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.


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 Sunday, April 02, 2006

Jebbie "Out of Step"

    "Gov. Jeb Bush's sweeping overhaul of Florida schools is out of step with the views of most Floridians, according to a new St. Petersburg Times poll."
    A majority of Floridians do not like private school vouchers, continue to support the multibillion-dollar class-size amendment and oppose use of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test to reward or penalize schools, the poll shows.

    Meanwhile, parents say they like their public schools. A lot.

    "Schools a weak link in poll for Gov. Bush".  See also "Poll: Majority oppose vouchers".

    Unlike the Mason-Dixon poll announced earlier this week, Bush's job performance approval ratings are hovering around 50%, according to the poll which has a MOE of 3%.  The findings include:
    51 percent approve of Bush's job performance, while 29 percent disapprove.

    40 percent like the way he is handling education issues, while 37 percent don't.

    61 percent oppose using public money for private school vouchers.

    70 percent said schools should not be penalized because of FCAT results.

    More here.

    Reading The Tea Leaves

    More on that Mason-Dixon poll from Kennedy and Garcia: "New polls suggest Florida voters aren't too happy -- and that dark mood could turn into trouble on Election Day for some lawmakers."  "Glum voters bode ill for politicos".

    "The other March Madness"

    "Welcome to the other March Madness - the end of the fundraising quarter for political candidates.  To be counted in fundraising reports for the first three months of 2006, campaign contributions had to be handed over or postmarked by midnight Friday. As the deadline neared, candidates' e-mail pleas to potential donors became more and more urgent."  "Candidates Watch Clock In Money Push".

    Harris Death Watch Continues

    "In what could be the death knell to Katherine Harris's U.S. Senate campaign, all of her key staff members have quit.  Several top campaign aides had already left during the past few weeks, but on Friday the five remaining staff members walked out. Only their assistants and a few temps who open the mail remain on board, according to one former staffer who did not want to be identified."  "Campaign staffers abandon Harris".  And "[i]n the latest development of an erratic bid for U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Longboat Key, announced the hiring of an entire new campaign team Saturday - but didn't name the members."  The campaign issued a statement announcing the new hires late Saturday:

    "Our new team already has in place a campaign manager, a national fundraising coordinator, a team of political media consultants, pollster, Florida political field director, and a press secretary," Harris said in the announcement.
    "The statement listed as its contact person Brian Brooks, a recently hired communications staffer. It gave no phone number for Brooks other than the main number at Harris' campaign headquarters on West Shore Boulevard ... [and] that office appeared locked and deserted".  "Harris Says She's Hired Staff But Not Saying Who".  More of the release can be found here: "Re-Launched Harris Campaign 'Stronger'".

    See also "Harris' Senate campaign loses core staff" and "Former Reagan Adviser Quits Harris Campaign".

    But, "Harris unfazed by staff losses"; but Harris remains "undaunted by the departure of all her key staffers this weekend, [saying] she will press on with her campaign for the Senate and announce a new team in the next few days."  And she's spitting mad; "at a meeting at the First Baptist Church of Cocoa Beach where she met with about 50 Brevard County Republican stalwarts Saturday morning.", she said

    "I didn’t know I was going to get the knives in my back from my own party and I’ll be honest, it's infiltrated my campaign staff.  For too long we have been undermined by people in our own party and staffers in our own campaign."
    "U.S. Senate-hopeful Katherine Harris suffers campaign fallout".

    Fuzzy Math?

    The Buzz notes that "Davis Accuses Smith Of Fuzzy Math".

    FCAT Follies

    This is simply embarassing:

    In Florida, the state has been so protective of the secrecy of the FCAT that it has failed to pay sufficient attention to the scoring. After a newspaper disclosed last month that Kelly Services was advertising for $10-an-hour temporary workers to score the writing portion of the FCAT this year, the agency insisted the workers had colleges degrees and half were teachers. But DOE has been slow to respond to Democratic requests for public records that would verify the claims.

    If the stakes are going to be high for students, they have to be at least as high for the companies that are profiting.
    "High stakes".

    Cleaning Up After "Jeb!"

    The next Governor is going to have a huge mess to clean up.  "[H]ow should the next executive deal with Florida's struggles?"  "Governing Florida".  See also "Living governors reflect on past, look at future".

    Just Do It

    "Tag to help troops still in limbo".

    Farmworkers Take Action

    "Police officers kept the drive-thru at McDonald’s Corp.’s flagship restaurant open Saturday as several hundred supporters of a Florida-based farmworker advocacy group demanded better wages for the people who pick the tomatoes used by the fast-food giant."  "Florida farmworkers pressure McDonald's for higher wages".

    "Jeb's power grab"

    Inasmuch as Jebbie insists on grading everything, he might be interested in the Bradenton Herald's  contention that his "new school takeover bill rates F-minus".  "Jeb's power grab".

    Meet Cara Jennings

    "Over the years, Cara Jennings has taken extreme measures to make her liberal views known.  She helped organize a sit-in during which two people chained themselves to a stairway railing and others dumped rotting fruit and sand in the offices of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board to protest development plans for The Scripps Research Institute.  She has traveled the country fighting for women's empowerment and equal rights through what she called radical cheerleading, a practice that would later become a national phenomenon.  Her philosophies remain the same, but now that the 29-year-old has won a seat on the Lake Worth City Commission, she said her tactics will change."  "Politics takes place of protests for new Lake Worth commissioner".


    "A small piece of Old Florida fights to keep its soul intact".

    Smith "Slams Bush tax cut"

    "Money that could be used to reduce the cost of windstorm insurance is being wasted on an unneeded election-year tax cut, Rod Smith, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Saturday."  "Democratic gubernatorial hopeful slams Bush tax cut".

    Medicaid Fraud

    "There seems to be a problem with managed care and Medicaid coverage for South Florida's low-income and developmentally disabled youngsters."

    Cost containment had been the driving force behind Gov. Jeb Bush's push to get a federal waiver from Washington to run Florida's Medicaid program more like a private health insurance plan. ...

    It's the managed-care track record that draws concern. HMOs are bottom-line businesses, not government entitlement programs, and that prompts critics to worry that they'll give poor patients short shrift in the soon-to-be restructured Medicaid program.

    "A spate of denials prompts concern over Medicaid reform".

    Lee's War Chest

    "Senate President Tom Lee, who is running for Chief Financial Officer, raised $405,000 in the first quarter of 2006, his campaign said Friday, boasting that he did so 'despite having to suspend all fundraising during last year’s special session and the current regular session of the Legislature that began on March 7.'"  "Lee's warchest grows".

    Lee Takes A Pass On Pruitt

    The PBP editorial board argues that "Pruitt should show public how he earned payments"  The editorial opens with the following bit of illogic from the GOoPers in charge: "A candidate for Florida chief financial officer, Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, doesn't want to know how incoming Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, is earning a $2,000 monthly stipend as a consultant to the man who built his house.  Sen. Lee told The Post that Sen. Pruitt asked for an investigation, but he declined, citing a lack of proof. How can Sen. Lee know no investigation is warranted based on a lack of proof if he hasn't investigated to determine whether there's proof?".

    That's Our Charlie

    Scott Maxwell observes about Crist,

    [w]hen it comes to politicking, nobody does it better.

    He's for teachers and against murder. His dad's Greek, and his mom's Irish. He went to FSU but is rooting for the Gators in the Final Four.

    Wherever you stand, Charlie's your man.

    But, "If issues ever actually become central to this race -- an increasingly rare phenomenon in modern politics -- Charlie might get nervous."  "The GOP's Smooth Operator".


    "Democrat's homespun style wows 'em".

    "Big Mac attack"

    "Perhaps no one in the Florida Legislature is as vulnerable this election season as Rep. Sheri McInvale, the Orlando lawmaker who ditched the Democratic Party and joined the GOP this year.":

    So Florida's Republican Party isn't wasting any time trying to prop up its newest member.

    The GOP recently paid for a mailer to voters in McInvale's Orange County district that serves as something of a pre-campaign season biography -- and, incidentally, makes no mention of party affiliation. ...

    Republican voters recently received a mailer touting McInvale's vote to abolish joint and several liability, a lawsuit restriction long coveted by businesses.

    The mailer was paid for by the "Florida Mainstreet Merchants," a loosely regulated political committee financed by companies such as Food Lion, Publix and Walt Disney World. ...

    McInvale's version, however, features her prominently displayed near photos of Gov. Jeb Bush and his brother President Bush and heaps praise on her for showing "great political courage when she voted to help save you money and voted against greedy trial lawyers."

    "Ready for a Big Mac attack".

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