Cuba Libre, Starring Butch Otter


Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, whom I profiled before his election last year, is in the news for trying to break down the embargo on Cuba.

Otter's first Cuba visit came in March 2003, as a congressman. That trip was organized by the Lexington Institute.

"We're doing the exact same things that we did in the '50s when we cut Cuba off and threw them into the arms of the Russians," Otter told me, riding in the front of an air-conditioned Havanatur bus during his fourth Cuba visit, earlier this month. "We're isolating ourselves from them, we're not talking, we're not doing business deals, we're not exchanging products, thereby exchanging values. We don't have to agree with everything they do. But understand it."

…The question often asked is, what will happen when Cuba opens up? But Otter, and the growing coalition of Congressional bedfellows who oppose the embargo, like to remind us that it is not Cuba that is closed. It is the United States.

The whole piece is sort of rambling, but it's a nice snapshot of what happens when a bona fide libertarian (and friend of Jeff Flake!) is elevated to a statehouse, with all the power that provides.

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  1. Lifting the embargo will take all of the excitement out of my cigars.

  2. As Guy notes, a lot of people make a LOT of money off the embargo. Like Florida’s sugar subsidy recipients, they tend to present a united front politically to get what they want, regardless of how little economic sense it makes.

  3. Come on, there’s no Governor of Idaho named “Buth Otter.” It’s one of those made-up names, like “Chris Chocola.”

  4. Quit calling him a bona fide libertarian!

    He voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement at the behest of his state’s sugar beet farmers.

    He also no on the US Australia trade agreement.

    Voted no on allowing human embryonic stem cell research.

    Voted for amendment banning same-sex marriage.

    Voted for the REAL ID act.

    Voted for increasing fines for indecent broadcasting.

    He’s certainly not the worst, but Reason‘s unconditional embrace of him is disheartening.

  5. Cuba libre is also a drink–rum and coke.

  6. Cuba libre is also a drink–rum and coke.

    Libre means free.

  7. Cuba is a Caribbean island country run by the communist Fidel Castro.

  8. highnumber,

    Of course, but we have quite a few exiles in Tampa (and in the rest of Florida, of course). I guess what happened is that they’d raise a drink in a toast to Cuban freedom, and, since that drink was often a rum and coke, it got the name. At least, down here it did.

  9. highnumber is expositing, just like Pro Libertate did.

    Pro is Latin, meaning “for.”

  10. Libertate is Latin for “freedom,” or “liberty.”

  11. Pro Libertate is also a drink–bourbon rocks with neutronium flakes. Mmmmm, degenerate matter. So tasty.

  12. “Pro libertate” is also the motto of Clan Wallace. Interesting fact: William Wallace once slit open the gut of a person who exposited. That’s not relevant to this discussion, of course.

  13. Are you threatening me? :-O

  14. Me? Never! I’m nonviolent. Just be careful around William Wallace.

    Or anyone who has portrayed him in film.

  15. I’ll be careful around William Wallace and his portrayer. You be careful around Wallace “Gator” Bradley.

  16. None of that corn syrup Coke crap in Cuba, I bet. I wonder if dudes like Coke are allowed to do bidness in Cuba? Probably through a mexican subsidiary or something.

  17. we’re not exchanging products, thereby exchanging values

    if Bona Fide Libertarian is correct about his free trade voting record, this would seem ironic…
    as well as naive, as if exchanging oil for food or whatever helped exhange any values other than the value of $$$

  18. aw. just get a room, guys.


    [waves magic wand – scene changes. ProL and High# are in the video to Steve Miller’s “Abracadabra”]

    [runs off]

  19. highnumber,

    Got you there, because my full name is Pro “Gator” Libertate. And yes, I’m personally responsible for all of my alma mater’s national championships.


    That, or the “Put ‘Em on the Glass” video.

  20. ProL:

    woo hoo!

    And High# – note that in his name, “Gator” rhymes with “Bater”. And not the punk rock singer of the Dead Boys and Lords of the New Church fame, Stiv (who also spelled his last name with an ‘s’ on the end)

    With the magic incantation, Yes he’s kinky, weenie and jinky Got fresh rock on his pinkie, ProGLib assumes the form (for ten minutes) of Jesus Jones in a cage fight with Howard Jones.

  21. Pro Libertate is also a drink–bourbon rocks with neutronium flakes. Mmmmm, degenerate matter. So tasty.

    And if you drink enough of them, you find that the room really will spin around you. As well as the rest of the building…

  22. Gray Ghost,

    Just one will make you the center of gravity at any party. Drink too many, and you’ll collapse into a singularity. Good news is that you just pop out into an identical universe where everything is the same except that Cuba libre is a drink.

  23. VM,

    Right here?
    Right now?
    There’s no other place I‘d rather be, watching ProGLib caged up in misery.

  24. Pro Lib, will everything be the same? Or just removed and replaced with an exact replica???

    I’m happy to see that Steven Wright is back and performing.

  25. High# = WINNER!!!!!!!!!

  26. VM,

    Curiously, in an infinite number of universes, not one of them has the Cubs winning the World Series since 1908.

    Ah, Steven Wright. He and Seinfeld performed at Gator Growl (UF’s homecoming extravaganza) back in 1990 or so. That so ruled. One of my favorite Wright lines is–

    “Well, you know when you’re sitting on a chair and you lean back so you’re just on two legs then you lean too far and you almost fall over but at the last second you catch yourself? I feel like that all the time.”

  27. ProL:

    sadly, you’re right. I blame the trixies and chads who show up, talk on their cell phones, don’t understand the game, etc. Mrs. Moose jostled one particularly annoying trixie, and, alas, she spilled her beer.

    (she probably drove home in her jetta, in a huff!)

    That sounds like quite an eclectic 1990 show!

  28. When highnumber and I visited the Supreme Being during my universe-hopping bachelor party, we asked Him, “Why do You hate the Cubs?” He said the billy goat has nothing to do with it. No, it’s ’cause people call the team, “The Cubbies”. He said, and I quote, “That’s friggin’ gay.”

    Incidentally, He also said that His favorite all-time musical was The Blues Brothers, edging out Jesus Christ, Superstar.

  29. ProL:

    Anybody who does think the goat has something to do with it will be banned to dinner theater renditions of Jesus Christ, Superstar. In Canada.

    And Giggles the Midget S&M clown will use his spring-powered novelty teeth to bite them on the taint.

    so there.

    (doesn’t this belong in the theism thread above?)

  30. Otter may or may not be right about lifting the embargo, but the idea that it was the embargo that “threw Castro into the arms of the Russians” is fucking ridiculous. The guy was a communist from day one. The US government offered him aid when he first came to power and he refused it.

  31. VM,

    Nah, this isn’t about religious belief, this is about rappin’ with the Man.

    When I was in law school in Chicago, a radio announcer informed me that Jesus Christ, Superstar was on tour again and would have several dates in Chicago. . .with the original Jesus and Judas! Shame I missed that one, because I had one or two ontological questions for Christ.

  32. Just remember that shaking his hand is kinda creepy (and a little crusty). And since he is no longer buoyant, asking about the water walking thang (sic) is right out

  33. ProGLib,

    Ugh. I think the wife dragged me to see that production. Was it at the Rosemont Theatre? You missed a great pretty entertaining one of the longest nights of my life.

  34. highnumber,

    Why? Did Jesus make you relive all of your sins?

    I imagine that the voices of Ted Nealy and Carl Anderson might’ve been worn out by then (mid-90s). Not good for people singing ten octaves above normal in their heyday.

  35. Reliving my sins would have been far more pleasurable.

  36. But High – Rosemont isn’t that kind of theater…

  37. Donny and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat played in Chicago while I was there, too. It was the end times.

  38. Was that when Donny Osmond and Danny Bonaduce boxed?

  39. Heh. Did that really happen, or is that a side effect of that trip to Tequila Roadhouse?

    I was actually talking about Donny and his tour with Joseph.

  40. When Donny was in town for Joseph, Bonaduce was coming back from his transvestite hooker/crack-smoking incident and becoming a radio personality thanks to Jonathon Brandmeier. Somehow, they ended up boxing at a charity event.


    Surreal times. I think we can trace both “Celebrity Boxing” and “The Surreal Life” back to Bonaduce.

  41. Wow! It really happened! And I thought I’d just had to much to drink that one night at Blues, Etc.

  42. Or even too much.

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