2014-12-19 22:16:50 UTC
executive actions to pad out the last two years of his mistake-filled,
agenda-less presidency in a hopeless hunt for a legacy.
His arrogant decision this week to reestablish diplomatic relations with
Communist Cuba is the latest example of a president desperately searching
for something do without having to deal with Congress.
You can comb through all of the polling data for the top most concerns of
the American people, and renewing U.S. relations with Cuba's evil Castro
dictatorship is not among them.
But with his job approval polls in the basement, and his beaten party
toppled from power on Capitol Hill, Obama's frantically looking for
anything to turn his failed presidency around. So he went on nationwide
television Wednesday to announce his latest diplomatic gambit, to remind
us that he's still president.
National television? For a shameful give-away deal with an aging tin pot
dictator in the Caribbean who got almost everything he demanded and
conceded nothing in return?
Maybe someone in the White House suggested that this would be compared to
Nixon's opening to China. It wasn't.
His actions drew fierce, bipartisan criticism from Capitol Hill for
making deep unilateral concessions without getting much in return. And it
stoked the political fires in Florida, a pivotal electoral prize in the
presidential elections, where Cubans account for a large share of the
vote and remain strongly opposed to relaxing relations with Raul Castro
and his revolutionary henchmen.
The administration won the freedom of Alan Gross, a former U.S. Agency
for International Development contract worker who has been imprisoned for
five years by the Cubans. But in return Obama freed several convicted
This will go down in Obama history as another naive attempt at diplomacy
by a president who believes he can deal with Communists, even if he gets
little or nothing in return.
Remember when Obama came into office expecting to "reset" relations with
Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin thugs, only to watch them seize the Crimea
Peninsula and send troops into Eastern Ukraine where they remain to this
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida sees the same naiveté at work in
Obama's Olive Branch diplomacy with Cuba -- calling the president "the
single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime."
"Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas
to Tehran to Pyongyang to see they they can take advantage of President
Obama's naiveté during his final two years in office," Rubio said.
Even some Democratic leaders were incensed by the president's action's.
In a blistering statement Wednesday, Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey,
the outgoing chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said
Obama's actions "have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban
government. There is no equivalence between an international aid worker
and convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit
espionage against our nation."
"One spy was also convicted of conspiracy to murder for his role in the
1996 tragedy in which the Cuban military shot down two U.S. civilian
planes, killing several American citizens," Menendez said.
To trade "Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely
dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use
Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. I fear that today's
actions will put at risk thousands of Americans that work overseas," he
Obama may pay a bigger price for his actions when the Republicans take
control of the Senate next month, and Rubio becomes the chairman of the
Foreign Relations Committee's Western Hemisphere subcommittee.
In a statement released by his office, Rubio said he will "make every
effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt" to make sweeping
concessions to the Castro government without demanding an end to its
repressive policies that have put untold political dissidents in prison.
But in his zeal to play the role of global negotiator, even at the
expense of appeasing some of America's worst and most dangerous
adversaries, Obama may have hurt his party's chances in the 2015-16
presidential election cycle.
Of the nearly two million U.S. citizens who claim Cuban ancestry, the
vast majority of them live in South Florida, a strategic political prize
that could decide the outcome of the next election -- as it did in 2000.
While the younger generation of Cuban-Americans are more open to relaxing
travel restrictions toward Cuba, the older generations remain deeply
hostile to the Communist government and almost any concessions that smell
of the status quo.
Like Rubio, one the GOP's latest presidential wannabes wasn't buying it
for a moment.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who has just formed an exploratory
committee, said on his Facebook page that the administration's decision
to resume diplomatic ties with Cuba was "the latest foreign policy
misstep by this president, and another dramatic overreach of his
"It undermines America's credibility and undermines the quest for a free
and democratic Cuba," said Bush who is widely popular among Florida's
Cuban population and the Hispanic community at large.
But on the left of the political divide, Hillary Clinton was buying into
Obama's appeasement policy hook, line and sinker.
"I support President Obama's decision to chance course on Cuba policy,"
she said. "Despite good intentions, our decades-long policy of isolation
has only strengthened the Castro regime's grip on power."
Obama went for the whole enchilada, believing he can deal with Cuba by
caving into their demands. Republicans, and maybe more than a few
Democrats, will remind him in a few weeks that Congress will have a say
in this, too.
"Yesteryear's actual plantation owners bought human beings with their own
money and -- no matter how reprehensibly -- at least used them to produce
real economic value. Today's political plantation owners, however,
corruptly use your money to buy human beings and pay them not to produce
any economic value at all as long as they go to the polls once every two
years and cast their votes for the good old boys and girls in the big
white house on the hill. (ML Grable)
"Never underestimate the willingness of white progressives to be offended
on behalf of people who arent and to impose their will on those who
didnt ask for it." (Derek Hunter)
"Barack Obamas ego and narcissism -- his most dominant character traits
(flaws, that is) would brook no opposition. Democrats had to vote in
favor of all his policies or face retribution. This is what happens when
a bully is president." (Ed Lasky)