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
"every political insider should be reading right now."

E-Mail Florida Politics

This is our Main Page
Our Sister Site
On FaceBook
Follow us on Twitter
Our Google+ Page
Contact [E-Mail Florida Politics]
Site Feed
...and other resources


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 Thursday, January 31, 2008

Short sighted Floridians "take the bait"

    Floridians courageously voted for a measly tax cut:
    Basking in the star power of a popular governor, Republican faithful spent Wednesday giving Charlie Crist the credit for Amendment 1's surprise victory.

    Others wondered where the polls went astray.
    Here's the less than surprising answer:
    Critics are quick to point out that history isn't exactly littered with voters turning down lower tax bills, particularly a measure that would slash $9.3 billion over the next five years and give the average homeowner a $240 annual windfall.

    "Is there another time when we've put out that bait and the people haven't taken it?" Sandy D'Alemberte, a former lawmaker, Florida State University president and former president of the American Bar Association, said dismissively.
    "Crist credited with '1'". See also "Gov. Charlie Crist's clout rises with primary vote", "Savvy Crist boosts moderates' position in state GOP", "Crist proves he can deliver votes", "Gov. Charlie Crist was also a winner in Florida's primary", "Crist's gamble on McCain pays off, more dividends could come" and "Voters' love affair with Crist far from over, election shows". The Palm Beach Post editors: "Charlie is the darling".

    The Miami Herald editors: "When it came to ballot questions, a lot of voters were thinking about money on Tuesday. Statewide, they said Yes by a large margin to padding their wallets a bit by approving a constitutional amendment that will, among other changes, increase the homestead exemption, lowering property taxes slightly." "High property taxes propelled Yes votes".

    The St. Pete Times editorial board: "With the housing market stalled and the economy flirting with a recession, Florida voters decided Tuesday they could not afford to take the long view on tax reform." "Tax vote won't be last word".

    We've finally found those "deep thinkers" Jebbie referred to: "Tax-plan vote shows capital voters buck trends". More from the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board:
    It is of small consolation that the voters in Leon County defeated Amendment 1 by a 2-to-1 margin while statewide it was supported by 64 percent on Tuesday.

    Exceeding the 60-percent support required for passage, voters defied the polls that indicated the amendment wouldn't pass — that said voters wouldn't risk trading small property-tax reductions for some homeowners for cuts in an array of local-government services.

    No doubt the economic concerns that set off alarms on Wall Street and among investors and savers during the week before Election Day sent many Florida voters running for cover. Better to say "yes" to whatever modest tax cut might possibly trickle down to them than look to the greater good.
    "The rest is yet to come".

    "Tuesday wasn't the best of times and it wasn't the worst of times. Both are quite likely still to come, but probably not in that order."

    "A day after voters gave themselves a property tax break, local government officials started trying to figure out how to pay for it. The constitutional amendment, which received statewide approval of 64 percent of voters, will require $9.2'billion in property tax cuts during the next five years." "Officials ponder layoffs, reduced services after tax-cut vote". See also "Voters approve changes in Florida's property tax laws" ("State economists have estimated that the tax breaks will cost local governments $9.3 billion in lost revenue over the next five years and public schools, $1.3 billion.")

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board has an idea - "If the amendment turns out to be as harsh as some fear, local governments will need to press for pay cuts, not layoffs. While that approach won't please unions, pay cuts will be better for public health and safety than staff cuts." Cool: let's cut the pay of those fat, lazy firefighters and law enforcement officers. The Palm Beach Post has showed its derrière on this issue before: see "Who Writes this Garbage?", "The Annual 'Labor Day' Insult" and "Firefighters' "outlandish benefits" and "sweet pay plans"" and "".

    "Other issues"?

    "A day after Floridians voted to lower their property taxes, several members of a constitutional commission said they now want to shift the focus to making those taxes fairer. Taxation and Budget Commission Chairman Allen Bense, though, said Wednesday that he thought the panel should concentrate, instead, on other issues." "Property tax issue shifts to commission after voters OK relief". See also "Taxation panel divided over next step on property taxes".

    We know what these "other issues" are, don't we: "It's the tax commission, not the Jeb commission".

    Primary News

    "To hear Mitt Romney tell it, Florida didn't anoint John McCain. It merely narrowed a scrambled Republican field to a two-man race." "Presidential field thins as Florida alters race".

    "Latino voters swung behind Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain, handing them wins in the Florida primary, analysts said Wednesday, while blacks overwhelmingly voted for Sen. Barack Obama."

    Florida's black Democrats voted for Obama 3-to-1, according to reports by The Associated Press, exceeding predictions by pre-election polls and continuing the support that black voters gave him in South Carolina.

    But his lackluster performance among non-blacks — he had 33 percent of the Democratic vote overall — baffled Barbara Cheives, a diversity consultant in West Palm Beach who has donated money to Obama's campaign.
    "Florida's Latino vote powered victories by Clinton, McCain".

    "About 42 percent of Democratic voters cast ballots in Tuesday's presidential primary, the highest turnout in decades and one that surprised observers because the candidates did not campaign here and the state was stripped of its delegates." "Tuesday's primary vote breaks turnout record".

    The St. Pete Times editors: "So Florida matters after all. The heavy voter turnout in the state's presidential primary election did not produce a stunning upset or a big surprise in either party's nomination battle. However, John McCain's victory over Mitt Romney made him the Republican front-runner, at least for now. Florida Democrats, meanwhile, tapped the brakes on Barack Obama's momentum coming off a crushing victory over Hillary Clinton in South Carolina last Saturday." "Florida matters after all".

    "Buzz from other states and timely endorsements from high-profile Florida figures seemed to trump money and the vaunted campaign 'ground game' revered by political insiders in Tuesday's Republican presidential primary." "Momentum offset McCain's lack of money, structure".

    "Clinton coasted to victory in Florida's Democratic presidential primary by earning some of her biggest wins in the state's largest counties, unofficial results showed Wednesday." "Big counties delivered in Clinton's easy win".

    The Sun-Sentinel editors:
    It was bad enough Florida Democrats got dissed by the national committee, which essentially said Florida's primary vote is meaningless because the state party abided by a decision to hold an early primary.

    Now add to that the spectacle of Hillary Clinton hypocritically trying to use Florida to her advantage moments after the polls closed Tuesday evening. ...

    Again, you can take issue with the DNC's tactics. Fact is, though, the candidates pledged to go along with the ban on Sunshine State campaigning.

    But here's the deal: if you're not going to fight for Florida inside Florida, don't show up to claim victory, and then zip out of town in a whirlwind.

    Voters keep saying integrity matters. As the election year heats up, the Clinton camp needs to keep that in mind.
    "Not so fast, Hillary".

    The News-Journal editors: "National party leaders intended to punish Florida for jumping in line to hold an early presidential primary. But the state's voters still turned out at a respectable 38 percent. As for whether the results counted -- ask Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani, both of whom saw their presidential aspirations crash and burn after state voters put them in third place." "Primary tension".

    "Florida's decision to move up its presidential primary helped to give Republicans a clearer front-runner headed into next week's Super Tuesday contests. It also rang the death knell of two other candidates, Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani, from the field of presidential hopefuls. And it may yet create a chaotic nominating convention fight between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama." "Florida's Impact Uncertain".

    Daniel Ruth can be deliciously mean:
    Giuliani's entire raison d'etre for the presidency was that he was mayor of New York City on one of the worst days of this nation's history. Did he prevent the attacks? No. Did he capture the guys who plotted it? No. Did he rebuild the World Trade Center? No.

    In reality he was simply "Being There," the Chance the Gardener of catastrophes.

    Giuliani's insane strategy to dedicate virtually all of his time and money to Florida as a launching pad to the White House was more obviously misguided and delusional than 99.9 percent of the contestants on "American Idol" thinking they are the next Frank Sinatra.
    "In reality, a hair raising candidate". A more sober assessment of Giuliani's Florida flop: Palm Beach Post editors:

    Dying for his act

    Poor Mike Thomas, professional contrarian, is really dying for his act this morning: "Offshore drilling could reduce global warming" ("If global warming is that big a problem, then slowing it with some benign gas rigs off our coast is a harmless price to pay.")

    As Floridians ready themselves for their $240 tax cut ...

    ... we have a "crisis" in higher education

    Florida State University President T.K. Wetherell on Wednesday explained to faculty members the proposal that has his support to address higher-education-funding woes.

    At a general faculty meeting, Wetherell laid out the university's financial problems and how they could be solved by the state picking up the tab on the required local effort on property taxes for local schools and investing some of that money into higher education.

    "We've got a crisis on our hands," Wetherell said. "The state of Florida has got to step up."

    Recently, the FSU board of trustees approved slicing $30 million from spending in response to the state's poor financial climate.
    "State should pick up local school tab, Wetherell says".

    Not exactly "legal giants"

    "Crist, who sometimes recalls his days as a college quarterback, simply 'called an audible' under a blitz from the federal government when he signed a casino gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, his lawyer told the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday. But he was constitutionally off-sides, replied a former House speaker who argued that governors can't unilaterally legalize new forms of gambling without running it by the Legislature." "Attorneys argue gambling deal before Supreme Court". See also "Seminole gaming tug-of-war in Supreme Court's hands".

    Another tax break

    "Another big property tax break is headed to Florida voters, but this one would benefit only owners of vast swaths of vacant land. The proposal: Keep your land green forever, and you'll never pay property taxes on it again. If voters agree, thousands of acres worth billions of dollars could be saved from development. But the property also would vanish from tax rolls of counties already coping with reduced revenues after last year's tax rate rollback and Tuesday's voter-approved tax cut." "Untouched and untaxed".

    CD 15

    "State Sen. Mike Haridopolos is poised to announced whether he'll seek the congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Dave Weldon. ... Meanwhile, Haridopolos' Senate colleague Bill Posey,
    R-Rockledge, said he wouldn't seek the seat if Haridopolos does." "Posey waits for cue from colleague".

    Stop the presses!

    Always nice to see an editorial board write a pro-union piece:

    Jonathan Tasini is a forgotten footnote in Democratic Party history. He challenged Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2006 Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate in New York. But Tasini's place as a champion for writers' rights is more secure. Understand what he accomplished, and you may begin to understand why television and movie writers are on strike, why their demands are fair, and why the conglomerates opposing them are being greedy and deceitful.
    "Pennies for striking writers".

<< Home