Congressmen George Nethercutt and Mark Sanford both favor opening trade with Cuba. They oppose the totalitarian Castro regime. But they argue that engaging the Cuban people in trade has a better chance of rocking the regime than the embargo, which after four decades has not loosened Castro’s grip on power.
Now Congress has passed legislation allowing Americans to sell food and medicine to Cuba. So why does Mark Sanford say the GOP leadership acted [quote] “shamefully” while George Nethercutt hails the agreement as the greatest thing since sliced bread? Simple: term limits.
Nethercutt’s in trouble because he broke his word on term limits. He’s eager to show he’s “delivered” for wheat farmers in his district. The GOP leadership wants to hold onto his seat. As Appropriations Chairman Bill Young said, “We need to find a way to make Nethercutt look like a strong, powerful member of Congress.” But the leadership also wanted to derail other legislation that went much further in ending the embargo. So they gave Nethercutt the empty victory of authoring a watered-down bill that won’t really increase trade with Cuba at all and won’t even allow travel to visit sick or dying relatives in Cuba.
Real citizen legislators, like Mark Sanford who’s stepping down under self-imposed term limits, aren’t impressed by meaningless political charades designed to make politicians look good before an election. They want to do what’s right. Career politician Nethercutt likes the bill, because . . . well . . . it works for him. Or so he hopes.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.