I Was Wrong: Paul Ryan Has Been 'Brave'—About Cuba

By James Fallows

I mentioned yesterday the D.C. media's gullibility toward claims about the "brave" and "serious" nature of Paul Ryan's budgetary plans. For an incredible recent illustration, see this from Slate.

But via Vinod Sreeharsha, in turn quoting Kenneth Roth, here is an exception illustrating actual legislative bravery: Over the past decade, Ryan has voted repeatedly in the House to overturn the most plainly idiotic* part of current U.S. foreign policy, the maintenance of an embargo on Cuba.

Cites to Ryan's anti-embargo votes are here, in a Scribd document (scroll down to the part headed "Cuba"). Yes, I realize that this is a less risky stance for someone from Wisconsin than for a politician based closer to the state of Florida. Still, it would presumably have been easier to vote the other way -- since so many non-Florida legislators, despite knowing that the policy is nuts, continue to do so. Congratulations to Rep. Ryan -- seriously. I am looking forward to hearing more about this on the campaign trail.
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 *Brief explanation for branding this as idiocy: For nearly four decades, starting with a policy shift by Richard Nixon, we've concluded that it makes sense to "engage" the Communist government of a country with four times as many people as we have, on the other side of the world. Simultaneously we maintain that engagement is unacceptable and would have no positive effect on a country with one-thirtieth our population and perhaps one percent our GDP, which is full of people with family and cultural ties to the United States and is less than 100 miles off our shores. This makes sense to some members of the expat community in Florida and the legislators who depend on their support, but it shouldn't to anyone else.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/i-was-wrong-paul-ryan-has-been-brave-about-cuba/261035/