Sen. Marco Rubio is making a play at heading the Republican response to Obama's Cuba moves. He's the son of Cuban immigrants, after all, though he was caught
severely fudging the history
on even that. He based much of his angry statements
condemning Cuba for their record on human rights, which is a considerable shift from his position just last week that even revealing America's own torture program was wrong
This, though, might best sum up his response:
"[...] I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy, which is critical for a free people — for a people to truly be free," [...]
"I think the people of Cuba deserve the same chances to have democracy as the people of Argentina have had, where he comes from; as the people of Italy have, where he now lives. Obviously the Vatican's its own state, but very nearby,"
Lecturing the Pope. That ought to go down well.
House Speaker John Boehner's statement was considerably less Pope-bashing:
Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom — and not one second sooner.
Boehner is in the minority even his own party (a majority of Republicans support normalization), and there's no explanation on why America has been willing to have "relations" with other communist regimes like China (where our iPhones grow) or human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia (where our sweet, sweet oil comes from). But he also can't be seen as supporting Barack Obama on anything
Sen. Lindsey Graham, making his pitch for next Sunday's news shows:
I will do all in my power to block the use of funds to open an embassy in Cuba. Normalizing relations with Cuba is bad idea at a bad time.
Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
“President Obama’s decision to allow the Castro regime to blackmail the United States and abandon our pro-democracy principles is an outrage,” he said in a statement. “These changes to policy will further embolden the Cuban dictatorship to continue brutalizing and oppressing its own people as well as other anti-American dictatorship and terrorist organizations.”
And Jeb Bush, who is still pondering whether to jump into the Republican presidential primaries against the aforementioned Rubio, condemned
the move, saying "I don't think we should be negotiating with a repressive regime to make changes in our relationship."
So there you go. Fifty years isn't long enough, our policies were just about to work, we're outraged that we might have relationships with a nation that treats its citizens badly but doesn't have any oil or iPhones or secret torture prisons we can borrow for our own use, and Obama is bad. Although "Obama is bad" is really all you need to know.
Again, though, the majority of Americans wanted these changes to take place. It may be politically necessary to condemn the move, but maneuvering to actually block it has its own political dangers.