Joe Henderson, Author at Florida Politics

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including the last nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. I covered a large variety of things, primarily in sports but also including hard news. The two intertwined in the decade-long search to bring Major League Baseball to the area. I also was the City Hall reporter for two years and covered all sides of the sales tax issue that ultimately led to the construction of Raymond James Stadium. I served as a full-time sports columnist for about 10 years before moving to the metro news columnist for the last 4 ½ years. I have numerous local, state and national writing awards. I have been married to my wife, Elaine, for nearly 35 years and have two grown sons – Ben and Patrick.

Joe Henderson: We’re heading for a defining showdown in the battle against hatred

Sometimes you just have to get away, and for the last month or so I tried to do just that. I really did. I went to the U.S. Virgin Islands to watch my oldest son get married, and I highly recommend the island of St. John to anyone considering a Caribbean trip.

It’s the place to go if you want to unplug for a while.

To be honest, though, the events of last weekend prove that suspicion, hatred and mistrust doesn’t take a vacation.

Neither does racism, so here we are — still fighting the Civil War, with some Republicans still making excuses for Donald Trump, and with Democrats still unable to turn all of this into a coherent vision of how things would better if they were in charge.

This time it was Charlottesville’s turn to be in the bullseye of the insanity that seems to be boiling toward an eruption that can only deepen the divide that exists in this country. The same level of hatred and violence that was on display there could easily have happened in any major Florida city though.

For instance, the debate is still raging in Tampa over what to do about the Confederate war statue that is being moved from its current location in front of the county courthouse. As Mitch Perry reported for SaintPetersBlog, a new survey by St. Pete Polls showed a majority of Hillsborough County residents support the county commissioners who voted to keep the monument on public property.

Yes, that will be an issue when Ken Hagan, Victor Crist and Sandra Murman run for new commission seats in 2018.

There’s a guy out by the junction of Interstates 4 and 75 in Tampa who for years has flown a humongous Confederate flag, visible to thousands of motorists driving past it every day. I wonder how many people quietly give that display a thumbs-up when while motoring down the road. I’m thinking that number would be a lot higher than many of us want to believe.

It has been encouraging to see many prominent members of President Trump’s party condemn is tepid response to the hate on national display in Charlottesville. On Twitter, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said it was important for the president to describe the events there for what they are — a terror attack by white supremacists.

Gov. Rick Scott noted, “We must be very clear — FL stands against all forms of racism & bigotry. The hatred displayed in VA is despicable & has no place in America.” And House Speaker Richard Corcoran wrote, “We must fight against evil whatever form it takes….”

Good words, all.

It’s going to take more than a few well-expressed tweets to really change attitudes though. Bigotry is a learned behavior, reinforced by decades of ignorance and suspicion, and now it has a toehold with a president who seems oblivious to the damage he is causing. Alt-right supporters have already vowed that Charlottesville was just the first act in the chaos they have planned.

This is heading for a showdown, folks, in the streets and at the ballot box. The outcome will define who we are as a people.

Joe Henderson: There is more to being patriotic than wrapping yourself in the flag

Kellyanne Conway, as she has a way of doing, said something Friday on “Good Morning America” that was over-the-top baloney to, well, everyone – including supporters of President Donald Trump.

If they don’t realize that, they should.

Asked about the escalating war between the president and the media, Conway defended her boss by saying, and I quote, “It doesn’t help the American people to have a president covered in this light. I’m sorry. It’s neither productive nor patriotic. The toxicity is over the top.”

Well, you know what they say – when in doubt, question the patriotism of the opposition. Conservatives have been doing it for years, labeling liberals as subversive cretins out to destroy America.

For the most part, liberals let that happen, and so gradually the American flag became a weapon to be unfurled by conservatives – as Conway just did – whenever things get rough and logic won’t win the day.

Over the years, the attacks have gotten more personal – like the outrageous video the NRA just released with conservative radio host Dana Loesch that sounded an awful lot like a declaration of war against the faceless “them.”

“They use their media to assassinate real news,” Loesch begins. “They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again.”

It gets worse.

“The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country, and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth,” she said. “I’m the National Rifle Association of America and I’m freedom’s safest place.”

Notice the wording: save “our” country.

Not “their” country.

“Our” country.

Last time I checked, we’re all in this together. I was born in Dayton, Ohio nearly 66 years ago and that makes me as American as apple pie. Just so my NRA friends understand, I’m not declaring war on anyone who thinks differently, acts differently, looks different, or worships differently.

If someone wants to wave the Second Amendment, fine. But then don’t tell me the First Amendment is “unpatriotic.”

You want to wrap yourself in the flag? Go ahead.

But the holiday we’ll celebrate the Fourth of July got its start because a group of Patriots decided to be decidedly unpatriotic and questioned authority.

While we’re on the subject, just because someone uses the name “patriot” doesn’t make them righteous. The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified 623 “Patriot organizations” in 2016 that it says really are “extreme anti-government groups” in the United States, including 28 in Florida.

A lot of them have names like America, Freedom, Liberty and, of course, Patriots.

So, Kellyanne Conway, it absolutely is “patriotic” for the media to aggressively challenge the most powerful man in the world. That check and balance – or, as you might call it, that freedom – is what really makes America great.

You can wrap yourself in the flag and paint your face red, white and blue. You can change your telephone ringtone to the national anthem. You can trim your bushes in the likeness of Mount Rushmore and ride around with a big American flag flapping proudly from the back of your Ford F-150.

None of that will matter two hoots, though, unless you understand this essential truth: America belongs to all of us and we don’t have to think alike.

Joe Henderson: Hillsborough Confederate monument controversy isn’t going away

The four Hillsborough County commissioners who voted to keep a Confederate monument on public grounds may have thought/hoped the issue was behind them.

If so, they are mistaken.

That much was clear from Tuesday’s rally in downtown Tampa by a coalition of leaders, clergy and people who are just plain fed up with the divide the monument has created in the community.

That divide can only be closed when the monument is more to a more appropriate location.

Commissioner Pat Kemp, who voted to remove the monument featuring two Confederate soldiers, has said the issue almost certainly will be raised to the county’s governing body again — and it should be.

That will put even more pressure on commissioners Sandra Murman, Victor Crist, Ken Hagan and Stacy White — who were depicted in a protest sign as the “Confederate 4” because of their votes to keep the monument where it is in the name of history.

This is a good time for everyone to take a deep breath and remember that while Tampa has made great strides in race relations, that often has come with great struggle.

Interestingly, protesters have never called for destroying the monument. They have asked that it be moved to a more fitting spot, like a museum or cemetery. They say having it on the county courthouse grounds — where people go for impartial justice — is a stinging reminder of the struggle blacks in Tampa have faced.

Many still remember the violent 1967 riots that were triggered when a black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer.

Henry Bohler, who died at age 82 in 2007, fought in World War II as a member of the famous Tuskegee Airmen. But he also endured harassment after he filed a federal lawsuit in 1962 to open the city’s parks and recreation centers to blacks.

Police stopped Bohler five times one morning on his way to the courthouse. Clarence Fort remembers the community vitriol that came after he joined with other blacks demanding to be served at the segregated F.W. Woolworth lunch counter in downtown Tampa.

There are many, many other examples.

So, you want to argue the monument today represents history?

Segregated lunch counters were part of history. Denying blacks the right to use public parks was a part of history. Police harassment was a part of history. All of that used to be “just the way things are” until Tampa moved on, but always with a struggle.

That’s really the message from this latest protest.

The vote to keep the monument in place was basically the commissioners telling blacks to get over it. The backlash, including a stinging rebuke of the vote by Mayor Bob Buckhorn, was the community telling commissioners they made a mistake and they better fix it.

Joe Henderson: Lawmakers may write health care bill, but the people always have final say

If you have many hours to spend on a project where the only sure thing is that you will have a headache at the end, the full text of the U.S. Senate Republican health care proposal is available online.

I tried reading it all.

I really did.

I made it about 20 pages before I realized it was a fool’s errand. Read this one snippet, copied and pasted from the actual draft of the bill, and you will understand why:

1 ‘‘(B) APPLICABLE MEDIAN COST BENCH-
2 MARK PLAN.—The applicable median cost
3 benchmark plan with respect to any applicable
4 taxpayer is the qualified health plan offered in
5 the individual market in the rating area in
6 which the taxpayer resides which—
7 ‘‘(i) provides a level of coverage that
8 is designed to provide benefits that are ac-
9 tuarially equivalent to 58 percent of the
10 full actuarial value of the benefits (as de-
11 termined under rules similar to the rules of
12 paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1302(d)
13 of the Patient Protection and Affordable
14 Care Act) provided under the plan ….

AAAAHHHRRGH!

Let’s simplify this, shall we?

When people get sick, particularly those with life-threatening illnesses, they don’t care about the “applicable median cost benchmark plan” or any of the subsections, clauses, median premiums, and other jargon that goes into making a law.

They want to know they can go to a doctor they trust and they want a chance to get well. They want prescriptions to be affordable. They want premiums to be reasonable.

When their child, spouse or elderly parent is seriously ill, people don’t care about free-market solutions or whether Planned Parenthood continues to be funded.

The problem with the current debate in Washington is that for all its blah-blah about providing the best health care for patients, it still looks like Republicans are trying to ram something through that will tell 22 million people the “full actuarial value of the benefits (as determined under rules similar to the rules of 12 paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1302(d)” don’t apply to them.

It still seems to be about ideology, not people.

When you peel back the layers of the bill — as people with longer attention spans than I have done — you find that at the bottom of it is all is the GOP ideal of tax breaks for the wealthiest folks, many of whom happen to be major donors to Republican political candidates.

We have a pretty good idea how Florida’s U.S. senators will vote. Democrat Bill Nelson will vote no. Republican Marco Rubio is (as usual) trying to have it both ways by saying he hasn’t decided, but he’ll be the good lap dog he always is and fall in line with a yes vote.

Before a final version reaches the Senate floor, you’ll probably see lots of quid-pro-pork change hands — vote yes and suddenly a senator’s home state gets paid off with new bridge projects and the like. Winners will call it a landmark great day. Losers will say it’s the darkest day in U.S. history.

All that will really matter though is whether Republicans remembered the fundamental rule: When people get sick, does this give them access to a doctor they trust and a real chance to get well?

Lawmakers may write the bill, but the people will always have the final say.

Joe Henderson: In losing his seat, David Jolly found his voice. Republicans better listen.

Losing an election can be liberating. At least it seems to be that way for David Jolly.

The former Republican congressman from St. Petersburg always had an independent streak, but he has gone full-blown solo since losing his seat last November to Charlie Crist in CD 13. He takes every opportunity on Twitter to bash President Donald Trump, including a jab about the suspension of live on-camera press briefings in a recent missive.

But that was small potatoes compared to what the jab he took on Lawrence O’Donnell’s program on MSNBC. He committed Republican heresy by actually praising the Affordable Care Act (see Care, Obama).

Jolly said that after losing the election, he was unemployed with a pre-existing condition. Having the Obamacare safety net was a great relief.

So, here’s what I’m guessing: While Jolly told O’Donnell he is considering a rematch against Crist in 2018, he likely is finished in big-time politics — at least as a Republican.

The national organization already considered him a rouge thorn for his disinterest in raising money; coming out in favor of Obamacare is the GOP equivalent of having serpents spew from his mouth.

Jolly is a pretty smart guy and I’m sure he has a good feel for how he stands in the eyes of party leaders. They likely would greet his potential candidacy with the same enthusiasm one has for an IRS audit. CD 13 is a primarily Democratic district anyway, so even if Jolly got the Republican nomination, party bosses would be unwilling to channel money his way.

Republicans could have a tough time holding onto their House majority and probably would be willing to invest in races with a greater likelihood of success.

Here’s the thing, though. While Jolly is playing with a nothing-to-lose swagger that infuriates GOP leaders, they really ought to pay attention to what he is saying.

They have already gotten an earful from constituents about health care, and the seeming rush by the Senate to approve a bill that could leave 22 million Americans without insurance reinforces the GOP’s image as a party that doesn’t give a hoot about the needs of ordinary people.

When a person like Jolly says that he faced potential calamity after losing his government health care, the message to everyone is that clear: The big shots take care of themselves and their buddies, and screw over everyone else.

In losing his seat, Jolly seems to have found his voice, and he isn’t afraid to use it. His Republican friends better listen.

Joe Henderson: Jack Latvala sounds like a candidate for Governor, even though he hasn’t announced

State Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater keeps saying he’ll decide in a few weeks whether he is running for the Republican nomination for Governor, but he sounds like a candidate right now.

He is making himself available for interviews (always a good sign) and speaking engagements around the state. More importantly, he actually is saying things that are newsworthy and sound suspiciously like common sense.

Take this quote, for example, given over the weekend to WFOR-CBS 4’s Jim DeFede on “Facing South Florida.”

When asked if he would make a better governor than current GOP front-runner Adam Putnam, Latvala responded: “Oh, absolutely.”

Then he dropped this into the conversation.

“I’m an old-fashioned Republican from the standpoint that I think government ought to stay out of our lives – and that includes our personal lives,” he said. “Some people think that makes me a moderate. Let them think what they want.”

Well, well!

Let’s pick at that nugget a bit, shall we?

In addition to being the Senate budget chairman, Latvala sponsored a bill during the Legislative Session that would have banned housing discrimination for “sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The bill died in committee, but give Latvala credit for trying.

Under the mask of conservative values, some Republicans love nothing better than to tell people different from them how to live their lives. Latvala’s quote could be part of his game plan to stand in contrast to other GOP candidates.

For instance, Putnam, the state Agriculture Commissioner and presumed Republican front-runner, was criticized by LGBT groups when his statement on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre had no reference to fact that many of the 49 people killed and 58 wounded that night were gay.

Why is that a big deal? Gays were clearly the target of the attack by killer Omar Mateen.

That promoted Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, to say of Putnam, “We hope he does that, and we hope any candidate running for office that invokes the name of Pulse has the courage to name the victims and make clear their stance, not in platitudes, but in real promises.”

The field of candidates in both parties will be crowded, which puts fund-raising and name recognition at a premium. If Latvala makes the leap, he will have a lot of catching up to do.

Putnam has raised more than $12 million, including $1 million in May. If House Speaker Richard Corcoran jumps in, he could have the backing of the Koch Brothers and all the clout that brings.

Latvala has positioned himself as a problem-solver, interested in the environment, with extensive business experience. He has tried to label Putnam as a career politician.

But the biggest thing he might going is trying to steer Republicans back to their roots — less regulation, more freedom everywhere, for everybody. It’s a bold gambit for a party that has moved steadily toward regulating any lifestyle but the one it favors. Whether that works in a potential campaign remains to be seen, but it sure is refreshing to hear.

Joe Henderson: Richard Corcoran did more than change Florida education, whipped teachers union too

Alex Sink made a point to Mitch Perry on FloridaPolitics.com that Democrats may finally have a cause to rally around in this state.

She referred to HB 7069 (or, as I like to call it, “The Let’s Bust The Teachers’ Union Act”) pushed through by House Speaker Richard Corcoran and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. It is the biggest push yet by the Legislature to expand private charter schools with money from the public education budget.

“Do we care about public education in this state or not?” she told Perry. “Ninety percent of our kids go to public school, so 90 percent of our money plus should be supporting public schools.”

I won’t say Corcoran doesn’t care about public education. I won’t even say charter schools don’t have some benefit.

But I will say that if you peel back the layers of how we got here, the Republican victory dance is as much about the whipping they inflicted on the state’s largest teachers union, the Florida Education Association, as it was the expansion of charters.

This was Corcoran showing the union who is boss.

That was spelled out plainly last November when he began pushing his charter plan. When the union opposed it, Corcoran declared war.

As the Miami Herald reported, he called the union “downright evil” and accused it of trying to “destroy the lives of 100,000 children, mostly minority, and all of them poor.”

He called union leaders “disgusting” and “repugnant.” He called them “crazy people” who fight tooth and nail to protect the status quo at the expense of innovation.

FEA President Joanne McCall responded with a statement that read in part, “Legislation like this makes it clear that the real goal of some of our political leaders is not to provide a high-quality education to our children, it’s to dismantle public schools and profit off our students.”

HB 7069 is now law because Corcoran played his hand better than his opponents. Just because he won doesn’t make him right, though.

Unions like the FEA exist because teachers can’t trust Tallahassee to play fair. Lawmakers have used teachers as a political prop for decades, but it took on new life when Jeb Bush as governor pushed through “reforms” that have helped create the mess we have today.

That’s not saying local school districts don’t need reshaping because, folks, their house isn’t in order either. The large ones have layers of bureaucrats who are well paid for doing, well, I’m not exactly sure what. They also can be extremely condescending toward anyone who has new ideas. That’s a column for another day.

But the ones who seem forgotten in all this are those teachers on the front lines. It is their unfortunate fate to carry out the often-conflicting requirements put in place by lawmakers who don’t understand what teachers actually do.

Worse, they don’t respect teachers.

That brings us back to Alex Sink and what she said about this issue might finally rile Democrats enough to show up for the governor’s race next year. I guess we’ll find out.

But Republicans just fundamentally changed public education in Florida,  and it will be hard to undo. Clobbering the union in the process just made it sweeter for them.

Joe Henderson: Unity? It’s hard to find in aftermath of Washington shootings

I woke this morning to a strange and troubling email. It was unsigned, and from an address I don’t recognize, but the message came through clearly.

Under the heading of “James T. Hodgkinson” — the shooter Wednesday in Washington — it read, in all caps: “I THINK JAMES IS A HERO. THE REPUBLICANS HATE POOR PEOPLE.”

Yikes.

Despite an eloquent speech by House Speaker Paul Ryan and calls for calm and unity, there is a lot of blame going around following the attack by Hodgkinson that left five people wounded, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and two Capitol Police officers.

First though, let’s be clear: Hodgkinson is not a hero. He was a twisted, deranged, would-be murderer. Anyone who suggests otherwise is wrong.

But we could have done without the incendiary garbage from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said on Fox News that the shooting was “part of a pattern. You’ve had an increasing intensity of hostility on the left.”

Breitbart.com shoveled more coal on the fire. Columnist James Delingpole, in a piece that appeared under the headline “Alexandria shootings show the left’s toxic hatred has gone too far …” took the opportunity to turn a tragedy into a full-throated rejection of anyone with a differing viewpoint.

“I don’t expect the liberal-left to change anytime soon. They’re angry, they’re frustrated and — thanks to the malign influence of everything from left-wing college professors to the poisonous liberal media — they’re on a downward spiral of cry-bully destruction which I believe can only get worse,” he wrote.

There is much, much more if you care to scroll through the internet. Just type a few search words into Google, but you may need a shower later. Much of it was pure crap, and it came from both sides.

In blaming the left, many conservatives conveniently forget that the images of a hanged Barack Obama and the racial slurs directed toward him speak to a culture where anything was fair game.

Liberals say that justifies images like Kathy Griffin holding up an image of President Trump’s severed head.

They are wrong.

People on the right, though, also forget about Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” map from 2011 that targeted Democratic members of Congress. One of them was Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. She nearly died after an assassination attempt.

Palin said it was just a way to whip up support for the upcoming election, that it was never, ever intended to spark actual violence. Griffin said her photo was just pushing the envelope of political commentary.

Both sides say they’re right in whatever they do or say because the other side is evil.

When historians judge this era, they might conclude it was the biggest down-the-middle split in America since the Civil War. It is a period of fear, hatred, distrust, dishonesty, and the unbending belief that anyone who thinks differently is the enemy. The only victory that seems to satisfy is one that leaves the opposition in shambles.

James T. Hodgkinson is just the latest symptom of the polarizing disease that is poisoning this nation and putting all our futures at risk.

He is not a hero. The Capitol Police officers who put themselves at risk during the rampage to save lives are heroes. People willing to reach out to the other side are heroes and work for the common good. We need all of them we can get.

Joe Henderson: Only way to stop Alex Jones is to let him keep talking

Assuming NBC goes ahead Sunday night with the interview Megyn Kelly taped with the idiot Alex Jones, I will watch.

I also know a lot of people have vowed not to give the cretin Jones a minute of their time, and thus will be doing something else while that segment airs. I understand that. Condemnation has been swift and strong on Twitter, advertisers are pulling out, and NBC execs are pondering what to do. I suppose they could cancel the segment, in which case Kelly — the network’s highest-profile hire in recent years — would be rendered useless going forward.

That’s a corporate decision.

But consider this: Canceling the segment now would only feed into the paranoid legions who believe Jones’ evil theories that, among other things, the Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax and 9/11 actually was manufactured by the U.S. government.

No matter how hard Kelly might push him in the interview — and it’s important to remember we haven’t seen it — nothing will change the deluded minds who buy into Jones’ garbage. Declining to air it, after all, this will only elevate his status with those inclined to believe in the Big Media Conspiracy out to Silence The People.

Opponents say Jones doesn’t deserve a forum to spew his nutso theories.

Um, he has already it. His YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers. His radio nonsense is spewed over more than 60 channels. He got a big boost last year when then-candidate Donald Trump gave Jones pseudo-credibility by appearing on his radio show. As president, Trump is OK with granting media credentials to Jones’ fake news site, Infowars.

Killing the interview likely would actually increase Jones’ radio audience. But if Kelly handled this moment properly, it could have a positive impact. Some of those who voted for Trump last year out of an honest desire to shake things up in Washington might reconsider if they can see the type of person their vote endorsed. Take this, for instance. Just a couple of days ago, Jones said Trump should consider using the military against political opponents here.

Kelly tried to address the backlash with a statement that addressed some of the more detestable assertions Jones has made.

“I find Alex Jones’s suggestion that Sandy Hook was ‘a hoax’ as personally revolting as every other rational person does,” she said.

“It left me, and many other Americans, asking the very question that prompted this interview: How does Jones, who traffics in these outrageous conspiracy theories, have the respect of the president of the United States and a growing audience of millions?”

That’s really the point.

Much of what we see today in the conservative movement has its roots in talk radio, and Jones is the latest — and by far the most heinous — incarnation of that phenomenon.

So, stick him on national TV and let millions of people see him for what he is — a disease that is poisoning our nation’s dialogue. Hopefully, it might make some people actually think. The only way to stop him is to let him keep talking.

Joe Henderson: When U.S. plays the bully, other nations just take their money elsewhere

Cuba enjoyed a record year for tourism in 2016 when more than 4 million people found their way to that island nation.

That was a 13 percent increase from the year before, much of it attributable to relaxed travel rules between Cuba and the United States. That might change if President Trump, as expected, rolls back many of the liberalized policy changes from then-President Barack Obama toward Cuba.

If that happens, consider it a nod from Trump to Marco Rubio, Florida’s junior U.S. senator. Rubio is a hard-liner against normalizing relations with Cuba as long as the Castro family is in charge.

Funny thing about all that though. Even as the Trump administration continues to put the bully back in the international pulpit it now occupies, it seems our neighbors are figuring out just fine how to get along without the United States.

Remember Trump’s promise to “Build That Wall” to separate the U.S. from Mexico? Every action has an equal opposite reaction.

In March, Forbes reported that U.S. tourism could take a $1.6 billion hit this year because Mexicans have apparently decided to spend their money in Canada instead of here. There was an 82 percent jump in the number of Mexican tourists heading to the Great White North after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced visa-free travel for citizens of that country.

The number of Mexicans booking vacations to the U.S. dropped 9 percent during the same period.

Canada is taking advantage of the anti-Trump sentiment by tweaking the U.S. in another way. NPR reported about new Canadian policies that make it easier to lure international workers with highly valued tech skills.

Workers with those skills have traditionally taken jobs in places like Silicon Valley and Seattle but now are skittish about the U.S. immigration policies. One company even reported a 30 percent jump in applications from tech workers now in the United States.

Crain’s, a business website focused on New York, reported a significant drop in tourists and groups from European countries. It said the international youth group World Merit, based in England, had booked nearly 1,000 beds over 10 days starting in late August as part of an event connected to the United Nations.

That event now will take place in the United Kingdom.

Against that backdrop, Trump may be preparing to return the U.S. policy toward Cuba to the Cold War days. That will give people like Marco Rubio the chance to sound self-righteous and touch at a photo op.

When that’s done, Cuba — like every other nation — will just find a way to fill the void the U.S. leaves behind.

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