I never thought I would live to see the day when a man like Juan
Miguel Gonzales would come to our country and not be free to speak his
mind. I never imagined a time when a man like Greg Craig, the former
impeachment lawyer for the president, would go to Cuba and make a deal
with Fidel Castro to guarantee that if he took Juan Miguel back to the
United States, this man would not be able to defect, but would be
returned. Apparently that is the case. This man has not been free to
meet with his Miami relatives alone in a truly neutral location or with
any members of Congress who do not share the same goals as Clinton and
Last Tuesday, at six in the afternoon, Tony Ruddy, Deputy Chief of
Staff to Republican Whip Tom Delay, was dispatched to the house where
Juan Miguel, his wife and baby son are staying to deliver a letter
inviting them to a private meeting with Speaker of the House Dennis
Hastert, Majority Leader Dick Armey, Mr. Delay and Republican Conference
Chairman J.C. Watts. Ruddy didn't get any further than the door. A
guard told him that Juan Miguel was sleeping. There has been no
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If this father truly were free, why would he waste an opportunity to
meet with anyone with any power or influence in order to pursue his
goals, whatever they may be? It is not as if he has a full schedule
while he is cooling his heels in Washington, D.C. These GOP leaders are
not holding their breaths. Anyone with half a brain can recognize that
this man is as much a prisoner here as he was in Cuba.
It is entirely possible that little Elian's father does not know that
as a Cuban all he has to do is say that he wants to remain here with his
family and there is nothing Mr. Craig, or even Mr. Clinton, can do about
it. If he and his present wife just say those words, they will be
protected as any other U.S. citizen. With a few exceptions, the media
is not pointing this out?
There are two men who could have forced this out in the open and
raised the debate over little Elian to a new level. One is Vice
President Al Gore; the other is the presumed Republican presidential
nominee, George W. Bush. In Al Gore's case we can chalk it up to
political posturing, but what about George Bush? Why has he not taken
the opportunity he has now to seize the day, not only for himself, but
for little 6-year-old Elian? What is holding him back?
If you look at what's happening with his campaign, it appears that he
has reverted to his pre-McCain mode. Don't say anything controversial.
In fact, it appears that Mr. Bush thinks it better not to say too much
about anything at this juncture.
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To be sure, Bush is out raising money like there is no tomorrow.
John McCain made that a necessity. However, apart from his carefully
scripted fundraising and policy speeches, the Texas governor is laying
Right after Bush secured the nomination Gore challenged him to a
twice-weekly debate on the issues. What did Bush do? He ducked!
Last week, Bush went to St. Louis to deliver a major speech on health
care. Before he was finished, Gore began blasting the governor for his
record on health issues in Texas. It was to be expected that when Bush
stepped down from that podium, reporters would be there to ask him about
the issues Gore had raised, and they were out in force. It was another
magic moment in the campaign, but Bush remained embarrassingly silent.
It makes him look as if he is incapable of discussing this issue or any
Is Bush being cagey, overly cautious, or is he simply afraid to take
Gore on? Most people just aren't sure. Unfortunately, this
unwillingness to mix it up makes him look as if he is the "not yet ready
for primetime" candidate. If ever he is going to shake the image of the
Chauncy Gardner character Peter Sellers created in the movie "Being
There" or the "Stepford" candidate the time is now!