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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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Older posts [back to 2002]

Previous Articles by Derek Newton: Ten Things Fox on Line 1 Stem Cells are Intelligent Design Katrina Spin No Can't Win Perhaps the Most Important Race Senate Outlook The Nelson Thing Deep, Dark Secret Smart Boy Bringing Guns to a Knife Fight Playing to our Strength  

The Blog for Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Scott Rejects Senate Medicaid Compromise

    "Senate leaders floated a revised plan Tuesday in an effort to break the logjam over extending health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Floridians, but the proposal was swiftly rejected by House leaders and Gov. Rick Scott." "Senate Leaders Propose Compromise in Budget Impasse, Gov. Scott and House Reject It." More: "Florida Senate’s budget compromise gets thumbs down from Gov. Rick Scott."

    "Gardiner is calling the plan FHIX 2.0, a plan that would allow recipients to stay on the federal health care plan rather than opting into the state plan. . . . Gov. Rick Scott criticized the plan for costing Floridians in the long run." "Gardiner Proposes Medicaid Compromise; Rick Scott Isn't Thrilled."

    "Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, proposed significant changes Tuesday to legislation expanding Medicaid eligibility in the state, with an eye toward a compromise with the House to help solve the budget impasse between the two chambers." "Senate leader floats 'compromise' to Medicaid expansion plan." See also "Florida Senate offers health care coverage compromise."

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "House can act responsibly and end health care impasse."

    "Rubio calls same-sex marriage a 'danger' to Christianity"

    Grubbing for wingnuts, "Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the push for nationwide same-sex marriage represents a threat to Christianity." "Marco Rubio calls same-sex marriage push a 'danger' to Christianity."

    Runnin' Gubmint like a bidness

    "For the second time in two months, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration has acknowledged it inadvertently released confidential personal data of private citizens, prompting the state to offer free credit monitoring services to protect people from being victims of identity theft." "Florida releases personal data on 13,000 people, issues ‘fraud’ alert."

    Hillsborough may ease MJ law

    "Hillsborough County is moving tentatively toward making possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil instead of criminal offense for minors." "Hillsborough may ease marijuana law for juveniles."

    Jeb needs to upgrade his basic campaign speech

    Michael Putney: "Jeb Bush’s basic campaign speech is not bad, but it needs to get better." "Jeb’s stump speech could use fine-tuning on the campaign trail."

    Right-wing Super PAC attacks Murphy

    The "ultra-right-wing Super PAC" attacks Murphy, and thinks Grayson would be a great candidate. "Patrick Murphy Pushes Back After Club for Growth Goes on the Attack."

    "Republican kingmaker" goes down

    "Valrico businessman and Republican kingmaker Sam Rashid has never been known to pull his punches. But the outspoken Rashid managed to go a rant too far in a Facebook posting last week, referring to three unnamed Hillsborough County Circuit Judges as 'dumbasses'." "Facebook rant costs Hillsborough Republican a prominent appointment."

    Allison Nielsen cautions "Think Before You Tweet: A Lesson for Florida Politicians."

    "Watchdog larded with industry executives"

    The Miami Herald editors: "Florida’s watchdog over for-profit colleges larded with industry executives" "State comes to students’ rescue? Hardly.."

The Blog for Monday, May 25, 2015

Jeb's "sanctimonious insipidities and saccharine, self-congratulatory platitudes"

    "Would you want to send your son or daughter off to study at a university founded and long administered by someone who had opposed Martin Luther King, the desegregation of public schools, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion; had wanted the United States to expand, not end, the war in Vietnam; had supported apartheid, fought legislation forbidding discrimination against gays, spouted anti-Semitic rhetoric, and had voiced the opinion that the Anti-Christ walks among us as a Jewish male; had thought Chief Justice John Roberts not conservative enough, and, to top it off, showed de facto sympathy for al-Qaida by blaming Americans – especially gay and feminist Americans – for 9/11?"
    What if this person had not even graduated from an accredited college himself? And what if he saw to it that at this university, a fairy-tale junk version of humankind’s origins were favored in biology class over the one key fact – evolution through natural selection — on which all modern biology stands?

    If you’re a decent person, the answer would be no, of course.

    Such a one, for those who haven’t guessed, was Jerry Falwell, the Southern Baptist pastor and Moral Majority leader who constituted as malign an influence on America politics as ever existed, and whose considerable bulk crashed to the floor of his office one fine day back in 2007, never to rise again. (Moral Majority’s aim: “Get them saved, baptized and registered” to vote.) The university in question is, of course, Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia. The “moderate,” not-so-flagrantly pious Republican candidate-in-waiting Jeb Bush recently and publicly resurrected Falwell’s ghost, praising his “legacy” and gushing over being able to visit his offspring, who now run the institution.

    A Roman Catholic himself, and so craving bona fides with Evangelical voters, Bush wallowed in this unction as he began the 2015 commencement address he delivered at Liberty on May 9. Though much of what he said amounted to the sanctimonious insipidities and saccharine, self-congratulatory platitudes Evangelicals habitually shower on one another, some of his words deserve scrutiny, for if Hillary falters, he may well end up in the White House come January 2017.

    "Jeb Bush cozies up to haters: Jerry Falwell, Liberty University and the real story of religious right evil."

    Rubio's immigration problem

    "Can Marco Rubio Make Peace With Conservatives on Immigration?"

    "Free speech rule under fire"

    "Gov. Rick Scott’s office considered pulling the 'Freedom of Speech' provision from rules that govern the use of state buildings, according to a draft document considered by administration attorneys." "Free speech rule under fire after ‘satanic Temple’ in Capitol."


    "A study released last week, authored by a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, Bruce Bartlett, concludes that Fox News has done great, perhaps irreparable harm to the Republican Party and to conservatives. By consuming only information that is presented by Fox, says Bartlett, legions of angry conservatives have been, in his assessment, 'self-brainwashed.'"

    “Many conservatives,” Bartlett writes, “now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.” The result of this 24/7 drumbeat of outright lies and distortions, says Bartlett, is that Fox viewers are now among the least well-informed Americans when it comes to the important issues that face us all.

    Of course, most of us don’t need a major academic study to know that diversity of opinion is vital to a functioning democracy. Not only is it important that we encourage articulate spokespeople who share our own beliefs, it is also essential—critical, actually—that we listen to the views of those who disagree with us.

    As Bartlett’s study illustrates, shutting oneself off from information that may challenge our own biases and beliefs is bad enough. What’s far worse is when someone takes it upon himself to decide what news, information and commentary citizens may be offered.

    "The Fundamentalists Next Door."

    Bad time to build a "new mansion"

    "Jeb Bush having new mansion built for him on family compound in Maine: report."

The Blog for Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rick Scott's "perpetual campaign"

    "Florida’s governor is still collecting donations from special interests with a stake in legislation, even though he’s term-limited from running for governor again." "The perpetual campaign of Gov. Rick Scott."

    Desperate for a story

    Desperate for a story, the New York Times gives us this claptrap: "They use words like 'historic' and 'charismatic,' phrases like 'great potential' and 'million-dollar smile.' They notice audience members moved to tears by an American-dream-come-true success story. When they look at the cold, hard political math, they get uneasy." "A Hillary Clinton Match-Up With Marco Rubio Is a Scary Thought for Democrats."

    And then there's this: "GOP has tough road appealing to Florida Jewish voters."

    "Tale of Two Justices"

    Scott Maxwell: "In March, Attorney General Pam Bondi announced she had nailed someone for Medicaid fraud."

    The culprit was a 49-year-old home-health worker from dirt-poor Gadsden County, accused of bilking the state out of $13,000.

    For her crime, Melissa Letica Simmons was ordered to spend six months behind bars — and repay all the money she stole from taxpayers.

    Six months. For $13,000.

    "A few years earlier, the state accused three hospitals of bilking the Medicaid system as well … only this time, it involved millions."
    Yet no one was criminally prosecuted. Or even ordered to repay all the money. Instead the hospitals settled — without admitting wrongdoing — and repay taxpayers pennies on the dollars. . . .

    This, my friends, is the Tale of Two Justices. The small-time thieves get prison sentences. The big-time thieves get deals.

    "Health-care fraud: Little guys get jail; big guys get deals."

    Weekly Roundup

    "Weekly Roundup: Feds Give the Word on LIP."

    Propping up the FlaGOP's Tally flop

    The Tampa Trib does its best to prop up the FlaGOPs nevervending Tallahassee flop. They write, "Here is what you usually read about the Florida Legislature’s dispute over Medicaid:"

    The House leadership refuses to expand Medicaid as called for under the Affordable Care Act while Senate leaders want to comply with Obamacare.

    That interpretation does not do justice to the Senate’s position, which by no means is meekly going along with Washington’s dictates.

    The Senate is trying to protect Florida taxpayers while also addressing the needs of the working poor. It offers a plan that is more fiscally responsible — and conservative — than doing nothing.

    "A conservative plan to help the uninsured."

    Non-traditional public sector candidates

    "Non-traditional candidates sought in public sector."

    Marijuana scares Florida lawmakers

    Bill Cotterell: "Usually, if 58 percent of the voters say they want something done, Florida legislators will do it."

    And if they see something coming at them, the politically smart thing for legislators is to hurry up and do it themselves before the issue runs over them. Even if it’s something they don’t want to do, they’ll usually work out some half measure before the public imposes its undiluted will at the polls.

    And when the issue is something that’s proved beneficial in about half of the states, Florida usually gets on board in a few years. There’s safety in numbers.

    But there must be Usually, if 58 percent of the voters say they want something done, Florida legislators will do it.

    "Marijuana, even medical, still scares Florida lawmakers."

The Blog for Saturday, May 23, 2015

"Still think Rick Scott doesn't know what he's doing?"

    Rick Scott cheerleader Nancy Smith claims victory; she writes: "Still think Rick Scott doesn't know what he's doing?"
    The Scott team won a big one this week.
    "Does anybody really believe that without the Scotties' lawsuit bluster, without the governor's health-care-commission showmanship and his trip to Washington and his ideological kinship with the House speaker, the Feds would be proposing $1 billion for LIP next year?"
    No way. Clearly, they intended to kill LIP here and now. Months ago, and several times since, the Obama administration told the state the funding for hospitals to serve low-income people would end this year.
    "LIP: Chalk One Up for the Scott Team."

    Clinton cranks up Florida campaign

    "Jean Monestime, who has already been fund-raising for Hillary Clinton, could represent a way for her presidential campaign to reach Haitian-American voters." "Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign woos Miami-Dade’s first Haitian-American commission chairman."

    "Pawns to get votes"

    The Tampa Trib thinks "using teachers and students as pawns to get votes. Think about that the next time you hear Tallahassee lawmakers arguing to divert increasing amounts of money away from public schools and into for-profit charter schools." "State had no choice but to concede defeat on school testing."

    "Workers laid off during the recession haven’t made up lost ground"

    "Unemployment has ticked up slightly in Miami-Dade County, but it’s still at nearly its lowest level since 2008. Even so, some workers laid off during the recession haven’t made up lost ground." "Some South Florida workers still feel left out of recovery."

    "Floridians deserve far more"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Floridians deserve far more from their representatives in Tallahassee. A short lifeline from Washington doesn't relieve lawmakers of their responsibility to come up with a long-term solution to the chronic problem of providing care to nearly a million Floridians who don't have health insurance." "Fla. needs long-term health cure."

    Background: "Understanding LIP funding and Florida’s budget crisis."

    More: "Feds suggest possible hospital funding to end Florida’s budget standoff." See also "Temporary aid on health care."

    Grayson on a verbal tear

    "In the past three weeks, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando has been on a verbal tear." "Grayson's fiery comments put possible Senate campaign in spotlight."

    Deep thinker

    Deep thinker, and hawkish chickenhawk (who courageously "considered conscientious objector status" to avoid the Vietnam war (which ended before he became eligible for the draft)), Jebbie Bush, has now "blamed the Democratic president for allowing the rise of the violent extremist group that has captured vast parts of Iraq and Syria." "Jeb Bush blames unrest in Iraq on Obama."

    A mere shift, or a full-on flop?

    "Politifact Florida: Marco Rubio’s statements on Iraq have shifted but not flipped."

    That's our Jeb

    "A video production company had no idea its bilingual 2013 Toyota Corolla spot used the former Florida governor’s residence as a backdrop — until Jeb Bush drove up to the house." "That time Jeb Bush’s Coral Gables home made a cameo appearance in a Toyota commercial."

The Blog for Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jax returns to South Georgia roots

    "Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry defeated Democratic incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown on Tuesday with help from powerful friends like Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush." "Former state GOP chairman elected Jacksonville mayor." See also "Lenny Curry Edges Alvin Brown in Jacksonville Mayoral Election."

    Corporate voucher dance

    The Tampa Trib editors extol "Another victory for corporate vouchers."

    Florida government shut down would be "doomsday scenario"

    "If the budget stalemate continues and Florida resorts to a bare-bones spending plan as suggested by Gov. Rick Scott, results could be dire for every Floridian." "If government shuts down, a doomsday scenario would emerge in Florida."

    Wingnut whinge

    "It has been less than a month since the U.S. Treasury Department approved the first licenses for ferries to carry Americans to Cuba. The ferry companies have not announced what U.S. ports they’ll use and the Cuban government has not agreed to allow any boats access yet." "New federal licenses mean cruises to Cuba may be close." Related: "Tampa delegations exploring trade return from Cuba."

    Rubio's stature "troubling" among young Republicans

    "A new national poll by Pew Research Center reveals some early strengths and weaknesses among several key Republicans running for president, including the observation that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida might have an age issue."

    Rubio did far better than any of the other candidates with older Republicans. A whopping 75 percent have a favorable opinion of him, and just 11 percent have an unfavorable opinion, Pew found. But Rubio’s numbers fall among middle-age Republicans: 50 percent like him, 21 percent don’t. And the response appears troubling among young Republicans: 39 percent like him, and 23 percent don’t.
    "Pew Poll: Rubio may have an age issue (not the one you think)."

    Scott's health-care commission meets today

    "As Gov. Rick Scott's newly created health-care commission prepares to meet Wednesday to begin sifting through data about hospital funding, the governor's request for information has been met with hospitals essentially telling him to go look it up." "Hospitals to Rick Scott: You Look up Financial Data."

    Low bidders

    "A federal agency has proposed fines of $152,200 for nine contractors building million-dollar homes for the Shoma Group at Oasis Park Square." "Nine contractors cited for worker-safety violations at Doral residential project."

    Scott losing his grip

    "When Gov. Rick Scott ordered state agencies to come up with a list of 'critical needs' just in case state government shuts down this summer, he got a defiant response from many: Everything we do is critical." "Gov. Scott’s ‘critical needs’ demand gets defiant responses."

    Republican front group hands out awards

    "Fiscal Watchdog Group's 'Champs' and 'Chumps' in Tallahassee."

    Clinton hooks up with Morgan

    "Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is coming to Central Florida for a fundraiser May 29 at the home of Democratic rainmaker and lawyer John Morgan. The event will take place at Morgan's Heathrow mansion, at a time to be determined later." "Hillary Clinton coming to Orlando for $2.7K per fundraiser."

    Miami-Dade and Broward toss tests

    "Empowered by a new state law, education leaders in Miami-Dade and Broward counties announced Tuesday they won’t use the results of the new Florida Standards Assessment to hold students back — one of the most polarizing issues when it comes to how Florida uses tests in high-stakes decisions." "Miami-Dade, Broward schools won’t use controversial statewide test."

    Miami one of least affordable

    "New study shows that college graduates can afford fewer than one in 100 apartments on the market in Miami-Dade County." "Report: Miami one of least affordable housing markets for recent grads."

    "Jeb blows off Iowa"

    Howard Kurtz: "Jeb blows off Iowa straw poll."

The Blog for Monday, May 18, 2015

"Jeb’s fumbling start"

    The Tampa Trib's Joe Henderson, like a lot of people "figured 'Jeb The Undeclared' was the man to beat for the GOP presidential nomination, even as we wait for the formal announcement that he is in the race. That’s despite the fact he is lagging in a lot of polls, and he isn’t paying homage to Iowa by participating in the state’s straw poll."


    Jeb hasn’t had to campaign in more than a decade, and the rust is showing, as the Fox debacle showed. A few more goofs could put his undeclared campaign into a spiral that is unrecoverable.

    Not long ago, it was hard to see anyone who could beat Bush for the nomination. Then he opened his mouth and silly words popped out. How quickly things turn.

    "Jeb’s fumbling start could reshape GOP race."

    So, "How serious is [Bush's] Iraq War flub?"

    He's not what you would call "cognitively dexterous"

    "Marco Rubio just doesn't seem like the most cognitively dexterous contender for the Republican nomination." "Florida Man."

    "First it was Jeb Bush. [And then on Sunday], Marco Rubio seemed unprepared and uninformed for the question of the week on Iraq" "Marco Rubio is toast: Fox News trips up another Republican with simple Iraq war question."

    "Marco Rubio Struggles With Question on Iraq War." See also "Rubio Stumbles Hard on Iraq War ‘Mistake’ Question on Fox," "Marco Rubio Struggles To Explain Whether He Thinks Invading Iraq Was A 'Mistake'" and "Marco Rubio Melts Down On Fox While Refusing To Admit Iraq Was A 'Mistake'."

    "Rubio cashed out retirement funds"

    "Sen. Marco Rubio cashed out most of his retirement savings while preparing to launch his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, records released Friday show." "Rubio cashed out retirement funds before presidential run."


    Jeff Henderson: "Democrats Have Good Reason to Want Alan Grayson Out of Senate Race." Background from more Grayson-haters: "Alan Grayson erupts as Senate bid looms."

    "Florida has no plan to deal with rising seas"

    The Tampa Trib editors: "Florida is surrounded on three sides by water and has 1,800-miles of coastline. About 75 percent of its 20 million residents live in coastal counties."

    So you would think the possibility of sea level rise would concern Florida leaders. But The Associated Press finds state government has no plan to deal with rising seas and has made no attempt to coordinate local efforts to deal with the possibility.
    "Don’t ignore possibility of sea level rise."

    "A friend and more"

    "A complaint filed by the former recruiter for a for-profit college says the college had a friend and more in an employee of the schools’ regulatory commission." "The close ties between a for-profit college and its watchdog."

    Jeb gets his Gay-hate on

    "Jeb Bush Says Christian Business Owners Can Refuse To Serve Gay Weddings." See also "Jeb Bush Takes Tougher Stance Against Same-Sex Marriage."

    Walmart runs wild

    "A photograph of a rare butterfly on the South Miami-Dade development site in rare pine rockland helped ignite opposition to the controversial project." "Walmart developer demands county records linked to butterfly."

The Blog for Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jeb's stumbles are familiar to Floridians

    Seeing that "Jeb Bush’s Iraq stumbles set off alarms in GOP"is not surprising to most Floridians. Indeed, Jeb "Bush’s history of politically unfortunate rhetoric goes back to 1994," although it has largely been papered over by Florida's media.

    If one looks hard enough, Jeb!'s record can be found to include these gems: his self-proclaimed "devious plan" to evade a constitutional mandate, his internationally embarrassing "slips on Spanish history, bragging that he would do "probably nothing" for minorities if elected, his having "marked he was 'Hispanic' on his Florida voter form," his infamous "throw their asses out" order, and then there is his penchant for "lesbian jokes".

    Jeb Bush's "shoot-first, take-no-advice method of governing" lead one journalist to describe him as an "arrogant, power-hungry ruler who acted as if he had been elected king, rather than governor." As another columnist put it, Jeb's "idea of diplomacy is to throw their asses out, whoever they are."

    Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera considers Senate Run

    "Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera declared he was seriously considering running for the United States Senate in 2016 and then solicited local Republican leaders gathered in Orlando to invite him over to talk." "Lopez-Cantera delivers "strongly considering" campaign speech." See also "Lopez-Cantera 'Strongly Considering' Senate Bid."

    Same old, same old

    "RPOF Will Mobilize Minorities to Shape 2016 Success."

    Scott provides "poor — or no leadership"

    "It takes poor leadership — or no leadership — to push a state to the brink of a government shutdown when the governor and strong majorities in both legislative chambers come from the same political party. Unfortunately for Floridians, that's just what Gov. Rick Scott has provided." "Blame health care mess on governor's leadership: Editorial."

    "Offering blunt advice"

    "The 41-year-old Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, as poised in public as she is shy, has privately played a major role in Marco Rubio’s rise, offering blunt advice and bearing the responsibilities of raising four children, often as if a single mother." "Marco Rubio’s wife long an unseen presence in his career."

    Rubio's book royalties

    "Sen. Marco Rubio’s latest financial disclosures show added wealth from book royalties."

    Privatization follies

    "More than 19 months after CONNECT’s troubled launch, the computerized network serving Florida’s unemployed remains problematic." "As technical difficulties with Florida’s unemployment system persist, state seeks more money."

    Senators noticeably absent from FlaGOP quarterly meeting

    "Four months have passed since Blaise Ingoglia took over as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida in an upset over party favorite Leslie Dougher, but wounds between the Senate and the rest of the party are slow to heal. . . . Not this weekend. Senators were noticeably absent from the party's spring quarterly meeting." "Where Have All the Senators Gone?."

    "Honor Roll"

    Ed Dean: "Tom Lee, Rick Kriseman Make the Honor Roll; Jeb Bush, Alan Grayson Don't."

    Bush, Rubio: Dumb and Dumberer

    "Marco Rubio Struggles To Explain Whether He Thinks Invading Iraq Was A 'Mistake'."

    Polling place redistribution

    "Under the proposed plan, the county’s nearly 1.3 million voters will find out by September if they’ve been moved to a new polling place — a redistribution Miami-Dade has delayed for years." "Miami-Dade plans to finish redrawing voter precincts in advance of 2016 presidential election."

    Weekly Roundup

    "Weekly Roundup: Whose Special Session Is It Anyway?."