From last night’s “All-Stars.”
On the Congressional Black Caucus delegation to Cuba:
This delegation, some of whom came back and talked about freedom of speech in Cuba, are in a long line going back 90 years of political pilgrims who have gone over to communist countries and returned with statements like “I have gone over into the future, and it works.”
Lenin called them “useful idiots,” and they remain useful idiots.
The policy issue, I think, is an interesting one. In the cold war, Cuba was a threat. It was an outpost of the Soviet Empire, and it was important.
With the Soviet Empire disappeared, it’s an anachronism. It’s a relic. It’s not important.
So I think our policy ought to be driven not by national security, because it’s not really at stake with Cuba anymore, but by humanitarianism. What policy would be the most likely to relieve these Cubans of the oppression that they have lived under for 50 years?
You can argue that it’s retaining the embargo as the Castros age and die, because it’s an opportune time to squeeze the regime, or you can argue openness, as happened with Helsinki.
I’m an agnostic on this. I think whatever works, I would do. It’s not an issue of national security, really, anymore.
On the possible repeal of the conscience clause:
Look, let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine that you had a pill that would reverse homosexuality. Imagine it existed, it were approved, and you had a pharmacist who said “I will not prescribe it because it implies it’s a disease and I don’t want to be a part of that.”
What would you say to him? I would support him. I think people on the left would.
But if you have a pharmacist who says I won’t do that with a morning after pill or a contraceptive, there is less sympathy on the left.
What I think you’ve got here is a matter not of principle but of policy. I don’t understand why you cannot have a set of regulations in which where on the one hand you protect the provider who has a conscientious objection against the procedure and say he or she doesn’t have to participate or give information, and have other regulations which were to ensure that if that were to happen, a patient would have access to a provider who feels differently and would provide regulation.
Our problem here is that the abortion issue is a poisonous issue, as we see in our Supreme Court nominations, and whatever it touches, it makes into a partisan issue that it is impossible to find a compromise.
There is a reasonable compromise here, and I hope it’s found. I’m not sure the Obama administration is going to find it or support that reasonable compromise.