By Arthur Freyre
Welcome to the December edition of Odds and Ends from South Florida. This week’s column is a hodgepodge of different issues that have been in the news for the last couple of weeks.
The first item is the GOP civil war that has been brewing for the past year. The Ryan-Murray budget deal has allowed for the spotlight to return to the GOP infighting. Yes, conservatives are not happy with the deal. The establishment is not happy with the conservatives. And the tea party activists are threatening primary opponents. It is this kind of situation that you would wish the RNC chairman would pull all sides together and host a “revival” meeting.
The first thing that needs to be said to all parties involved is to grow up. Seriously. Grow up. To the conservatives ask them where they could have gotten a better deal and name them which Democrat congressman or senator would they be able to flip. If they can’t name not one Democrat, then ask what are our options-“Shut down the government?” Remind them that so long as the House has “purse strings” they will always lose in a shutdown battle.
As for the establishment, they need to be reminded that they (i.e. moderates and independents) alone cannot win elections. They need conservatives, whether they like it or not. If they fail to recognize that lesson, then they lose their seats at their peril. As for the tea party, encourage primary opponents. Republicans are the party of the entrepreneurs and competition should be encouraged. But if you lose the primary election or the general election, you have yourselves to blame. For every Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, or Ted Cruz, there is a Trey Radel. Finally, remind all sides no leaks to the press or your favorite conservative talk radio hosts. Keep things in house, remember to focus on the disaster that is known as Obamacare, and work on offering an alternative to it.
Speaking of the President, this past week, the President shook hands with Cuban dictator, Raul Castro, at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. When the handshake was shown in the news, Miami was abuzz. My initial thought was that the “handshake was just a handshake” as the State Department explained. But my opinion changed when I read a tweet from Cuban dissident and democracy activist, Rosa Maria Paya. She tweeted the following regarding the handshake:
“Hoy @BarackObama saluda al actual dictador, probable asesino d mi padre y Harold, así respeta el representante d #EEUU al pueblo #cubano” (Translation, Today @Barack Obama greeted the actual dictator and probable assassin of my father and Harold, this is how the representative of the #United States treats the #Cuban people).
Maybe a handshake is not just a handshake at all. It is ironic that while Raul Castro was in Mandela’s funeral, Cuban dissidents were being arrested for the simple crime of discussing and demanding the essential rights of liberty.
Finally, Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95. The reflections of Mandela’s life have been interesting, especially among conservatives. My thoughts on Mandela or any other public figure is to learn from their lives. Learn from the good, the bad, and the ugly. Praise the good and condemn the evil.
Until the next time. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.