Cue the trailer to Sony’s new film, The Interview, where James Franco, told he is to assassinate the leader of North Korea, says, “Whaaaaaaaaaat?”
Right. That’s the sane part of the Republican response to President Obama’s announcement yesterday. It’s all downhill from there.
The catalyst for crazy is that the President of the United States, the guy who took out Osama bin Laden, has now ended the U.S. isolation of Cuba. In the bargain, he has freed both a Cuban who had spent 20 years in prison and an American, Alan Gross, who had spent 5 years in prison.
Former Republican Party House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says President Obama “surrendered” to Cuba. That he did it to help his “socialist friends.” This is so vague a complaint, he might be unhappy Obama helped a neighbor keep his libraries open, or his highways operational. All these are familiar elements of socialism in our own country.
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But no. DeLay is unhappy that Cuba, that communist thorn in America’s side, might suddenly be friends. If Obama goes around and makes friends out of all our enemies, who are the poor Republicans going to be able to attack? Conservatism, as a defense of the status quo, needs “Others” to demonize. Cuba has been a “cherished” other for many decades, and worse, DeLay has a personal bone to pick:
“Steve, this is really bad news. I have a personal bias against Cuba,” DeLay told Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg. Because that’s what this is all about: personal biases. We wouldn’t want to do anything as a nation that might offend Tom DeLay.
This is just, this is just beyond the pale. I am so upset that this president is going to open up and even put an embassy in Cuba without any sort of concessions from Cuba. This is surrender. This is a president who is a socialist to begin with reaching out to his socialist friends and opening up relationships with one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. The only worse one I can think of right now is North Korea.
DeLay went on to say,
I don’t know what will happen in the next two years in Congress. I know they won’t try to stop Obama in empowering the Castros in Cuba. And the oppression goes on.
Yes, it’s so oppressive to bring an end to a period of unreasoning hostility between two nations.
Malzberg, the good straight man, was right there, of course, to give DeLay the opening he was looking for:
Malzberg: it’s ironic in a sick way that the one group of strong Hispanic support for Republicans are Cuban Americans, and now if they don’t stop this, or if they capitulate and go on the record as saying it’s a good thing, they will then alienate the Cuban-Americans that are hardcore Republicans, no?
DeLay: Most definitely. Now, the younger Cubans that have been born here in the United States are moving towards normalization with Cuba. I have to say that. But most of the Cuban community in especially Florida have been trying to put more pressure on Cuba, not give into them and surrender to them. Yeah, the politics in Florida are going to be very interesting to watch, and frankly, I think this could also be payback by Obama to those Cubans who normally support Republicans.
Yes, Republicans, it’s all about payback. It’s all about you. They all say they are happy to see Alan Gross returned home but they don’t act like they really mean it.
Alan Gross thanked President Obama but told him from prison that he would not change places with him. Few would, as the Republican backlash mounts. Sen. Marco Rubio led the predictable Republican whinefest over Obama’s new Cuba policy, but he has been far from alone.
Mitch McConnell thought whining was the proper response, saying that he agreed with Sen. Marco Rubio:
Sounds like the correct response to me. I think he knows more about this than almost anybody in the Senate if not everybody in the Senate and I wouldn’t differ with his characterization.
Speaker of the House John Boehner said Obama is caving in to dictators. I’d say that if anybody knows about caving its Boehner, but that doesn’t address the real problem: the GOP’s continued hostility to anything Obama. It doesn’t have to make sense.
Jeb Bush who stirred America to yawn when he announced he was looking at running for President, essentially agreed, posting on Facebook that,
Cuba is a dictatorship with a disastrous human rights record, and now President Obama has rewarded those dictators. We should instead be fostering efforts that will truly lead to the fair, legitimate democracy that will ultimately prevail in Cuba.
Interesting how President Reagan was sainted for opening up Eastern Europe and Russia but President Obama is “rewarding” dictators by doing the same in the Caribbean.
Tom DeLay took it a step further, of course, because that is how conservative opposition to Obama has always worked: a game of increasingly severe, and often crazy, accusations.
Which brings us to that Cuban anarchist, Ted Cruz (R-TX), who claimed it was “‘one more very, very bad deal.”
Make no mistake…the Obama Administration has entered into with the Castro regime has done nothing to resolve the underlying problem. Indeed, it has made it worse.
Yes, isolation and embargo have worked so very well for Americans and Cubans both. For a more nuanced view of what all this could mean, see the New York Time’s appraisal.
And Lindsey Graham, who is afraid of his own shadow, no doubt began seeking for beds to dive under, whined on Twitter that “this is an incredibly bad idea.”
— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) December 17, 2014
None of them can say exactly why they hate it, or why Cuba is such a threat to the United States. They just know they hate it, because Obama did it. Therefore, it must be bad. There is an election coming up, after all, and they are going to be jousting at Obama’s ghost for many elections to come.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.