Republicans Vow to Block Any Nominee for Ambassador to Cuba

In the leadup to the 2016 election, Republicans are doing their usual pandering to the older Cuban emigres in South Florida (and to conservatives who still think the Cold War exists and communism is at all relevant in the world) by promising to block anyone nominated as ambassador to Cuba.

Critics, including several GOP presidential candidates, are arguing that the president – in ending 50 years of frozen relations – is rewarding Cuba’s dictatorial regime. Immediately after Obama announced what he called a “historic step forward,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas promised to oppose any ambassador to Cuba or funding for an embassy construction.

“I, for one, want the Cuban people to know that there are still those who stand with them, and who know the Castros for what they are,” said Cruz, a Cuban-American, in a statement. “I will hold any nominee President Obama sends to the Senate to be ambassador to Cuba, and I will work to disapprove any new funds for embassy construction in Havana, unless and until the President can demonstrate that he has made some progress in alleviating the misery of our friends, the people of Cuba.”

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida issued a similar statement, arguing the Obama administration has “continued to look the other way and offer concession after concession.” Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, also said he intended to oppose the confirmation of any ambassador to Cuba until abuses of the Castro regime are addressed.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker posted a Facebook note calling the move to establish full diplomatic relations “yet another example of his appeasement of dictators” and accused him of “foolishly rewarding the brutal Castro dictatorship and selling out the Cuban people.”

And Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has said in the past that he’d use his power to block the use of funds to open an embassy in Cuba, issued a statement criticizing Obama’s decision on Wednesday saying “As president, I would not honor this decision with Cuba and I would close the embassy until the Castro brothers actually change their behavior.”…

Other 2016 GOP presidential candidates who are not currently in office (and wouldn’t have a say in confirming a nominee) also voiced their disapproval on Wednesday, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. While the issue gives Republicans a perch to rail against Obama’s foreign policy, it isn’t necessarily a slam dunk issue.

Funny, I’ve never heard any of those men try to block having an ambassador to Pakistan. Or Saudi Arabia. Or China. All countries with a far worse record of oppression than Cuba and who might pose an actual threat to us at some point, which Cuba could not do. This is selective outrage for the purpose of political pandering (a lot of alliteration). It’s playing games with foreign policy, which is primarily the function of the president, not Congress. It’s also not going to play well in the general election, since 60% of Americans support the reestablishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba.

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  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Communism isn’t relevant? Are you saying Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Victims Of Communism is a stupid waste of taxpayer money?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I’m with them. I’m against funding Obama’s plan to alleviate the misery of our friends, the people of Cuba, until he can show that he’s made some progress in alleviating the misery of our friends, the people of Cuba.

  • raven

    I would guess that our embargo of Cuba is probably all that kept the Cuban commies going. In other words it was completely counterproductive.

    1. The USA is 90 miles from Cuba. A rich nation of 319 million people near a poor one of a few millions.

    2. Economic and social gravity is a powerful force. We would have to try very hard to not have an influence on them. Which is what we did.

  • caseloweraz

    From Democracy Now:

    “During the height of the Cold War, Worthy defied the U.S. government by reporting from the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, Iran, North Vietnam and Algeria. He also worked closely with many African-American leaders, including A. Philip Randolph and Malcolm X. In the late 1950s, the State Department refused to renew his passport after he returned from a reporting trip into China.”

    The Ballad of William Worthy

  • StevoR

    @1.Tabby Lavalamp : “Communism isn’t relevant?”

    Well it is if you still live in the 1960’s – thinking of which, wheres our Dogshitty troll “friend” gone? Finally been banned or something?

  • Glenn E Ross

    Why should we change an ineffective policy that has been in place for fifty years? Just because it hasn’t worked yet doesn’t mean it won’t eventually. As soon as the Castro brothers die, it will succeed.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    “Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas promised to oppose any ambassador to Cuba or funding for an embassy construction.”

    Put the funding in the defense budget and watch Cruz get stuck in an infinite act/don’t act loop.

  • laurentweppe

    (and to conservatives who still think the Cold War exists and communism is at all relevant in the world)

    Well, it did cause Greece to default as a result of what may be the most suicidal fuck-you political stunt in post WWII Europe

    ***

    unless and until the President can demonstrate that he has made some progress in alleviating the misery of our friends, the people of Cuba

    Wait a minute: wasn’t misery the whole point of the embargo? As in “make the Cuban people suffer under an economy artificially kept in a dismal state as a retaliation for overthrowing Batista at first and then for failing to rebel against the Castro regime“?

  • abb3w

    For the curious, some poll data. As of April, even among Republicans opposition was no higher than support for re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. Since primary voters tend more strongly partisan, it may not be outright harmful in the primaries, but it’s getting damn close.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    Republicans vow to refuse doing anything that might put the United States in a positive light.

    That’s not exactly news anymore.

  • illdoittomorrow

    Raven at 3: It depends what your definition of “counterproductive” is. Cuba has been a perfectly good scapegoat and frightwing talking point for generations now. It’s been great for securing the votes of useful idiot-types and helping to justify truly insane corporate welfare handouts “defense” budgets for corporate donors. In that sense it’s been spectacularly productive.

  • moarscienceplz

    … conservatives who still think the Cold War exists and communism is at all relevant in the world.

    Yakov Smirnoff was a guest on NPR’s On the Media yesterday. The host asked him about how hard his career was hurt by the falling of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.

    Yakov said (I’m paraphrasing here), “It really was very tough. Suddenly, none of my contracts in Las Vegas or anywhere else were being renewed. So, I had to find a place that hadn’t heard that the Cold War was over. I moved to Branson, Missouri where I now have my own 2000 seat theater, and I’m doing great!”

  • Michael Heath

    The relatively high incidence of Republican voters OK with starting the process of normalizing relations with Cuba is irrelevant in this context. Republican leaders win demagoguing this issue with the devout basis, even it harms the U.S. and Cuba. Less extreme Republicans don’t give a flying fuck.

  • whheydt

    Easy solution to the problem…nominate Ted Cruz (or Marco Rubio) to be ambassador to Cuba. That way, even if the Senate ties itself in knots not voting approval, Obama wins.

  • busterggi

    I’m sure that Repubs will next move to eliminate any calendars dated after 1959 – if they can stop the ’60’s from arriving then it’ll be a big win.

    Don’t suppose they want to recall Pooty-Poot’s ambassadors though.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/LDORIGINALS Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I’m afraid I have to quibble; there is no chance at all that Pakistan or Saudi Arabia could ever pose a military threat to the U.S., and China would be pretty hard pressed to.

  • Who Cares

    @laurentweppe(#8):

    Which side did the fuck you?

    I mean even the IMF is now saying we screwed up in 2009/2010 and if Greece wants to get out of this mess now it needs to get at least a 30% reduction of it’s current debt.

    Something the EU creditors of Greece are still in denial about seeing the current reaction to the no vote.

  • laurentweppe

    Which side did the fuck you?

    The Greek side, as an answer to the creditors saying “pay us or we’ll beat you bloody and leave you to rot in the gutter“: problem is , the creditors can beat Greece bloody and leave it to rot in the gutter.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    laurentweppe, the creditors are really just trying to force Greece to give up its formula.*

     

    * Its secret? Lead acetate.

  • jnorris

    whheydt @ # 14: better solution, nominate John Gavin. He was Pres Reagan’s ambassador to Mexico. How can the Republican Tea Party refuse Saint Ronald?

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    selective outrage for the purpose of political pandering

    Dibs on PAC name.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    jnorris “whheydt @ # 14: better solution, nominate John Gavin. He was Pres Reagan’s ambassador to Mexico. How can the Republican Tea Party refuse Saint Ronald?”

    Dick Lugar got run out of the Senate for voting for TARP and agreeing with Obama on the Dream Act. Even significant Reagan exposure is ineffective against moronism.

    Granted, that last time he ran as though unopposed, but he got beat in the primary by Richard “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen” Mourdock.

     

    sigurd jorsalfar “Dibs on PAC name.”

    I’d donate to SOPPP Pac. And did. I’m really not very good with money.

  • colnago80

    Re #16

    and China would be pretty hard pressed to.

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

  • colnago80

    Re #23

    This blog badly needs an edit function. Missing url:

    http://goo.gl/4WOzcf

  • abb3w

    @13, Michael Heath

    The relatively high incidence of Republican voters OK with starting the process of normalizing relations with Cuba is irrelevant in this context. Republican leaders win demagoguing this issue with the devout basis, even it harms the U.S. and Cuba. Less extreme Republicans don’t give a flying fuck.

    I disagree that the high incidence is irrelevant. If polarization on the question is exceedingly high, such that the moderate Republicans are dramatically different, this will increase a tendency to disaffiliate from the GOP outright — losing the party elections and increasing their political irrelevancy. Furthermore, if the polarization isn’t so high, they are on the verge of the tipping point where the anti-normalization stance costs more votes than it garners.