POLITICS
05/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Cuba Now Officially A Part Of McCain's Year 2013 Fantasy

As we've already seen, the John McCain candidacy is more or less based upon the premise and the promise that if America can hang on until the year 2013, a whole array of outcomes will magically materialize out of thin air and make our lives here at home happy, safe, and prosperous. Tellingly, the projected outcomes tend to be rather prosaic - no bold mentions of flying cars or cancer cures or cybernetic relief for erectile dysfunction - and, pointedly, the candidate is rather short on explanations for how, precisely, he intends to navigate from point A to point B.

Well, as of this morning, the nation of Cuba finds itself knit up in John McCain's grandiose vision of the Future That Will Somehow Happen: "One day, America will again have warm relations with a Cuban government that represents the sovereign will of its people, one that respects their fundamental human and political rights. One day, Cuba will be an important ally in advancing democracy throughout our hemisphere. Make no mistake: Cuba is destined to be free."

See, it's destiny, so stop arguing with Old Man McCain and get off his lawn. Actually, McCain's obviously been hearing the criticism that has dogged his nutball 2013 Space Odd-I-See, so he's put together something that looks on paper like an Action Plan, if passively doing the same thing while another member of the Castro family celebrates birthday after birthday can be called "action."

McCain's recipe for change in Cuba includes:

  • Maintaining the current embargo.
  • Providing material support "the courageous human rights activists who bravely defy the regime every day," while simultaneously having no discernible impact on the status quo.
  • "Increase" the radio and teevee broadcasts which have had no impact on the status quo.
  • He would "vigorously prosecute Cuban officials implicated in the murder of Americans, drug trafficking, and other crimes." Uhm, are we not doing this already?
  • Continue to talk to Europeans and "hemispheric partners" about "plans for a post-Castro Cuba," because he is going to have to fill the empty space between now and 2013 with some sort of pointless activity

McCain's love of passive government is such that the modest changes in policy suggested by the Obama campaign - easing the embargo and engaging Raul Castro diplomatically - fill him with the same fear that cavemen felt during solar eclipses. McCain's lack of intestinal fortitude was noted after the speech by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who said:

John McCain -- like George Bush -- is afraid to talk to bad guys. He feels safer pretending to talk tough by hiding from them. Unfortunately ordinary people will pay for his lack of diplomatic skill. This is the Bush-McCain foreign policy that has failed all over the world, and it has failed to promote change in Cuba. I have successfully negotiated with Castro and many like him, and I know that Barack has the judgment and experience to nudge the Cubans toward a better future. He'll do it without needlessly harming those who just want to send money to their families and visit loved ones. He knows that you need to talk to tough customers so that you can show them that you are tougher than they are.

And of course, McCain can hardly take a breath without flip-flopping on some position that was once important to him, a fundamental truth noted by Senator Chris Dodd, who mused:

"The Senator McCain I used to know was open to negotiations with Cuba to lift the embargo, but now he's taking a hard line position, embracing a policy that has failed the Cuban people and the American people alike for fifty years."