"I told Dubya, give Gitmo back to the Cubans! But did he listen? I think he was drunk and fighting with a pretzel when I spoke to him."
President Obama vowed during his campaign to shut the infamous detention center at the place the U.S. Marines call "Gitmo. He was on his way to fulfilling that promise until this month, when timorous House and Senate Democrats balked.
What frightened them enough to abandon the president of their own party, you ask? Was it the break-up of a dangerous terrorist sleeper cell? A jailbreak at Gitmo? Another terrorist attack on U.S. shores?
Nope: The catalyst for the Dems' strategic retreat was a fear-mongering Republican-sponsored ad, a publicity stunt of a House bill called the Keep Terrorists out of America Act, and a handful of floor speeches from Senate Republicans.
"The American people want to keep the terrorists at Guantanamo out of their neighborhoods and off of the battlefield," intoned Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell in arguing to keep Gitmo running. "It's the perfect place for them. I don't think there's a community in America that's going to be interested in taking them."
When the GOP produced a scary video ad to the same effect--I saw one on YouTube, but not on the actual BoobTube--congressional Democrats quickly began distancing themselves from the leader of their own party.
Why they did this isn't quite clear. We just had an election last November, and the Democrats won everything.
They have a mandate, and this is supposed to be the season for governing, not politicking.