Former President Bill Clinton campaigned today for Democrat Patrick Murphy and mocked Republican Congressman Allen West in the northern fringes of South Florida. But what Clinton said there might not play so well farther south, in Miami-Dade.
At the center of Clinton's shtick: West's comment that there are 81 communist Democrats in the U.S. House. Clinton milked some laughs from the crowd.
"I didn't know there were 81 communists outside of Cuba anywhere in this part of the world," he said, according to a web video making the Republican rounds. "I'm not sure there are 81 communists left in Cuba."
It's also the political season. Jokes have a tendency to outrage half of the voting population.
But those fleeing Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and those who have fled Cuba probably won't laugh at this regardless of the time of year. Their experience shows that communism's alive in this hemisphere. The discussion is also alive and well in the presidential race, where Mitt Romney attacked Obama in a Spanish-language ad invoking Chavez, Fidel Castro's niece and an EPA Che Guevara snafu (oh, the phrases we write). The Obama campaign responded with a Spanish-language retort ad from former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, who accused Romney of "exploiting the suffering of our people."
Huh. I thought communism was dead. So what would people be suffering about?