Not to mention little Marco Rubio. But America’s policy toward Cuba makes no sense, and these reforms are long overdue. There will be a hew and cry from the old guard in Miami, from FOX, and from the far rightwing, but since when have they been on the sensible side of issues?
Of Americans favor a more direct U.S. engagement with Cuba or even a normalization of relations with a nation that U.S. policy has treated as a pariah since the 1960s, a new Atlantic Council poll finds.
Texas Tea Party Sen. Ted Cruz signaled he is definitely running for president in 2016 by releasing his birth certificate this week. The scan he provided is posted above and, as you can see, it just seems fake, doesn’t it? The document purports that Cruz’s real name is not “Ted,” it’s Rafael Eduardo Cruz — the certificate says his middle name is “Edward,” but that was probably Photoshopped from Eduardo to make him sound more American. But the clincher is, it says he was born in Canada, which — for the benefit of any low-info Fox viewers who may read this — is a foreign country.
The document indicates that his mother was an American but that his father, Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, was a Cuban national. Because of this, the media is drawing parallels between Cruz’ citizenship status at birth and Pres. Obama’s. The president was also born in a foreign country — Hawaii — to an American mother and a non-American father. Barack Obama Sr. was a citizen of Kenya, which was then a British colony. One significant difference is that while Obama’s father has been accused of being “anti-colonial” (just like George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the first three U.S. presidents) Cruz’ father admits he fought for the communist dictator, Fidel Castro.
Obama was the first Democrat to win the Cuban-American vote in Florida since the Cuban Revolution. This changes FL & national politics.
— @d_simas, a staff member of Obama for America, on Twitter. Simas is right that Cuban-Americans supporting a Democrat is huge, and probably a result of the gradual devolution of anti-Castro sentiment, especially among younger Cuban-Americans who have no memory of life before the 1959 revolution.
Note to any presidential contender: Don’t even come to Florida unless you understand wet foot/dry foot policy.
Second note: If reporters try to help you out by explaining the policy, take them up on it.
It’s hard to overemphasize to the other 49 states the impact the smallest gestures toward Cuba have on politics in Florida. Case in point: Florida’s new Republican senator, George LeMieux, is blocking the appointment of an Obama nominee as ambassador to Brazil because of a stand by that nominee on Cuba. Hanging in the balance is a $7.5 billion contract to build Boeing planes in Seattle.
LeMieux was selected by Gov. Charlie Crist to fill the vacancy created when Mel Martinez pulled a Sarah Palin and walked off the job with a year and a half left to go. He was largely considered a seat-warmer for his former boss, Crist, who is running for the Senate 24/7, except for when his primary challenger wants to schedule a debate. Then, of course, Charlie has pressing gubernatorial duties to perform. But LeMieux recently raised eyebrows when he opened a PAC, indicating he likes the feeling of power that elected office is giving him and intends to pursue it someday soon.
So far, his Senate record is in line with his party: say no to everything, and be as much of an obstruction and hindrance as possible. LeMieux’s method in the short time he’s been in office is to employ the hold.
You won’t find a description in the rule books, but a “hold” is one of the most powerful, many say abused, weapons available to the 100 men and women who make up the Senate — even to a neophyte like LeMieux, who was never elected and is serving on a temporary basis.
“It’s the power of one,” LeMieux says.
Because the Senate works by unanimous consent, a lone lawmaker can block a bill or nomination from reaching the floor by notifying party leaders. Holds can be ignored by leaders or broken with 60 votes, but that rarely happens in this clubby institution.
Sometimes holds are done in secret or with little fanfare, hence the nickname “silent filibuster.” Other times lawmakers publicize them to settle a score or in search of a bargaining chip or a headline.
LeMieux has used the hold a couple of times already, currently to block the confirmation of Thomas A. Shannon Jr. as ambassador to Brazil. It seems that Shannon, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemispheric affairs under George W. Bush, helped the Organization of American States (OAS) better define its membership rules. It would no longer exclude Cuba just for being Cuba, but would bar any nation that does not “practice OAS’s democratic ideals of multiparty democratic government, human rights and freedom of the press.” Theoretically, if Cuba ever met those standards, it would be admitted.
For the anti-Cuba faction in Florida, even this is too generous. So LeMieux, whose buddy Charlie Crist is running against Cuban-American Marco Rubio in the Senate primary, is taking the opportunity to pander for Cuban votes by putting a hold on Shannon’s nomination.
…last week, nine former assistant secretaries of state sent LeMieux a letter urging him to give up. “This continuing, prolonged vacancy sends an unintended signal that the United States does not consider Brazil an important relationship,” they wrote. One suggested the delay could hurt U.S.-based Boeing’s bid to sell Brazil $7.5 billion in fighter jets.
To LeMieux and Crist, the good of the country is secondary to playing politics. We couldn’t agree more with the headline on the matter in the St. Petersburg Times: “Partisan politics isn’t service.”