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 Tuesday, January 02, 2007

And So It Begins

    "Crist, the state's attorney general the past four years [see "The facts about Gov. Charlie Crist"], will be administered the oath of office at noon by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Lewis on the Old Capitol steps, the centerpiece moment in a daylong series of events marking the change in leadership. Crist's inaugural address, likely a 20-minute summation of political hopes and themes, will follow." "Crist will step into Florida's top post". See also "Final preparations made for Crist inauguration", "Crist to be sworn in today", "Crist's prayer breakfast under way", "A humbler inaugural on tap", "Inaugural has Tampa Bay touch", "Final preparations made for Crist inauguration" and "Crist to be sworn in as 44th governor as popular Bush departs".

    The editorial boards chime in: the Tallahassee Democrat: "You said while campaigning that you'd listen to the citizens and seek out the knowledge of the best and brightest minds in Florida. You, sir, are about to get an earful." "At the summit". The St. Pete Times: "Crist, who will become the first governor from St. Petersburg when he takes the oath of office today, already is showing some admirable gubernatorial traits." "A sure-footed step for Crist". The Sun-Sentinel: "The Sunshine State's new leaders are faced with an old set of challenges. These are not bad times in Florida, but the anxiety across the state is palpable, and with good reason." "Tallahassee".

    "Inaugural Address"

    "Crist will deliver an inaugural address that not only sets the tone for his administration, but gives the first real clue of how he intends to guide the fourth largest state for the next four years."

    Internal documents from Crist's transition team, veteran observers, advocates and Crist's own campaign statements suggest the speech will have a strong environmental message and themes that range from greater support for adoption, property-insurance reforms and crime fighting.

    Everglades protection and even global warming could also appear.

    Crist is also likely to highlight one of his favorite themes: his family's rise to success from its Greek immigrant roots.
    "Inaugural speech will set tone".


    Remember this tripe: "Charlie Crist repeatedly proclaimed outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush 'the greatest governor in America' and promised to carry on the Bush legacy." Today we read that there really are differences between the two GOPers:

    - Where Crist is consensus-minded, flexible and sensitive to public opinion, Bush has strong opinions and is set on what he believes is right.

    - Where Crist makes almost an obsession of openness to others' ideas, and speaks with self-effacing courtesy even to opponents, Bush is convinced of the rightness of his own views and tends to belittle opposing views.

    - Where Bush is a policy wonk who studies the latest conservative ideas for government, Crist often takes instinctive or vague approaches to issues and looks to staff and other experts to sort out how to implement them.
    "Populist Crist Ushers In An Era".

    "Gnawing Issues"

    "Lawmakers gather in two weeks for a special session aimed at trying to curb skyrocketing property insurance rates. Voters also are demanding Crist do something about spiraling property taxes." "Crist Faces 'Gnawing Issues'". See also "Homeowners Insurance Is Top Legislative Issue", "Crist's Must-do List" and "Home Is Where The Debate Is" ("issues Floridians consider most pressing - the homeowners insurance crisis and property taxes - dominate the roster of bills filed by lawmakers for 2007.")

    Meanwhile, the editorial boards can't get enough of Charlie: see "Crist Brings Eminent Team To Meet Great Expectations". And Daniel Ruth has this: "Mom's The Mother Of All Charlie Fans".

    A more sober assessment: "In the weeks before today's inauguration, the governor-elect has made nuanced, careful choices about state leadership, retreating a few times when it appeared he'd made a misstep.So, even before he takes office, Crist has shown he's unlike his predecessor Jeb Bush." "In transition, Crist put service before politics: More, sir".

    Possible "Mass Migration" From Cuba

    "On Dec. 12 and 13, more than 500 representatives of dozens of local, state and federal agencies, including the military, met at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. They conducted a "tabletop" exercise in anticipation of a "mass migration event," or MME." "Castro's death would pose tests".

    On a related note: "Cuban-Americans are spreading their wings. Many are escaping the high housing costs and traffic of South Florida for quieter enclaves in Central Florida, like Ocala. Even as the Border Patrol prepares for a wave of Cuban migrants washing ashore in Miami after the death of Fidel Castro, their predecessors are blazing a trail northward. " "Making inroads north".

    Changing Times

    "Since the 25-member Florida House delegation is comprised mostly of Republicans — 18 to be exact — the state will ultimately lose some sway with the Democratic takeover." "State's GOP lawmakers must contend with Democratic takeover in Congress".

    "Jeb!" Watch

    Yesterday's Financial Times:

    the most recent rumour involves him appearing on the Republican presidential ticket in 2008 as running mate for John McCain. Bush has refused to be drawn on this, saying only that his immediate plans involve a return to the private sector, where he ran a commercial real estate company before becoming governor.

    A long-standing Bush family dictum calls for family members to have achieved financial security before running for national office. Having reportedly seen his net worth shrink from $2.4m to $1.4m during his time in the governor's mansion, Jeb told reporters recently: "I gotta go to work."
    "Observer: A Bush ends term on a high note". See also "Jeb Bush Ponders Future, Not Knowing What It Holds" and "Jeb Bush quiet about long-term plans".

    Everything Is Wonderful

    Colleen Castille, Jebbie's outgoing secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection claims things are just wonderful: "Let 'pay-as-you-grow' work".

    Florida Fuel

    "Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson won re-election calling for greater efforts to produce fuel from farm products. Mr. Bronson, an Osceola County cattle rancher, is on the right trail." "Grow fuel".

    Death Penalty

    "Study of death penalty high on legislators' list".

    CD 13 Update

    "Sarasota County voting precincts with large numbers of older voters also registered large numbers of undervotes in the disputed congressional race, according to a Herald-Tribune analysis of recently released data from the Nov. 7 election."

    In precincts where the median age was greater than 65, the undervote rate in the congressional race was 18 percent, 40 percent higher than in younger precincts, the analysis shows.

    The trend suggests older voters either chose to skip the congressional race in greater numbers than younger voters, or they had more difficulty casting their vote in that race.

    Several experts said the trend supports the theory that poor ballot design made the District 13 race hard to see on Sarasota County's touch-screen machines and that the age of a voter compounded the problem.
    "'Older' precincts added to problem".

    Palm Beach Politics

    George Bennett yesterday:

    - Ron Klein challengers: As soon as U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Fort Lauderdale, lost to Klein in November, Atwater became the top choice of many Republicans to try to win the seat back in 2008. His decision to stay put and pursue the 2008-10 Senate presidency shifts speculation to such Republicans as state Reps. Adam Hasner and Ellyn Bogdanoff and Boca Raton Mayor Steven Abrams. ...

    - Tim Mahoney challengers: Former state Rep. Joe Negron, the last-minute Republican fill-in when cyberdisgraced U.S. Rep. Mark Foley resigned, came within 2 percentage points of defeating Democrat Mahoney in November and should decide sometime this year whether to seek an '08 rematch in the Republican-leaning district. State Rep. Gayle Harrell and Jupiter attorney Tom Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steeler-owning clan are among other potential GOP candidates. ...

    - Dave Aronberg: The Democratic state senator should reveal this month whether he's running for state attorney or reelection in 2008. The hunch here is that he'll opt for the latter with an eye on the 2010 attorney general's race.
    "Off-year 2007 to bubble with machinations".


    A dKos diary, "Is There a Backlash To a 2008 Hillary or Obama Candidacies?", led us to this CQ piece by our old friend Craig Crawford:

    True to their reputation as microcosms of the nation as a whole, Florida and Ohio are almost evenly divided into red and blue regions. In each state, maximizing turnout of the base is the key to victory for Democrats or Republicans. Clinton or Obama would generate enthusiasm among Democratic partisans, but their greatest challenge would be to avoid letting gender or race serve as a turnout booster on the other side.

    Southern Ohio and Northwest Florida are rooted in Deep South social conservatism, posing the greatest threat to a Democratic ticket that includes a woman or a black. George W. Bush won re-election in 2004 largely on the strength of his successful appeals to southern Ohio voters motivated by issues such as banning gay marriage. Had he not been able to boost turnout in that region, he would not have won Ohio and would not have gained a second term.

    Clinton or Obama would not have to win those regions to prevail in Florida or Ohio. But they would need to minimize the chances that Republicans could generate passionate opposition to their candidacy.
    "Craig Crawford's 1600: Thinking About Tomorrow".

    Read the entire dKos diary here.

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