Scratch the surface of any conservative populist and you will find Huey Long, a folksy racist, a flag-waving racist, even an opportunistic (that is, insincere) racist, but a racist withal. The idol of Babalú, whose every pronouncement is trumpetted there, the organic heir and continuator, in their feeble minds, of Ronald Reagan, the actor turned senator turned lobbyist turned presidential candidate Fred Thompson, in a speech delivered on Wednesday, June 27 to the good old boys in the secession state of South Carolina, declared that he opposes the entry into the United of Cuban "immigrants" because "I don't imagine they're coming here to bring greetings from Castro. We're living in the era of the suitcase bomb." I didn't know the balseros brought luggage with them, much less incendiary devices. It must be a real challenge to keep the powder dry when the whole ocean is beating against your raft and the sharks are creating a whirlwind around you.
The cigar-chomping rube by choice, whom all of crackerdom cheered wildly for equating Cuban refugees (not "immigrants") with terrorists, has a different playbook when dealing with Cuban-Americans, his party's kingmakers in the 2000 elections. His remarks to them are tailored for "American-Cuban" dupes like Henry Gómez, who has announced on repeated occasions on Babalú and over blog radio his support for Thompson while lamenting that he could not support the even bigger career racist Newt Gingrich because of his "baggage" (I wonder if it contains dynamite too?). Of course, Henry is not quite as bad as Babalú's racist-in-residence George Moneo whose fair-haired boy is Tom Tancredo. All this convinces me that Babalú's infirmity is endemic and probably beyond human agency. It has become a covert of racists and propagator of racism in the form of "Know-Nothing" nativism and xenophobia. They don't seem to realize or care that their anti-immigration propaganda, aimed principally at Mexican-Americans, will eventually rebound on us, because Anglos, especially those who live outside Miami -- which is to say, 99 percent of them -- don't make fine distinctions between us and them. In fact, all things considered, that is probably for the best, because they are sure to hate us more for precisely the reasons that Val & Company think make us better.
Thompson has made no attempt to retract, correct or modify his remarks vis-a-vis Cuban "immigrants." On the contrary he has reiterated them in a post on his new website where he seems to imply that Cuban-Americans also regard the balseros as bomb-throwing terrorists sent here by Fidel Castro to wreak chaos on America:
"Our national security is too important an issue to let folks twist words around for a one-day headline. Cuban-Americans are among the staunchest opponents of illegal immigration, and especially so when it’s sponsored by the Castro regime. We know we have a porous southern border in which they can currently slip through easily. Our enemies know it too."
So we are "among the staunchest opponents of illegal immigration." Now, we are many things, but I didn't know we were that, too. Obviously, Thompson is pointing out to the racists that Cuban-Americans are racists too so that they'll at least have something to "admire" about us. But not only that, we are, according to Thompson, especially opposed to the "illegal immigration" of our fellow Cuban refugees (or "immigrants," as he would have it). He seems to believe that the balseros are "sponsored by the Castro regime." Sure, they are as much "sponsored by Castro" as they are "sponsored" by President Bush or the U.S. Coast Guard. Finally, Castro's fugitives from injustice are now our "enemies" too.
Has it really come to this? At long last has it really come to this? One Republican candidate (Mitt Romney) shouts "Venceremos, Patria or Muerte" at us and another calls us "suitcase bombers?" What can possibly top this? Well, at least we can be sure something will because the "lazy season" in presidential politics appears to be open season on Cuban-Americans.