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 Wednesday, November 12, 2008

As Charlie fiddles ...

    ... and otherwise yucks it up with the adoring media ... "Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is seeking authority to borrow as much as $1.25 billion from trust funds to cover the cost of basic operating expenses, including public education and health care for poor people, [and that] illustrates Florida's fundamental flaw in raising the revenue it needs to run the state. She is also calling for a special session to address the crisis, and her sense of urgency seems right on the money."

    You see, "Florida has too many of its financial eggs in too few financial baskets."
    Florida's revenue shortfall is expected to continue to spiral downward, according to state economists. The public services that help define our quality of life and provide a basis for economic growth — public schools and universities — and the ones that measure our compassion and decency — health care for the needy — are at further risk.

    Cuts in education spending are expected to be followed by more cuts, and education officials face having to close under-utilized neighborhood schools. Health-care advocates for the poor, too often forced to settle for crumbs, face having to settle for even fewer crumbs.

    Yet, because of a failure of political leadership spanning many years and administrations, Florida lawmakers have avoided tackling meaningful revenue reform that would soften the blow in bad times without substantially restraining economic growth when times were good.
    "Sink's call for special session makes sense".

    While Sink frets about Florida's economy, Charlie's got bigger things on his plate. Recall that,
    John McCain's loss, ironically, reopens the national political scene for Gov. Charlie Crist.

    Many Crist supporters and allies were angry when he wasn't chosen as McCain's running mate. With McCain off the stage, they think Crist can be among the contenders for national leadership of the party.
    So, it seems the Charlie - Palin battle is about to begin: "It's hard to imagine the future Palin outlines will look like the one Crist would propose. He is a Republican who picked two social conservatives for back-to-back openings on the Florida Supreme Court, and whose opposition to higher taxes has earned him an A from the conservative Cato Institute, one of only three governors with that grade. Once an opponent of offshore oil drilling, he now would support it under certain conditions." "Crist calls Florida a model for future of GOP". More: "Palin to speak at Republican governors meeting" ("Gov. Sarah Palin will head to the Sunshine State to meet with Republican governors from around the country at their annual three day meeting.")

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Last spring, state GOP Chairman Jim Greer called Gov. Crist 'the future of the Republican Party.' For those of us who recall the "Chain Gang Charlie" of 1995, that's a jolt. But after last week's election, Gov. Crist is more the future of the Republican Party than Sarah Palin." "Chaining future to Palin will leave GOP dragging".

    What's a redneck to do?

    The New York Times: "By voting so emphatically for Senator John McCain over Mr. Obama — supporting him in some areas in even greater numbers than they did President Bush — voters from Texas to South Carolina and Kentucky may have marginalized their region for some time to come, political experts say."

    The region’s absence from Mr. Obama’s winning formula means it “is becoming distinctly less important," said Wayne Parent, a political scientist at Louisiana State University. "The South has moved from being the center of the political universe to being an outside player in presidential politics."
    Not to generalize, but is basically racism and ignorance:
    Along the Atlantic Coast, parts of the “suburban South,” notably Virginia and North Carolina, made history last week in breaking from their Confederate past and supporting Mr. Obama. Those states have experienced an influx of better educated and more prosperous voters in recent years, pointing them in a different political direction than states farther west, like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and Appalachian sections of Kentucky and Tennessee.

    Southern counties that voted more heavily Republican this year than in 2004 tended to be poorer, less educated and whiter, a statistical analysis by The New York Times shows. Mr. Obama won in only 44 counties in the Appalachian belt, a stretch of 410 counties that runs from New York to Mississippi. Many of those counties, rural and isolated, have been less exposed to the diversity, educational achievement and economic progress experienced by more prosperous areas.
    "For South, a Waning Hold on National Politics" (via The Miami Herald).


    "Earlier this year, Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson took over control of payroll, billing and other financial responsibilities from the clerk of the circuit court in a move that raised concerns about a lack of transparency in the elections office. But those functions are expected to return to the Hillsborough County Clerk's Office as part of a reshaping by supervisor-elect Phyllis Busansky, who defeated Johnson in last Tuesday's problem-plagued general election by a margin of nearly 18,000 votes." "New Elections Chief To Open Up Office's Finances".

    He's a regular Calamity Jane

    "Crist's Plane Makes Emergency Landing In Sarasota".

    Please justify this statement

    The libruls on the The Palm Beach Post editorial Board share this with us this morning:

    [T]he Democrats during the 1980s catered to their far-left base and lost the swing voters
    Pray tell - what "far-left base" was catered to by the Dems in the 1980s, and how?

    It is disappointing - but hardly surprising - to see the The Palm Beach Post Company toeing the GOP/corporate line on this. Here's the reality:
    Americans chose as their next president an African-American named Barack Obama who campaigned on a near-universal health-care plan, allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, and a move away from the belligerent foreign policy of the past eight years. Republicans, and some journalists, had spent months (falsely) saying Obama is the single most liberal member of the U.S. Senate -- and maybe even a socialist. The American people responded by electing him in a landslide.

    This, naturally, is very good news for the Republicans, according to many pundits [and Florida newspaper company editorial boards]. It proves once again that America remains a "center-right" nation.

    Right about now, you're probably scratching your head, wondering how the election of the "most liberal" member of the Senate, a man who campaigned on a promise of near-universal health care, could possibly be described as evidence of a conservative country.
    "All over but the lying".

    Wouldn't it be OK if Obama just pursued the issues he campaigned on, and stuff ... ?


    "Incumbent sheriff wins in Wakulla, ending Sopchoppygate".

    Good luck

    "With the 2008 election over, Hillsborough County Republicans are talking about greater inclusion of blacks, Hispanics and young people as they look toward their party's future." "Hillsborough County GOP chief stepping aside".

    "I'm trying to find my way back"

    "Even today, two years after Mark Foley's very public fall from grace, the former congressman can't explain why he sent lurid, sexually explicit computer messages to male teens who had worked as Capitol Hill pages. Sitting in his room at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York this week, the Florida Republican, wearing a yellow tie with blue elephants, finally broke his silence." "AP Interview: Foley breaks silence on sex scandal".

    The lawsuit continues

    "A bitter fight over moving up Florida's presidential primary lives on in federal court, even as President-elect Barack Obama shifts his transition into high gear. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle agreed Monday to allow Democratic national committeeman Jon Ausman to continue his federal lawsuit against the state for what he claims is its unconstitutional meddling in the party primary process." "Ausman to pursue lawsuit against state over primaries".

    Heaven help us

    "Police in Florida say they arrested a Connecticut man after he tried to steal communion wafers during a church service." "Conn. man charged with stealing communion wafers".

    Just sayin' ...

    "Bidding to shed the South's distinction as the country's fattest [and ironically most Republican] region, health officials joined community advocates and policy experts in a three-day obesity summit that ended Tuesday with a call to slim ballooning bodies across the Bible Belt." "Southern states meet in summit to fight obesity".

    "Charlie hasn't met a reporter he didn't like." And vice versa.

    Myriam Marquez gives Charlie props, in this retching piece this morning: "Sarah Palin could learn a thing from Charlie Crist during the Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami this week."

    It's not just good policy that makes good politics. It's also good press, and Crist is a master at public relations. Poor Palin became a victim of bad press, much of it generated by insiders in her own party and by her handlers' attempts to keep her away from reporters.

    Charlie hasn't met a reporter he didn't like. Well, at least not one he will admit publicly he doesn't like. He's the consummate pol, whether he's preaching to the GOP choir or working on restoring the legacy of a black civil-rights hero or having a cafecito in Little Havana and chanting, "Viva Cuba libre.''

    You don't hear Charlie saying small-town Florida is the real Florida. Or that Tampa or Miami are the real Florida. Instead, his style is 1960s hand-holding and kumbaya-singing -- with GOP promises of "Won't tax you, bro!''
    Nice to read these words from a confirmed Jebbite:
    Strange that a party relegated in the presidential race to a few states in the South and a smattering in the west -- where there may be more antelope than people -- insists it still represents the will of the majority. Ronald Reagan claimed a ''mandate'' in 1980 with only 50.7 percent of the vote.
    "Federal jobs could help get cities buzzing".

    A real laffer

    The right-wing Center for a Free Cuba in The Miami Herald today is all about labor rights:

    President-elect Obama earlier expressed his concerns about labor rights in Colombia and elsewhere. Surely he has the same concern for Cuban workers. Cubans assigned by the government to work in the tourist industry are paid about $20 a month. That's not enough to live on, yet Cubans have no right to form unions or to strike for higher wages.
    "Cuba must give so it can reap".

    Cost of living

    "Florida Power & Light customers may not pay as much in 2009 for increased natural gas costs." "FP&L customers could see lower bills in 2009". In related news: "Gas Prices Dip Below $2 At Some Central Florida Outlets" and "Proposals To Raise Electric Bills Up For Votes Today".

    Hmmm ...

    "A University of Alabama at Birmingham study showed highway traffic deaths for older drivers in Florida dropped 17 percent after the state passed a law requiring vision tests for people age 80 and older. In Georgia and Alabama, where such tests are not required, the death rates remained unchanged." "UAB study links Fla. senior eye tests, road safety".

    Put that together with those "ballooning bodies across the Bible Belt", and we got us sum' big trouble in Alabama and Georgia.

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