Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-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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The Blog for Thursday, January 12, 2006

Connect The GOP Fundraising Dots

    "The health-care and insurance industries pumped nearly $1.5 million into Florida's Republican Party even as Gov. Jeb Bush and the GOP-controlled Legislature launched dramatic changes to the way the state cares for poor, elderly and disabled patients, new campaign-finance reports show." Of course, "Jeb!"
    was among those Wednesday downplaying any connection between campaign dollars and the decisions made in December.
    And check out this bit of statistical analysis by writers Jason Garcia and John Kennedy:
    [H]istory also shows that when Republicans can distance themselves in fundraising, that spells doom for Florida Democrats.

    Going back to 1998, Republicans have more than doubled Democratic fundraising in each election cycle except 2000 -- the year of President Bush's 537-vote victory of Democrat Al Gore in Florida and Democrat Bill Nelson's win over Republican Bill McCollum in their Senate race. That year, state Republicans mustered $37.6 million to the Democrats' $24.8million total.
    "Health, insurance cash fuels state GOP".

    There's A Reason For This

    Curious to read that the drive to ensure that the anti-Gay marriage amendment (a nonissue if there ever was one) is on the ballot is a defacto official Florida Republican Party project:

    The Republican Party of Florida gave $150,000 to the group that wants to put a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the November ballot, new campaign finance records show.

    The party's donation -- more than three-quarters of the total that the group sponsoring the amendment, Florida4marriage.org, has raised so far -- comes as supporters are struggling to meet a state-imposed deadline for gathering signatures.
    "Florida Republican Party donates $150,000 to support ban on gay marriages".

    Obviously, Florida GOoPers want to use gay bashing to whip the anti-gay wingnuts (that apparently play a key role in the Florida GOP) into a voting frenzy. See "GOP Donated To Group Pushing Antigay Measure" ("The Republican Party of Florida has bankrolled an effort to place an antigay marriage amendment on the November ballot - an amendment that experts say would draw more of the party's voters to the polls.") See also "GOP fuels gay marriage ban" ("Florida GOP executive director Andy Palmer noted similar measures boosted Republican turnout in battleground states in 2004, but he said the party wanted to help the effort in Florida because it is 'totally in line with the Republican Party philosophy.'")

    At the same time we read that "Same-sex perk helps FAU" ("A lawmaker's personal views of private behavior should not lead to discriminatory public policy. Yet even as he proclaims that he doesn't mean "to denounce or discriminate against anyone," state Rep. Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, has filed a bill aimed at banning universities from offering domestic-partner insurance benefits to their employees.")

    In the meantime, "Jeb Bush says he didn't know his party gave $150,000 to Florida4Marriage.org." "GOP's Gay Marriage Ban".

    Your Florida GOP hard at work.

    Privatization Follies

    "The Florida Department of Corrections is touting this week's deal with a private prison health-care company that sounds too good to be true. It is — since the company is Prison Health Services." "Cheap deal, bad deal" (" Even if PHS had a sterling record, the bargain price would be suspicious. But PHS doesn't. A New York Times investigation found that the company's substandard care contributed to at least 15 inmate deaths in 11 Florida jails over the past 13 years.")

    Tom Goes National

    The Gallagher campaign has received some national media coverage, but not the kinfd they want. CBS news has picked up on the story earlier this week about the Gallagher campaign "spokesperson" secretly taping a reporter (original story: "Secret recording upsets Gallagher"); they use it as a jumping off point to address how "the ease and ability of public figures and institutions to produce their own version of events is threatening the traditional way they do business with the press.". "Who Will Control The Messenger?".

    More McInvale

    Scott Maxwell gives us his two cents:

    Local Dems acted as if they didn't want McInvale in their party. And now they have their wish. Their minority party is even more minor.

    Still, all's not rosy with McInvale either. While she may have found satisfaction in giving Democrats the boot, she also may have given her own political career a death sentence. After all, when the fanfare fades, the reality may set in that she's now a Republican running in a heavily Democratic district. And it will be interesting to see if all her Johnny-come-lately GOP friends hang around if her odds of winning turn long and her campaign donations run short.

    The behind-the-scenes tale of this tiny tempest shows the ugly side of party politics -- one in which both sides have little tolerance for those who won't march lock-step and in which middle America loses out.

    McInvale, you see, doesn't fit neatly into either party profile. ...

    If McInvale had been a Republican all along, she would have been the kind of moderate that Democrats praised as an across-the-aisle compromiser.

    But local Dems didn't see it that way. They saw her as a Benedict Arnold who betrayed core party values. And they were probably right in that she wasn't as liberal as her carefully carved district.

    Still, Orange County's Democratic Executive Committee didn't spend much time trying to build bridges. Instead, in a shoot-first policy not unusual for the party, the committee cut a $15,000 check to a Democratic opponent.

    It was friendly fire meant to kill.

    McInvale won, though. And now, depending upon your perspective, she's either:

    An opportunist who switches parties whenever it's convenient. (She was a Republican in college, an independent in early adulthood, a Democrat for the past eight years and now a Republican again.)

    Or she's a rare courageous politician -- who is willing to end her own career to prove her independence.
    "McInvale: Is she brave? Or a traitor?". The Orlando Sentinel editorial board chimes in: "A shrinking tent" ("McInvale's party change should sound an alarm to Democrats.")

    Looks Like Window Dressing

    The headline: "Gov. Bush proposes plan for increasing number of blacks in state universities". The reality:

    Although a Democrat, Florida A&M alumnus Al Lawson of Tallahassee, is shepherding the measure in the Senate, other Democrats weren't impressed. They claimed their efforts to achieve similar improvements in recent years were rejected by the Republican-dominated Legislature.

    "Don't ply us with token dollars when double-digit tuition hikes are making it harder and harder for lower income kids and their families to afford higher education," responded Senate Minority Leader Les Miller, D-Tampa.

    "The $35.8 million he's proposing to add to student aid is a trinket compared to the more than $8 billion he's lavished on his tax breaks for the super rich over the same period," Miller said. "If the governor and other state officials are truly concerned about boosting the enrollment of blacks and other minorities, we urge them to match the rhetoric with serious action."
    "Governor wants to spend more on minority scholarships".


    "A Senate panel grilled Florida Power & Light Co. on Wednesday over its power-restoration efforts in the wake of Hurricane Wilma, questioning everything from the utility's number of work crews to the strength of its power poles." "Senators press FPL on how it restores, protects power". See also "FPL defends post-Wilma procedure".

    Our Florida Legislature

    - "When legislators unanimously passed the Jessica Lunsford Act eight months ago, they thought they were sending a clear message to would-be sex offenders that Florida would come down hard on their actions.". "Money's there, but few sex offenders get electronic monitors"

    - "Close juvenile boot camps, legislator says" ("His proposal comes a week after a teen died after entering a Panhandle camp. But some lawmakers support the camps.")

    - "Retailers could face jail time and fines for selling violent video games to minors under legislation that cleared the Senate Commerce and Consumer Services Committee on Wednesday." "Senate panel backs video game limits".

    Didn't Miss A Beat

    "One week after lung cancer surgery, U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Fort Lauderdale, showed he's recovering fast, championing an effort to end cancer by 2015 and aggressively going after his Democratic challenger." "Shaw goes after his challenger in 1st appearance after surgery".

    "Jeb!"'s Patronage System

    Florida's judicial appointments have, with a few exceptions, been a purely partisan:

    The results have been disturbingly partisan, as the governor has all but turned the judiciary into a patronage system. His picks to the appellate courts have included: Paul Hawkes, a former legislator and Republican operative for two House speakers; Charles Canady, Bush's general counsel and an ex-congressman; and Bradford Thomas, Bush's public safety coordinator who once described his support for lethal injection this way: "put them on a gurney and let's rock and roll." One nominating commissioner he appointed in Broward County, the Rev. O'Neal Dozier, a self-described "prayer warrior," was even reported as asking judicial applicants whether they were "God-fearing."
    "Partisans on the bench".

    A Hillsborough County Thing

    "This is supposed to be public service, not room service." "Commissioners Ponder Their Just Desserts".

    And So It Begins

    This might be the first of the "Jeb!" media legacy pieces to which Floridians will be exposed over the next year: "Gov. Bush's legacy will be a mixed bag".

    "[A] blow for fairness and common sense"

    The OrlandoSentinel editorial board:

    When the Florida Supreme Court ruled Gov. Jeb Bush's school-voucher program unconstitutional, justices struck a blow for fairness and common sense in deciding that the state must offer a unified, quality education system.

    Unfortunately, it was only a glancing blow.

    Corporate Tax Credit Scholarships, an ill-conceived voucher program that gives businesses a dollar-for-dollar tax break if they donate money to private-school tuition for poor children, wasn't addressed in the court's 5-2 ruling. In many ways, these vouchers are more insidious than Mr. Bush's Opportunity Scholarships, which give parents tax money to enroll their child in private schools.

    The court's failure to address the corporate-tax-credit vouchers in its ruling defies logic and emboldens lawmakers to cement this bad idea into the Florida Constitution. Lawmakers would be wise to go the opposite direction and strike the program from the books before a second case finds itself before the state's highest court and meets the same fate as the Opportunity Scholarship.

    And make no mistake: The corporate-tax-credit voucher deserves the same fate.
    "Blind faith".

    Couldn't Resist ...

    putting these two headlines together: "Health, insurance cash fuels state GOP" then "GOP fuels gay marriage ban"

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