Sunday, August 06, 2006

Republicans taking hostages?

On Meet the Press today, Condaleeza Rice was asked directly if the U.S. would allow a mass emigration of Cuban Americans back to their native land, given that Castro’s health problems may present an opportunity for a transition to democracy in Cuba.

Her response was as straightforward as Dr. Rice is capable of being: “We are not going to do anything to stoke a sense of crisis” in Cuba. This is her way of saying “No way, Jose!”

Why should we? Well, for one thing, a cadre of people with a strong history of democracy can only assist in the island nation’s transition, if that is to occur. Additionally, capital may leave with these emigrants but if it is used to establish a prosperous trading partner 90 miles off the Florida coast, it is a good thing, is it not?

Call it xenophobia, or worse, but it must be admitted that within the Republican Party there exists a significant contingent that has deep concerns about preserving “American culture.” A couple of hundred thousand fewer Latinos in Florida couldn’t hurt their cause.

So why didn’t Dr. Rice say, “Hey, it’s a free country! If people want to leave, we don’t keep them here like they did in the bad old days of East Berlin. We wish them well, and we offer whatever help we can give in their noble efforts to establish a democracy in Cuba?”

The answer is that Cuban-Americans are, in Lincoln’s phrase, “not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it,” specifically, in Florida. While Cuban-American voters often split their votes between the two major parties in local or state elections, they tend to vote overwhelmingly Republican in presidential races, by margins that have fluctuated between 75 and 85 percent, making them perhaps the most solidly Republican ethnic bloc in the country. Without the support of Cuban Americans in Florida, Dubya would have lost both elections by margins too large to cover over with shenanigans.

Think about it! Cuban Americans being held hostage, kept in Florida against their will, so that Republicans can win elections. It is further proof, as if we needed any, that Republicans will stoop beneath dirt, to win elections. But don’t be so sure that Cuban-Americans will not see through this, and turn on the Republicans.

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

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