Thursday, May 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Rubio plays politics, doesn't lead

Sen. Marco Rubio has it backward. As he toured Florida this week, the Republican ripped the Affordable Care Act in public and defended immigration reform in private to his upset supporters. It would have been more useful to publicly embrace immigration reform and privately explain to conservatives why it would be foolish to force a government shutdown over the health care law. But Rubio is all about what's best for Rubio, not what's best for Florida.

The August congressional recess is time for advocates of immigration reform to build public support and pressure House Republicans to take up the Senate bill this fall. Rubio should be joining the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, manufacturers and technology company executives as they push for action. He was a key member of the bipartisan group that wrote the Senate bill and got it passed with 68 votes, and the son of Cuban immigrants has a compelling story.

Rubio could have visited Tampa Bay and talked with high-tech officials, explaining how his legislation would help them recruit skilled foreign workers. He could have stood in Plant City's fields and talked about how his bill would help bring in legal workers to pick the crops. He could have walked the University of South Florida campus and the streets of West Tampa, talking about the American dream and how his legislation includes both stronger borders and a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. He could have met publicly with Republican Reps. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor, C.W. Bill Young of Indian Shores and Dennis Ross of Lakeland — all skeptics of comprehensive reform — to seek their support.

But Rubio can't take the heat, and we're not talking about Florida weather. Instead of publicly promoting his signature legislative accomplishment, the Republican privately talked with conservative activists in Gainesville and elsewhere who are angry with him about immigration. He is more intent on shoring up his political future than in securing immigration reform.

Of course, Rubio has been running back to the far right since immigration passed. He talks of cosponsoring legislation that would outlaw abortion after 20 weeks. He signed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court to protect prayer before government meetings. He tried to blow up Republican Sen. John McCain's bipartisan agreement to confirm several key appointees to the Obama administration. Now Rubio threatens to help shut down the federal government next month unless money for health care reform is cut from an essential short-term spending bill. Even mainstream conservatives and opponents of the health care law consider that irresponsible.

Rubio argued this week that it would be President Barack Obama's fault if government shuts down over the fight over health care reform. Perhaps the junior senator is too young to remember what happened to congressional Republicans who shut down the government in a budget fight with President Bill Clinton.

Instead of demonizing health care reform, Rubio should be trying to improve it. Instead of starving it to death, he should be helping his constituents understand how it works. Instead of fanning partisan battles, he should be building consensus for a federal law that is not going away and that will help millions of Floridians.

Does Rubio represent all of Florida in the U.S. Senate, or only the tea party followers who helped him get there?

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Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18