Rahm Emanuel's Cuban vacation

Take a minute to picture Mayor Emanuel there, in guayabera shirt, board shorts, and Ray-Bans, cell phone balanced precariously on the arm of his beach chair, as he sips absentmindedly from a caipirinha, takes the occasional puff of a Partagas cigar Serie D, watches his children and their friends play in the surf, and listens to his golf buddies discuss the cover essays on growing economic inequality in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. Imagine them later in the day, during a “cultural visit” to the rooftop terrace of La Guarida that lasts hours and includes slices of lemon pie and several bottles of wine, as the party gazes at the Havana skyline and wistfully contemplates how this “authentic” city will be transformed, for the worse, when the Yanqui corporations arrive in force. An old waiter paid by the Cuban government entertains them with stories of the revolution. Emanuel nods his head solemnly.

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A liberal who jumps at the chance to vacation in a slave state—and thinks it’s somehow adventurous or even brave to take your children to a place romanticized by left-wing utopians since it went Communist in 1959—is not only morally blinkered. He’s banal. He’s the sort of liberal for whom there is no difference between self-interest and the public interest—a trait Emanuel picked up from the Clintons. He rationalizes leaving the White House for an investment bank, using political connections to amass “$18 million in just two-and-a-half years,” making six-figure fees from a board seat at Freddie Mac, and savaging anyone who dares question the priorities and self-righteousness and sanctimony of multimillionaires who “just want to make the world a better place.” He joins the chorus in favor of criminal justice reform despite slow walking and obstructing an investigation into a police shooting for personal gain.

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