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 Thursday, November 06, 2008

"Historic shift" in Florida's Hispanic vote

    "Obama's sweeping triumph among Florida Hispanic voters may portend a major change in the state's political landscape."

    "Marking a historic shift,"
    Sen. Barack Obama won a majority of Florida's Hispanic vote statewide and nearly tied Sen. John McCain in Miami-Dade, where Republicans had long dominated the Hispanic vote.

    No Democratic presidential candidate had ever achieved either milestone since the exit polling of Hispanics first began in the 1980s, pollsters say.

    Nationwide, Obama won the Hispanic vote by a wider margin, garnering 66 percent to McCain's 32 percent, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

    In Florida, Obama won 57 percent of the Hispanics on Tuesday, compared to 42 percent for McCain, according to exit polling by Bendixen & Associates, a Democratic pollster.

    By comparison, President Bush won 55 percent of the state's Hispanic vote to John Kerry's 44 percent in 2004, according to exit polls.
    The future:
    Polls indicate the state's Hispanic vote may now be divided. On one side are conservative older Cuban Americans, who vote reliably Republican. On the other are younger Cuban Americans coupled with an expanding number of non-Cuban Hispanics, who tend to lean Democratic.
    "Obama first Democrat to win Florida's Hispanic vote". More: "'This is the watershed election where you have seen a structural realignment of the Hispanic vote in Florida that will have an impact on statewide, national and local elections for a generation to come,' said Fernand Amandi, vice president of Bendixen & Associates, which does polling for the Democratic Party."
    "We have been saying this was going to happen for years, but now we can actually see it with quantifiable data,'' Amandi said. "As much as any other group, President-elect Obama owes his election to the Latino voters."

    Non-Cuban Hispanic voters helped Obama overwhelmingly win Interstate 4 counties like Orange and Osceola.

    And Amandi said his exit polling showed Obama actually won 35 percent of the Cuban-American vote in Miami-Dade, which would be dramatic shift.
    See also "GOP can't ignore Hispanics and expect to thrive" and "Cubans say Barack Obama's victory might ease tensions".

    It ain't over yet

    "Election totals aren't all final; provisional ballots yet to be counted".

    Tell that to folks in Tampa and the college kids who are probably still voting ...

    "Browning: Election rids Florida of the ghost of the 2000 recount". See also "Palm Beach County election shows how we have changed" and "Smooth election might signal an end to Broward County's troubling track record". The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Florida's smooth elections help bury ghosts of the past".

    Another citizen initiative

    "The Florida Supreme Court is reviewing a citizen initiative that would offer property owners more tax relief." "Fla. Supreme Court considering tax cap amendment".


    "South Florida voter turnout is 68%".

    "Hillsborough Vote-Count Meltdown"

    "Shortly after the polls closed Tuesday night, Hillsborough County elections officials began uploading tens of thousands of ballots from early voting stations."

    At the same time, they started uploading ballots cast Tuesday at hundreds of voting precincts.

    The decision proved to be disastrous, as the sudden flow of ballots overloaded the optical scan voting system and brought Hillsborough's election night to a grinding halt.

    On Wednesday night, more than 24 hours after the polls closed, the elections office had not finished counting the votes, leaving several key races up in the air. Workers are expected to resume counting this morning and hope to be finished sometime Friday.

    Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson declined comment, but through his office put out a statement calling the problems "minor" and blaming them on the company that provided the optical scan voting machines.
    "Hillsborough Vote-Count Meltdown Flowed From Errors". More: "Timeline Of Hillsborough Election Troubles" and "Hillsborough struggles to count votes".

    When the going gets tuff ...

    ... the "howdy doody looking nimrod" gets pusillanimous. "Putnam Poised To Leave GOP Leadership Role".


    "Tallahasseeans thrilled they lived to see this 'historic and hopeful day'", "Election Day-plus 1 in Orlando: for some, glee, others gloom", "It was hurry up and wait at some busy Orlando-area polls", "Young voters turned out in big numbers for Barack Obama", "Youth vote made the difference for Obama", "Kosmas says energy issue her priority in Congress" and "South Floridians await Obama's changes".

    Boulware a "Sore Loserman"

    "Former NFL player Peter Boulware was trailing by 440 votes in his first political race Wednesday, but he may get a recount."

    The Florida State University alum is in one of two very close state House races primed for recounts after Tuesday's general election.

    Boulware, a Republican businessman, is trailing Democrat Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a lawyer, for an open seat. Both are from Tallahassee.

    Incumbent Democrat Debbie Boyd of Newberry is clinging to a 42-vote lead over Republican Elizabeth Porter for a seat covering six north Florida counties.

    State law requires an automatic machine recount if the margin is one-half of a percent or less. Boulware is just short of meeting that requirement, but he still can ask for a recount.
    "Recounts may be need in 2 Fla. legislative races".


    "Recounts possible in property-tax break amendment, two House races".

    I need me some wealth redistribution

    Daniel Ruth: "Throughout the evening at the Marriott Waterside Hotel, the Obama faithful had been steadily gathering to drink in this moment in history. Perhaps in an homage to the Obama campaign, the Marriott had decided to do its part to help redistribute the wealth by charging $11 for a martini." "Night Of Cheers (Obama!) And Booze ($11 Martinis?!)".

    When you "vote Republican" ...

    The right-wing brats on The Tampa Tribune editorial board are confused: "Sometimes we get the government we deserve."

    Case in point: Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson, who couldn't count all the votes Tuesday night, even with his own re-election bid hanging in the balance.

    You have to wonder if the 198,249 citizens who voted for Johnson to manage their most sacred right - the right to vote - might want a do-over after witnessing his office's breakdown during this historic election.
    "The Absurdity Of Re-Electing Buddy Johnson".

    They're already at it

    The Zell Corporation is already at it. Check out this lazy, predictable "reporting":

    Obama's victory was a triumph of meticulous planning, spectacular execution and a seemingly unlimited budget.
    Read: it was not the result of voters rejecting the right-wing-evangelical-corporatist Republican Party message. There's no way ... you know ... maybe ... that people might actually have supported Obama's progressive political message.

    How do we know this? Well ... the Republicans say so, and the Zell Corporation publishes it:
    "Florida is still a conservative state in how it sees government and how it sees families," said state House Speaker-designate Ray Sansom, R-Destin, on Wednesday.
    "Florida goes blue, but will it last?". Along the same lines, Adam Smith explains that Obama won because of "the meltdown of the financial sector that struck on Sept. 15 vanquished McCain's candidacy" "Key to Obama victory in Florida: casting a wide net". More: "Can Obama keep promise of bipartisanship?", "Obama's formula in Fla.: Cut into GOP strongholds", "Obama's surge not a huge boon for Florida Dems", "Obama won Florida by 200,000 votes" and "Historic change: Obama elected president".

    Didn't Obama's progressive message have anything to do with it? No much, if you consume the traditional media.

    This is why Eric Alterman's admonition in The Nation is so important:
    Obama has proven an inspirational messenger, speaking to and for a public eager to embrace the kind of politics that has been demonized and trivialized for the past eight years by mainstream media desperate to deflect the right's accusations of "liberal bias."
    Eric actually gives the MSM [mainstream (or traditional) media] too much credit here. The MSM (particularly Florida outlets) are not simply "desperate to deflect the right's accusations of 'liberal bias.'" Oh no - Florida's "journalists" and "editors" are desperate to satisfy the perceived interests of their employers; after all, who wants to lose a job in these tuff times for newspapers.

    Hence, Florida's journalists - like their brethren elsewhere - are unable to concede (at least in print) that 'Mericuns generally (or Floridians in particular) are anything less than political knuckledraggers (who might vote for a fellow like Obama 'jus cause because he spent a lot of money on advertising and organization).

    Our MSM can't bring themselves to believe (or at least publish) ... you know ... that many Floridians (outside of South Florida even) believe in - and vote consistent with - crazy, wacky stuff like this - "According to the Pew Center's extensive national survey, released well before this endless election got under way,"
    - roughly 70 percent of respondents believe that the government has a responsibility "to take care of people who can't take care of themselves."

    - Two-thirds (66 percent)--including most of those who say they would prefer a smaller government (57 percent)--support government-funded health insurance for all citizens.

    - Most also regard the nation's corporations as too powerful, while nearly two-thirds (65 percent) say corporate profits are too high--about the same number who say "labor unions are necessary to protect the working person" (68 percent).

    - When it comes to the environment, a large majority (83 percent) back stricter laws and regulations, while 69 percent agree "we should put more emphasis on fuel conservation than on developing new oil supplies" and 60 percent say they would "be willing to pay higher prices in order to protect the environment."
    "Notwithstanding these realities, Florida
    the MSM -- with precious few exceptions -- remain wedded to right-wing assumptions long since discredited by reality.
    A Liberal Supermajority (Finally) Finds Its Voice".

    Update: We've been reminded that the The Orlando Sentinel editorial board published this editorial today "Obama shows that message, not race, matters"; the headline suggests that the editors acknowledge that it was "the message, stupid", and not just the organization, that won the election; problem is, there is nothing in the editorial conceding that Floridians actually support any the specific issues (which were partially subsumed by Obama's "message") that were so strongly supported in the Pew Poll quotes above (e.g., "government-funded health insurance for all citizens").

    Enjoy it ...

    ... while you can: "In Tatters, Republicans Look To Regroup".

    Not my Church

    "By nullifying anything that is the "substantial equivalent" of marriage, it could outlaw domestic partnerships. Those are legal arrangements that allow two unmarried people to share health care and other benefits."

    Not all clergy supported Amendment 2, however. Rabbi Merrill Shapiro criticized it from his post at Temple Beth Shalom in Palm Coast. Most Jewish voters opposed Amendment 2, according to the CNN poll, but Shapiro said they were outnumbered by the evangelicals.
    "Churches Pushed Passage Of Marriage Amendment".


    "With help from Democrats in Congress, President-elect Barack Obama will have the clout next year to deliver campaign promises to Florida voters who helped send him to the White House." "Obama can quickly deliver on some Florida promises".

    A fine bit 'o schlepping

    "Jewish voters appeared to discount rumors about Barack Obama's heritage and acquaintances, delivering an overwhelming vote in favor of the president-elect. Exit polls show about 78 percent of Jews nationwide voted for Obama, a little more than the 74 percent John Kerry garnered in 2004. Numbers for Florida were unavailable on Wednesday." "Jewish voters stuck by Barack Obama despite rumors".

    Was that trip really necessary?

    "When three of Central Florida's top tourism executives flew to Dubai last month to attend an industry conference,"

    International Drive hotelier Harris Rosen and University of Central Florida administrator Abe Pizam paid for their tickets with private money and opted to squeeze into coach.

    But Gary Sain, president of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which gets both public and private money, bought his ticket with agency funds -- and spent more than $9,000 to fly in business class.

    Sain's $9,271.47 airfare was nearly seven times as expensive as the $1,400 that Pizam's coach-class ticket cost.
    flew to Dubai to attend the annual conference of the European Council on Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Education, which supports education and training for the tourism industry. Sain was invited to give a keynote address on "destination branding." Pizam, the dean of UCF's Rosen College of Hospitality Management, and Rosen (after whom the college is named) went to discuss a possible partnership between the school and the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, where the Oct. 11-14 conference took place.
    "Orlando-Orange agency funds bought business-class ticket to Dubai -- others flew coach".

    Do we really need to chase after graduates of the "Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management" on the public dime? (Note: one can guess what their labor-relations philosophy is).

    Never mind

    "Voters skip tricky ballot questions or obscure races".

    Yesterday's news

    "Obama takes Florida from red to blue", "Tom Feeney, Ric Keller lost touch with voters, then lost their seats" and "Possible recount ahead for Amendment 3".

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