Americans Don't Really Hate Cuba Like They Used To

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 10 2013 3:39 PM

Americans Don't Really Hate Cuba Like They Used To

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OMG! He's kind of bowing down, too!

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Our current outrage—it may change in the next hour—is that President Obama shook the hand of known commie and Cuban President Raúl Castro. When asked about this, Arizona Sen. John McCain sardonically noted that Neville Chamberlain had shook the hand of Adolf Hitler. This became an outrage all its own. The White House, which knows from Internet Outrage, made it clear to reporters in South Africa that the handshake was unplanned.

But, well, who cares? The idea that a president who has been re-elected already (with the votes of South Florida!) would suffer from a Raúl Castro handshake is sort of outdated. Every year, Gallup asks Americans what they think of various countries, and Cuba's steadily been inching up from the bottom. Last year:

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 3.20.14 PM

It probably doesn't hurt that the bland Raúl has replaced Fidel Castro as head of state. Nor does it hurt that Cuba hasn't posed any kind of threat to the United States since Barack Obama was a tot. Two countries currently run by governments we installed are far less popular than Cuba; Saudi Arabia, which is basically an ally, is only just as popular as our communist neighbor to the south.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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