Cuba, Mexico, Obama vs. America
For The Hill on 5/24/10
I can’t think of any time in our history when a sitting American president has publicly and conspicuously allied himself with a foreign leader in direct opposition to a sitting American Governor, as President Barack Obama has done this past week with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. And the president of a broken country run by drug lords at that. As anticipated, as if on cue, Cuba immediately chimed in to support the alliance. Possibly this is the new “international order” that the President talked about at the West Point graduation this weekend.
Obama sees himself as a citizen of the world and probably as a world god-king like Elvis, Michael Jackson and that delusional Lord Jim, Bill Clinton. But he consciously senses to himself that his conversation and congress as President is with only parts of America. To the parts below the Mason-Dixon Line he dictates. To the parts east of Tahoe, he dictates. To those rubes and red necks in Alaska he doesn’t speak at all.
Surely, before he goes on vacation to a safe house in Martha’s Vineyard this summer, Rahm Emmanuel will rig something up for him out there in the despised heartland; a quick photo-op in the Grand Canyon, like last year, or maybe doing something like pretending to admire a NASCAR stock car and quipping with the driver about engines. (Does he even know how to drive? Did he ever own a car?) But he is alienated and afraid in these parts. He not only does not like these people, but like his friends in Martha’s Vineyard – a day’s sail from where I grew up - he thinks they are boorish. He thinks they are stupid. He thinks they are dangerous and underdeveloped. They are not impressed that he was the editor of the Harvard Law Review. It is nerve wracking. They do not even like lawyers. And increasingly, they do not like him either.
As Calderon appears arm and arm with Obama at the White House and condemns America to an adoring Congress, AP reports that Cuban lawmakers have passed a resolution denouncing Arizona's new immigration law as "racist and xenophobic," recalling an old dispute in the process: the argument that the United States' purchase of Arizona from Mexico in the 19th century was tantamount to theft. The tightly controlled, communist-run island has long been criticized for its human rights record, which includes the jailing of 200 political prisoners, the banning of a free press and the outlawing of opposition political parties.
Cuban citizens are required to carry identification with them wherever they go, and can be stopped by police and sent home if they are found in a part of the island where they don't belong.