Do Democrats care about human rights anymore?

Rick Moran
Thus asks Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby who reminds us that Democrats like John F. Kennedy once stood up for the oppressed in the world:

To Democrats of a certain age, such a question might seem incomprehensible. After all, it was a Democrat, John F. Kennedy, whose inaugural address proclaimed "to friend and foe alike" that Americans would resist "the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed." It was another Democrat, Jimmy Carter, who made support for human rights an explicit foreign-policy concern, declaring at his inauguration: "Because we are free we can never be indifferent to the fate of freedom elsewhere." It was Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Representative Charles Vanik -- Democrats both -- whose landmark Jackson-Vanik amendment helped win freedom for tens of thousands of Soviet dissidents and refuseniks.

But somewhere along the way, Democratic priorities seem to have changed.

Jacoby points to recent events like the Congressional Black Caucus trip to Cuba (where several members openly praised the Castros) as well as Hillary Clinton's recent pronouncement that we won't talk to China about human rights because "we already know what they are going to say" as evidence that the Democratic party has abandoned one of their core beliefs - the notion that people should be free.

Jacoby also mentions the Jackson-Vanik amendment - a landmark piece of legislation that refused Most Favored Nation status to the Soviets and others who restricted the free movement of people for religious reasons. The amendment helped put pressure on the Soviet Union to free the "refuseniks" and allow for increased Jewish emigration from Russia. Republicans mostly scoffed at the thought that the Soviets could be moved by such measures but events proved them wrong. And now the Democrats have simply abandoned the idea of pressing dictators like Raul Castro or tyrants like Chavez to improve human rights. As for the Chinese, we tiptoe around their continued assault on freedom of speech and assembly.

Republicans aren't much better when it comes to China  but at least make an effort to highlight the human rights abuses of  other dictators like Chavez and al-Bashir of the Sudan who continues the slaughter in Darfur.

Read the whole thing.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

Thus asks Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby who reminds us that Democrats like John F. Kennedy once stood up for the oppressed in the world:

To Democrats of a certain age, such a question might seem incomprehensible. After all, it was a Democrat, John F. Kennedy, whose inaugural address proclaimed "to friend and foe alike" that Americans would resist "the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed." It was another Democrat, Jimmy Carter, who made support for human rights an explicit foreign-policy concern, declaring at his inauguration: "Because we are free we can never be indifferent to the fate of freedom elsewhere." It was Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Representative Charles Vanik -- Democrats both -- whose landmark Jackson-Vanik amendment helped win freedom for tens of thousands of Soviet dissidents and refuseniks.

But somewhere along the way, Democratic priorities seem to have changed.

Jacoby points to recent events like the Congressional Black Caucus trip to Cuba (where several members openly praised the Castros) as well as Hillary Clinton's recent pronouncement that we won't talk to China about human rights because "we already know what they are going to say" as evidence that the Democratic party has abandoned one of their core beliefs - the notion that people should be free.

Jacoby also mentions the Jackson-Vanik amendment - a landmark piece of legislation that refused Most Favored Nation status to the Soviets and others who restricted the free movement of people for religious reasons. The amendment helped put pressure on the Soviet Union to free the "refuseniks" and allow for increased Jewish emigration from Russia. Republicans mostly scoffed at the thought that the Soviets could be moved by such measures but events proved them wrong. And now the Democrats have simply abandoned the idea of pressing dictators like Raul Castro or tyrants like Chavez to improve human rights. As for the Chinese, we tiptoe around their continued assault on freedom of speech and assembly.

Republicans aren't much better when it comes to China  but at least make an effort to highlight the human rights abuses of  other dictators like Chavez and al-Bashir of the Sudan who continues the slaughter in Darfur.

Read the whole thing.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky