December 17, 2008

GOP to focus on Young Communist

According to The Hill, Senate Republicans are seeking to revive the spectre of Elián Gonzalez, the Cuban boy whose mother died in a boat bringing him to Florida in 1999.

The GOPers say they want to investigate the role played in the fiasco by Eric Holder, Barack Obama's nominee for Attorney General, who was a deputy AG in the Clinton administration under Janet Reno.

At the time, Elián's relatives living in the U.S. effectively took custody of the boy, a custody that ultimately stood in violation of a federal court order. Especially one of his cousins, Marisleysis Gonzalez, who, as a Wikipedia editor understatedly puts it, "quickly became a well-known television figure."

While for most people the question was a no brainer, conservative politicians and pundits, selectively abandoning their principled dedication to "family values," were determined not to reunite Elián with his own father. Against both of their wishes, apparently.

(To be fair, even then-presidential candidate Al Gore panderingly joined himself with the GOP cacophony, as I recall.)

Presumably the particular episode Senate Republicans are most interested in is the affair's dramatic dénouement, which involved the heavily armed requisitioning of the child from Marisleysis' bedroom closet by federal agents (photoshopped above).

Perhaps it's payback time for former AG John Ashcroft. Ashcroft, nominated by President Bush in 2000 after losing his Senate reelection bid to a deceased person, endured a somewhat embarrassing set of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as Democratic Senators reiterated in public each and every instance of bizarre Ashcroftian behavior unearthed by internets sleuths.

The committee Republicans should take their cue from Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. In an impressive speech at the committee hearings, Feingold, who opposed Ashcroft's appointment on several other principles, nevertheless determined that the Constitution affords wide discretion to the president in selecting his cabinet.

In fact Senator Feingold was the only Democrat on the Judiciary Committee who broke ranks and voted with the Republicans, and he took a lot of heat for it at the time. But he didn't much support John Ashcroft's initiatives thereafter, again on constitutional grounds.

And those are the dispositive criteria, not some self-serving rehashing of an ancient political/media circus.


Anonymous said...

I was in Miami for 6 months shortly after this fiasco. I met at a party a cousin of one of the fisherman who found him, and she was very fanatical on this issue and got the crazy eyes. After 20 minutes I finally extracted myself and moved on to someone else.

Anonymous said...

Everybody's Got a Cousin in Miami. H/T Jimmy Buffett

Anonymous said...

LOL @ remembering Peggy Noonan, slamming Bill Clinton for not apparently not believing that angel-dolphins literally saved Elian. Ronald Reagan would have believed!

Mr. Reagan would not have dismissed the story of the dolphins as Christian kitsch, but seen it as possible evidence of the reasonable assumption that God's creatures had been commanded to protect one of God's children.

(His mother, however, didn't really make it onto God's radar.)

It's charming and leaves one a little wistful, to recall how utterly content-free the manufactured crises were, before eight years of neo-con corruption gutted the nation's economy, reputation, freedoms, and morale. There's something of a wishful fantasy in this attempt to launch Elian 2: Still Stupid After All These Years -- as if America can go straight back to the safety and comfort of shrieking rightwingnut hysteria, securely cradled within a strong economy.