Buena Idea

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Journalist Ann Louise Bardach, a shrewd observer of Cuban politics on and off the island, has this wishful bit of how-to-win-Florida advice for John Kerry:

The unvarnished truth is that there's no space on the right for John Kerry. Hard-line exiles?for whom Cuba is the only issue?are dedicated Republicans. However, there is an opening on the left. A viable position for Kerry would be to declare himself fiercely anti-Castro and then point out that Bush has no Cuba policy other than the embargo?a 45-year failure that has yet to make any progress toward its stated goals: free elections in Cuba and an end to Castro's reign. Kerry should then champion what the majority of exiles want?unlimited remittances and unrestricted travel?and argue that increased contact with Cuba will lay the groundwork for civil society in the post-Castro years.

Kerry's track record of pandering and flip-flopping on the issue (as documented by Bardach) give no reason to believe he'd do any of this.

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  1. if Kerry is going to lose FL anyway, he might as well start talking about lifting the embargo (which he and Bush both swear allegence to), that would probably help him the majority of independent voters in other swing states

    I don’t think the majority of independent voters give a rat’s ass if we embargo Cuba or not. It has basically no impact on American life at all, outside of Florida — and, furthermore, the question of whether it’s better to embargo a totalitarian state or to trade with it really isn’t one which most people have firm opinions on.

    I do think that support of a lifting of the Cuban embargo earn Kerry a certain degree of enmity from tobacco and sugar producers, as well as various local vacation industries, though.

  2. Kerry’s track record of pandering and flip-flopping on the issue (as documented by Bardach) give no reason to believe he’d do any of this

    I disagree.

    I think there’s still plenty of time left for John Kerry to come out on both sides of this issue. 🙂

  3. …while only hurting him with people who are already committed Republican voters.

  4. I think the embargo *does* matter to many of independents but not for purely philosophical reasons…Havana was a big party town pre-revolution, it looks pretty (outside the decayed urban blight), my friends from Germany and Canada who have vacationed there loved it, and yes…those cigars like Romeo y Julieta are pretty damn good. So it would be nice to be able to buy them without it feeling like a drug deal. 🙂 And why should Cuban resorts be off limits to all americans (except politicians who go on ‘trade missions’ and the journalists that follow them)?

    I can still picture the five or six mega cruise ships a day dumping their boatloads of middle aged american wearing their new sneakers and their fists full of dollars wandering the streets of Havana…

  5. And if Kerry is going to lose FL anyway, he might as well start talking about lifting the embargo (which he and Bush both swear allegence to), that would probably help him the majority of independent voters in other swing states.

    Most people can see it ain’t doing a damn thing about Castro except making him more secure in power, most want it lifted in the completely reasonable belief that once we’re in there there and the cruise ships start docking in the ports…that’s the invasion by America that will be unstopable by Castro.

  6. Why end the embargo? Everybody knows only “Benedict Arnold CEO’s” would trade with Cuba….

  7. Good idea, Doc. Kerry gets props for “bravely standing up to a special interest, even though it endangers his political future,” while taking a position that, I’m convinced, is actually a political winner, even in Florida. He’s suffered plenty from the corporate media’s shallow, one dimensional coverage – he may as well take advantage of it on this one.

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