On U.S.-Cuba Relations, Chris Dodd Demonstrates What an “Adult Foreign Policy” Would Look Like

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dodd working.jpg
This blog entry was posted on Senator Chris Dodd’s campaign site today but was also written for publication as a guest post by Senator Dodd on “The Washington Note” and “Huffington Post.” I view this statement as the kind of truth-telling and honest candor that aspirants to the White House should exhibit in all of their foreign policy and national security commentary. I could not agree more with Senator Dodd’s views. — Steve Clemons
Senator Chris Dodd is the senior Senator from Connecticut, serving his fifth term, and is running for the Democratic Party nomination to run in our nation’s 2008 presidential race.
I want to see the peaceful transition to democracy occur on the Island of Cuba in my life time.
That isn’t going to happen if we continue the misguided policies of the last forty-six years. We must open the flood gates to contacts with the Cuban people. We must remove restrictions on the ability of Cuban Americans to provide financial assistance to their loved ones. Even small sums of money in the hands of ordinary Cuban families can serve as catalysts for private investment to gain a foothold in Cuba.
I have long supported the freedom to travel to Cuba, which is why I have joined with twenty of my colleagues in a bi-partisan way to co-sponsor S.721 the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2007.
It is simply un-American to bar American citizens from traveling to foreign countries. In fact, Americans are currently free to travel to both Iran and North Korea, two countries which pose far more serious threats to American national security than the government of Cuba.
But more than that, the United States’ most potent weapon against totalitarianism is the influence of ordinary American citizens. They are some of the best ambassadors we have, and the free exchange of ideas and the interaction between Americans and Cubans are important ways to encourage democracy in Cuba.
For more than forty-six years, the United States has maintained an isolationist policy toward Cuba, which I believe has not achieved its intended objectives, namely to hasten a peaceful and democratic transition on the Island of Cuba. Rather, it has solidified the authoritarian control of Fidel Castro, and has adversely affected the already miserable living conditions of 11 million innocent men, women, and children on the Island.
I have long opposed restrictions on the sale of food and medicine to the Cuban people. Frankly I believe it is immoral to deprive innocent people from access to American medical and farm products. Moreover, we hurt our American farm families with such an ill conceived policy. It is a commonsense policy to encourage Cuban authorities to purchase US food and medicine rather than other foreign purchases that may impact adversely on our nation’s security.
The Island of Cuba is in the throes of a transition to a post-Castro Cuba. A US policy of staying the course leaves us on the sides as the future of Cuba is being written. It is time to engage before it is too late to have a positive influence on the political landscape which is rapidly taking shape there. In a Dodd administration the United States will engage with the Cuban people in support of a peaceful transition to democracy.
— Chris Dodd, United States Senator

Comments

61 comments on “On U.S.-Cuba Relations, Chris Dodd Demonstrates What an “Adult Foreign Policy” Would Look Like

  1. papa says:

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    Reply

  2. MP says:

    Posted by Kathleen at August 23, 2007 05:31 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    It would be a nice trick. WL has been dead a while, no?
    Maybe I’m not getting your humor…

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    Walter… THE Walter Lippmann???
    You are right and our current policy is silly, at best and totally stooooopid, like a childish grudge that no longer makes any sense.
    What exactly is our current policy towards Cuba supposed to accomplish?

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  4. Walter Lippmann says:

    Senator Dodd, who speaks fluent Spanish, has made some very constructive suggestions here.
    The best contribution we can make toward freedom in Cuba is to practice it ourselves. Let’s start by permitting Cubans in the United States the freedom to travel to Cuba to see their families. Then let’s let everyone in the United States travel freely to Cuba.
    We can go to China, we can go to Vietnam, and they’re one-party Communist countries, aren’t they? Beyond that, why not allow U.S. businesses to buy and sell to Cuba, just like they do with China and Vietnam? In addition, let’s allow Cubans on the island to freely come and visit their family and friends here in the United States.
    In the last four years, Cuba has purchased over TWO BILLION worth of agricultural commodities from the U.S. U.S. law requires they pay cash in advance and Cuba has never been a day late or a dollar short.
    Cuba is our neighbor and we should act in a neighborly way toward it.

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  5. Kathleen says:

    Kevin.. I called Dodd’s office today to ask what his position was on the Embargo of Iraq. The staffperson said she couldn’t answer herself, but would pass the question on to another staffperson and they’ll answer in writing… in the meantime I asked her to ask that same person to check The Washington Note.com, read the Dodd post and answer here. We’ll see if it happens.

    Reply

  6. Kathleen says:

    MP… My thoughts exactly…., I have called his office and said these very things…. right after the last executive order stating that Busholini could seize assets of anyone who fits his cockamaimey definition of “enemy cmobatant”. That put my “terror alert” at Code Red.
    Dodd’s latest emails reflect a greater focus on the Constitution, but not far enough to include impeachment.
    I think Sentor Dodd has been a conscientious Senator and I would like to see his campaign stay alive because he has been courageous on opposing the MCA and other onslaughts to our Consitution. I’ll keep at it because I think it’s the most critical issue and the only way he can pull ahead of the pack.
    I’ve noticed that people like Dodd and his ideas, like the National Service proposal, but the wind gets knocked out of our sails when he insists on towing the party line on impeachment.
    Not impeaching is tacit approval of the misconduct that has become de rigeur for this adminstration. If Congress fails to impeach, it is the same as saying that it is legal for an OSP and a WHIG to run the country and for Congress to willingly be mere window dressing, while the Supreme Court rubber stamps its imprimatur of legality on this farce of “democracy”.
    We cannot go down in history this way. It’s about our legacy as a nation, not the legacy of some bowlegged cowboy occupying the Oval Office by Coup de Court and rigged slots, er voting machines.

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  7. MP says:

    K: Here’s an unusual thought. I happened to read a few paras of Geo Will’s latest column in Newsweek. Dodd clearly needs to do something to keep his campaign from fizzling. GW felt that, given Dodd’s views and history, he ought to make restoring our Constitutional rights–and preventing them from being taken away in the future–the cornerstone of his campaign. As a real conservative, GW is concerned about this issue. And NONE of the candidates is talking about this. Not even Kucinich. As I say, I just read one paragraph, but it was an intriguing and very worthwhile thought. Maybe you have an inside line to CD.

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  8. Kathleen says:

    Juan … my praise of Senator Dodd was about another issue than Cuba… it was about his questioning of the lack of intelligence before 9/11. I can’t speak to your accusation about Senator Dodd lying about Cuba. Perhaps you could be specific about what lie he told.
    Also, I did not brag about being knowledgeable. I said I expressed my opinions based on what I knew. Being knowledgeable is a relative thing Some are more so than others. I am news oriented as you remarked, but I by no means make any claims of being all knowing. I am simply an interested citizen.
    As for the ability to distinguish fact from fiction, you’ll need to be more specific than your broad swipe. Surely you don’t think the lack of pre-9/11 intelligence is fiction? Or do you think Bush and Cheney had the intel before 9/11 but ignored it or worse?

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  9. Juan says:

    The theme of Steve post is: “On U.S.-Cuba Relations, Chris Dodd Demonstrates What an “Adult Foreign Policy” Would Look Like” Your defense of Senator Dodd infers your agreement with what he said about Cuba. Nothing less or nothing more. If he lies, and you bragged, before you last post, to be knowledgeable about the news, you should know he is a liar regarding the subject of this blog.
    Satisfy?

    Reply

  10. Kathleen says:

    Carroll…
    I’m curious to know your criteria for being a “non-hyphenated” American, since even the Natives are hyphenated.
    What makes WASPS non-hyphenated? Also, I’m curious to know what would be different if WASPS decided to go hyphen.
    And, what makes you think WASPS don’t govern by their ethnicity?
    In your suggested prohibition for Jewish Congresscritters to govern because of their bias, are you including Senator Russ Feingold?

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  11. Kathleen says:

    Juan… did I comment on Castro’s ability to buy food and medicine from the USA??? No, I did not. What lie did I allegedly tell?
    I may be news oriented, but I make no claims to being all knowing. I express my opinions on issues important to me, based on the knowledge I have, but I have no illusions of being omniscient. Only fools do that. I expect readers here to be independent minded and capable of discerning if something I say is correct or not and to promptly tell me when I have something wrong, for the purpose of enlightening me, not accusing me of being intentionally dishonest. That’s a NeoCon’s CON GAME.
    Perhaps you can clarify your accusation with some specifics?

    Reply

  12. Juan says:

    What is immoral is to lie. Plain and simple. For Kevin and Kathleen, for someone so news oriented(the latter), is a pity that she cannot distinguish facts from fiction.
    Castro can buy food and medicines in the USA. To say the contrary is a misconstrue of the facts.

    Reply

  13. Kathleen says:

    Kevin.. I’ll call his office and ask.
    Pauline, thanks again for that link.. I heard a talk given by a retired Marine who was on the first invasion of Iraq.
    He said there was no resistance from the Iraqi Army… that they retreated, leaving their weapons in huge piles. He said he asked his Commanding Officer if they shouldn’t secure the weaspons somewhere, but was told no and all those caches of weapons were left to be retrieved by the Iraqis. How much sense does that make?
    It seems the name of the game is arms sales to whomever.

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  14. Kevin says:

    Excellent Kathleen! Well put. Now my question: Dodd said: “Frankly I believe it is immoral to deprive innocent people from access to American medical and farm products.”
    Does anyone know if he supported the embargo against Iraq?

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  15. pauline says:

    Kathleen:
    Thank you…I have come to enjoy your posts. I hope you continue on.
    I decided long ago that the personal insults just don’t do much, other than be insulting. I liked poa’s zeal for showing us over and over again where much of the smoke, mirrors and lies of politics hides itself. All that just seems to naturally come to those seeking power and money.That’s why, imo, Hillary as president would do anything to build her fiefdom. She’s definitely not what this country needs. She’s just as bad as the neo-con crowd’s shredding of our constitution and rights all in the name of terror.
    I hope poa can reassess his sudden departure and leave the personal stuff out, and then continue to charge ahead full speed. I want poa to continue helping all of us spread the truth up and down main street and in every opportunity that presents itself. For myself, I’d rather wear out trying rather than rust out on the sidelines.
    Stunning news is everywhere that needs our attention.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2147587,00.html

    Reply

  16. Kathleen says:

    Pauline, thank you too for your links and insights.

    Reply

  17. Walter Lippmann says:

    It’s a good thing that Chris Dodd says he’s willing to speak with the Cuban leadership. That puts him head and shoulders above most politicians. Cuba is our neighbor and we should be neighborly. Mexico and Canada have normal relations with Cuba, like most countries do.
    Why can’t we just go ahead and normalize relations?
    Thanks,
    Walter Lippmann
    Los Angeles, California

    Reply

  18. ktoathleen says:

    sdemetri… thank you for that link
    MP, hi neighbor… I lived in Wesptort for years…. I’ve been so discouraged by the Democratz I recently had to dig out my Ella photos just to remind myself it is possible to have ethical, modest, fair and courageous people in office. I’m keeping my favorite photo on my desk these days, so I don’t give up altogether.
    Ella would probably be uncomfortable being called royal tho. As Governor, she drove an old car, lived in her own home, rather than the Governor’s Mansion and may have been the first professional woman to wear tennis shoes to work.(lol) Royal in quotes tho, I understand. In her humble way, she was regal.
    POA.. don’t go away… we need you to keep us wide awake.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    Déjà Vue anyone?
    Cold War ll with hot pockets.
    All the signs are there. Another arms race.
    More fear pandering talking points with the “Green Peril” replacing the “Communist threat”.
    And …why it won’t work out the way it did before
    U.S. vs. Iran: Cold War, Too
    By Robin Wright
    Sunday, July 29, 2007; Page B01
    After three decades of festering tensions, the United States and Iran are now facing off in a full-fledged cold war.
    When the first Cold War began, in 1946, Winston Churchill famously spoke of an Iron Curtain that had divided Europe. As Cold War II begins half a century later, the Bush administration is trying to drape a kind of Green Curtain dividing the Middle East between Iran’s friends and foes. The new showdown may well prove to be the most enduring legacy of the Iraq conflict. The outcome will certainly shape the future of the Middle East — not least because the administration’s strategy seems so unlikely to work.:
    more at……..
    http://tinyurl.com/yvvd82
    But, here we go……….
    Russia, China, Iran Warn U.S. at Summit
    Published 08/16/2007 – 2:56 p.m. EDT
    (AP) By LEILA SARALAYEVA
    Associated Press Writer
    The leaders of Russia, China and Iran said Thursday that Central Asia should be left alone to manage its stability and security _ an apparent warning to the United States to avoid interfering in the strategic, resource-rich region.
    The veiled warning came at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and on the eve of major war games between Russia and China.
    The SCO was created 11 years ago to address religious extremism and border security in Central Asia, but in recent years, with countries such as Iran signing on as observers, it has grown into a bloc aimed at defying U.S. interests in the region.
    “Stability and security in Central Asia are best ensured primarily through efforts taken by the nations of the region on the basis of the existing regional associations,” the leaders said in a statement at the end of the organization’s summit in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attending the summit for the second consecutive year, criticized U.S. plans to put parts of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe as a threat to the entire region.
    “These intentions go beyond just one country. They are of concern for much of the continent, Asia and SCO members,” he said.
    Washington has said the system would help protect against potential Iranian missiles.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin didn’t mention the United States in his speech, but he said that “any attempts to solve global and regional problems unilaterally are hopeless.”
    He also called for “strengthening a multi-polar international system that would ensure equal security and opportunities for all countries” _ comments echoing Russia’s frequent complaints that the United States dominates world affairs.
    Moscow has also bristled at Washington’s plans to deploy the anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying the system would threaten Russian security.
    Putin and Hu Jintao of China were set to attend Friday’s military exercises in the Chelyabinsk region in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Some 6,000 Russian and Chinese troops, dozens of aircraft and hundreds of armored vehicles and other heavy weapons will participate _ the first such joint drills on Russia’s territory.
    China hosted the first-ever joint maneuvers in August 2005, which included a mock assault on the beaches of northern China and featured Russia’s long-range bombers.
    Moscow and Beijing have developed what they dubbed a “strategic partnership” after the Soviet collapse, cemented by their perceptions that the United States dominates global affairs.
    In 2005, the SCO called for a timetable to be set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from two member countries, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan evicted American forces later that year, but Kyrgyzstan still hosts a U.S. base, which supports operations in nearby Afghanistan.
    Russia also maintains a military base in Kyrgyzstan.
    The SCO, whose members are some of the world’s biggest energy producers and consumers, also discussed ways to enhance energy cooperation. Washington has supported plans for new pipelines that would carry the region’s oil and gas to the West and bypass Russia, while Moscow has pushed strongly to control the export flows.
    A further sign of the group’s intention to influence energy markets was the participation in the Bishkek summit of Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, whose country is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the former Soviet Union after Russia. Turkmenistan is not an SCO member; the president was attending as a guest.

    Reply

  20. MP says:

    Posted by Carroll at August 17, 2007 02:32 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Most of these intractable problems appear to go nowhere until they do. Look at Northern Ireland–and that had been going on much longer than I-P. I would have to say that Oslo and Camp David were both signs of progress, despite the fact that they didn’t work out in the end. Walk toward the light, Carroll–‘member?
    The Cato/libertarian perpective leaves a lot to be desired–especially if you’re looking to solve problems.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    Progress in one area often leads to progress in another area. If people see that one “unsolvable problem” can be solved, they become more open to solving other “unsolvable problems” –e.g, I-P
    Posted by MP at August 17, 2007 12:14 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Everyone who has seen any progress in I-P in the past 56 years please raise your hand.
    The last progress I saw was when the US bought a peace treaty with Egypt for Israel. If you can call taxpayer financed bribes progress.
    The “stall” must end. I am with Leon Hader at Cato and a few other realist, time for the US to practice some beign neglect toward the ME and let them sort out their own business.
    Which probably won’t happen until Elvis becomes president.

    Reply

  22. Juan says:

    What further discussion, Steve? I do not think threats is the best way to engage; a contradiction on your stance of “engagement” with Castro. You are ready to eliminate opinions based on your criteria of “personal directed insinuations” identifying ISP. Under that principle you should start deleting yourself.

    Reply

  23. MP says:

    Posted by Kathleen at August 17, 2007 12:51 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Wow, K, you ARE “royalty.”
    I’m originally from Weston, CT and remember the Grasso years well.

    Reply

  24. sdemetri says:

    Sorry for the completely off-topic post but in regards to the Cheney YouTube clip, this speech by Cheney at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in 1991 gives some incredible background to the 1994 CSPAN interview. Cheney knew about the large troop commitment necessary to subdue Iraq, knew the dangers faced in removing Saddam’s government and propping up some new form of government. He asked,
    “And once we’d done that and we’d gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we’d have had to put another government in its place.
    What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi’i government or a Kurdish government or Ba’athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable?”
    The whole thing is here:
    http://tinyurl.com/9hddq

    Reply

  25. Kathleen says:

    Steve, I’m with you on Cuba and Palestine being significantly symbolic of what is wrong with our whole foreign policy.
    Namely, in my opinion, it is unfair, irrational, idiotic in most cases, based on uniformed, narrow interests, based on who will be making the money and therefore, more about capitalism than democracy.
    However, I think we, as a nation, are in grave legal peril, of losing everything that we hold dear. To correct anything, we must impeach, post haste. I see NOTHING else as more important.
    Further, I for one, will be glad to see less ehtnic slurring and sterotyping, which in our anger, we sometimes alip into, imperfect clayfoot in mouthed as we can be.
    I do appreciate you letting us vent so vociferously, though. It’s healing.
    In Dodd’s defense, he was the first Senator to question the lack of intelligence prior to 9/11 and was roundly criticized by the Pavlovian Patriots. I wrote several letters to CT. editors thanking him for his courage.
    As a taxpayer, I think it was Senator Dodd’s and every other Senator’s duty to inquire. $30 billion/year for intelligence and they didn’t have a clue? Not credible, to anyone with an IQ over moronic, plain and simple.
    If Senator Dodd, as the Senior Senator of the Constitution State, were to call for impeachment of the Dynamic Duo for subverting our Constitutional processes by obstructing Congressional oversight, he would be in the great company of many CT. Patriots, starting at the Charter Oak.
    It’s high time for some good old Yankee ingenuity here. We cannot stand by and let them get away with high crimes or misdemeanors. We CANNOT.
    Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of our Constitution. It is derreliction of duty of every elected official’s oath of office to stand by silently, in the face of this outrageous raping of every principle upon which our nation is founded.
    If ever there is a right moment for righteous indignation, this is damn well it.
    We have a War OF Terror, just like we had a Contract ON America.
    Amazing the difference a silly little preposition can make.
    Impeach now or go down in history as a bunch of complicit sissyasses.
    Dodd, you need to get on the phone and call former Senator Lowell Weicker. He had the balls to call for the Watergate investigation of a president from his own party, for far less than what Busholini is wreaking on us.
    If you can manage that, you’re my man for Prez. Otherwise, stick to banking.
    Kathleen GRASSO Andersen, CT.

    Reply

  26. PM says:

    Wasn’t Democrat’s post as bad as POA’s?

    Reply

  27. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “,,,better, more realistic candidates like Hagel and Clark kept out of the race by special interest money and special interest media…”
    Care to substantiate the claim that they are being “kept out” by anyone?
    As to public funding for elections, I support it wholeheartedly. But if we’re going back to the Constitution, I think we’re going to have quite a few Constitutional problems on our hands with this one.

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  28. MP says:

    Lurker writes: “If nothing else, we need a truly independent analysis of the “day that changed everything”, replete with physicists, engineers not in the government or Chertoff’s employ (Chertoff’s cousin, Benjamin, wrote the “debunking” Popular Mechanics article — what a coincidence!) and Cheney, Bush, Mineta,etc., UNDER OATH in PUBLIC testimony.”
    Good post. I would welcome such an analysis. I would point out, though, the “fact” (if it is a fact) that Chertoff’s cousin wrote the PM articles doesn’t mean it was wrong. Doesn’t mean it was right. But it also doesn’t mean it was wrong. Lots of other work has been done by civil engineers as well–by people who aren’t related to anyone except their own families–as I’m sure you’re aware.

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  29. Carroll says:

    Solely publicly funded elections is a great way to start. That might get the Israel lobby out, because the endless “war on terror” is what is destroying this country.
    Posted by Lurker at August 17, 2007 12:04 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Absolutely, a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y!
    Before the Iraq war took center stage as “the” issue, public funded campaigns was the rallying cry of progressives and was gaining steam.
    All I can think about now is how we are approaching our second perfect storm, the worse candidates possible for the most part, better, more realistic candidates like Hagel and Clark kept out of the race by special interest money and special interest media, at the most critical time I can remember in modern US history. …opportunistic politicans awash in obscene millions of special interest money, pandering to the very same ideologies that brought the US to this sorry point.

    Reply

  30. MP says:

    Posted by Carroll at August 17, 2007 11:57 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I do walk toward the light. My comment was based on yours and simply providing a little historical perspective so we know how we got here to begin with. Clearly, a politics based “solely on ethnicity” is wrong and counter to the American ideal. But the politics of ethnicity arises because of past and current treatment of those ethnic groups. Americans want to wish away the past, but it continues to inform the present, as we are learning in Iraq and all over the world. Zionism started because of the failure of the Enlightenment to do away with the “politics of ethnicity,” e.g., anti-Semitism. This is area where you are particularly blind. You just don’t have any patience for it, and neither do most Americans, which is why we stumble around in foreign policy, IMO.
    Carroll wrote: “Because if the WASP’s decide to go “hyphen” in their policies like this congresswoman and many others in congress, a lot of people will be s*** out of luck and back on the universal interstate.”

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  31. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “A large part of that is, I think, that people realize that “good”, like Dodd’s new Cuba policy, is isn’t “good enough” because the “new thinking” towards Cuba doesn’t extend to our other problems and is hypocritical. While it is progress for US-Cuba relations….it also illustrates once again the political duplicity of congress.”
    Progress in one area often leads to progress in another area. If people see that one “unsolvable problem” can be solved, they become more open to solving other “unsolvable problems” –e.g, I-P.
    “To look at Dodd’s support of the Cuba bill and then look at his totally anti-democracy, anti-american and baised attitude toward Palestine – Israel in our ME policy..well…you can’t explain it anyway except the old hypocritical and selective special political interest.”
    Politicians are ALWAYS and have ALWAYS BEEN a mixed bag. Going all the back. You simply aren’t going to get the completely consistent, completely good and pure Rep. A large part of that is that they inevitably have to do a lot of deals to get the things they want. Your support of good ole Walter Jones is a perfect example of this.
    “There are those who say that we have to support and reward the politicans when they do something good…that a little good is better than none. But how does that work in the case of politicans?”
    I guess, to you, progress on Cuba is a “little” good. But it’s been a fact of life for almost my entire life…and almost led to a nuclear holocaust. The way it “works” is you take your best shot and then keep the pressure on them to move in the direction you want them to move.
    Even if you burn DC to the ground and start over, this is what you’re going to get with the new crop. Either that or facism.

    Reply

  32. Lurker says:

    I wish you wouldn’t go POA because I enjoy your rants on the state of the U.S. However, I can understand Steve’s hurt at the personal attacks. I also think we should lay off attacking fellow posters on a personal level.
    Please do reconsider POA, and hang around.
    As for Dodd: I thought he made the most sense in regards to foreign policy (well, I have to qualify that — “most sense” as opposed to Obama, Clinton, Edwards and Biden) in the last debate I watched. But in a thread further down I saw his stance on Israel policy and now I’m confused — is Dodd playing to the pro-Israel lobby in order to get elected? Because I thought he gave very considered answers in the debate but his official stance is at odds with his words.
    Also, isn’t Dodd promising to get the Military Commissions Act repealed? I heartily endorse this effort.
    I’m trying to keep up with everything but at this point I am in despair that either party will be able to lift us out of this morass. Like Carroll, I say we burn D.C. to the ground and start over with just the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
    Solely publicly funded elections is a great way to start. That might get the Israel lobby out, because the endless “war on terror” is what is destroying this country.
    I do think we’re over as a country — every day brings another atrocity, both domestic and foreign, perpetrated by the Cheney administration and yet the Democrats do nothing.
    And I have to say that it’s we the people’s fault. I have friends from all different socio-economic groups, including some with a great deal of power to influence public opinion, and, in my experience, the vast majority of Americans just don’t care.
    I have traveled widely and have never seen a country’s people as apathetic about their politics as the people of the U.S.
    And then this “all terror all the time” — when I look at posters’ comments in the big blogs, like ABC, I am frankly shocked at how willing Americans (well, at least those with internet access and the will to post) are to give up their freedom.
    We deserve what we get: endless war and a police state. And a draft — maybe that will finally wake us up as to how much government is intruding into our lives, but it will be too late.
    Yesterday, Democracy Now had on a psychiatrist who had examined Jose Padilla. I think you can stream the interview off their site and I would suggest that you all watch it, because what happened to Padilla, which was something out of “A Clockwork Orange,” will happen to all of us unless we can wake-up our friends, co-workers and neighbors.
    Was it Sinclair Lewis who wrote “It Can Happen Here”?
    He and Orwell really called it, just a few decades too early.
    Seriously, because of one horrible day in September the neo-cons/ fascists/ Israel lobby ( ol’ Bibi Netanyahu’s “It’s a good day for Israel” comment really hit the nail on the head) got all they wanted. Doesn’t that make anyone else think?
    A few days ago, INN World Report had on Jim Riches, the NYC fire dept. battalion chief who is dogging Benito Guiliani for what he did and did not do surrounding 9/11. Anyway, the interviewer showed a clip of Peter Jennings talking to Guiliani; in it Guiliani admits knowing in advance that the towers were going to fall — how?
    Guiliani is now making a fortune off of 9/11 as as well as running his candidacy around his supposed heroics, when, as this firefighter points out, he actually did nothing heroic that day or in the days before or after.
    If nothing else, we need a truly independent analysis of the “day that changed everything”, replete with physicists, engineers not in the government or Chertoff’s employ (Chertoff’s cousin, Benjamin, wrote the “debunking” Popular Mechanics article — what a coincidence!) and Cheney, Bush, Mineta,etc., UNDER OATH in PUBLIC testimony.
    We, as citizens of the U.S., owe it to the world and to ourselves, to find out what happened that day and why.
    And before I get branded a “CT” — my degree is in physics. I have spoken to some real physicists on the topic, including some of my former teachers at the reputedly best school for physics in the U.S. Most are bewildered.
    Branding someone a “CT” is one way to make sure their valid ideas and facts are dismissed out of hand. But, as I and others have pointed out on this and other blogs – the “mother” of all CTs was George W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address “Saddam Hussein has…” — and the vast majority of the American people swallowed that one whole.
    Sorry for the long post, I’ll go back to lurking now, well, maybe.

    Reply

  33. Carroll says:

    BTW, the WASPS have ALREADY practiced the “hyphen” thing in their own fashion. Over many, many years. A lot of folks WERE SOL. I’m sorry you remain ignorant of it. Just the other day, in WaPo obits, you could read about the man who FIRST proved the existence of the big bang back in the day. His scholarship to MIT was rescinded when he told them he was Jewish. It was next to an obit on the first black woman to refuse to give up her seat on a bus to a white couple. ‘Bout 15 years before Rosa ParksThe truth of the matter is that the USA has been WASP owned and WASP run since the beginning. In terms of who has the power…take a look there.
    Posted by MP at August 16, 2007 01:59 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    Repeat after me:
    That was Then, This is Now.
    That was Then, This is Now.
    That was Then, this is Now.
    You want to go backwards or forward? Give up the grudges, give up the hyphens..walk toward the light.

    Reply

  34. Carroll says:

    POA…….
    The politicans and the system they have created(perverted?) are the enemy, not Steve…stick to exposing them because you do that well.
    It seems to me 70% of the public are now grenades with the pin half way pulled..ready to go off on any and everyone…and that’s not necessarily bad. It’s really overdue.
    A large part of that is, I think, that people realize that “good”, like Dodd’s new Cuba policy, is isn’t “good enough” because the “new thinking” towards Cuba doesn’t extend to our other problems and is hypocritical. While it is progress for US-Cuba relations….it also illustrates once again the political duplicity of congress.
    To look at Dodd’s support of the Cuba bill and then look at his totally anti-democracy, anti-american and baised attitude toward Palestine – Israel in our ME policy..well…you can’t explain it anyway except the old hypocritical and selective special political interest.
    There are those who say that we have to support and reward the politicans when they do something good…that a little good is better than none. But how does that work in the case of politicans? If I reward my child for cleaning his room and he then goes out and sets the garage on fire..do I give him a pass because he did one good thing? I think not.
    Other people also say that we have to “baby step” our way to cleaning up this government. I personally don’t have the patience or temperment to subscribe to that, especially when I observe that rewarding politicans on selective things and not their overall performance hasn’t worked for half a century and the political system has only gotten worse.
    People are tired of half a loaf type democracy.

    Reply

  35. John Kerry says:

    This is a heartfelt public apology to Steve. I was out of line, and I am sorry for it.
    That’s so rich. For the record, I thought the comment about waitress sandwiches was as bad as anything POA had to say.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This is a heartfelt public apology to Steve. I was out of line, and I am sorry for it.
    What is happening to our country is not Steve’s fault, of course.
    Now. However, Dodd is a different story.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Adios all. I hope Steve and Dodd get their priorities straight some day. Of course, if they wait much longer, it ain’t gonna matter much anyway.
    Until then, fuck ’em.
    See you in the gulag.
    (At least Steve put a smile on MP’s and that insipid piece of shit winnipeger’s face today.)

    Reply

  38. MP says:

    Posted by pauline at August 16, 2007 02:44 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Completely moronic. If memory serves, this is a Bush phenomenon. Even in the days of Reagan, we weren’t this wrong-headed in our approach.

    Reply

  39. pauline says:

    from a q&a in Oct, 2006 —
    Dodd: “I’ll tell you just as an aside, I mentioned being in the region back in April, and this goes to the heart of, again, what I think is problematical about this administration’s conduct of foreign policy. I know this may sound sort of quaint today, but I always call the State Department before I travel anywhere and offer any help I might provide on matters that may be of common interest. And so I called the State Department to let them know my itinerary, which included Syria at the time. And the call back I got was, “We don’t want you to go to Syria.” And I said, “Why not?” And they said, “Well, we’re not talking to him.” It was almost sort of a high school kind of mentality here to it. (Laughter.) And I don’t know, maybe they thought I was going to offer him an internship or something, I guess. But why wouldn’t you go and talk — what’s the reason? “You’re going to Lebanon?” “Yes.” “Well, we don’t want you talking to Lahud, the president of the country.” “Why not?” “Well, he’s friendly with Assad.” “Well, I know that.”
    “This idea of not taking advantage of a Democratic senator, a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, going to the region to find out if there was some commonality here which might reinforce the position where there were agreement here is the kind of mentality, I recall a few years ago being in Central America, again, which I go to quite frequently, and asked to see Bolanos and various other people in the government of Nicaragua, the president of the country. And said, “By the way, I’d like to see Ortega.” “We’re not meeting with Ortega.” Well, you know, this is ridiculous here. He’s a guy who may emerge being the president of that little country in a matter of days, and the idea that we’re not talking to them at all is frightening to me, in a way. Now, again, I’m not suggesting, well, you know what I’m suggesting to you. But you’ve got to have that approach.”
    “I remember, we were talking to some people over breakfast this morning when there was an effort on SALT talks. And I recall an earlier American president actually inviting members of the United States Senate who played critical roles on arms control and defense policy of going with the president to make the case at the table to the Soviets at the time — “This will pass, this won’t. If you insist upon that provision, the Senate will not ratify it.” Instead of treating them as if somehow it was the opposition, how do you involve them in the process here so that you get clarity over what your positions are, whether it’s arms control of the Middle East policies? I just — very, very dangerous to me, and it’s created, in my view, much of what we’re looking at today.”
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/11759/

    Reply

  40. MP says:

    “You are disqualified from discussing American policy MP…..just as this jewish congresswoman should be for basing her Cuba policy on “being jewish.” How utterly stupid.
    For the reason set forth by Rosenberg in a reply to the commentors on his articles:”
    Except that, of course, as MJ states, my views are NOT “entirely dictated” by my ethnic identity. Sorry. Nor do I despise the WASP majority, which is fast becoming not one. To paraphrase GoRonGo, most of my friends have always been, since early childhood, WASPS and other Christians.
    However, since no one else is going to, I don’t mind pointing out uncomfortable truths about the minority-majority thing here in the US of A. Or about bias in the debate on I-P. Or about the Congressman you so admire.
    BTW, the WASPS have ALREADY practiced the “hyphen” thing in their own fashion. Over many, many years. A lot of folks WERE SOL. I’m sorry you remain ignorant of it. Just the other day, in WaPo obits, you could read about the man who FIRST proved the existence of the big bang back in the day. His scholarship to MIT was rescinded when he told them he was Jewish. It was next to an obit on the first black woman to refuse to give up her seat on a bus to a white couple. ‘Bout 15 years before Rosa Parks.
    The truth of the matter is that the USA has been WASP owned and WASP run since the beginning. In terms of who has the power…take a look there.

    Reply

  41. pauline says:

    “No American President can stand up to Israel.”
    By Paul Craig Roberts 8/15/07
    “These words came from feisty Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations (1967-1970) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1970-1974). Moorer was, perhaps, the last independent-minded American military leader.
    Admiral Moorer knew what he was talking about. On June 8, 1967, Israel attacked the American intelligence ship, USS Liberty, killing 34 American sailors and wounding 173. The Israelis even strafed the life rafts, machine-gunning the American sailors leaving the stricken ship.
    Apparently, the USS Liberty had picked up Israeli communications that revealed Israel’s responsibility for the Seven Day War. Even today, history books and the majority of Americans blame the conflict on the Arabs.
    The United States Navy knew the truth, but the President of the United States took Israel’s side against the American military and ordered the United States Navy to shut its mouth. President Lyndon Johnson said it was all just a mistake. Later in life, Admiral Moorer formed a commission and presented the unvarnished truth to Americans. [See also here, here, and here.]
    The power of the Israel Lobby over American foreign policy is considerable. In March 2006, two distinguished American scholars, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, expressed concern in the London Review of Books [] that the power of the Israel Lobby was bending US foreign policy in directions that serve neither US nor Israeli interests. The two experts were hoping to start a debate that might rescue the US and Israel from unsuccessful policies of coercion that are intensifying Muslim hatred of Israel and America. The Israel lobby was opposed to any such reassessment, and attempted to close it off with epithets: “Jew-baiter,” “anti-Semitic,” and even “anti-American.” Today Israeli citizens who oppose Zionist plans for greater Israel are denounced as “anti-Semites.”
    Many Americans are unaware of the influence of the Israel lobby. Instead they think of the US as “the world’s sole superpower,” a macho new Roman Empire whose orders are obeyed without question or the insolent nonentity is “bombed back to the stone age.” Many Americans are convinced that military coercion serves our interest. They cite Libya, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now they are ready to bring Iran and Pakistan to heel with bombs.
    This arrogance results in the murder of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of men, women and children, a fate that many Americans seem to believe is appropriate for countries that do not accept US hegemony.”
    more at —
    http://www.vdare.com/roberts/070815_america.htm

    Reply

  42. Steve Clemons says:

    Just for the record…I believe that getting Cuba policy right is a necessary and critical step to getting the broader framework of American foreign policy right. It’s not just the Middle East, or Russia, or China, or Chavez…Cuba and our wrong-headed policies there are indicative of wrong-headed policies elsewhere.
    There are two places on earth where for very little political effort and modest change, huge global impacts could be made — and in my views those two places are in Palestine and Cuba. Brzezinski has written similarly in his recent book, Second Chance.
    So, I have a great deal of respect for Chris Dodd for getting this out there — and having the backbone to articulate a policy that is something beyond whacking bad guys.
    I am now returning to a constructive tone in my commentary. I have spoken harshly to one poster on the blog — and either my admonitions will be accepted and taken to heart — or I will, for the first time in years, ban someone.
    I have decided to ban others as well who go off the rails and engage in flaming character assaults. Stick to the issues, to debate, scream your heads off — but the personally directed insinuations and assaults will stop or I will have no choice but to ban ISP addresses.
    End of subject. No debate.
    I look forward to further discussions,
    Steve Clemons
    The Washington Note

    Reply

  43. modesto says:

    I’m a Floridian, I have Cuban-American family members, and I agree with Dodd. He may not be all things to all people, but it’s time to constructively engage with the world. We do not have enough money, troops, or oil to push the world around so that our richest corporations and individuals can get richer.
    I would also suggest that the level of anger in this blog is frightening. How long do you think we have, Mr. Clemons, before we have civil war in the U.S.?

    Reply

  44. Juan says:

    Hey Steve, I did not know you were a Castro’s fellow traveler. The Article “Thoughts on Fidel Castro and his Great Leadership” is pure propaganda. Tel me, If “Operation (not mission) Miracle is an advancement, can you tell me how come my grandmother is blind because they never treated her cataract? She lives in Cuba.
    Please! Pity that some fools will believe the crap that your empty head elaborate or recommend.

    Reply

  45. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — you are way over the line. I have just emailed you privately. You either get a constructive tone in place, or you will not be permitted to post here any longer.
    You need to understand that this is MY blog, irrelevant or not…it is MINE. I don’t take instructions from you or others.
    But you and your flame-outs are something I feel I have tolerated because you occasionally have quite important things to say — and I don’t like censoring people.
    However, you are now being irresponsible — and I’m not going to tolerate your personal attacks on my decisions of what to post any longer.
    You can either comment on the issues or the merits of my argument — but you have zero rights here to challenge what I choose to focus on or not.
    Your choice…you either change your behavior immediately, or you will be immediately banned.
    I hope that other readers of this blog take this message to heart. I have a very thick skin and endure attacks and critiques from many. That’s part of the process.
    But if you insist on strident character assassination, you are going to be blocked. I’ve had it with this kind of tone here.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  46. Carroll says:

    Posted by MP at August 16, 2007 12:03 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You are disqualified from discussing American policy MP…..just as this jewish congresswoman should be for basing her Cuba policy on “being jewish.” How utterly stupid.
    For the reason set forth by Rosenberg in a reply to the commentors on his articles:
    On July 20, 2007 – 1:53pm mjrosenberg said:
    I’ve developed a new rule of thumb. I’m not engaging with anyone whose views are entirely dictated by their “ethnic identities”.
    So, on Israel-Palestine, I will not address anything written by fact-free ethnic nationalists like Bar Kochba, Davai, BradtheDad, the now disappeared Daniel Greenbaum, and a few others.
    Should the equivalent Arab appear ,an A-Q supporter or an admirer of the late Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, I won’t address him or her either.
    I hope the crazies contine to engage with each other because it keeps my numbers up at TPM which is nice for me.
    But, to you nutty Meir Kahane types, l’hitraot. More to the point, goodbye!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    And you need to hope that the “WASP” majority you so despise never adopts the “ethnic mode of governing” that all the “hyphens” in this country base their policy views on. Because if the WASP’s decide to go “hyphen” in their policies like this congresswoman and many others in congress, a lot of people will be s*** out of luck and back on the universal interstate.

    Reply

  47. pauline says:

    I wonder who spends more on a haircut — Dodd or Edwards?

    Reply

  48. MP says:

    POA quotes: “Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), one of the most anti-war members of the House, accused the Bush Administration’s labeling of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization a prelude for war there.”
    Amen. Kucinich is absolutely right on this.

    Reply

  49. MP says:

    “I am finally convinced it is impossible for Jewish congresspeople to represent America.”
    Gee…that only took about two weeks.
    I guess you didn’t have far to fall in the first place.
    But let’s hear it for Walter “Freedom Fries” Jones! A true American who stood up to the French in their opposition to the Iraq invasion. An American didn’t need no permission slip to vote for the American invasion of Iraq, who wouldn’t relinquish our foreign policy to a foreign country. ‘Course, ole Walter regrets his decisions now–wishes they had never happened– just like the rest of America.

    Reply

  50. Democrat says:

    Nice post, Senator. Too bad your campaign is going nowhere fast. Maybe you can go back to having waitress sandwiches with Ted “Kopechne” Kennedy. Munch munch.

    Reply

  51. Kathleen says:

    Dodd is the Senator from the Constitution State. His first priority should be defending our Consitution from domestic enemies who circumvent it and subvert our Consitutional processes at every turn. He should be calling for the impeachment of those who display contempt for our laws.
    Anything short of that is childish bullshit or should I say chickenshit?

    Reply

  52. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Keep this shit up, Steve, and your blog can honestly be considered “irrelevent”. Are you blind to whats happening to our country, or are your cushy insider privileges more important than your patriotism?

    Reply

  53. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Kucinich: ‘Belligerent’ Bush Admin. trying to ‘deceive’ US into ‘yet another war’ Nick Juliano
    Published: Wednesday August 15, 2007
    Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), one of the most anti-war members of the House, accused the Bush Administration’s labeling of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization a prelude for war there.
    “The belligerent Bush Administration is using this pending designation to convince the American public into accepting that a war with Iran is inevitable,” Kucinich said. “This designation will set the stage for more chaos in the region because it undercuts all of our diplomatic efforts.”
    Kucinich, who is mounting a second dark horse race for the presidency, has called for Vice President Dick Cheney’s impeachment. Introducing an impeachment resolution in April, Kucinich accused Cheney of manipulating intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and “rattling the sabers of war against Iran,” as RAW STORY reported at the time.
    On Wednesday, reports emerged that the Bush administration was considering classifying Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organizations. The Revolutionary Guard would be the first national military included on the list.
    “This new label provides further evidence for Iran’s leaders that there is no point to engage in diplomatic talks with the United States if our actions point directly to regime change,” Kucinich said in a statement released by his office. “Our nation is better served by demanding sensible and responsible diplomatic foreign policy initiatives from the Bush Administration.
    “This is nothing more than an attempt to deceive Americans into yet another war-this time with Iran,” Kucinich concluded.

    Reply

  54. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Heres a news flash for Dodd. Many of us just don’t give a shit about Cuba right now, as we lose our rights to privacy, torture prisoners in our custody, wage illegal and disastrous war policies, refuse to hold our highest officials accountable to the law, and have a bunch of fucking lying posturing frauds as presidential hopefuls. Get off your God damned elitist asses and start acting like “Representatives”, or get honest and start calling yourself fascists and criminals, suspend the constitution, and finish emptying the coffers.

    Reply

  55. john somer says:

    When are Americans going to realize that the Cuban embargo has been he best crutch on which Fidel has been leaning ? He was able to blame all the consequences of his ludicrous economic policies (he is an economic illiterate) on “el bloqueo del imperialismo” (the impeerialitic blocade). It also allowed him to desscribe any dissident as an agent of the CIA (after all, the US government has recognized that there werer various CIA attempts on his life). The proper policy would have been to allow a “cash and carry” export policy to Cuba and letting the island simmer in its own troubles without getting hysterical about it.
    If democratic elections come to Cuba, the Miami exiles are in for a shock, as almost all the Cuban middle class has left and the population is mostly black and living in the houses of the émigrés. They certainly won’t want to be evicted and ton’t have the money to buy them from their owners. Some hot social moments lie ahead

    Reply

  56. Roger says:

    Here is a link to a great article on Fidel Castro that is definitely worth reading: http://duckdown.blogspot.com/2007/01/thoughts-on-fidel-castro-and-his-great.html

    Reply

  57. Carroll says:

    However, Wasserman Schultz has clashed with members on Cuba policy, including Rep. José “errano (D-N.Y.), a fellow cardinal on the Appropriations Committee.
    She noted that she does not arrive at her position on Cuba because of her district?s makeup, which includes few Cuban-Americans and is 20 percent Hispanic. Instead, she points out that she is Jewish, and that the words ?never again? resonate in terms of the Holocaust and the state of human rights in Cuba.
    Posted by Juan Cuellar at August 15, 2007 09:28 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am finally convinced it is impossible for Jewish congresspeople to represent America.
    Not to mention that there has to be a worse word than hypocrit for Jews who support Israel’s occupation and slo-mo genocide in Palestine and then talk about “human rights” in other countries. They are truely sick.
    And 36 million for more Cuban dissents…gee, that might repair a bridge or two here in the US.
    This country is sooooooo f***ed.

    Reply

  58. Carroll says:

    Oh, good new policy on Cuba Dodd old boy but you are still a whore,..not fit to be an American , not fit to be in congress, not fit to be president.
    Too bad your “morals and democracy” aren’t real and only on “selective issues”.
    Read Dodd’s disgusting speech to AIPAC, it is so riddled with outright lies and propaganda talking points and..a promise “to use his position” to ensure Israel gets all the money it wants if AIPAC’ers vote for him and dems.
    http://dodd.senate.gov/index.php?q=node/3641
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Truely revolting. The old exile money mjst have died out and Dodd is now pimping for the Farm lobby. Well at least it’s American, but it wouldn’t matter to Dodd if it wasn’t…he’s a died in the wool whore for the money honey, and the votes and the power no matter what.

    Reply

  59. janinsanfran says:

    If Dodd or anyone else wants democracy in a post-Castro Cuba, they are going to have to stop funding a bunch of embittered aging exiles who want to turn the clock back to a time when they owned all the goodies and most Cubans didn’t count for anything. Like most people in the world, Cubans want a free country — we just have to let them work it out without tromping around holding up the interests of aspiring oligarchs. Our record of such self-restraint in Latin America is pretty much non-existent.

    Reply

  60. J says:

    Senator, thanks for this. I wish you luck in your campaign.

    Reply

  61. Juan Cuellar says:

    http://thehill.com/business–lobby/dem-leaders-struggle-for-votes-to-change-cuba-policies-2007-08-15.html
    The Hill
    Dem leaders struggle for votes to change Cuba policies
    Business & Lobbying
    By Ian Swanson
    August 15, 2007
    When Democrats gained control of Congress, hopes were high that Cuba travel and trade restrictions would be eased by a party historically opposed to a so-called hard line on Cuba.
    So far, however, the Democratic-led House has been tougher on Cuba than when Republicans controlled the lower chamber.
    Sixty-six House Democrats — including 20 members of the freshman class — recently voted against a farm bill amendment offered by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) that would have made it easier for U.S. farmers to sell agricultural goods to Cuba.
    Earlier this year, the House also approved an amendment adding $36 million in funding for Cuban dissident groups after the House Appropriations Committee recommended only $9 million in funding.
    “It was a blow for us to have the Rangel vote be, you know, the worst vote we’ve had,” said Sarah Stephens, an advocate for ending Cuba travel and trade restrictions who directs the Freedom to Travel Campaign.
    The amendment was defeated 182-245 even though similar amendments were approved by voice vote when Republicans controlled the House.
    More Democrats voted against the farm bill amendment than voted against another Rangel amendment last year that would have prohibited funding for implementing the overall trade embargo with Cuba. Only 40 Democrats voted against that amendment when it was considered.
    Both supporters and opponents of the Cuba embargo said they were surprised by the vote. “If we can’t prevail on an issue of agriculture trade, it says it will be very difficult to prevail on other issues,” said Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a longtime supporter of trading with Cuba.
    Both sides in the Cuba fight say Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) was instrumental in winning Democratic votes against the Rangel amendment. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) told The Miami Herald that Wasserman Schultz was “a tiger” on the Rangel vote, while Antonio Zamora of the U.S.-Cuba Legal Forum described her as a key party in building Democratic opposition.
    “I was about as active as you could be,” said Wasserman Schultz, a second-termer who serves as a deputy chief whip for Democrats. At the same time, she said other members such as Reps. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) also worked hard to whip opposition.
    Sires, a freshman, deserves credit for the 20 freshmen who voted against the Rangel amendment, said Joe Garcia, director of the New Democrat Network’s Hispanic Strategy Center.
    Wasserman Schultz attributes the vote against Rangel’s amendment to “a more aggressive and better-organized effort by opponents on the Democratic side.” While the Appropriations cardinal said she was just as active on past Cuban votes, Wasserman Schultz claimed she is now more organized and knows more members personally from her experience co-chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” effort in 2006.
    Wasserman Schultz’s position on Cuba puts her at odds with some Democratic leaders, but she said she has no worries that this might affect her if she seeks a higher leadership position in the future. She said that Democrats understand they will not always agree on every issue and that she sought out Rangel to explain her position.
    “I think it’s a matter of style, too,” said Wasserman Schultz, who remarked she was not one to get in someone’s face on an issue. “You can be diplomatic and diffident. There’s a way to handle differences of views with leadership.”
    However, Wasserman Schultz has clashed with members on Cuba policy, including Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), a fellow cardinal on the Appropriations Committee.
    She noted that she does not arrive at her position on Cuba because of her district’s makeup, which includes few Cuban-Americans and is 20 percent Hispanic. Instead, she points out that she is Jewish, and that the words “never again” resonate in terms of the Holocaust and the state of human rights in Cuba.
    In another sign that the Democratic-controlled House is in no rush to change Cuba policy, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) said he believes his bill seeking to overturn the administration’s rules on travel by Cuban-Americans will not receive a hearing until next year. Those rules are particularly unpopular in Miami, and the Delahunt bill at the beginning of the year was seen by many as having bright prospects this year.

    Reply

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