President Obama is picking a fight — between two Republicans who might want to succeed him in the White House.
I love this infighting.
Obama has announced a dramatic change in our nation’s policy toward Cuba. We’re moving toward normalization of relations, you know, with embassies in both countries and ambassadors representing their nation’s interests.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky supports the change; GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida opposes it.
So, what does Paul do? He calls Rubio an “isolationist.” He mentions his colleague by name. He takes direct aim at the young Floridian’s opposition to what Paul thinks is a reasonable and long overdue change.
I happen to agree with Sen. Paul on this one.
He wrote an essay for Time magazine in which he lays out his argument. “The supporters of the embargo against Cuba speak with heated passion but fall strangely silent when asked how trade with Cuba is so different than trade with Russia or China or Vietnam,” Paul wrote. “It is an inconsistent and incoherent position to support trade with other communist countries, but not communist Cuba.”
Rubio is among those “strangely silent” lawmakers who cannot grasp the need for change in the U.S.-Cuba relationship.
Rubio actually baited Paul with a statement he made on Fox News: “Like many people who have been opining, [Paul] has no idea what he’s talking about,” Rubio said. Paul’s op-ed essay in Time was in response largely to what Rubio said.
So the intra-GOP fight has commenced.
Rubio’s own Cuban heritage gives him some credibility on this issue. However, like a lot of politicians who blind when the subject of Cuba comes up, Rubio needs to look at the big picture and understand what Barack Obama and Rand Paul both get: If a 50-year policy doesn’t produce any positive change, then it’s time to change the policy.