Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Saturday, September 16, 2006

Davis Fundraising Jumps

    Enjoy it while it lasts:
    U.S. Rep. Jim Davis reported today that he actually outraised Attorney General Charlie Crist in hard money during the three days following the Sept. 5 primary. New fundraising reports due today and which covered the first week of September show that Davis raised nearly $124,000 to $112,075 for Crist.

    But Crist maintains a nearly three-to-one money edge of money in the bank and there's more to come as backers of Crist have a goal of raising $30 million in contributions to the campaign, the Republican Party of Florida and other organizations between now and Election Day. A big step toward that goal will come next week when President George W. Bush and Gov. Jeb Bush host a $25,000 per person fundraiser at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando.
    "Davis edges Crist in fundraising".

    Fun With Kottkamp

    "Crist made a pick to assuage the right-wing/social conservative/ardent Bible-thumping Christian types who regard the bachelor candidate as Satan meets Oscar Wilde."

    Apparently Kottkamp is much admired by religious groups and once handed out a patriotic painting to his legislative colleagues suggesting the red in the American flag represents the "cleansing blood of Christ for his newborn Christian country."

    So much for whimsy.

    Perhaps if Crist gets elected, he can put Kottkamp in charge of the weekly Tallahassee witch-burning.

    (What do you think the odds are that Kottkamp's mustache disappears within 30 days? Fashion stump tip: Blond guys should not attempt facial hair. It looks too Snidely Whiplash preppy.) ...

    Kottkamp will probably be spending more time in church than a cloistered nun, trying to convince Republican Christian social conservatives that Crist is not the Marquis de Sade of the Interstate 4 corridor.
    "Say Hello To The Lieutenant Of Obscurity". [Note: the column gives Jones similar treatment.]

    Off-Shore Drilling

    "After weeks of bickering on Capitol Hill about legislation to open up new areas to offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, the outlines of a deal between the House and Senate are finally taking shape." "Deal takes shape on offshore drilling".

    Midnight Judges

    "The Florida Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that Governor Jeb Bush cannot replace a retiring appellate judge prior to January 1st when the judge's term expires and a day before Bush also leaves office. Bush cannot seek re-election due to term limits. He had asked the justices whether he could appoint a replacement for 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Richard Ervin III before January 1st. A Bush spokeswoman said the governor's lawyers were reviewing the opinion and she could not immediately comment on whether he planned to make the appointment in the final hours of his term on January 2nd or leave it to his successor." "Bush cannot replace retiring judge". See also "Bush can't fill judge's seat yet".


    "The Democratic gubernatorial ticket of Jim Davis and running mate Daryl Jones continued their two-day barnstorming around Florida on Friday with a stop in Tallahassee, where they were joined on the steps of the Old Capitol by former governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham." "Davis/Jones, Day 2". It ain't all roses, though:

    Nationally, many Democrats have all but written off the governor's race in Florida, and traditionally cash-strapped Florida Democrats face even bigger hurdles this year. The state teachers union, which poured millions into the 2002 governor's race, is investing little this year. Trial lawyers have long been a key source of Democratic money, but that's not certain this election.
    "Davis' hurdles and presidential pals". See also "Davis campaign rallies for support at Capitol" and "Davis, with new running mate, talks of change".

    Books Banned

    "References to breasts and suicide prompted Hillsborough County school administrators to yank two books from a fourth-grade reading list." "Books To Be Removed From School Reading List".

    That Is Why We Have 527s

    "The Jim Davis-Daryl Jones ticket apparently isn’t going to make political hay over [Kottkamp's] support of 2001 legislation that was perceived by many to be pro-Confederate flag." "Davis Not Touching Flag Question".

    Lack of Diversity

    "Blacks make up about 16 percent of the state's population, yet the only black candidate ever elected statewide was a justice on the Florida Supreme Court, Joseph Hatchett, who ran in a racially charged election three decades ago." "Florida's diversity has yet to reach highest posts".


    "Former Florida Republican Chairman Al Cardenas was gloating this week when he noted, 'it took us two days for us to get together but you know there's bad blood when the Democrats haven't gotten together yet.'" "Rod, Rod, where are you?"

    Housing Crisis: Another "Jeb!" Legacy

    "The U.S. Census Bureau defines affordable housing as spending no more than 30 percent of the annual household income on housing costs. The foundation says 700,000 Florida families are spending at least 50 percent of their income on housing." "Tampa summit focuses on state's affordable housing crisis".

    "Trust the Voters"

    "Former governor and U.S. senator Bob Graham and conservative businessman Charlie Hilton have often been at political extremes, but Friday they united to fight a proposal that would make it harder for citizens to amend the Florida constitution." "Opposites attract when it comes to initiatives". See also "Group opposes raising bar for ballot initiatives", "Voters should retain power on amendments, group says", "New group opposes curtailing amendments" and "A Ballot Battle Begins".

    Just In Time For The Election

    "Florida's Board of Governors has postponed a vote on whether to hike resident university tuition by 7 percent so it can get more student input on the increase and gather information on how the money would be spent." "Board of Governors puts tuition increase on hold".

    "Disneyesque fantasy"

    "The Bush administration proposed Friday that Cubans hold a referendum to decide if they want to live in a democracy or under a dictatorship, a plan one expert called a 'Disneyesque fantasy' that the Castro brothers would reject." "Bush proposes Cuban vote on democracy".


    "The Florida Fair Elections Commission says it has reports of irregularities in polling places on election day."

    County officials owe it to voters to investigate these claims.

    That duty was underscored this week by a Princeton University report blasting the security of touch-screen voting machines. Voting advocates have long been concerned about touch-screen machines that lack a verifiable paper trail and have failed several external security tests. ...

    The researchers in Princeton's Center for Information Technology and Policy managed to get their hands on a touch-screen machine manufactured by Diebold (the same company that supplies Volusia and Flagler counties with its machines.) After studying the Diebold Accuvote-TSx for a while, they came up with ways to quickly -- and invisibly -- change vote totals.

    Using the memory cards, the Princeton researchers were able to change votes on a single Accuvote-TSx, permanently and undetectably, in less than a minute (which included time to pick a lock on the side of the machine.) In addition, they were able to load a vote-changing virus that could spread to other machines.
    "Accuracy counts".

    Sharing the Spotlight

    "John Edwards, a likely contender for the White House in 2008, visits to bolster Jim Davis' run for the Governor's Mansion. Expect others." "Governor race shares presidential spotlight".

    Does Charlie Have Buschco's "Congenital Defect" About Running Mates

    With the criticism of Kottkamp as, we.ll ... an uninspired choice (see for example here and here), we must ask whether Crist has copied "Jeb!" down to Bushco's "congenital defect when it came to running mates".

    Lance deHaven-Smith, a Florida State University political science professor, said that as in presidential campaigns, gubernatorial running mates tend to be remembered for hurting tickets more than helping them. ...

    In Florida, Jeb Bush's 1994 selection of Tom Feeney, a free-speaking conservative firebrand who's now in Congress, was frequent campaign-trail fodder for Democrat Lawton Chiles, whose running mate was former U.S. Rep. Buddy MacKay. Bush publicly accused Chiles of having "a Feeney fetish" before narrowly losing election to the office he later won twice with a different running mate.

    Coming six years after his father's surprising choice of Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle as his vice presidential running mate, Jeb Bush's 1994 choice raised early questions about his judgment, deHaven-Smith said.

    "It seemed like the Bushes had some kind of congenital defect when it came to running mates," he recalled.
    "No. 2s can help political ticket, themselves".

    Secret Dockets

    "Easy access to public information is vital in all aspects of a democracy, but may be no more important than in the courts. The decisions judges make in criminal and civil cases should be open to public scrutiny, if for no other reason than to be sure these public servants aren't bending the rules for their buddies." "What's to hide?".

    Where Was "Jeb!"?

    Our hurricane Governor missed the boat on the Okeechobee Dike issue, yet the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board limits the blame to the Army Corps of Engineers. "Head out of sand?".

    Who Will Seize The Tax Issue?

    "Floridians are in a foul mood over rising property taxes, and soon they will elect a new governor."

    An election framed around taxes often means trouble for Democrats in Florida.

    If Republican Charlie Crist's mantra of "less taxes, less spending" ever were to find a rabid following, that time is now.

    This is the year of canceled homeowner insurance policies and double-digit property tax hikes by county commissioners across the state.

    But the antitax fervor might work to Democrat Jim Davis' advantage. He's the self-proclaimed outsider who wants to shake up the status quo, and he says the property tax mess was created by Republicans.
    "Taxpayers' anger may determine governor". See also "Tax Revolt Time?"

    This is real simple: (1) tax pressures at the local level were created by "Jeb!" "Bush And His Amen Chorus Of Goose-Stepping Legislators" shunting the tax burden down to the local level; and (2) if that is too complicated - the Republicans (which last time I looked includes Crist) has been in charge for 8 years and all this occurred on their watch.

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