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 Monday, September 15, 2008

Florida, "not ready for prime time"

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "With Florida being home to the butterfly ballot and hanging chad, it is probably not the best state to experiment with a new voting system that experts say is not ready for prime time." "No time for voting experiment".


    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "In the not-too-distant past, a Florida governor named Jeb Bush was so predisposed to believing that corporations were inherently better than government at virtually everything that he embarked on the most aggressive privatization initiative ever in state government."

    At the height of his power and influence, Mr. Bush was fortunate to have fellow Republicans running both houses of the Legislature — allies who barely questioned the wisdom of the policy, and showed no real interest in exercising oversight of millions of dollars in contracts with private companies paid with public dollars.

    Last week the latest example of the former governor's rashness came to light with a news report on the cancellation of a Department of Corrections contract with Aramark, a private food-service vendor that hired in 2001 to operate what previously had been a state-run function.
    "Privatized grub".


    On the heels of reading that "Whites Lift McCain To Slim Lead Over Obama In Poll", reading this isn't particularly uplifting: "Many analysts wonder how many voters answering polls hide their racial biases or mislead survey-takers about their real preferences."

    It's known as the "Bradley effect," after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American who in 1982 was leading nearly every poll in the California governor's race but lost to his white opponent. The theory — not universally accepted as valid — is that some white voters tell pollsters they support a black candidate — out of political correctness — but won't vote for one.

    In 1989, African-American Democrat Douglas Wilder barely won the Virginia governor's race though polls pointed to a Wilder landslide. That same year, David Dinkins narrowly won the New York city mayor's race despite polls showing a double-digit lead.

    In North Carolina in 1990, African-American candidate Harvey Gantt led Republican Jesse Helms in the polls, but Helms won soundly. More recently, a 2006 proposal before voters in Michigan to ban affirmative action looked too close to call, according to polls, but it passed with 58 percent support.
    "Polls can mask racism, but ballots won't".

    Let's play pretend

    "Florida's frayed budget is being patched with borrowed money, and the prolonged economic slump will force Gov. Charlie Crist and legislators to confront much bigger shortfalls in the months ahead."

    Back at the Mr. Happy Face Ranch,

    Crist remains upbeat about Florida's economy, citing a 5 percent uptick in July in home sales in the Tampa Bay area (however, the median price of a single-family home fell 18 percent from July 2007 to July 2008).

    "I am optimistic," Crist said.

    "Optimism is not an economic policy," countered Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, the House Democratic leader.
    "Florida's fiscal hole will exceed patches".

    "Florida is the last state in the nation still to have a constitution marked with one remnant of the Jim Crow era: a rule allowing legislators to ban Asian immigrants from owning land." "Voters will have chance to toss out Florida's obsolete 'alien land law'".

    "'Microtargeting' you"

    "John McCain and Barack Obama get all the attention, but the guy who might decide Florida's presidential race is standing on an Orlando street corner, sweating like a fiend and trying to get his bearings." "Campaign volunteers know who you are, and they want your vote".

    "'Facts on the ground'"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Diplomats use the expression 'facts on the ground' to refer to a situation where reality is different from what is true by law or in theory. The concept often is employed by the military when it establishes a physical presence that cannot easily be removed. This is what the Seminole Tribe of Florida has done by continuing to allow blackjack and other card games at its casinos, despite an adverse ruling by the Florida Supreme Court." "Tribe's winning hand".

    Yee Haw! ...

    ... say the "mavericks":

    With the nation's financial markets reeling, Republican presidential nominee John McCain said at a campaign rally this morning that he and running mate Sarah Palin are a "team of mavericks" who will "clean up Wall Street."
    "McCain in Florida vows to 'clean up Wall Street'".

    "The long run"

    "Officials: Florida in good shape amid Wall Street crisis". "Still, the precarious stock market raises questions about where the state will be in the long run."

    As the Dow plunges ...

    ... "McCain tells Floridians he's better qualified to deal with nation's economic woes". See also "McCain slams 'outdated' oversight of financial markets" and "McCain will stump in Orlando".

    Poor bidness folk

    The Chamber of Commerce The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "If Florida wants a reputation as a business-friendly state, it needs to begin taxing its businesses with more fairness and less uncertainty. The result of doing nothing could cause the bottom to fall out, just like it did in the housing market." "Florida Must Stop Shifting Its Tax Load To Businesses".

    A long time ago ...

    ... in an election not so far away: "The Federal Election Commission has fined two healthcare companies once connected with Miguel 'Mike' Fernandez $128,000 for improper contributions to the 2004 U.S. Senate campaign of Alex Penelas." "Healthcare firms fined for campaign contributions".

    McCain tearfully reveals he was a POW

    "For hours in a dark Hanoi prison, John McCain pushed through the pain of his own wounds to stretch the fingers of fellow prisoner Bud Day along the cell wall, a makeshift attempt at physical therapy to restore movement to Day's torture-damaged tendons." Day is a co-chair "of Florida Veterans for McCain, an organization of 125 retired military officers from across the state whose loyalty to the war hero brought many of them into politics as they fight for the coveted veterans' vote.". "McCain courts key vote of veterans in Florida".

    To be sure,

    Democrat Barack Obama did not serve in the military, but he spent four years on the Senate Veterans Committee and is not ceding any ground to McCain for the veterans' vote.

    His network of military supporters is not nearly as deep as McCain's, but the grandson of a World War II veteran has amassed his own contingent of war heroes, most of them recently out of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. And Obama has collected six times as much money in political contributions from U.S. troops serving abroad as McCain, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Obama supporters, including former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, began a three-day tour of Florida on Friday to call attention to veterans issues and the differences between the candidates. They cite McCain's opposition to increased funding for the Veterans Administration, improved healthcare benefits, and additional mental health and brain injury services -- all things that Obama supports.
    "McCain courts key vote of veterans in Florida".

    Here's why

    "Florida Supreme Court justices today explained themselves, releasing written opinions describing why earlier this month they removed three proposed constitutional amendments from November's ballot." "Supreme Court explains kicking amendments off ballot".

    "Spread the gospel and the word"

    "The Sunday affair started out with encouragement to 'spread the gospel and the word,' but it wasn't a church meeting. The comment was from state Rep. Joyce Cusack, D-DeLand, when she introduced four visiting representatives of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama." "Top Obama adviser gets locals ready for vote".

    Saggy pants OK ... but voting ... that's another thing

    "Judge rules 'sagging pants' law unconstitutional".


    "Black voters key factor in race for Broward County sheriff", "Ex-Beach police chief steps into Broward race" and "Lawsuit clouds printing of Broward ballots".

    Have a drink

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "One proposal for reducing the number of fatal traffic accidents calls for raising the driving age from 16 years old to 18. Another idea for combating illegal drinking among teens is to lower the drinking age from 21 to — you guessed it — 18." "On age limits, leave it alone".


    Even the The Tampa Tribune editorial board get's it: "End Hypocritical Gay Adoption Ban".

    Consumer warriors

    "Calls to hotlines run separately by the offices of Attorney General Bill McCollum and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson are rising. ... McCollum on Sunday said he would subpoena the corporate offices of four retail chains that accounted for the bulk of complaints about rising prices. Those that can document their own increased costs to justify higher prices at the pump are not guilty of gouging, though McCollum said he'd also investigate up the line to wholesale suppliers." "Updated: Complaints of gas-price gouging continue; more than 1,600 logged statewide". See also "Subpoenas to go out in face of gas hikes".

    Term limits

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board thinks that "Term limits force out experienced lawmakers".

    "Project Riviera Beach"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "On Project Runway, the rule is: One day you're in, and the next day, you're out. The same apparently is true for Project Riviera Beach. The slight difference is that Project Runway is about cutthroat fashion. Project Riviera Beach is about that city's return to old-fashioned cutthroat politics." "Self-destructive politics fit Riviera Beach again".

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