Friday, May 22, 2009

Second Time as Farce

It should be noted that the recent "terrorists in your neighborhood" shtick is a reprise of one of the GOP's greatest hits—the thrashing of then-President Jimmy Carter and then-Governor Bill Clinton for their handling of the Mariel Boat lift. In 1980, Fidel Castro decided to play hardball with the US and opened one of his country's ports to the public. Over one hundred thousand Cubans packed onto boats and headed for Miami. Needless to say, this overwhelmed the Coast Guard and INS, leading Carter scrambling for space to put the Marelitos. In the end, they ended up housed in various military installations, including Fort Chafee, Arkansas, where riots struck fear into the local population. Clinton partially blames his defeat for reelection on the riots, though lots of other things went wrong during his first term as well.

The distinctions between the Mariel episode and the prisoners at Guantanamo ought to be obvious. It's fairly clear that the Camp Delta prisoners will end up in either ADX Florence, or one of the various prisons which has a Supermax wing. There are only a few hundred prisoners, not tens of thousands of refugees. The odds that any of them will ever be released within the United States is effectively zero. Et cetera. But Republicans seem to be think that the situations are close enough that ther jawboning will work. They must be looking at the comeback of the '70s throwback uniforms and the Guitar Hero-rooted renaissance for AOR and prog. Somehow I doubt this particular '70s show will work.
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