Val Prieto offers one advantage that Polly the Parrot doesn't. You can feed him lines without having to feed him crackers. That's what Daniel W. Fisk, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, did during his "nearly two-hour meeting" with Val Prieto. Things must have been pretty slow at the White House during Christmas for Mr. Fisk to be able to entertain, or, rather, be entertained by Val for two hours. Although, of course, Mr. Fisk was never very busy since his work chiefly consisted of looking the other way as Communism established beachhead after beachhead in South America and overseeing a smooth transition in the Castro dynasty.
It was Mr. Fisk who casually confided to Val that "many people in his administration refer to President Bush as the first Cuban-American President." Of course it clicked with Val. It was what he always thought but never could quite articulate. Now he could articulate it, and doubtless the first one he articulated it too was Bush himself during their meeeting at Blogger's Summit. Here I thought he had simply rushed him while crying "My Hero!" Bush was probably quite emotional when he heard from Val's lips that he was "the first Cuban-American president." Also, I am sure that Val's were the first lips to utter it since the "genial idea" had first insinuated itself into Mr. Fisk's carefree mind.
George W. Bush was the first Cuban-American president in the same sense as Bill Clinton was the first African-American president, which is to say — not. No greater insult was ever preferred to black Americans by one of their own, or so readily embraced and popularized by the media. Everyone was too polite to spell out what was meant by that comparison yet no one failed to grasp it. It was no coincidence that it was made at the height of the fallout over Bill's sexual indiscretions at the White House. The subtext was that Clinton viewed sex as an animal instinct, primal and irrepressible, and could exert absolutely no self-control when in a state of arousal, which was most of the time.
It was that animal instinct, supposedly, which he had in common with men of color. The worst sexual stereotype ever attributed to African-American men was used to justify satyric behavior that was never the exclusive domain of any race. Clinton himself never repudiated the comparison for fear of offending those who should have been offended by it but who would have been even more offended if he had disclaimed the supposed compliment which others (and perhaps even Clinton himself) saw in this equation.
Like no other president before him, Clinton knew how to use and abuse the confidence of African-Americans. He was solicitous of blacks because he needed their support to fulfill his personal ambitions but had no qualms about betraying them in order to advance his own interests.
Bill Clinton was personally responsible for plunging more blacks into poverty than any other president before him when he cut off the rations at the government plantation into which the Democrats had corralled many of them in the previous 60 years, not because he believed that welfare reform would work but despite the fact that he did not. He was more than willing to increase their misery (and did) in order to purchase 4 more years in the White House from those who regarded Welfare as the "Black Problem" and Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" as the Final Solution to it, or as final as they could make it in a post-Civil-Rights-Bill world. Of course, it was never welfare for the poor that was the problem, but welfare for corporations. That is now abundantly clear since President Bush requested and Congress voted more money for bankrupt U.S. corporations than has ever been doled out to poor Americans in the entire history of this country.
George Bush, for the reasons stated in a previous post, betrayed the trust of Cuban-Americans more completely than did any other U.S. president with the inevitable exception of John F. Kennedy. But JFK never owed Cuban-Americans what George W. Bush did. That is, Cubans didn't make JFK president. George Bush has acknowledged on several occasions that Cuban-Americans were his kingmakers, and though that is open to question, it has become one of those standard political verities that no one challenges. Besides, it is enough that Bush believes it. No benefits, however, accrued to the Cuban people from that obligation, nor, with the exception of a few political sinecures and several million dollars for a permanent panel on democratic transition in Cuba which Bush did everything in his power to thwart because, apparently, only the continued rule of the Castros would guarantee "stability" on the island, Cuban-Americans as a group did not benefit either from Bush's patronage.
That Bush suckered Cuban-Americans as Clinton did African-Americans; that he promised them more than he could deliver and ultimately delivered nothing; and that, in the end, he got away with it — there can be no question. Moreover, it is unlikely that Cuban-Americans will ever see through Bush as blacks eventually saw through Clinton when he challenged Obama for their votes. Conning Val Prieto was not difficult: "[s]ay what you will about the man [i.e. that Bush was a lousy president], ... his convictions vis-a-vis Cuba have always been crystal clear." A lot clearer, apparently, than his actions.
What is a conviction which is not acted upon?
A broken promise.