Obama’s Genius Shines Through Following Cuba Decision as the GOP Probably Ruined its Chances in 2016

cuban-americanA few weeks back I wrote an article stating my belief that one of the biggest issues Republicans have with President Obama (aside from the pigment of his skin) is that he’s simply too intelligent for most conservatives to understand. He often thinks “big picture” and years down the road, while many conservatives can’t understand a talking point unless it fits on a relatively small bumper sticker.

And when it comes to his decision to end the decades long and outdated policies by which the United States deals with Cuba, his intelligence was on full display again.

First, let’s be honest. The vast majority of conservatives couldn’t care less about this. Sure, they’ll pretend like they do, because Fox News tells them they need to be “outraged” – but I’m almost certain that at least half of (if not more) conservative voters couldn’t even accurately point to Cuba on a map. Besides, it’s really difficult to claim a moral high ground when it comes to foreign relations when the Bush family cites the Saudi royals as “close friends,” we rely heavily on China for damn near every product we use in this country and we’ve had “relationships” with far more questionable countries over the years.

These outdated policies on Cuba date back to the 60’s and the Cold War and make absolutely no sense in today’s world. Not only that, but most Latinos – especially younger ones – favor ending the embargo.

President Obama choosing to become more progressive about our relationship with Cuba exposed Republicans for what they are: Anti-minority.

See, President Obama knows that Republicans might talk a big game about immigration reform, but they really never plan on doing anything about it because they can’t. If they vote on some strict, tea party backed plan it’ll alienate just about every single Latino vote in every election. But if they embrace a more moderate immigration policy, one that offers a path to citizenship (the policy fools like Ted Cruz falsely call “amnesty”), then they’ll enrage their base and those supporting that plan would risk getting “primaried” the next time they have to run for re-election.

Though by moving forward on a new set of policies with Cuba, Obama has now forced Republicans to not only do what they always do (oppose anything he does), but now in that opposition they come off looking like anti-immigrant bigots and outdated relics from the 50’s and 60’s.

Because even Jeb Bush (a potential candidate the GOP feels can gain a lot of Latino support because he’s married to a Latino woman) had to come out and condemn this move. He had to. Sure, supporting it might gain him support in Florida, but it also hurts him in southern states he’ll need to win to secure the GOP nomination in 2016.

It’s a catch-22 for Jeb because by opposing this, he’s also weakened his support in Florida and comes off looking much more “typical Republican” when it comes to issues facing Latinos.

But there’s more. President Obama can’t lift many of these outdated embargoes without Congress. So now a soon to be Republican-controlled House and Senate will have to either get behind the president and move into the 21st century when it comes to Cuba – or oppose this move and make their entire party look outdated and anti-Latino.

So the way I see it is that this move by President Obama was absolutely brilliant. If Republicans oppose this (which they most likely will), their opposition will continue to paint their party in a negative light when it comes to issues of immigrations and dealing with the Latino culture. But even if they end up supporting it, their 2016 hopefuls must still oppose it because they have to pander to tea party conservatives who vehemently oppose anything that even resembles pro-immigration.

And when you get right down to it, with the 2016 presidential election approaching sooner rather than later, this move by President Obama might be what pushes the must-win state of Florida (which has a large Cuban population) right into the hands of the Democrats.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Cemetery Girl

    I don’t watch Fox (well, local news I will, but not the national channel), so what is the reasoning that the embargo should be upheld? It holds no security threat (although if we play nice perhaps an enemy in the future won’t try to use them to apply some discomfort to our country, again), Fidel is gone (so we don’t have to uphold the shunning of a leader we helped put into power but couldn’t control like a trained dog), and many Americans don’t pay that much attention to it anyway. Obtaining products from Cuba that would normally be legal to import from another country is given the general attitude of being on the level of jaywalking, sure it is technically illegal but nobody really pays attention to it. I would be surprised if a majority of Americans even know why we had the longstanding embargo anyway.

  • Rick Rudge

    Well, first off President Obama isn’t lifting the embargo. That can only be done with Congress (good luck with that). However, he is opening up diplomatic relations with Cuba, and I think that’s an excellent start. The embargo hasn’t done anything. The Castro brothers are still in power.

    I know there are some Cuban Americans who are radically against this, and the Republicans will be getting their support from them. But, the few Cubans that I have met are pretty excited about this change of events, and look forward to improved relationships with Cuba. God knows, we’ve spent enough money on Communist China.

  • jsoxx

    Too bad this didn’t happen before the midterms.

    • PoppaDavid

      Maybe not. The Demos that lost, generally were distancing them selves from the President rather than embracing him, and if this had happened before the election many Demos would have had the same knee jerk reaction that is predicted for the Reps.

      This way the Demos sit quiet and the Reps get to dangle in the wind.

  • DavidD

    The GOP has run off it’s operators who could make deals and then haven’t changed their strategy of six years of shutting out the black guy.
    They have painted themself into corners to pander to their delusional base who are the few who bother to vote anymore.
    In other words they are sitting ducks and might as well paint a target on their backs.
    Know yourself and know your enemy win one thousand battles.
    Now is the time to do a snatch ob by the DOJ on Clive Bundy.
    The RWNJ’s will go ballistic ,froth at the mouth and chew the carpet.
    The GOP made a devil’s bargain with these marginal fascist 40 years ago.
    Exposure to sunlight kills pathogens.Time to put in a UV bulb. .

  • Ernesto DelMundo

    The Old Guard of the Cuban exile community are finally dying off, thankfully. When the money dries up, or is eclipsed by the Chamber of Commerce, congress will lift the embargo. That’s how it works in DC, that’s how it has always worked.

  • Dr. Kenneth Nosewater

    I’ve been waiting a long time for the release the Cubans. .. cigars that is.

  • Tom Rago