Unlike the compliant House, where Jebbie and Bense led sycophantic GOoPers by the nose, a handful of Rebublican
senators were more openly hostile, even to the point of rejecting two measures important to Gov. Jeb Bush and Lee."Crunch Time In Tallahassee".
Four days short of the closing rituals, Lee fired his majority leader, Sen. Alex Villalobos of Miami. His dismissal had little practical effect, but it sensationalized the behind-the-scenes machinations that were spilling over in public.
Sens. Ken Pruitt, Jeff Atwater and J.D. Alexander, all potential presidents, are given credit or discredit for spoiling Villalobos' chance to become the first Hispanic president and for splintering their party in the process.
And that a Republican-controlled Senate would deny voters the chance to amend the constitution to preserve vouchers and to lessen the limits on classroom size - both priorities of Jeb Bush - is the political story of the session.
"The Leon County official wants more electronic-voting safeguards." "Sancho on quest for election reform".
"West Palm Beach has its Mini-Me version of Randy 'Duke' Cunningham. ... According to federal prosecutors, who announced the charges eight days ago, ex-West Palm Beach City Commissioner Ray Liberti took much less in bribes, about $70,000. But Mr. Liberti's motivation - greed - and method - misusing elected office - were the same. Mr. Liberti tried to intimidate businesses into selling cheap to buyers who were paying him for help setting up a whorehouse. If the scheme had worked, maybe Ray Liberti could have been the first employee." "Liberti: New sleaze or a silent killer?"
"Scripps in Tallahassee: County can make case".
"'While any prescription drug help to older Americans is a good thing for many, millions are confused and are having a tough time navigating the options and confusing details buried in the fine print,' Florida State Sen. Ron Klein said in his party's weekly radio address." "Democratic hopeful assails Medicare program". See also "Democratic hopeful assails confusing details of Medicare program".
More on the deadline in this PBP editorial, "Part D strong-arming".
Lee Shills For Jebbie
Remember the version of Tom Lee that showed signs of independence from Bushco? That's long gone. "[T]his year, in the final weeks of his last term as Senate president, Lee shed his maverick mantle, even calling Bush 'my governor' as he pushed a school-voucher amendment and other bills important to Bush. 'It's amazing what a difference an election year makes,' said Brian Ballard, a lobbyist with close ties to Bush." "Senate president says he hasn't changed his tune to win GOP backing".
"The state's in anyway, so why not really fix it?"
FEMA Fails Farmworkers
"The Farmworker Association of Florida has filed a civil rights complaint on behalf of at least 200 workers in the Glades, most of them Hispanics who spoke little English. The complaint charges that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has ignored their requests for help since Hurricane Wilma. According to Florida Legal Services lawyers, FEMA provided no translators, was lackadaisical when inspecting damaged trailers and homes, and was rude to residents." "Cast light, not shadow".
It is no secret that "Bush's Mr. Cellophane" is, well ... less than articulate. Consider his recent attempt at making a point (about something or other):
Check out this statement that Harris' own campaign sent out from Martinez: "I wish her well. And I will be endorsing her -- if I have not already done so. I think I already have, but I will be, I am sure, campaigning with her.""The deft art of being a politician".
"Broward County's state lawmakers brought back money for local projects and got legislation approved that will affect schools, crime and taxes." "Broward getting a hefty share". See also "Dade delegation brings home the bacon".
"But Smith's crusade lost some of its luster Friday when the Florida Education Association decided to co-endorse both Smith and his Democratic rival, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa. For Davis, worried that support from the largest teachers' unions showed that Smith was picking up momentum, the announcement was a relief." "Teachers hedge bets on Smith".
"The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary provides more than aesthetic value. It is a boon to tourism and commercial fishing, too, because it also serves as a hatchery for replenishing over-harvested fish species. Although the sanctuary is ably managed by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), it is threatened by a bill in Congress that would undercut the agency's authority. Florida lawmakers should rally to defeat the bill." "Protect our marine sanctuaries".
Not So Fast With The President "Jeb!" Talk
Trent Lott on Hardball with Chris Matthews:
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea," Lott said. "I would not be supportive of Jeb Bush running for president. But I certainly understand why the president would say that about his own brother.""Ex-Senate leader Lott not keen on a President Jeb".
Lott went on to say Hillary Clinton can be defeated in 2008, but he doubted Jeb Bush could beat her.
"Summer's free pre-K attracts few takers".
"With Florida growing by 1,000 people a day, water regulators must work to ensure that developers don't overtax the state's strained resource." "Our thirsty state".
"State retirees are sick over health-care costs".
"Toni Jennings makes it clear -- no plans to seek another office".
The Last of Bushco
"Republican contenders are already wary of President Bush's free-falling poll numbers. So that may leave only Jeb Bush as a name to drop on the campaign trail. 'The governor's popularity and his high marks and his ability to lead this state are really what's going to dominate the political landscape,' predicted Alberto Martinez, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher." "Good Bush-Bad Bush".
Harris Blasts Away
"Katherine Harris was a pro with the .38 Special, drilling holes through the center of a person-shaped paper target. But the congresswoman's campaign staff missed the mark at Saturday's gun range photo op, said a local Republican Party official who organized the event. Pasco County Republican Executive Committee chairman Bill Bunting fumed after Chris Ingram, the communications director for Harris' U.S. Senate campaign, tried to block photographers and television crews from taking pictures of Harris firing away." "Harris shoots; cameras don't". See also "Harris Gives Gun Publicity Best Shot".
"Democrats face obstacles in '06 races" ("Redistricting, fundraising could prevent them from picking up seats in the House in Florida districts.")
Via The Buzz, "an internal poll circulating among supporters of Democratic attorney general candidate Walter 'Skip' Campbell shows some remarkably grim numbers for Florida Republicans. Consider this question:"
"As you may know, Republicans in Florida have controlled the governor's (office), state Legislature, and most statewide offices for about the last decade. Do you think it's time to put ...""Poll Position".
More Democrats in office: 45 percent.
Keep Republican control: 24 percent.
Doesn't really matter: 26 percent.
The telephone survey of 600 likely voters by Washington pollster Keith Frederick includes other incredible numbers:
While mostly focused on attorney general issues, the poll showed 67 percent of voters had a favorable view of Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, and in the governor's race it showed Democrat Jim Davis beating Charlie Crist 44 percent to 37 percent and Democrat Rod Smith beating Crist 42 percent to 37 percent, though most people did not know much about Davis or Smith (Gallagher wasn't included). In the attorney general's race, Campbell - though unknown to three-quarters of those surveyed - was statistically tied with Bill McCollum (unknown to 38 percent), 41 percent to 37 percent. The survey had a margin of error of 3.5 percent.
Jebbie's "Spasm of delusion"
Daniel Ruth takes Bense to task for claiming he would have beaten Nelson had he deigned to run:
Uh, Allan Bense, a candidate with less name recognition than the state's executioner and starting with less money in the coffers than Lyndon LaRouche, would have ended the race as the Anne Boleyn of the Panhandle with his head handed to him by Nelson.In the column, Ruth undoes himself with some particularly memorable lines:
- how many politicians - especially those with all the charisma of Mayberry's Floyd the Barber - have the good fortune to draw as an opponent a crazy nut character right out of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"?"Sen. Bill Nelson Dodges A Bense Bullet - Sure".
- In a spasm of delusion rivaling Jonestown, those keen GOP political strategists, Gov. Jeb Bush and his Republican Renfield, former state party chairman Al Cardenas, somehow convinced themselves that House Speaker Allan Bense was just the chap to challenge Harris for the Senate nomination, which had to be a bit like believing Wile E. Coyote has a chance to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club.
- For had these two political operatives, with all the stump savvy of an anvil, not forced state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher out of the 2000 U.S. Senate race against Nelson, it's probable Gallagher would now be running for re-election and Katherine Harris would be serving on the House Select Sub-Committee for Bored Heiresses.
- Hey, you never know. This is Florida politics, after all, where anything is possible. Just ask the hanging chad queen.
My favorite line: "In a spasm of delusion rivaling Jonestown, those keen GOP political strategists, Jeb Bush and his Republican Renfield, former state party chairman Al Cardenas ... ". "Republican Renfield"; that image is flat out funny (not to mention dead on).