"Party leaders have tapped Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to raise money and coach candidates in a high-stakes, aggressive bid to expand the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives."
But as three Miami Democrats look to unseat three of her South Florida Republican colleagues, Wasserman Schultz is staying on the sidelines. So is Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Miami Democrat and loyal ally to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Say what?!?
That wasn't the case just two years ago when the pair flouted a long-standing Florida delegation agreement to not campaign against colleagues and vigorously backed Ron Klein in his winning bid to oust veteran Republican Rep. Clay Shaw.
This time around, Wasserman Schultz and Meek say their relationships with the Republican incumbents, Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and his brother Mario, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, leave them little choice but to sit out the three races.
''At the end of the day, we need a member who isn't going to pull any punches, who isn't going to be hesitant,'' Wasserman Schultz said."Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, which tracks political campaigns, "
The decision comes as Democrats believe they have their best shot in years to defeat at least one of the Cuban-American incumbents with a roster of Democrats that include former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, opposing Lincoln Diaz-Balart; outgoing Miami-Dade Democratic party chair Joe Garcia, opposing Mario Diaz-Balart; and businesswoman Annette Taddeo, opposing Ros-Lehtinen.
But Wasserman Schultz and Meek say their ties to the three Republicans are personal as well as professional: Both served in the state Legislature with Mario Diaz-Balart and say they work in concert with all three on South Florida issues.
Wasserman Schultz has also played a leading role in persuading the new Democratic majority to sustain the economic embargo against Cuba and has established close ties to the staunchly pro-embargo U.S.-Cuba Democracy political action committee, which has contributed thousands to Wasserman Schultz and Meek's campaigns.
said the lack of support from top Democrats could make donors leery."Democrats torn between party, GOP allegiances".
''Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a favorite of leadership, somebody on the move,'' Rothenberg said. ``When somebody like that doesn't want to be a major player in taking on a Republican, that's a signal.''
The chickens are a comin' home to roost
Jim Ash writes that "Florida's budget crisis looms like a dark cloud." "Tempest brewing: Cuts only first drops in budget storm".
Floridians for whatever reason trusted "Jeb Bush And His Amen Chorus Of Goose-Stepping Legislators" with the awesome responsibility of governing Florida. What Floridians got was "policy" representing the worst possible combination of wingnut "ideas" and country club greed. We are now paying the piper.
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board:
A glimpse from the opening scenes of this farce: Gov. Charlie Crist delivered a don't worry, be happy State of the State speech that was out of touch with reality. House Speaker Marco Rubio held a surreal news conference to brag about plans to eliminate a form used in real estate transactions to save $11-million, a tiny fraction of the budget cuts. Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and some of his colleagues publicly insulted university chancellor Mark Rosenberg because he has dared to speak the truth about the consequences of starving higher education. Their attempt to blame him for the Legislature's failings was shameful."Lousy start to session".
The linguistic gymnastics to justify cuts that could be mitigated by raising revenue or using a portion of state reserves are absurd. Rep. Ray Sansom, R-Destin, repeatedly insisted there were no budget cuts at all, just spending reductions. What a relief to community college students who cannot get the classes they need or to judges struggling to keep their courtrooms operating. Sen. Durell Peaden, R-Crestview, tried a different approach. He called the Senate's cold-hearted plan to take $316-million in Medicaid money away from hospitals and nursing homes a rate freeze, not a cut. Either way, services would have to be cut or more costs would have to be shifted to paying patients. ...
House Republicans are not interested in fairness. They are on a path that would inflict as much pain on as many Floridians as possible and starve this state of the revenue it needs not to flourish but to merely aspire to mediocrity.
And Jebbie? You know, the pampered brat who has "hawked luxury condos in South Florida, sold industrial sites for IBM, made bank loans in Venezuela and marketed giant water pumps in Nigeria [and] even tried to sell imported shoes to Wal-Mart"? Well Jebbie has parlayed his service to his country club brethren into even more ill-gotten gains - those Commies at TheStreet.com put it this way: "A senior member of the Bush dynasty is about to get a large sum of money from a company with a history of ethical violations. Stop me if you've heard this one before."
Trifecta! Charlie's empty chair, suit and head
"In 2006 Crist pounded gubernatorial rival Jim Davis for missing votes in Washington ("Jim, as you know, you can't govern from an empty chair")."
Florida Democrats are throwing it right back at him, with a new Web site www.emptychaircharlie, mocking the governor's official schedule that showed him taking off more time than he worked in the first six weeks of the year."Empty chair attack is having an effect".
When the party blasted out an e-mail noting that Crist's schedule showed him doing little on Thursday except campaigning in South Florida with McCain, the Governor's Office added some gubernatorial duties to his official schedule - "work and call time" in the afternoon and national media interviews in the morning.
Kenric Ward: "People like their politicians to be happy warriors. This may explain why Good Time Charlie Crist continues to score well in the polls."
But, really, who is he fighting for?Go read it all here: "Kenric Ward: All things to all people? Crist keeps on spinning".
The “People’s Governor” has sold the press and the public on the notion that he’s a can-do executive who can unite Florida. His daily flurry of news releases and staged appearances — some of them are even in Florida — create the impression that he’s hard at work doing the people’s business.
Don’t confuse activity for accomplishment, however. If you follow the money, you’ll see where Crist’s true allegiances lie.
"Miami-Dade Democrats are slated to elect a new leader Monday to replace party chairman Joe Garcia, who resigned last month to run for Congress. The candidates are Bret Berlin, the local party's state committeeman; Daisy Black, former president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida; and North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns." "Miami-Dade Democrats to elect new chairman".
From the "values" crowd
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Florida figures prominently in the new Pew Center on the States study, which shows that one in every 100 American adults is in prison or jail. Between 1993 and 2007, Florida's inmate population grew to 97,000 from 53,000. Growth like that has made the U.S. No. 1 in the number and percentage of people behind bars. Why isn't everyone horrified?" "Be smarter on crime". The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Too many Americans locked up".
The Oregon way?
"Sen. Bill Nelson believes that the only practical way to settle the state's delegate mess is to hold a second Democratic presidential primary by mail, his chief of staff said Saturday. ... Nelson's office has been speaking to party officials in Oregon about how they handle voting by mail and it's encouraged by what they've heard, Mitchell said. It's still unclear where the money would come from to pay for the vote." "Sen. Nelson sees vote-by-mail as option to solve delegate mess". See also "U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson supports mail-in primary for Florida", "U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Gov. Crist propose plan for primary re-vote" and "Mail-In Vote Possible For Fla.". But see "Why a mail re-do election likely won't happen".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Now is not the time for Florida to hold another primary for the Democratic presidential nomination." "Second Primary For Democrats No Solution To Nominating Mess".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "If Democratic Party won't seat delegates, it should pay for mail-in vote". Randy Schultz:
Flori-duh: The state so dumb (but nice), they have to vote twice."Chance for a do-over is done in".
Flori-duh: Vote early, vote late, vote often.
Flori-duh: Mulligans, they're not just for golf courses anymore.
Michael Mayo: "Democratic do-over could make Flori-duh proud".
Pruitt's vindictive folly
The Miami Herald editorial board: "This is the latest chapter in an old story, the power struggle between legislators and independent boards about who should run state universities. Sen. Pruitt's proposal is a bad idea, and the timing is worse." "The power struggle in higher education".
More than a resume item
"The state commission that has the power to put amendments on property taxes and sales taxes in front of voters in November has 51 ideas waiting for a vote -- and one problem: committee members who aren't showing up."
According to commission attendance records, members who have had the most no-shows include Lee County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Kyle, who has attended 18 percent of the meetings; Miami lawyer Roberto ''Bobby'' Martinez, 29 percent; Mark Bostick, president of Comcar Industries in Winter Haven and Alan Levine, outgoing president of the North Broward Hospital District, 53 percent, and Miami attorney Carlos Lacasa, 59 percent."No-shows plague Fla. tax reform committee".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Florida lawmakers have been more restrained than most in the fray over illegal immigration, a problem best solved at the federal level. Yet state legislators feel pressure from constituents to do something - anything - to express their displeasure with Washington's inability to craft comprehensive reform. Still, it's important for lawmakers to recognize the limits of what Florida can do to address illegal immigration without creating a climate of discrimination. One of the top proposals this year is a simple - and reasonable - measure to make businesses seeking state contracts use the federal E-Verify system to check the immigration status of new hires." "A Reasonable Step In Immigration Reform".
"Gas guzzlers are tops with officials".
If you can stand ...
reading that self-important bow-tied dope: "Lifting the embargo may not free Cuba".
Nutball haven resorts to ...
... dare we say it ... "trial lawyers"?!: "Villages settles lawsuit, will fund $40 million in recreation upgrades".
The voting thing
"With the presidential contest in full swing, voting reform advocates and Florida election officials are trying to develop a better way to monitor election results. State officials agree that Florida's current audit provisions, adopted last year, don't go far enough. But they are wary of too hasty an overhaul during an election year already complicated by a move to the statewide use of optical scan voting equipment." "Better audits are sought for voting". See also "Machines not ready for revote by June 10".
The real maestro
Adam Smith: "Amid the budding presidential primary fiasco, it's easy to overlook this trend: "
For the first time in at least a decade, Florida Democrats no longer look like an endangered species. The latest sign of a Democratic pulse came with a special election late last month in which Tony Sasso became the first Democrat since 1996 to win a Space Coast legislative seat."A savvy strategist gets Democrats elected".
It's the ninth Republican state House seat Democrats have picked off in two years, unheard of in modern Florida. The count stands at 41 Democrats, 77 Republicans, with two open seats expected to remain Democratic.
Have river, will drain
That's our green guv for 'ya: "Crist needs to call halt to reckless policy of draining area rivers".
Of course, Charlie's too busy smilin' to actually ... you know ... do sumthin.
"Gay Democrats gathered Saturday for a conference whose cost was subsidized by U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D- Delray Beach. Attendees heard from a slew of supportive Palm Beach County officials: state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D- Greenacres; state Rep. Susan Bucher, D- Royal Palm Beach; West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel; and U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D- Boca Raton. Several local candidates stopped by. But there weren't any openly gay elected officials or candidates from Palm Beach County. Cross the county line into Broward and there are a half dozen openly gay elected officials in local governments". "Gay candidates focus on wider agenda at Democratic Caucus meeting".
Here's an idea
"Orlando Sen. Gary Siplin persuaded an appeals court last year to overturn his 2006 grand-theft conviction. Now the Democratic lawmaker has a new crusade in the Legislature. Siplin is sponsoring legislation that would allow courts to seal records of as many as three arrests on a person's criminal history, provided he or she was not found guilty of the crimes." "Bill would seal more arrest records".
Imagine that ... politics
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "In the special election to replace state Rep. Frank Peterman, nearly 25,000 registered voters will have no say. For all the talk about voter empowerment in the capital these days, you can lay this one at the feet of the partisans in the Florida Legislature."
In the District 55 race, a woman with no political experience and a personal grudge against former St. Petersburg NAACP president Darryl Rouson filed at the last minute as a write-in. Rouson is a former Republican, and she apparently believes that keeping independents and Republicans away from the polls will hurt him (though the assessment may be politically naive)."Write-in scam shuts out voters".
"With eye to costs, lawmakers open to wiggle room in class-size law".
Running government like a business
"At the same time state lawmakers are pushing to shake up Florida's university system, some Republicans are questioning why the person who runs that system is getting an extra $200,000 on top of his annual state salary." "Lawmakers question chancellor's bonus pay".
One man's "debate"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The immigration "debate" is never short on hyperbole. Still, the protesters at Jupiter's El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center last weekend took distortion to a new level."
About 100 people came from around South Florida to demonstrate against the labor center. They were angry, vocal, and generally off-base. ... How about blaming American consumers for demanding cheap goods and services? One protester called the center a "Taj Mahal" where workers enjoy extravagant amenities. Folding chairs, Styrofoam cups and mass-produced coffee is extravagance?"".
Leading the protesters was state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart. She is running for the congressional seat of Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens, and has chosen immigration as the issue on which to demagogue.