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.


Older posts [back to 2002]

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The Blog for Sunday, March 16, 2008

Run, Charlie, run!

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day - Mike Thomas: "Charlie Crist saved John McCain in the Florida primary. Now Charlie needs McCain to save him from Florida. Vice president has been mentioned.I'd also consider him for secretary of state." After all,
    by next January, Iraq certainly would be a more hospitable place than Tallahassee.

    The state Capitol is in what former pilot McCain might call a flat spin, rupturing billions of dollars, going down so fast even Crist may not be able to bail out in time.

    This is not his forte. Charlie is a campaigner, not a leader.
    This is a keeper:
    He is a political savant. He is Bill Clinton, minus the understanding of what he is talking about.
    Thomas continues, observing that Charlie is in a financial mess: "love in politics can be like love in a Hollywood marriage, based on temporary infatuations developed during feel-good moments. Those moments are ending for Crist as he confronts a budget meltdown the likes of which Florida has seldom, if ever, seen."
    In Tallahassee, money traditionally has been the root of all popularity. And the lack of it has been a curse that has plagued far stronger governors than Crist.

    This is why he spends so much time on the campaign trail with John McCain.

    Wouldn't you?
    "Timing is right: Hello D.C. -- goodbye Florida". All we can say, indeed pray, is "run, Charlie, run!"

    "Unspeakable, heretical"

    Adam C. Smith says "it's time to broach an unspeakable, heretical suggestion in this state: Maybe, just maybe, Democrats can continue snubbing America's biggest swing state and still march into the White House."

    Sorry to say it, folks, but Florida may not be center of the political universe this year.
    Sounds like a plan. "'With all these states it's clearly a resource decision, and if you can win the White House without spending millions of dollars in Florida, why would you?' asked Miami-based Democratic consultant Derek Newton." And she who knows of what she speaks, Robin Rorapaugh, puts it this way:
    "We've been the target for so many years it's very tough for people to think we might not be,'' said Robin Rorapaugh, a veteran Democratic consultant based in Broward County. "But it is still very much up in the air as to Florida being a targeted state. Part of it is who becomes the nominee, and part of it is balancing the cost of starting a campaign from scratch here."

    And part of it is the national electoral map that looks a whole lot more hospitable for Democrats than it did in 2004 or 2000. ...

    The standard Democratic path is to count on some 15 thoroughly Democratic states like New York and California to deliver about 200 electoral votes, and then focus on winning enough swing states to reach the winning number of 270. One Democratic governor once derided the strategy as competing in 16 states and "then hope for a triple bank-shot to win Ohio or Florida."

    But the map is changing. Not only are big swing states such as Ohio looking more Democratic-leaning than they have in years, but a host of formerly red states from Virginia to Colorado look ripe for Democrats to pick off.

    The Obama campaign is even talking up their ability to win such solidly red states as Kansas and North Carolina.
    "Dems might not need Florida". Check out "The new map".

    Back at the ranch, are the FlaDems imploding? "Florida Democrats, along with the rest of the nation, have gotten a glimpse for two weeks at the innards of their state and national parties and the behind-the-scenes role each plays in making a presidential candidate." "State Democrats fear vote brawl inflicts lasting bruises on party". See also "Florida Democrats go from major player to role on sidelines".

    Raw political courage

    "State officials estimate Florida's prisons will swell to 100,000 inmates by year's end, with about 20 percent serving sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Each prisoner costs more than $19,000 a year to incarcerate, and at the current pace, Florida will have to build two prisons a year through 2013 to keep up*." "Crist says he smoked marijuana, but supports Fla. drug law as is". The word "dunce" comes to mind:

    Crist said he wants to keep the laws the way they are. ''It's important to make sure that we do what the first order of business is, and that is to ensure domestic tranquility -- make sure that our people are safe -- and that means locking up bad people,'' he said.

    What about nonviolent drug offenders?

    They were thoughtfully put in place [sic]. And I know there is a budget crunch. But I don't want to sacrifice public safety,'' Crist said.
    "Crist wants to maintain drug penalties".

    Decisions, decisions ...

    "State legislators have begun looking at what state programs to cut, and the list is long, wide- ranging and growing."

    A few likely losers: hospitals, nursing-home providers and anyone scraping by to help the 2.3 million on Medicaid; public defenders, prosecutors and judges who say they're in crisis as crimes and court filings increase and staff sizes decrease; teachers, who will see lawmakers try to weaken the class-size caps amendment.

    Possible winners: Road builders and rail-line companies stand to earn billions in economic-stimulus money if the Senate gets its way. Private prison operators and prison construction companies [thoughtful RPOF contributors all] stand to gain as the state prison system -- now near capacity -- builds two lockups yearly for the next five years as the incarcerated population nears 100,000.
    "Florida agencies face deep cuts across board".

    Who knew?

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:

    Last week Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander offered a proposal that could have rolled back protections against drilling in waters off Florida and other coastal states. Florida Democrat Bill Nelson parried the measure by winning approval for his own proposal to reaffirm drilling limits.

    The oil and natural-gas industries, and their pals in Congress, have long eyed the eastern Gulf of Mexico. But Florida's environmentally fragile and economically vital Gulf coast could be devastated by a major oil spill from a rig too close to shore.

    In 2006, Mr. Nelson and Florida's other senator, Republican Mel Martinez, agreed to open millions more acres in the Gulf to oil and gas drilling. In return, they secured a buffer that would keep rigs at least 125 miles off Florida's shores until 2022. That deal might have begun unraveling if the Senate had passed Mr. Alexander's proposal instead of Mr. Nelson's.

    There are bound to be more attempts to blow up the 2006 deal ...
    "Our position: Federal lawmakers shouldn't even be thinking about rolling back protections for gulf".

    And Florida wants to do a Dem primary re-do by mail ballot?

    "Just nine days before the primary election, the U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 1,100 absentee ballots for the state House District 55 race. Pinellas elections officials said they delivered the 1,117 ballots to the Clearwater Bulk Mail Unit on Monday. Postal officials confirmed the ballots were received but say they have no record of what happened to them after that." "1,117 absentee ballots for House race are lost".

    The ballots for the March 25 primary in the House District 55 race were delivered to a postal center on Monday, but officials don't know what happened to them after that.

    The mailings were meant for residents who requested absentee ballots. Replacement ballots have been mailed.

    The seat was vacated in February when Frank Peterman Jr., a Democrat from St. Petersburg, was appointed to lead the Department of Juvenile Justice.

    The loss of the ballots concerned Democratic party leaders.
    This is the race in a predominately Democratic district where three Dems are seeking to
    replace Peterman; no Republicans are running. Two of the candidates - attorney Darryl Rouson [who just switched from Republican to Democrat] and St. Petersburg City Council Member Earnest Williams - have argued bitterly during their campaigns for the seat.
    "Absentee ballots go missing in primary race to replace lawmaker". One hopes that Rouson's RPOF friends aren't up to more of their old mail ballot tricks, like you know ... when Republican elected officials let "Republican Party workers take away the ballot requests on a daily basis, add missing voter identification numbers and resubmit them". 'Ya got a problem with that? The Florida courts don't (.pdf link).

    Carl Hiassen poses some questions:
    - This whole thing is just a gag, right? Somebody's lame idea of a joke?

    - Does anyone in their right mind believe that Florida could conduct postal balloting without a major screw-up or scandal?

    - Isn't there any sort of plan to protect against fraud and ballot-stuffing?
    Hiassen has more questions and al the answers here:"What can go wrong in the 're-do'? Only everything".

    Lights, camera, wingnut

    Poor little Marco, he's worried that no one will remember him: "House Speaker Marco Rubio's power may be waning as he moves toward the end of his two-year term as presiding officer. But the conservative West Miami Republican has set the table this week for what could be his last best shot at major property tax reform. Rubio has moved a potentially pivotal Taxation and Budget Reform Commission meeting set for Monday from a state building far from the Capitol into the House of Representatives main offices." "Marco Rubio trying one more time to push his tax plan".

    RPOF "leadership" in an election year

    "More and more Floridians are buying shoes from zappos.com and flowers from proflowers.com. And it's all tax free. Proponents of collecting taxes on Internet sales say the state could rake in $2-billion annually and plug gaping holes in the state budget. But proposals to collect such taxes appear doomed again because too many Republicans consider them tax hikes, which won't fly in an election year." "Internet tax balloon still tethered in Florida".

    Stupid RPOF tricks

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Florida's shortage of physicians and nurses is so severe that patients in need of critical care have been dumped to hospitals in other counties. ... Getting rid of hospital regulation with those kinds of shortages would not spur healthy competition, as Gov. Crist contends. It would leave more Floridians competing for riskier health care." "Keep hospital regulation".

    Who elects these fools?

    "A resolution sponsored by Florida GOP lawmakers calls for adding Venezuela to the U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism" "Fla. GOP lawmakers urge declaring Chávez terror sponsor".


    "A former pro wrestler is out, a New York City political consultant is in, as Christine Jennings' campaign manager. Jennings said Friday she has hired Lonny Paris to oversee her 2008 campaign against U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, who narrowly defeated her for the 13th Congressional District seat two years ago. Parris succeeds Mitch Kates, who resigned. In a previous career, the 6-foot-6 Kates performed as 'Jason the Terrible' on the professional wrestling circuit." "Jennings gets new manager for campaign".

    It is that time of year ...

    ... when the corporate media wants you to know how very special they are: "Sunshine week". See "Sunshine Week illuminates free-speech issues". See also "Agencies find a path around data disclosure".

    Florida's "new darling of the homosexual extremists" is impressed with himself: "AG helps keep state in the Sunshine".

    Links to our traditional media's at once self-serving and self-righteous editorials follow: "Sunshine spoken here", "Open government finds allies", "Sunshine Sunday calls attention to Florida's open records and public meetings laws", "Our position: Several measures before lawmakers could help or hurt openness" and "Holding public officials accountable".

    A real editorial board chimes in: "Florida's open-meeting and open-record laws are windows that reveal how well or how poorly government runs. Some want the windows shut for fear the public will find out too much. Some want them opened wider. Too often, the windows are shut." "Keep Florida in the 'sunshine'".

    That's our Buddy ...

    "Something doesn't smell right about Buddy Johnson's cattle operation. The Hillsborough County elections chief bought a piece of property last year for $800,000. He subdivided the 20 acres into six lots, plunked down some cows and applied for a huge tax break, calling it agricultural land. The county property appraiser should take a hard look at this one." "Tax deal smells wrong". More from our Tampabay Democrat: "Hillsborough SOE, Buddy Johnson (R), Uses Cows to Avoid Taxes".

    Feel the luv

    Daniel Ruth writes that "one of the real fringe benefits of this work is the occasional pat on the back for a job well done from yet another satisfied customer".

    "Let's hope the next heart attack rids this world of yet another liberal fat slob," recently wrote what could best be described as a - fan.

    In fact, the above missive was only slightly less heartfelt than the generous note I received recently from an obvious groupie who whimsically wished I would be infected with cancerous tumors and die a long and painful death.

    It's that sort of love that gives me the strength to carry on.

    Consider this online response to a recent column about musician Dan Penn, posted by di4blues: "Do you dismiss all music, you don't know about?"

    Actually, the answer to that is yes. It's one of the perks of being - picky.


    Another recent column, which concerned a Lakeland speech at Christian Southeastern University by former Gov. Jeb Bush, who secretly cut a $491 million deal with CSX Transportation that could carve up the city with additional freight lines, encouraged this reader reaction.

    "Anyone who would pay to hear that moron speak probably has to attend speaking events, since they probably can't read," wrote tampaguy69. Ouch.

    Then there was this from drdneast: "As I recall, Bush carried Polk County quite handily during his two elections. Due in part no doubt, to all of the evangelical Christians that populate the area. Well folks you got exactly what you deserved."
    "Can't You Just Feel All The Love That's Pouring In From Readers?"

    Seems our "legislators" overreacted a bit

    "It might be a problem in professional sports, but steroid use is nearly nonexistent among Florida high school athletes, a pilot testing program shows." "Tests show steroid abuse rare in state's high school sports".

    The statistics suggest ...

    "A pair of South Florida congressmen are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to take immediate action against a flight school that has been involved in three fatal crashes since October. U.S. Reps. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, and Robert Wexler, D-Delray Beach, said they wanted the FAA to prioritize its review of Kemper Aviation of Lantana." "Congressmen call on FAA to act against flight training school".

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