The exact reasoning for Lincoln Diaz-Balart's retirement from congress still seems a bit of a mystery. At 55 years-old he could have sat in the seat, political dynamics willing, for at least two more decades if he wanted. If he was considering retiring, why didn't he go out with a bang and pursue Charlie Crist's offer to serve out the remainder of Mel Martinez's senate term? Is he really such a great big brother he was willing to let his little bro Mario have his safer seat?
Of course, Lincoln's defining issue throughout his career has been a dead-fast opposition to Fidel Castro and the pursuit of democracy in Cuba. He says that he'll return to private law practice, while still dedicating himself to that issue by organizing a non-profit.
But veteran political reporter Hank Tester has an interesting column up on NBCMiami therorizing that Diaz-Balart may be angling to become the "man to see about Cuba" aka the leader and figure head of Miami's exile community.
Whatever his future may be, Lincoln Diaz-Balart will likely be sucked into the power void that exists in the exile community. That provides the Cuban-born veteran politician a guaranteed place at the table of public opinion as Cuban U.S. Policy is shaped during the waning days of the Castro Regime.
Free of the yoke of fundraising and running for office every two years, Diaz-Balart no longer has to please a constituency, many of whom remain hardliners on issues such as the embargo, American travel to Cuba, and the evolving relations and trade issues with the island nation.
Interesting, considering that some detractors have claimed that Diaz-Balart's real political dream is to be the first post-Castro, democratically elected president of Cuba.
From Naked Politics last year:
The Florida Democratic Party has questioned whether Lincoln would quit early to run for president of Cuba, should the Castro brothers exit the scene. Speculation has long followed Diaz-Balart that the job he really wants is the presidency of Cuba.
We're not sure that's a "dis" any of his closest supporters would really take issue with either.
So let's just pretend Diaz-Balart really is obsessed with becoming President of Cuba. In that light the move makes perfect sense.
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Fidel has been close to kicking the bucket for years, and at 78, it's not exactly like Raul is long for this world.
President Obama seems intent on making changes to America's policy towards the island.
The next few years are likely to see a major shake-up in regards to Cuba, and it makes sense Diaz-Balart would want to be free of the other issues and campaigning that comes with Congress to take a center stage on the issue.
Whether any of this leads to a free Cuba --and less likely a free Cuba led by Diaz-Balart -- remains to be seen, but if that's really Diaz-Balart's dream we wouldn't be surprised if he starts taking chances to make it a reality in his post-congressional career.