The announcement that President Obama's administration will roll back restrictions on money transfer and travel to Cuba was met with mixed reactions locally, and its full political impact in Miami-Dade might not be known for some time. But Congressmen Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart have made no secret of their thoughts on the matter, issuing a joint statement that the move was a "serious mistake." They continue to loudly reiterate that point any chance they get. Their political future is now intertwined with the outcomes of Obama's move.
If the relaxed restrictions prove to be popular and in fact move Cuba closer to freedom, the Diaz-Balart brothers will face an uphill battle for re-election. But if the whole thing turns out to be an unmitigated disaster, well, they're a shoo-in. Here's hoping, though, that out of political desperation, neither congressman goes the extra mile to make sure this turns out to be a failure, or at the least tries to paint it that way regardless of the reality.
This is assuming the Democrats will offer strong challengers in 2010. After two historically solid showings in the past two
elections, the Democrats might be in a position where they feel the need
to protect their gains rather than expand them. While there might be a
strong local push to oust the two brothers, the national party might not be so
gung-ho -- especially with Debbie Wasserman Schultz as vice chair of the
DNC. Remember, she refused to campaign against the Diaz-Balarts in 2008 because
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of their friendship. That's not to say she wouldn't work to defeat
them in 2010 if she had to, but it's unlikely she'd make the task number one on her to-do list.
year, we're pretty sure we know what the main issue will be in these