Between calls for comity and lamentations over bitter partisanship, Barack Obama does the darnedest, most divisive things.
Take his upcoming visit to Cuba, home of a communist, military dictatorship that remains unrepentantly anti-American.
Cozying up to a brutal regime is a radical, in-your-face action. It’s being done unilaterally, without regard to the will of Congress.
Most Americans prize their freedom and, all things being equal, would like others around the world to also be free. Yet extending the hand of friendship to the Castro dictatorship will be a setback for those who hoped for a transition to democracy on the island.
Already, the mouthpiece of the Cuban Communist Party, the newspaper Granma, is telling the captive population on the island that President Obama’s visit proves that there are no human rights violation in Cuba. Granma habitually lies to the Cuban people, who have no other recourse as all newspapers are state-owned, but sadly the party organ has it one quarter right this time: the visit obviously proves that human rights violations do not matter to our president.Many conservatives thus will be offended by a presidential photo-op with the regime leaders—especially the military dictator Raul Castro and his perennially dying elder brother, Fidel. And offense is in order. The Castros, after all, urged the Soviet Union to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against New York during the Cuban Missile Crisis. “The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims,” boasted their comrade Che Guevara.
Nor are these transgressions in the past. Just two years ago, the Castro regime helped North Korea evade UN weapons sanctions.
But none of that seems to faze Barack Obama. He appears to revel in offending conservative Americans (those rubes who “cling to their guns and religion” as he once delighted in saying). Yet he’s shocked, shocked when the rubes don’t give him whatever he wants. He looks hurt, for instance, when Senate leaders tell him that, no, they’re not going to let him fill a Supreme Court vacancy near the end of his term, when he has one foot out of the White House.
All that the Senate leaders are saying is that they will let the American people decide—something the oppressed people of Cuba never have a chance to do. But the president, who as senator wanted to filibuster the appointment of Justice Samuel Alito, now insists that it is his right to install the justice he wants, when he wants to.
The president has already done all he legally can in re-establishing diplomatic relations with Havana. He is limited by law from ending the embargo—a step solely within the purview of the Congress. That makes the visit to Cuba symbolic.
And conservatives should welcome the symbolism. That photo with one or both of the Castros should be the one by which the Obama presidency is remembered.
Continue reading below…