Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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, July 27, 2008

Florida GOP manages to play both the race and commie cards

    The dunces comprising the RPOF are left to beg their knuckle-draggers to vote, resorting to "bluntly pleading for conservative voters to put aside past preferences and unite behind Sen. John McCain in November."

    However, in our post-Jeb discourse, language like this is over the top
    "What Obama stands for is redistribution of wealth," [Republican National Committeeman Paul Senft] told about 100 party activists at the Okaloosa County headquarters. "A guy wrote a book about it, I think his name was Karl — I dunno — Marx or something."
    Imagine a Dem saying this about your typical GOPer icon (say "Jeb!"):
    "What "Jeb!" stands for is the consolidation of wealth," ... "A guy wrote a book about it, I think his name was Adolph — I dunno — Hitler or something."
    GOPers really believe this stuff; consider these fine words from Charlie's hand-picked race baiter RPOF chair:
    "Republicans get up and go to work," Greer said he told the boy. "Democrats get up and go down to the mailbox to get their checks."
    "GOP urges voters to unite for McCain".

    I get it, Dems are a bunch of "welfare queens", milking the system so they can drive that car of choice of people with icky black skin. Ya know, just like Saint Ronnie said:
    Reagan repeatedly told the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen — a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud. He never mentioned the woman’s race, but he didn’t have to.
    "Republicans and Race". Hey ... I know I'm just a panhandlerMr. Greer, but ain't that Obamer feller a negro, just like those Cadillac-driving welfare queens?

    Might the desperate RPOF be appealing to their bases' baser instincts?
    Although Obama appears highly competitive with McCain in recent Florida polls, skeptics point to what is known as the "Wilder Effect" -- the phenomenon of non-white candidates falling well short of pre-election polls in the actual vote. It is based on the premise that some voters essentially lie to pollsters when it comes to race.
    " Will race sway state on Obama?".

    "Buckle up for a presidential roller coaster in Florida"

    "Not so long ago, a lot of politicos were talking about Florida being a cakewalk for John McCain, and Barack Obama writing off the state. Not anymore."Obama is shattering the mold for Democratic campaigns in Florida. One-hundred days out from the election, Obama already has — brace yourself for this — about 200 paid staffers working in Florida, with more on the way. On Saturday, the Obama campaign held more than 100 organizational meetings with 5,000 people to initiate a "Florida Neighborhood Teams for Change" program. "Florida no longer a given for McCain".

    "When presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama arrive in Florida this week for the first time in more than a month, they'll find a tight race for the state's precious electoral votes. Obama appears to have closed the gap on McCain - taking the lead in several recent polls for the first time - following a glut of campaign hires, a swarm of organizing and, perhaps most importantly, his first flood of targeted television ads, particularly in North Florida."

    "While McCain has spent little on television in Florida in recent weeks,"

    Obama has saturated the state. From June 20 to July 6, Obama aired more than 2,400 ads in Florida, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

    Dividing the state's television markets into four regions shows that Obama's first significant television buy in Florida was targeted mostly in North Florida. Thirty-five percent of his ads aired in the Gainesville, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Panama City markets.
    "Hopefuls gird for Florida slugfest".

    Never ending media man-crush on "Jeb!"

    Kingsley Guy, retired Sun-Sentinel Editorial Page Editor, one assumes unintentionally, reminds us of the media's never ending man-crush on "Jeb!"; recall that Jebbie ran Florida into the ground while the "media" cowered in fear; now they want to rewrite his record:

    In 2004-05, the Sunshine State had to contend with an unprecedented eight hurricanes. Under the capable and visible leadership of Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, state agencies did a first-rate job in deploying resources and maintaining order.

    George W's reputation collapsed in the wake of Katrina, but his younger brother's rose. Jeb, a very smart man, left office in 2006 with an approval rating among Floridians at the mid-to-high 60 percent level. One can only wonder what the state of the nation and the GOP would be today had the stars aligned differently, and Jeb — rather than George W. — were sitting in the Oval Office.
    "Voters have basic request — competence".

    "Among the most politicized in the nation"

    "In only the latest example of why Florida's state university system is widely considered among the most politicized in the nation, Florida International University has announced that House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, will be a 'visiting distinguished service professor' from July through May." "Opportunist U.".

    Charlie gets a chance to show his stuff

    "The nine-member Judicial Nominating Commission will interview all applicants in marathon sessions Aug. 11-13 in Tampa." "List of names grows long for Florida Supreme Court justices".

    "Shocking, even in light of the state's sleazy, anything-goes history"

    Carl Hiaasen: "The revelation that more than 10,000 convicted criminals have been welcomed with open arms into Florida's mortgage industry is shocking, even in light of the state's sleazy, anything-goes history."

    At first blush, things look bad for the Office of Financial Regulation and its commissioner, Don Saxon, whose long nap was harshly interrupted by last week's headlines.

    And although it's tempting to view this story as just another embarrassing validation of Florida's reputation as the most crooked and most screwed-up place in America, there might be an upside to the scandal.
    See what he means be the "upside": "Loan scandal: Maybe it was just job rehab".


    "On Friday, McCain is scheduled to campaign in Panama City with John Rich of the Big & Rich band ("Big" Kenny Alphin has contributed to Barack Obama). The same night in South Beach, Hollywood A-listers Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner and Matt Damon are scheduled to headline an Obama fundraiser." "Celebrity campaigners".

    Poor McBush couldn't get the whole band, and is stuck with the second, "Rich" (how appropriate) part of the band.

    Cut them taxes ... we don' need no stinkin' taxes

    "The proposed amendment on the November ballot would cut about $9 billion in property taxes that school districts levy to help pay for their own funding. The Legislature can make up for the difference as it sees fit. Opponents say the amendment does not provide a solid plan to replace the money cut from schools and would result in a higher overall tax rate." "Learn about proposal to drop Florida school tax".

    "Happy birthday, Charlie!"

    John Kennedy and Aaron Deslatte: "Accompanied by his fiance, Carole Rome, he visited Prince Charles, stayed in $1,800-a-night hotels in London and Paris and traveled to Russia and Spain -- even as new figures showed Florida's job losses led the nation."

    The fruits of his labor? "Crist did meet with aerospace giants who might be crucial to Central Florida's efforts to build a post-space-shuttle economy [whoopee!] and signed an agreement [to do what?] with a Spanish company that wants to build a solar-energy plant in the state."

    Despite their being marginalized to the point of nonexistence, "not all Democrats agree" with criticizing Charlie for the most expensive publicly funded engagement party in history:

    Outgoing Senate Democratic leader Steve Geller, D-Cooper City, said it's natural for the state party to criticize Crist -- but Democratic lawmakers won't join in.

    "He's worked with us and been pretty moderate," Geller said. "It would be kind of hypocritical of us trying to push bipartisanship at the same time we're slamming the guy."
    "State Democrats take aim at Crist's travels which keep him away from Tallahassee".

    While elected Demos quake in their boots, Scott Maxwell takes the plunge, and piles on our brain dead Governor:
    Our governor returned from his European trade mission last week and went straight to South Florida, where he celebrated his 52nd birthday at the posh Breakers hotel. There, a two-tiered chocolate-buttermilk cake was topped with 52 candles, which donors sponsored for the price of -- you guessed it -- $5,200.

    The Palm Beach Post, which was on the scene, reported that guests dined on lobster and filet mignon and that Charlie's new fiance, New York socialite Carole Rome, gave him a pricey tie for his birthday.

    Here's another idea for a gift: a mind.
    "O Gov. Feel Good, where art thou? Not in Tallahassee".

    "Sisters United For Change"

    The Obama effect: "Sisters United For Change, a statewide coalition of African-American elected officials and community leaders, wants an effort with deeper roots, longer connections and stronger ties. ... The group supports Barack Obama, but hopes to sustain itself long after the November election." "Political organizers aim for the roots".

    HD 9

    "Bilirakis, 45, could have some heavy competition this year in U.S. House District 9, which covers northern Pinellas, western Pasco and suburban Hillsborough counties."

    John Dicks, 55, has caught the attention of Democratic Party strategists.

    First the former Plant City mayor will take on Tampa lawyer Bill Mitchell and Hispanic advocate Anita de Palma in next month's primary. But Bilirakis' name recognition — and the money he's been able to collect — could prove to be the greatest hurdle for challengers in this historically conservative district.

    Based on the June 30 campaign reports, Bilirakis has raised $1.05-million in contributions.

    Dicks has brought in $104,651 and loaned himself another $320,000.

    Mitchell has collected about $70,000 in contributions and loaned his campaign another $100,000.

    De Palma, has raised the least, $23,340 in all, including a $20,500 loan to herself.

    Dicks' campaign has gained attention from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which named it one of the "top 20 emerging races" nationwide
    "Three Democrats vie for chance to run against Gus Bilirakis in November".


    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board thinks "State leaders need to get their commuter-rail act together now" ("For two decades, Central Florida leaders have been talking about building a commuter-transit system. Everything from political infighting to, well, political infighting has derailed a series of plans.")

    Florida's "foreign policy"

    A lawsuit has been filed "challenging a new law requiring them to post a one-time $250,000 bond and disclose the names of clients in order to continue their business with Cuba. But this month, a federal judge temporarily lifted the measure while he considered its legality."

    "Ira Kurzban, a lawyer for the travel agents who brought the lawsuit, said the law was more about Florida politicking over the Cuba issue than protecting consumers." 'Ya reckon?

    "This law was conceived for no reason other than to placate a small group of Cuban-Americans out of step with the Cuban community," said Kurzban, who argues that the law is unconstitutional and "attempts to embroil the state of Florida in foreign policy."

    Some legal experts agree, saying the law oversteps the bounds of state authority by regulating international travel.

    "States simply can't decide they want to have their own foreign policy," said Bernard H. Oxman, a professor of international law at the University of Miami.
    "Florida Travel Agents Win Delay Of Cuba Trips Law". See also "Travel agents fight law on Cuba trips".


    Dan Moffett: "A very big deal. We know this because Immigration and Customs Enforcement went to all the trouble to send out a news release and post it on the agency Web site for the whole nation to see. The boldfaced headline reads: 'ICE arrests 58 employees at 8 Casa Fiesta restaurants in N. Ohio.'"

    Special Agent Moskowitz and his team of not-quite-special agents needed only a year of investigation to crack the case and find illegal immigrants from Mexico working in the kitchens and dining rooms of Mexican restaurants.

    If only Arthur Conan Doyle were alive to chronicle the story. It was elementary, Watson, simple deduction: Where better to administratively arrest unauthorized Mexicans than in a Mexican restaurant? Brilliant.

    What a field day Special Agent Moskowitz would have if he ever made it to South Florida. Who knows how many unauthorized scoundrels he could roust from the ethnic kitchens here!
    "But these are costly, time-consuming and largely ineffective endeavors."
    Consider that there are an estimated 8 million illegal workers in the country. If it takes Special Agent Moskowitz and the boys a year of gumshoeing to figure out what's going at Casa Fiesta and make 58 arrests, how many centuries will it take them to nab the other 7,999,942 illegal workers?

    Mr. Chertoff and his public relations staff are telling Congress and the American people that they've turned a corner. Really, they have barely inched forward. When it comes to cracking down on employer abuses against illegal workers, the government lags even further behind.

    The folly and futility of restaurant raiding underscores the desperate need for comprehensive immigration reform and a policy that is rooted in the real world. ICE can arrest all the dishwashers, cooks and waiters it wants, but it won't make Americans safer and it won't fix a system that is as broken for employers as it is for employees.

    Without a plan for dealing forthrightly with the 12 million illegal immigrants living here, workplace enforcement is doomed to fail. Immigration reform has to be comprehensive to succeed, or at least not look so ridiculous. We really do need the whole enchilada.
    "Sizzle, but not much fajita".


    "A major step in Florida's foray into balancing 'sustainable' ranching with environmental protection at Southwest Florida's Babcock Ranch will be decided this week by the governor and Cabinet." "Babcock Ranch works for sustainability".

    Breaking non-news!

    "U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler remains in good standing with the Barack Obama presidential campaign despite a flap over the congressman's residence in South Florida." "Obama campaign backs U.S. Rep. Wexler despite residency flap".

    A west central Florida thing

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "A trail mix of missteps".

    Tourism at risk

    "Despite falling home values and rising gas prices, Central Florida tourism prospered in early 2008. But now, tourism officials are wondering how long their good fortune will last." "Will tourists keep coming? Industry fears future".

    The solution no doubt is to pump tax dollars into advertising for private, profit making enterprises.

    In the meantime, the Feliza Rylands of this world wait for justice.

    Too much separation

    "It's a remarkable home, even in an upscale Coral Springs neighborhood: 12,000 square feet, manicured grounds, a guest house, five-car garage and a pair of lion statues gracing the entrance. It's also tax-free. Owned by the Church of Bible Understanding in Philadelphia, the home and adjacent lot, valued at more than $3.2 million, are exempt from taxes on religious grounds." "Churches extend religious tax exemptions to additional properties".


    "New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson helped rally canvassers for Barack Obama in Denver on Saturday, part of an effort to reach out to Hispanic voters in Colorado as well as Nevada, New Mexico and Florida." "Richardson campaigning for Obama in West, Florida".

    The handle

    "The presidential campaigns of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama are revving up in Northwest Florida, with supporters of each trying to rally the party faithful and to sway the coveted undecided voters who could decide the November election." "McCain, Obama and the great divide".

    "Silly scare tactics"

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "A cynical public suspects governments are not honest about how much money they have or how they spend it. Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats is feeding that cynicism by playing political games during budget deliberations." "Coats' silly scare tactics" (among Coats' "critics are two veterans of the Sheriff's Office, Randall Jones and John Pikramenos, who are vying in the Aug. 26 Democratic primary for the opportunity to challenge Republican Coats in the Nov. 4 general election.")

    More money, fewer registrants ... Go figure

    "Florida Republicans have been on the fundraising circuit for the past two months, hoping to buffer an apparent anti-incumbent voter surge with the cash advantages of safe majorities in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. Although Democrats have grown their voter pool five times faster than Republicans since the presidential primary in January, the GOP has been able to command more dollars from donors." "State GOP outgunning Democrats in fundraising".


    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Despite dealing with overwhelming budget woes, the state needs to try to keep Florida's roving highway Samaritans on the road." "Keep Road Rangers on patrol in Florida".

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