Bass: On second thought, maybe Castro wasn't so wonderful

Bass: On second thought, maybe Castro wasn't so wonderful

As some of our other writers here have already noted, there’s been quite a bit of chatter among politicos this week suggesting that California Congresswoman Karen Bass (D) may be rising near the top of the stack in the Joe Biden veepstakes. That choice would have struck me as slightly odd even without her documented record of being a cheerleader for Fidel Castro’s Cuban regime when she was younger. But with that added wrinkle in the story, Bass seemed like even less of an optimal pick. Now it looks like somebody must have slipped her a note about how her chances at the number two slot were about to go up in flames because yesterday she began changing her tune. You see, she’s been “listening” to various voices around her and has discovered much more about Castro’s legendary brutality. (Free Beacon)

California representative and potential vice presidential pick Karen Bass (D.) said Sunday that she “absolutely” should not have made a statement mourning the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in 2016 because she knows “an awful lot more now” about Castro’s brutality.

“I absolutely would have not put that statement out and I will tell you that after talking to my colleagues who represent the state of Florida, raised those concerns with me, lesson learned, would not do that again for sure,” Bass said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

Bass said that she knows “an awful lot more now” about Castro’s abuses against the Cuban people since her initial visits to the country in the 1970s and that her perspective has “developed over time.”

Ah. So her views have “evolved over time.” But they didn’t evolve all that quickly. As Ed Morrissey pointed out in the article I linked above, Bass didn’t go to Cuba just once to build houses and listen to Castro speak, learning what a monster he was in the process. She went back seven more times. And her policy positions as a Democrat in California haven’t exactly veered too far away from socialist principles. Here’s Bass explaining to Chuck Todd how much things have changed, despite all indications.

I remain surprised that Bass showed up on the veep shortlist to begin with except for the obvious reason. In case you need that spelled out for you, she’s a Black female (or “individual with a cervix” as CNN would put it) and has been a vocal proponent of police reform amid the ongoing protests and riots.

Bass definitely isn’t a backbencher in the traditional sense of the word, particularly as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus with nearly ten years in office. But at the same time, she still hasn’t risen to the senior ranks of Democratic leadership or been discussed very much for national office. Listening to a couple of her speeches and press appearances she certainly seems comfortable enough on the stump to be an effective candidate, but that’s a pretty low bar for a shot at the Vice Presidency.

Aside from ticking off the aforementioned race and gender boxes, she doesn’t appear to do much for Biden in the national race. He’s already locked up California and having her on the ticket probably wouldn’t run up his lead in the popular vote by much in that state. But her previous support of Castro could actually wind up costing Biden votes in Florida where he definitely can’t afford to be squandering any. She has zero executive branch experience, unlike Kamala Harris who at least served as an Attorney General.

One apology tour on the Sunday shows never shuts up the media entirely when they’ve gotten their teeth into a story like this. If Biden picks her, you’ll be hearing Castro’s name at the VP debate and pretty much every stop she makes on the campaign trail between now and November. Honestly, if Biden actually winds up picking Bass, pundits are going to be wondering if Uncle Joe is even more addled than some might already suspect.

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David Strom 5:21 PM on March 31, 2023