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, June 01, 2008

RPOF begins the racial attacks on Obama

    John Kennedy and Aaron Deslatte touch on an issue that we all know is going to be big: "Not long ago, Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer pledged that the party and its allies will refrain from injecting race into the presidential contest in the state."
    "There will be no one connected with the Republican Party of Florida who will utilize any issue related to race, because it's not relevant," Greer told reporters gathered in his Tallahassee office.

    But that is exactly what a Democratic congressional candidate says the party did last week when it fired out an e-mail press release bearing a doctored photo purportedly showing Fidel Castro endorsing Barack Obama.

    "I love this guy," read the caption with the photo, which showed Castro holding a newspaper with Obama's face on it.
    "Such tactics exploit Miami's long history of racial tensions between blacks and Hispanics, Garcia said. They also hint at a larger GOP strategy to capture a Democratic-leaning Hispanic voting bloc that had been strongly behind Obama rival Hillary Clinton, he said.""Signs already abound that an Obama-McCain contest will be spiced with racial overtones, given Florida's ethnic stew."
    A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows Obama trailing McCain among white voters by 18 percent, good news for Republicans needing to offset his strength among black voters.

    Hispanics are more problematic. Republicans have gained only 7,500 Hispanic voters since 2006, while Hispanics registering Democratic are up by 64,000. That gives Florida more Hispanic Democrats than Republicans.

    Which means the GOP may have to work hard to win them.
    Go read the whole thing here: "GOP e-mail with 'photo' of Castro, Obama raises eyebrows Doctored photo of Castro, Obama raises eyebrows".

    Shotgun wedding in the works?

    "Rome, a 38-year-old businesswoman who has been quietly dating Crist since September, stepped farther into the spotlight when she accompanied her boyfriend to Republican John McCain's Arizona ranch Memorial Day weekend. That event was widely interpreted as a vetting of Crist and two other candidates for the vice presidential spot on the Republican ticket." "What's next for Crist and the socialite?"

    Is it over yet?

    Adam Smith: "Florida finally counts in Democratic race". See also "Half-Votes For Mich., Fla.", "DNC panel restores Florida delegates", "Florida, Michigan delegates to get half-votes", "Officials say Fla., Mich. delegates will get half-votes", "Web groups press panel to recognize primaries" and "Florida, Mich. get half of votes".

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board yesterday: "Democrats need to end the fighting".

    If this doesn't bring tears to your eyes ...

    ... I don't want to know you: "An elementary school teacher retiring after a 36-year career died of a heart attack moments after saying goodbye to her final class for the summer." "Teacher dies minutes after finishing 36-year career".

    Going, going ...

    ... gone: "For better or worse, term limits forcing out lawmakers".


    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board has a green angle on the commuter rail thing

    Crist likes folks to think he's got the mettle to become the nation's next vice president. Witness all his eager appearances alongside presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

    Only thinking of him as a fortitudinous Second in Command won't come easily if he can't even keep a state senator [Paula Dockery] from crushing a project he calls great and forward-thinking; that's vital to Florida's future and the perfect vehicle for his crusade to lower the state's carbon footprint. ...

    And Mr. Crist? Other than occasionally voicing his support of commuter rail in the media, he tried, the last day of the 60-day legislative session, to settle some outstanding liability issues. Unsuccessfully. Some in the Legislature eager to see him get the project back on track say they don't know what the governor or his staff is doing to make that happen. That's distressing. But they note he's the ideal catalyst to make it happen given his bully pulpit -- a lot bigger than any senator's -- and his perceived neutrality.
    "Our position: If Crist is really "green" leader, he will get OK for commuter trains".

    "I'd buy one for a buck

    "All six million-plus ballots cast in the historic 2000 presidential election remain in storage, and the secretary of state is debating whether to move them out." "Future uncertain for Florida's Bush-Gore ballots from 2000 race".


    Scott Maxwell has a special story today in which answers, apparently by browsing the OpenSecrets website, "Who's funding Your lawmaker?" For example he tips us off that Corrine Brown ...

    Things that make you go 'hmm': Lots of money from unions -- but also planes, trains and ships.
    "Click here to find out more!" (Keller, Feeney, Mica and others are likewise discussed).

    Psst ... let's just change the rules

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "The problem is that Florida's A-Plus Plan, which grades schools based on student performance on the state's standardized test, is woefully out of sync with No Child Left Behind, which was designed to force states with low standards to get tougher. So, while Florida's students continue to improve, schools don't get credit for achieving adequate yearly progress under the federal program. About 450 Florida schools -- some of them A-rated -- are deemed failing under the federal plan." "Our position: Feds should allow state's schools more flexibility in defining success".

    "'Jeff who?'"

    "The Memorial Day weekend that Gov. Charlie Crist spent at Sen. John McCain's Arizona ranch has kept political gadflies buzzing about the prospect of Florida's governor running for vice president alongside McCain this fall."

    Rarely mentioned is the man whom Crist would leave behind to lead Florida, should he run with McCain and win.

    "Everyone in Florida would say, 'Jeff who?'" said Darryl Paulson, a political scientist at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.
    "Tribune: Kottkamp agenda can't be predicted".

    "Foreign language push"

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Florida starts on its foreign language push pretty far behind. The state has a lot of catching up to do, and it won't be able to make headway unless Tallahassee funds this commitment. Don't hold your breath, however." "Saying sí to foreign language instruction not enough; dinero needed".

    Cold, dead hands stuff

    If you can stomach her, Marion Hammer tells us why "Why the 'guns in the glove compartment' law is legal".

    One man's "low pay" ...

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Low-pay one reason new doctors pass up on family practices in Florida".

    Hey, maybe we should pay more for orange juice?

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board properly bemoans that "two weeks ago, a provision died in Congress that would have allowed immigrant agriculture workers temporary legal status and a chance at permanent residency. That could affect Florida and the state's need for farm labor. Just two years ago, Congress had a bipartisan plan for immigration reform and a willing president. But anti-immigrant sentiment spooked Washington." "Slaughterhouse fiasco".

    To be sure, there are very good arguments that we need immigration reform and, more specifically, a method by which illegal immigrant agriculture workers can "temporary legal status and a chance at permanent residency".

    We likewise agree with the The Palm Beach Post editorial Board's assertion that failure to adopt such legislation

    could affect Florida and the state's need for farm labor
    But isn't there another solution, a real simple one, that the swells - including their shills in the traditional media - are simply ignoring?

    I recall being taught this basic rule of capitalism in economics 101, and it goes just like this:
    If there are not enough workers willing to do a job, then the wage rates need to be increased to attract workers to do the job.
    I'm tired of hearing that U.S. workers do not want to do this work. A fallacy propped up by unsupported claims that "picking fruits and vegetables is not a job most Americans will do."

    The fact is, U.S. workers are happy to do hard jobs, even "picking fruits and vegetables", if a market wage rate is offered for performing the job. There are plenty of hard jobs being performed by "legal" workers; millions of "legal" workers work every day in sizzling heat, drenching rains, sweltering humidity and blowing dirt. However, for "legal" workers to be attracted to this work, their employers are required to pay them something more than "modern-day slavery" wages and benefits.

    Stated simply, "legal" workers do not want to do this work at the wage rates U.S. corporations are able to get away with by exploiting illegal immigrants. And the solution is not to make it easier for business to exploit illegal immigrants, but rather to offer higher wage rates (and God forbid benefits) to draw "legal" workers; at the same time, these exploited illegal immigrants (who can't unionize, and can't complain about wage law violations or even slavery for fear of deportation), can and should be provided a method of "temporary legal status and a chance at permanent residency".

    We have previously written that even so-called "liberal" Florida pundits whine that if Florida-agribusiness could not employ [read exploit] illegals, there would be
    "Labor shortages [which would] mean that employers will have to pay more to hire workers, which means that prices will rise for goods and services."
    'Ya reckon? Isn't that precisely how it is supposed to work?

    That Adam Smith fellow put it like this:
    When labourers bid against one another for limited opportunities for employment, the wages of labour collectively fall, whereas when employers compete against one another for limited supplies of labour, the wages of labour collectively rise.
    "Of the Wages of Labour". Florida growers, "capitalists" that they are, for some reason oppose the classic free market principle that the "wages of labour collectively rise" when there are "limited supplies of labour".

    These risk taking "entrepreneurial" types think it is just peachy to enlarge the labor pool with exploited workers ("unlimiting" it, so to speak), thereby artificially - viz. the free market - depressing wage rates.

    That is not to say these country club swells don't believe in at least some market principles; "entreprenurs" cherry pick the "principles" that, you know ... allow them to upgrade to expensive vodka - see "Supply and demand for investment bankers ..." and "A 'free market' for me, but not for thee".

    More: "Why not try old fashioned supply and demand?" and "Try Capitalism". Much more here: "Out here in the fields".

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