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, November 16, 2008

"Party bosses defended the expenses"

    While RPOF foot-soldiers - the knuckle-draggers, right-to-lifers, and assorted racists were pounding the pavement for Palin - the swells were, you know... doing what swells do.

    "Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer is being asked to answer to a call for an audit of party books amid questions from top Republican leaders as well as rank and file members about spending on chartered jets, five-star hotels, sports tickets and even men's clothing shops this election cycle."
    New Port Richey Republican Joe Aloisio brought the dust-up into the open Thursday when he sent a letter to party members calling for an audit of party finances.

    He asked why the party bought tickets to sporting events such as Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees games, trips to Disney World, and spent $682,000 on chartered planes when it could have been spending on TV and radio advertising for John McCain.
    "Questions over Florida GOP spending". The swells justify their swellness here: "Party bosses defended the expenses").

    May we respectfully suggest that the RPOFer foot soldiers who don't understand how their RPOF betters could act this way are probably looking for answers in the wrong book.

    image description

    May we respectfully suggest that the explanation for these expenditures is more likely found in University of Chicago economist Thorstein Veblen's classic, "The Theory of the Leisure Class" (coining the now-common concepts of "conspicuous consumption" and "conspicuous leisure".)

    About Tom

    "Feeney's out, but he leaves door open".

    Not a nice visual

    "House Republicans are planning a lavish golf retreat at the lush Panhandle WaterColor Inn and Resort near Destin this week after their new leaders are sworn in at the Capitol. Given the austere economic climate, incoming House Speaker Ray Sansom, R-Destin, seemed a little squirmy when reporters asked him about the appropriateness of an expensive getaway when revenues are plummeting and education and social services could be on the cutting board again." "Freshmen lawmakers angling to become speaker unintended consequence of term limits". A "Squirmy" Sansom - not a very nice visual

    Florida's booming real estate market

    "Orlando's existing-home sales were up in September and October compared with a year earlier, ending 27 consecutive months of decline. That's the good news. The bad news: A lot of those sales involved homes repossessed by banks or caught in some stage of foreclosure." "Foreclosed houses boost existing-home sales in Orlando area".

    The light in their eyes ...

    Even theThe Tampa Tribune editorial board gets it (at least in part):

    One alternative would be to grant GM a generous contract to build police cars for cities and counties. The guaranteed sales would help restore investor confidence, and local governments buying the reduced-price cars could pass the savings on to local taxpayers.

    Another option is to help the American public buy more GM products. It goes against the grain in a free-market economy, but so does a direct bailout.

    Congress could offer a $2,000 rebate. It could be in the coupon form, printed in newspapers. Our industry could use some help, too.
    "To Boost Detroit, Help Taxpayers Get Behind Wheel".

    That fruit can't hang any lower

    "Republican Sen. Mel Martinez is waiting until January, at least officially, to say whether he's running for a second term. But even before Martinez - or any Democrat - has announced he or she will be a candidate for his seat in 2010, political analysts are predicting Florida's junior senator is in for a tough battle if he runs." "Martinez May Have Rocky Road". See also "Martinez in danger".

    The embargo

    "Washington's nearly 50-year-old trade embargo prohibits nearly all trade between both countries, but Cuba has been allowed to buy U.S. food and agricultural products with cash payments since 2000. Cuba began taking advantage of the loophole in the American trade sanctions after a hurricane ravaged parts of the island in November 2001." "Trade group: US Ag exports to Cuba hit record".

    It's the old saw: we're embargoing a natural trading partner because of human rights abuses, but letting China off the hook because ... well ... Wal-Mart wants us to:

    Amnesty International has taken the 2008 Beijing Olympics as an opportunity to highlight China’s legacy of human rights violations, and to call on the country to change its practices. The Olympics may stand for all that is strong and vibrant in the human spirit, but the Chinese government’s policies of forced labor, censorship, arbitrary police detentions, and unjust executions fall miserably short of these lofty goals.

    Wal-Mart sources more than 70% of its products from China, and relies on this atmosphere of abuse and oppression to keep production costs low. The issues Amnesty International raises are precisely why Chinese factories can manufacture products for so little: most workers [like most U.S. Wal-Mart workers] are too afraid to stand up for better working conditions, and understandably so. Without these intimidating working conditions, Wal-Mart would have a much tougher time keeping its prices so low.
    "Wal-mart and China's Human Rights Abuses".

    "It's doubtful that another Republican will be so lucky"

    Dan Moffett: "Among young Hispanics, Mr. Obama won 76 percent of the vote, a number that will have GOP strategists worrying about many of the battleground states."

    But the numbers in Florida are the most intriguing. Mr. Obama won 57 percent of the Hispanic vote, surpassing President Bush's 55 percent in 2004, and Sen. McCain got 42 percent. The important story behind the numbers is the continued erosion of the Cuban-American voting bloc that Republicans have counted on for decades.

    A decade ago, Cuban-Americans accounted for more than 70 percent of the state's Hispanic voters. In 2008, for the first time, non-Cubans made up a slight majority. Around Orlando, Puerto Rican voters are growing in size and influence. In South Florida, large numbers of immigrants from Latin America have gained citizenship and registered to vote. Across the state, Mexican-Americans have settled and entered the system.
    "As voters, these non-Cubans have priorities that are much more traditionally Democratic and in line with Hispanics outside Miami-Dade County:"
    jobs, the economy, education, and, yes, immigration reform. They don't care about Fidel Castro and have a short attention span for politicians who do. There also is a simmering resentment over U.S. policy that gives Cuban immigrants preferential treatment.

    Even within the Cuban-American bloc in Miami-Dade, that ambivalence toward Cold War politics is growing. Exit polls showed that 84 percent of Miami-Dade Cuban-Americans over 65 voted for Sen. McCain, and 55 percent of those 29 or younger voted for President-elect Obama. Young Cuban-Americans, most of whom were born here, are leaving the Bay of Pigs to history and questioning the value of a failed trade embargo. To many of them, Castro is a tired anachronism who grows increasingly irrelevant and is hardly worth the political preoccupation.

    Florida's Hispanic voters behave more like those in Nevada and Colorado. This is bad news for Republicans. In 2000, Miami-Dade's Cuban-Americans rescued the election for George W. Bush. It's doubtful that another Republican will be so lucky.
    "Florida, Hispanics, and change".

    "Obama's win has 'dealt a mortal blow' to the Castros' Tarzan complex"

    Myriam tries so hard this morning, but manages to avoid addressing the elephant in the room - should we lighten up on our relationship with Cuba?: "The Obama conundrum threatens the Castro brothers' dysfunctional dynasty. Democracy and capitalism, the duo's argument goes, is only good for the white and the comfortable preying on the black and poor." "Obama's win challenges Castro ideals".

    "Let's improve elections structure now"

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board is up to its usual wishful thinking: "Twenty-six other states (including Florida) allow no-excuse absentee voting, allowing any voter to skip lines at the polls by requesting an absentee ballot. And California has developed a "track and confirm" system that allows voters to verify that their mailed ballots were received and counted by elections officials."

    Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., wants to take that a step further by allowing U.S. soldiers and citizens abroad to cast votes via the Internet -- something Okaloosa County tried this year. It's a prospect worth investigating, though any voting software would have to include safeguards that ensure votes are carefully tracked and accounted for.

    And that takes leaders to the second challenge: protecting elections systems against electronic errors as well as deliberate attempts to tamper with ballots and exclude voters.

    President-elect Obama can take a firm stand for elections integrity with his appointments to the voting section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Working with Congress, the new administration can help set better standards for presidential elections, improvements that would likely trickle down to safeguard state and local races as well.

    Setting benchmarks for states could sweep away many measures that serve to turn voters away from the polls -- such as Florida's "book-closing" law that freezes voter rolls 30 days before an election -- and outlaw technology that has been proven vulnerable to hacker attempts. States could avoid problems, such as the controversy over some nonprofits' voter-registration drives, by providing for universal registration of all eligible voters once they become 18.
    "Looking ahead to 2012". The Miami Herald editorial board: "Voting should be easy, accessible".

    Liking the sound of this: "universal registration of all eligible voters once they become 18".

    Back to the future

    "Now that Barack Obama is president-elect and Florida is blue on the electoral map, it's easy to forget how things started." "Obama's team had foresight to deliver Florida".

    It might be a bloodbath

    "The state party will vote Jan. 10 in Orlando on Greer's re-election."

    "After Democrat Barack Obama carried the state and two GOP congressmen lost on Nov. 4, newly elected Martin County state committeeman announced his candidacy for Greer's job. Efforts to reach Miller late Saturday unsuccessful. Crist did not mention Miller, who has cast himself as a more conservative leader for the state party, in endorsing Greer." "Crist endorses GOP Chairman Greer for re-election".

    It may be an open fight between the parties' two factions: Greer's country clubbers (including the "never mind that he's gay" hypocrites) and Miller's base, the cabal of knuckle-draggers (including the "is he really gay?" hypocrites), right-to-lifers, assault-weapon aficionados, and assorted overt racists.

    Note: of course, Charlie needs his man to get elected so he can be placed at the national level. "State GOP chief interested in national committee job". Not that Charlie has national aspirations.

    Dem Party Chair fight in the offing?

    "Is state Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman in danger of losing her post when the party holds state party elections next month? Probably not — she has long enjoyed the support of Sen. Bill Nelson — but she's not especially cozy with Barack Obama's most influential supporters in Florida, so anything could happen. Miami-Dade Democratic chairman Bret Berlin, 39, is among her more likely challengers" "Florida Democrats' chairwoman Thurman likely to face a challenge".

    As an aside, "There's a fair amount of Buzz out there from prominent Democrats who think it would make more sense to wait a couple of months to elect state party leaders. The idea would be to hold off and see how the new Obama White House and Democratic National Committee want to structure their political operations in ways that might integrate state parties more." "Delay the election?"

    A white thing

    "Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama." Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars." "Obama Election Spurs Race Crimes Around Country".

    Of course, Florida was way out front with this stuff; ""after All, He Is Black".


    "Leaders of Greater Orlando Team Hillary have formed a new group to draft Sink for governor. Sink is often mentioned as a 2010 gubernatorial candidate, but she has not yet said what her plans are. She could also run for the seat held by Republican U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who some analysts say is among the most vulnerable incumbents in the Senate." "Clinton supporters eye Alex Sink for 2010 governor's election".

    Will Mica attend?

    Poor "John Mica. Four years ago, the Winter Park Republican was able to grant tickets to most everyone from his district who wanted to see George W. Bush sworn in for the second time. This year, he got 1,500 requests -- for the 198 tickets he has to distribute. And that was just in the first few days after the election. The number has continued to increase." "You'll need luck, long undies to go to the inauguration".

    Must be the teachers' unions' fault

    "Florida teachers accused of sex crimes".

    Single member districts

    Randy Schultz: "If Barack Obama can win by running in all of the United States, couldn't an African-American candidate win by running in all of Palm Beach County?"

    "End this political segregation".

    "This time"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "It was another terrible case of Florida losing a child. But this time, Florida actually did something about it." "Children becoming priority at state child welfare agency".

    Smells like teen spirit

    "5 stabbed after Fla. high school football game".

    Hillsborough blues

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "David Storck was correct to not seek another term as Hillsborough County's Republican Party chairman. His lack of judgment in forwarding a racist e-mail about Barack Obama made him an embarrassment for the party. But he also presided over a local slate that was pummeled at the polls. Democrats beat Republican incumbents in two countywide seats and polled unusually heavy in races where they should not have been a factor. Local Republicans need to change their message and broaden their appeal if they hope to compete in 2010 and beyond." "In losses, GOP gets lessons".


    "Seminoles start blackjack in Tampa; what next for Broward?".

    38 percenters

    "Against a backdrop of an American flag with rainbow-colored stripes, protesters sang, prayed, waved American flags and listened to about a dozen speakers. They included the mother of a gay man, Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, who is gay, and a gay woman who was married in California before same-sex unions were voted out Nov. 4." "More than 1,000 protest gay-marriage ban at City Hall With Photos".

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