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The Cuba Initiative

Obama girds loins to do what needs to be done

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

Republicans have tried and failed to sell inflated and fake stories this year. Benghazi collapsed when the GOP led committee completely supported the administration, Ebola was a literal zero, and voter fraud was a statistical nothing and mostly GOP anyway. What solid info is in shows Obamacare has mostly worked and worked well, and the rise of medical insurance rates is far less than it was previous to the ACA. Might even start to go down.

Time Magazine, these days a non-entity, made those who risk life and career fighting and caring for Ebola victims in Africa the Persons of the Year. The right choice. Despite the calls by conservatives and Fox News that those few actually puttering to and from West Africa should be soaked in bleach and shunned (which at least metaphorically happened to some), the US population has its head on right, given calm fact. It understands that a pandemic in Africa, once spread world wide, cannot be kept out of our nation and the best way to prevent it here is to nail it there. European and Asian governments did not hesitate to help and lead when needed. It isn't over, it will never be over in our life time but the tide has turned. Now Africa can go back to its other, more prosaic daily horrors of existence. Obama read this right, and from the start.

Our always dubious polling shows opinions of Congress and the President up, the stock market has reached new records, dropped, and rebounded higher several times. If, stupid, it's the economy, Obama has done remarkably well. Even gasoline prices are falling in this nation, which only comes about when our patriotic gas suppliers have run out of even the most implausible excuses for keeping them up. But the GOP forces through the Keystone Pipeline.

Obama's hesitations in entering the Arab Spring through the years looks incredibly wise and farsighted today. There is no good side in Syria, there is no sanity whatever in many of the conflicts which are just ancient tribal animosities being played out. Obama has done what our recent history has shown should have been done far more often: stay diplomatically involved, do not send ground troops, do not enter combat lightly or just to show and accrue Face. I think all his foreign policy decisions, damned as indecisive if not cowardly by the Republicans and Chickenhawks, have proven correct.

His conflict with the government of Israel has illustrated the really craven hypocrisy of Netanyahu and brought pressure long deserved on that increasingly theocratic ally. His read on Putin and the Ukraine now looks dead on correct, because Putin can afford no conflicts. I'm still not convinced Putin is the bad guy in that fight. Ukraine is incredibly corrupt and unstable even in the areas where Russians aren't a majority. Still, Republicans showed their desire for A White Man on Horseback when they brayed about Putin, whom Fox News announced was a man compared to Obama. Today, Russia is on its knees due to their corruptions, and idiotic military shows of force cannot end well for them. Putin looks far inferior these days, and has always to those not impressed by chest pounding.

By previous standards, today Obama gave his opponents the club to kill him. He's announced this morning that the US is normalizing relations with Cuba after sixty odd years. The conservatives are aghast, because a black man did it, but previous polls show the population is for it. The Castros are not a threat nor much of anything, anymore. Their nation, vibrant and young and salivating to join the world, is not the same as it was in the 1960's or even the 1990's. On top of which, Cuba could probably field a couple of major league baseball teams to revive that dying sport, and would just in general be a blessing to everyone if included. They profess socialism, are about as communist as China, which is to say, not very any more. There are no good reasons to continue the embargo, none to this hostility because Castro tweaked our nose decades past.

Obama looks very good to me these days. And I'm appalled that our next election might be between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. I don't like dynasties in this nation. The Kennedys, for all the fear, never came close. The Roosevelts were distantly related and of two different parties, and the Adams family was monumentally competent but of a time when the Presidency wasn't so powerful as now. Three Bush presidencies in one lifetime? Two Clintons?

Elizabeth Warren is intriguing but probably unelectable nationally. There are really competent but unknown Democrats and well known and monumentally incompetent Republicans who want the job. It's not a calming future, and I predict the Obama presidency will be recalled with affection and regard by all of us when he leaves.