OK, this is a bit complicated and very Florida. Bear with me.
1. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL21), who won a comfortable victory against a very flawed challenger in 2008, is retiring from Congress. Word has it that he's keeping his powder dry for a restoration of the ancestral kleptocracy in Cuba.
2. His brother, Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL25), who didn't win a huge victory despite a flawed campaign by a good challenger in 2008, is going to change districts and run from FL-21 instead of FL-25, because FL-25 is trending Democrat faster than FL-21, which remains a quality gerrymander.
3. Speculation is that Joe Garcia, currently heading the Office of Minority Economic Impact for the Department of Energy, may run again in FL-25. If so, I hope he runs a more grass-rootsy and less expensive-consultant-driven campaign. We don't need and can't afford Joe Trippi for this one. We do need a very experienced and organized campaign manger.
(More coverage in the Herald, Lincoln Diaz-Balart's exit from Congress sets off political scramble)
Does living within a politically (and legally?) bankrupt city ever bother you? DC and other big cities have had their share of problems too, but Miami is uniquely corrupt and dysfunctional.
How automatic is it that Jose Diaz-Balart (R?) could leave Telemundo and beat Garcia, inheriting FL-25? Limiting Congress to a single Diaz-Balart brother seems an appropriate political goal for South Florida.
I shudder to think of what will happen when Cuba opens up, ripe for the re-taking.
I suspect that a lot of the rich, and often respected, local Cubanos will be down there in a flash cutting the place up like mideaval Europe, or colonial Africa, creating little kingdoms for themselves (all couched behind the pretext of democracy and helping the Cuban people, of course).
Havana will be a new, illegal and immoral by U.S. standards, Vegas-issimo within a decade, and the country-side will be a series of company towns providing tributes to whichever ruler or front corporation happens to be in charge of that fiefdom. The local Cubans with the potential resources have been positioning themselves for this eventuality for years. The corruption found in Miami politics really has two types: Corruption because of the aforementioned positioning taking place, and corruption that is derivative of that positioning (local politics lacking a serious intent by many local “leaders” thus leaving a vacuum for genuinely corrupt non-Cuban locals to thrive in).
You really have to think of Miami politics not as a local Government, but as a third-world system in exile. The truely good local pols haven’t got a chance to take over because their numbers are too small, the richest of the exiled Cuban dictators run the place for themselves, and the two-bit wannabe dictators screw everybody else for the crumbs left by the largely inattentive Cuban vultures busily circling over Castro’s grave. Miami will never settle down until the political wing of the Cuban exile community is able to go back home and reap their distruction elsewhere.
Draft Joe Garcia to run for Congress: http://miami-dade-dems.blogspot.com/2010/02/fl-25-draft-joe-garcia-sign-up-here.html
I am thrilled to hear that Lincoln is stepping down. I have had the uniquely distasteful experience to spend some time with the outgoing congressman at an intimate fundraiser (only about 15 of us in attendance), and the garbage that spewed from his mouth was impressive.
Joe is a good guy. Let’s hope he runs.
Vic: That was funny…not because it is true, but because you’re a nut. When the Castro regime eventually goes by the wayside, more Cubans will come to the US than will go there. Cubans on the island are more politically organized than you might expect and will not allow Miami Cubans to take over. Miami Cubans, for all their money, have been off-island for 50 years. They have no “on the ground” knowledge of the country. Some will try to take over, but most will fail.
The fate of Cuba has more to do with how the Castro regime ends than what Miami-Cubans have planned for the country. The re-birth of Vegas style Havana is unlikely. That sort of thing requires security and stability. It will take a long time before you have either of those in a post-Castro(s) Cuba. I anticipate the Castro regime ending in a power vacum that is followed by decades of political infighting and coupes (if not periods of outright warfare) among generals, radicals, and populists.
As for your comments on Miami local politics, give me a break. Compare Miami to most any other city of its size and you will see that our problems are fairly typical.
Well I think that Miami – even So. FL in general – has a lot more problems with a basis in the third world than any other major city with large international influences (which is maybe four or five, depending who you count – and I’d venture all run a distant second to Miami). Excepting maybe the Mexican-Americans in the border end of some Mexican border states, I doubt ANY major American cities have such an international political class. With all of the diversity of a place like NYC, it is not the immigrants that are running the place (like Miami). When you consider the starting places of So. FL’s immigrant population, and what a lot of those places are like, it doesn’t exactly give you a warm fuzzy about the skills of the politicians from there.
One of the lessons we learned from the breakup of Eastern Europe was that while a lot of people will leave crap-land when they can, most people will stay (and won’t even CONSIDER leaving). Another lesson we learned from that is that many who stay, long for the security that State Control over so much of their lives gave them. Hard as it is for anyone to believe, I remember a number of newly emancipated Soviet citz saying that what they needed now was another Stalin to put things back in order. Keep in mind these were older Soviets who lived THROUGH Stalin’s murderous reign! Look at Putin’s popularity right now.
Eastern Europe suggests that when the time comes, and the Communist Cuban Government evaporates, the Cuban people will largely stay in Cuba, and they will be ripe for the picking for whomever can wield the firmest power in their name. Even the richest Cubans in that country now have NOTHING in comparison to some of the dynasties in exile right now. Money will be at least as important as military might, and in a small, isolatable, place like Cuba, the amount of money that can be brought to bear by the exiles can far outpurchase, and thus outgun, anything on the island. Add a corrupt Cuban general or two, willing to sidle up to a rich American, and it’s an easy takeover.
Hey, I hope I’m wrong. I have no crystal ball.
I’m so glad we can all get caught up in the minutiae of elections and all. This country is great at ignoring matters that are more important. Like, ohh, I don’t know, civil rights: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2010/02/09/judge-in-prop-8-case-is-probably-gay-so-what/
Gotta keep those gay judges quiet and subservient…
yeah, because federal electoral politics has never had an effect on this country’s civil rights policies….
Is there a problem with the blogg I keep seeing the feb 12 post……(it´s march 3rd today)….