One of the things I like about Dennis Rehberg is that you know where he stands on the issues. It’s usually somewhere on the fence, straddling both sides, to see which way the wind blows the cash. Rehberg’s latest change of heart has to do with the embargo on Cuba.
Representative Rehberg said this in 2003, after visiting Cuba twice:
"If we are going to help the Cuban people break free of the shackles of communism, then we must permit a flow of people, commerce and ideas," Rehberg said in October 2003.
For almost a year after that, Rehberg continued to vote as he had previously – to loosen the embargo. On July 7, 2004, Rehberg voted for an amendment that would have softened new restrictions on the shipment of gift parcels to Cuba. He also voted with embargo opponents on Sept. 21, 2004, for an amendment that would have made it easier for Cuban-Americans to visit family in the country.
Then in September of 2004, the issue became very cloudy for him:
He also voted with embargo opponents on Sept. 21, 2004, for an amendment that would have made it easier for Cuban-Americans to visit family in the country.
But the next day, his vote abruptly shifted.
On Sept. 22, 2004, Rehberg voted the opposite way and opposed the amendment that would have lifted economic embargoes on Cuba.
That’s right. His mind changed in one day, and shortly after, the cash began to role in from pro-embargo groups. The most amazing part of the story is that Rehberg tried to claim that visiting Cuba is what changed his mind, even though his votes didn’t change for over a year after his last visit.
It’s not like this is some principled stand against authoritarian governments. As we all know, Rehberg has no problem with trade to Kazahkstan, one of the most repressive regimes in Asia. He has no problem with trade to China, a one-party state that violent represses dissidents and is occupying China. So what principle motivated this change of heart?
It seems like principles aren’t the issue at all with Rehberg, who in the past few years has done more flips than a Chinese diver and more flops than the Italian soccer team.
Dennis Rehberg on the issues? Certainly ask him where he stands. Just make sure to check back tomorrow.