. It wasn’t the commies who’d pit children against their parents, as I was taught in school; it was the rabid anti-commies.

    This morning I heard more mindless shrieking from the same old crowd. Waaah, waaah, 55 years ago Fidel came and took all our stuuuuuff! So we had to come to America and get a whole bunch of new stuuuuff! So Obama is eeeeevil! Waaah!

    I look forward to a post-Castro, post-whiny-refugee Cuba. Yesterday we took a step toward improvement.

  7. Swami  •  Dec 18, 2014 @12:21 pm

    “I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear. ”

    — U.S. President John F. Kennedy, to Jean Daniel, October 24, 1963

  8. Dan  •  Dec 18, 2014 @12:25 pm

    Yet more shameless pandering to a tiny minority to pad the “Hispanic” demographic stats in elections.

    Casting an entire island’s population to the wind in order to garner a few precious votes is pathetic, when you look at it…

  9. grannyeagle  •  Dec 18, 2014 @12:31 pm

    Welcome Back! On this issue, I say, it’s about time. I haven’t been too happy with Obama lately but with him all the way on this issue. My son has wanted to go to Cuba for a long time so maybe it will open up soon for tourists. I might even go with him.

  10. Stephen Stralka  •  Dec 18, 2014 @2:20 pm

    I’m sure glad Marco Rubio is around to point out that freedom is critical for a free people to truly be free.

  11. Swami  •  Dec 18, 2014 @3:42 pm

    Rubio sent me scurrying to the dictionary to look up the definition of freedom. Seems there are seven different senses in which the word freedom would apply in common usage. None of those seven seemed to fit the usage that Marco was talking about. I think when it comes to the Cuban people and Marco Rubio, there is an eighth meaning for the word freedom that Daniel Webster didn’t live long enough to hear about or record. Marco sounded all noble with his desire to bestow freedom on the people of Cuba, but when you analyze exactly what he was saying, he was just talking the usual abstract GOP shit.

  12. paradoctor  •  Dec 18, 2014 @7:00 pm

    I can think of no better way to ensure the triumph of capitalism in Cuba than Obama’s plan; sending them our capitalists. Meanwhile his reflexive opposition remains stuck on stupid. For Pope Francis to be a broker for the deal makes the whole story even more interesting.

  13. Mike G  •  Dec 18, 2014 @7:18 pm

    Repukes will be swept into the ashcan of history pandering to Cuban Grandpa Simpsons yelling at clouds, as Florida reaps the economic benefit of Cuba opening up. In ten years everyone will wonder why we kept up so stupid an embargo for so long.

  14. erinyes  •  Dec 18, 2014 @8:20 pm

    Welcome back maha. My advice to rubio, stay thirsty, my friend. I don’t see a down side to this other than the big banks getting their claws into the soon to blossom Cuban economy. Gulag makes some good points, especially Americans retiring to Cuba. The rule of unintended consequences will also need consideration. Other islands in the Caribbean may loose lots of tourist dollars to Cuba, and Venezuela and numerous European countries might be losers in the trade sector.
    I’m glad to see 50 years of stupid finally end.
    I have a friend who was a submariner in the 50’s, his job was to ferry navy commandos to the Cuban shore where they’d go ashore and do some terrible things. He still keeps his k-ba r under his pillow

  15. Doug  •  Dec 18, 2014 @8:44 pm

    Barbara – good to see you again. You were missed.

    Swami – Thanks for a quote I was unaware of. This explains a lot of the vitriolic hatred that the GOP has for Kennedy and democrats. Amazingly, JFK was considered too much of a centrist for many democrats. See CSNY and the song ‘Chicago’ – the lyrics refer to candidate JFK…” Don’t ask Jack to help you ‘Cause he’ll turn the other ear.”

    It’s weird because the same aura seems to follow HRC – that she’s not really enrolled in liberal thought. Reading your JFK quote makes me wonder where Hillary really is – because she’s trying to walk a tightrope neither too liberal nor too conservative, which is where JFK was. The problem is – we won’t know ’til decades later where Hillary’s heart is.

  16. uncledad  •  Dec 18, 2014 @8:45 pm

    “other than to wonder when they can get the cigars”

    I want to get down there and by a rust free 1955 Pontiac!

  17. Swami  •  Dec 18, 2014 @9:30 pm

    I don’t see a down side to this other than the big banks getting their claws into the soon to blossom Cuban economy.

    Once the big banks carpet bombs the Cuban economy with their derivatives old Raoul won’t know what hit him.

    uncledad.. I saw a picture of a fire engine red 53 Buick cruising downtown Havana. A fine lookin’ ride.

  18. csm  •  Dec 18, 2014 @10:03 pm

    Cruz is stuck with an ideology whose substance has never been deeper than the simple-minded talking points it relies on. As such, he really doesn’t know how to respond to this other than spewing nonsense about “freedom and democracy” even as many of the corporations that pay their keep would cease to exist if the same was applied to China. And let’s not forget that the TPP many of them support is being written in part for the benefit of Viet Nam.

    This is yet another form of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

  19. erinyes  •  Dec 19, 2014 @9:01 am

    We need Cruz control……

  20. maha  •  Dec 19, 2014 @10:11 am

    Cruz control. Brilliant!

  21. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 19, 2014 @9:13 am

    erinyes,
    Fair warning:
    I am stealing that line!

  22. uncledad  •  Dec 19, 2014 @9:22 am

    “53 Buick cruising downtown”

    Oh yeah the Cubans are known for their mechanical prowess they have lots of 40’s-50’s American cars they have kept running all these years with hardly any spare parts! This whole embargo is a joke, a relic of the cold war, how assholes like Rubio and Cruz can stand with a straight face and defend a policy that is 180 degrees from how we treat China (another communist country) is hard to understand. Maybe Castro should offer his population as slave labor to corporate America, maybe that will move the right-wing dead enders?



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