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 Sunday, May 20, 2007

"Jeb!" Explains Why He's Fab

    "Former Gov. Jeb Bush says he wishes he had done a better job of convincing educators and parents that the FCAT exam and other education reforms were necessary and would improve Florida schools." In short, Jebbie - like Dubya - is incapable of acknowledging any mistake, no matter how small:
    "If I could have changed anything," he told Education Next magazine, "it would have been to better communicate to parents, teachers and principals both the need for reform and the incremental nature of progress that can be made."

    The Orlando Sentinel was given an advance copy of the interview. In it Bush, who left office in January, talks about school choice, the drive to raise standards for student performance, merit pay for teachers and changes he favors in the federal No Child Left Behind law.
    The Sentinel does concede at the close of the article today that interview - which the Sentinel is touting as some sort of an exclusive - was given to what is little more than a right wing rag. Paul
    Peterson of Education Next [a publication of the Hoover Institution] said he gave the Sentinel a preview of the interview in hopes of attracting a wider audience for the former governor's remarks than the policy makers and political leaders that the journal typically reaches. The interview will be available online and in print.

    The Hoover Institution is a politically conservative think tank that has ties to President Bush's administration and supports many of his policies. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Attorney General Edwin Meese are among its fellows.
    "Jeb Bush has few regrets on education".

    Florida's Booming Economy

    "Across the region, unexpected medical bills, rising homeowner insurance, property taxes and other costs of living have plenty of lower- and middle-income consumers on the verge of losing their homes." "Foreclosure crisis looms, housing analysts say".

    And Rubio Would Give Them A Pay Cut?

    "South Florida firefighters return from battling northern blazes".

    Poor Things

    "At a time when Florida's religious right could use a pep talk, two of the staunchest conservatives running for president tried Saturday to offer inspiration."

    About 700 people attended the dinner hosted by the ''pro-life, pro-family and pro-marriage'' Family Florida Policy Council, in what has become the largest annual gathering of its kind in Florida.

    ''Please don't give up now,'' said Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, who was followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. ``We can win this fight.''

    It's a challenging time to be a religious conservative in Florida: Brownback and Huckabee, who received standing ovations, are considered long shots in the 2008 race. The council's political arm is struggling to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Florida.

    Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Crist -- who passed up an invitation to the event -- is winning accolades for his moderate approach.

    Partly because of his influence, measures to restrict abortion and expand adult stem-cell research failed in the recent legislative session.

    Where do social conservatives in Florida go from here?
    "Advice for right: 'Don't give up'". See also "Brownback, Huckabee seek social conservatives' support" and "GOP Candidates Talk Social Issues With Conservatives" ("The crowd was the kind that should make any Republican political candidate drool - nearly 800 conservative religious members of the Florida Family Policy Council.")

    Carl Hiaasen

    "To make a bigger political splash, Florida is moving its presidential primary back to Jan. 29."

    The new date is too early to please some Democratic and Republican strategists, but not early enough to satisfy many Floridians. It isn't because of state pride that we want to be the first to host the presidential contenders; it's because of dread. We want to get this exhausting spectacle over with as soon as possible.

    January is too far off. By then, our new voting machines could already be installed, and ready to malfunction.

    But by holding our election earlier -- say, on a slow Thursday during the next couple of weeks -- we could ignite a nationwide trend that would properly devalue the primaries and bring some sanity back to politics.
    "Why not hold our primary next week?".

    Turkey Hunt

    "This week is expected to be a busy one in the governor's office - and for all interested parties waiting in the wings to see if Charlie Crist vetoes or lets pass various pieces of legislation or special projects that show up as line items in the state budget." "Will he or won't he?", "Crist faces veto decision on legislative goodies". See also "Millions allotted for pet projects" and "After 'Veto Corleone,' expect Crist to have lighter budget touch".

    On the Road Again

    "Crist is campaigning again -- this time to break a legislative deadlock over property taxes that some fear could harden even more and turn Floridians against the popular chief executive."

    But some of Crist's supporters say his recent flurry of town halls and television sound bites are doing little to focus the debate and raising tax-cutting expectations beyond what he calls "the doable." ...

    Stumping across the state, the Republican governor is offering sunny rhetoric and big promises as he and Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp host town halls, consumer roundtables and television appearances aimed at spurring lawmakers toward resolving the tax dispute in a June 12-22 special session
    "Crist increases pressure for tax cuts".

    "Who Knew"?

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board asks: "Who knew cutting taxes would be this hard? After bickering for 60 days, lawmakers gave up during their regular session with nothing to show for it but growing frustration from taxpayers. So it's encouraging that leaders have finally agreed that the best way to cut taxes is to create a fairer system that expands property-tax exemptions. Now promises need to become reality." "Making sense". See also "Homeowners weigh property tax proposal" ("After arguing for months about the best way to save people money, Republicans have largely agreed on a new proposal to revamp Florida's property tax system by exempting most of a home's value from the tax rolls.")

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Whether it's the dramatic approach House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, proposed or the more moderate plan House Democrats offered, the first two attempts at resolving the property-tax standoff in the Legislature have one good thing in common: For the most part, they do away with Save Our Homes." "Ending Save Our Homes key to any tax reform".

    The St Pete Times editorial board: "There is a glimmer of hope in the debate over property tax relief because House Speaker Marco Rubio has given up on a tax swap that was politically and economically unworkable. But it is only a glimmer because the Miami Republican remains determined to cut property taxes so deeply it would devastate local government programs and services." "Moving ahead on tax relief".

    "Cheap Water"

    "The drought lingers, despite recent rains, forcing a miserable choice on the South Florida Water Management District. Some coastal wells are low on fresh water; encroaching salt water could ruin them. In the northernmost Everglades, water is almost 2 inches below safe levels for birds, fish and plants. Should the district take water from wildlife and use it to save wells that serve Palm Beach and Broward counties?" "The end of cheap water".

    Decisions, Decisions ...

    "Would Florida Republicans prefer Brit Hume or Sean Hannity? Those are the likely moderators for Florida's national televised Republican presidential debate in October, state GOP chairman Jim Greer told party activists Saturday." "State is gaining clout, GOP told".

    Those Pesky Petitions

    The Chamber is unhappy: it has spent years purchasing legislation the old fashioned way, yet upstart "liberal" groups keep getting in the way via the petition process:

    For the past three years, the Florida Chamber of Commerce has lobbied lawmakers to impose new limits on groups that gather voter signatures for ballot initiatives.

    The chamber contends that it's much too easy to amend Florida's Constitution, that a profit motive leads to fraud in signature gathering, and that voters should know whether petition circulators are being paid by interest groups.

    The group has lost high-profile ballot battles in recent years, like the 2004 amendment that raised the minimum wage, and is fighting a proposed 2008 initiative that would require voter approval for land use changes.
    And check out these wild-eyed liberals who the Chamber feels the need to rein in:
    But the chamber's success in the Legislature has outraged groups active in ballot initiatives, many with liberal agendas hostile to the chamber's probusiness philosophy. ...

    "This is a nightmare, " said Dianne Wheatley-Giliotti of Palm Harbor, a leader in the League of Women Voters of Florida. ...

    Other critics of the legislative changes include the Florida AFL-CIO, American Cancer Society, Common Cause, Florida Public Interest Research Group, Humane Society and People for the American Way.
    "Petitions may face hurdles".

    "Crash Course"

    "Port St. Lucie mom Jodi Walsh received a firsthand crash course in the inner workings of state politics this year. This political novice-turned-activist persuaded a Treasure Coast lawmaker to take up her push to get legislators to better define and clarify its law on verbal child abuse - which hurts mentally and emotionally rather than physically." "Mother persists on verbal child-abuse law".

    The Early Primary Thing

    Mark Lane

    So what happens next? Here are the three likely outcomes:

    1. Each party gets into a rules fight at the convention over how many Florida delegates to seat. The frontrunner will want as many as will make him or her look good. Which, unless Florida's voters are wildly out of step with the nation, could turn out to be about the number the state would get anyway.

    The primary system will then be declared broken, and everyone will go into a two-year huddle to come up with something less absurd.

    2. At least one of the parties will worm its way out of the sanctions by declaring that the primary won't be binding on its delegate-selecting process. The delegates will be chosen later based on the primary results, but without delegates for candidates who dropped out.

    The primary system will then be declared broken, and everyone will go into a two-year huddle to come up with something less absurd.

    3. Or, not wanting to anger an important swing state, the parties will revise the rules informally and ratify the changes at the convention.

    The primary system will then be declared broken, and everyone will go into a two-year huddle to come up with something less absurd.

    Whatever happens, Florida, the state that demonstrated that the electoral college doesn't work, the state that demonstrated that touch-screen voting doesn't work, soon will be the state to demonstrate that the presidential primary system doesn't work, either.
    "Florida the state that broke the presidential primary system".

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