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, July 23, 2009

Charlie makes Anita Bryant proud

    "Crist ... defends gay-parent ban" ("civil-rights advocates argue that Crist could brag about even more impressive numbers if Florida wasn't the only state in the nation with an outright ban.")

    This is not a joke

    "City commissioners in the central Florida city of Kissimmee are considering changing their logo to incorporate the motto 'In God We Trust.' Commissioner Art Otero proposed the addition. He said he suggested the change because he disagrees with the direction the country is going under President Obama. ... The logo changes could be approved by the commission next month." "Fla. city may add 'In God We Trust' to logo".

    The best they can do?

    The only thing the RPOFer neglected to say was "After All, He Is Black" in their latest attacks on Obama: "Florida Republicans: Obama failing economics, barely passing math, probably cheating in gym".

    RPOFer "political circus"

    "The political conflict that could remove Brevard Republican Chairman Jason Steele has involved a who's who of local conservatives, including a state representative, a county commissioner, a talk radio host and a 'tea party' organizer."

    Friday's closed-door grievance hearing at the Gaylord Palms resort south of Orlando pits defendant Steele -- whose job requires holding together a coalition of old-guard conservatives and edgy libertarians -- against a 19-year-old Rollins College student and former party secretary from Titusville who calls himself a stickler for party structure and rules.

    The complainant, Travis Clinger, will prosecute Steele at the party tribunal for allegedly
    violating his loyalty oath to the Republican Party of Florida.

    A political circus? Yes.

    Even so, the Republican Party's dominance of most local, state and federal elected offices in Brevard County make the internal struggle worth watching.
    "In GOP, a not-so-civil war".

    "Republicans, beware"

    "For the first time since the GOP won control of state government in the mid 1990s, the Democratic Party and its leading candidate for governor together raised more money than their Republican counterparts at the start of a gubernatorial election season."

    Since April 1, Alex Sink, the state's Democratic chief financial officer, raised almost $1.3 million, to Attorney General Bill McCollum's $1.04 million. The Democratic Party raised nearly $2 million, while the Republican Party of Florida raised almost $1.2 million.
    "More money flowing to Democrat Sink in governor's race".

    What's the rush?

    "Rep. Allen Boyd doesn't understand the rush to overhaul the nation's health care system." "Boyd, Blue Dogs in the middle of health-care debate".

    Perhaps this will help Mr. Boyd understand: "Crisis: Nearly Five Million Adults Have Lost Insurance Since Sept. '08".

    More: "A consumer group [Families USA] that favors the House version of health reform says it would expand coverage to 1.8 million Floridians in its first year, 2013, and would cover nearly 3 million Floridians by the year 2019." "Report: Bill would cover 3M in FL". See also ""Coverage for America: We All Stand to Gain".

    Two way street

    "Less than three weeks after President Obama complained about liberal activists attacking Democrats over health care reform, his own grass-roots campaign is preparing to put the heat on U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson today. Organizing for America, which continues to operate an Obama campaign Web site and use his campaign logo, will hold afternoon rallies in front of six of Nelson's eight Florida offices, including his West Palm Beach location on Australian Avenue." "Obama-linked activist group to target Nelson, Martinez in health care rallies".

    "Brogan had a hand in the Bush administration's disastrous overhaul of higher education"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Frank Brogan should make a crackerjack chancellor of the State University System. He's personable, persuasive, imaginative and politically astute."

    Yet for all his experience and appeal, Brogan's selection by the Florida Board of Governors also raises concerns, particularly for those who want to see the state strategically marshal its limited higher-education resources. ...

    Brogan had a hand in the Bush administration's disastrous overhaul of higher education.

    The Board of Regents that coordinated university policies was eliminated. Governor-appointed boards of trustees were given jurisdiction over the policy of each university.

    The change inflated the governor's patronage power, allowed lawmakers to add new programs at their favorite schools and gave Florida a national reputation for a politicized and chaotic university system.

    Fortunately, voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that restored an oversight board to the university system, but the damage done to Florida's academic standing endures.
    "Chancellor Brogan will face tough test".


    "Aiming to stop debate over abortion from derailing healthcare reform, Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami is urging Congress to neither require nor ban insurers from providing coverage for abortions. Though proposed legislation does not mention abortion, some Republicans argue that the proposed overhaul of the healthcare system could open the door to federal funding of the procedure. Democrats counter that abortion opponents are trying to cook up controversy in an effort to topple the broader reform effort." "Kendrick Meek maintains status quo on abortions".

    Redistricting fight

    "Money is pouring into an effort to address one of the thorniest issues in modern politics: how to curb politicians' power to gerrymander their own political districts."

    FairDistrictsFlorida.org wants to place two constitutional amendments on the 2010 ballot that would ban legislators from drawing sprawling, jagged congressional and legislative districts that resemble abstract art and divide communities in order to help or hurt incumbents or political parties.

    The group has amassed about one-third of the 676,811 valid voter signatures needed by Feb. 1 to make next year's general election ballot.

    According to the most recent campaign reports, it has raised a whopping $1.5 million in the last six months from traditional Democratic allies like the Florida Education Association, service unions and trial lawyers.
    "But the effort is sure to run head-on into two Central Florida lawmakers: future House Speaker Dean Cannon, R- Winter Park, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Indialantic."
    Both are in charge of the Legislature's preparation for the next round of re-districting after the 2010 Census and have a vested interest in maintaining the GOP's hold over seats in Tallahassee.
    Abd then there's the "bleaching" thing:
    In 1992, African-American Democrats joined with minority-party Republicans to support concentrating black voters into fewer congressional and legislative districts. That resulted in the election of Florida's first black congressional members since Reconstruction.

    But this lowered the number of reliably Democratic black voters in surrounding districts -- a prospect called "bleaching" -- and enabled Republicans subsequently to win control of the state's congressional delegation and the Legislature.

    This year, many black legislators are backing the redistricting amendment, ignoring GOP warnings that compact districts could reduce the numbers of minorities in the Legislature.
    Much more here: "Money pouring in to finance redistricting reform".

    Oh ... the horror

    "Hear that? It's the jingle of 70 cents per hour being added to minimum-wage earners' pockets as an increase in the federal minimum wage — from $6.55 to $7.25 — goes into effect today."

    The geniuses on the The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board argue that the increase in minimum wages is something

    neither Florida nor our nation's government can afford.
    "Downturn dilemma".

    "Secret deportation" case to go to jury

    "All sides agree on one thing in the strange case of a South Florida hospital that secretly repatriated a seriously brain injured patient back to Guatemala."

    During the early hours of a steamy July 2003 morning, Martin Memorial Medical Center chartered a private plane and sent 37-year-old Luis Jimenez back to the Central American country without telling his relatives in the U.S. or Guatemala - even as his legal guardian frantically sought to stop the move.

    There, things get murky. The man's guardian, also his cousin, is suing the hospital for essentially deporting Jimenez, who was an illegal immigrant. The hospital, which spent more than $1.5 million on his care over three years, says Jimenez wanted to go home.

    Underlying the dispute is the broader question of what's a hospital to do with a patient who requires long-term care, is unable to pay and doesn't qualify for federal or state aid because of his immigration status. Health care and immigration experts across the country are watching the case, which could go to a jury Thursday, and which could set precedent in Florida and possibly beyond. Lawyers for Jimenez said this appears to be the first time a lawsuit has been filed in such a case.
    A South Florida Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Frank O'Laughlin argued that
    a country that relies on cheap, immigrant labor for everything from agriculture, to clothing to construction, should factor in the cost of catastrophic injuries to those providing these essential services - whether it means requiring employers to offer coverage even for day laborers or ensuring public and nonprofit hospitals can care for them.
    "Fla. hospital defends secretly deporting patient".

    FCAT follies

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "A flawed formula for success".

    "Florida saw this once before in a Senate race"

    Bill Cotterell on Florida's serial bar flunker and proud graduate of Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama arguing that Sotomayor is unfit to serve on the United States Supreme Court:

    it was interesting this week that Gov. Charlie Crist announced his opposition to Sotomayor. This is a free throw for Crist, to score a point with the most conservative wing of his party in the race to succeed Martinez. Looking at it purely politically — but who'd suspect Crist of doing that? — it's not hard to see that Crist figures most Hispanic Republicans will back Marco Rubio in the GOP primary. He can win the nomination without them, but the odds get a little closer if he alienates many of the non-Hispanic Republicans who dislike Sotomayor.

    Florida saw this once before in a Senate race, both sides playing politics.

    In 1969 and 1970, President Nixon set out to name a Southerner to the Supreme Court.

    The Senate rejected his first choice, Judge Clement F. Haynsworth of South Carolina, so Nixon nominated Tallahasseean G. Harrold Carswell, a federal circuit judge. Maybe Nixon and his campaign manager/attorney general, John Mitchell, were betting that the Senate wouldn't have the nerve to reject two nominees, particularly two Southerners, back to back. They were wrong.

    But Nixon "won" in the short term. He went on television and announced that Democrats would never confirm a Southerner, and the GOP targeted some well-entrenched Southern Democrats in 1970. One casualty was Sen. Albert Gore of Tennessee, father of the former vice president, and another was Ralph Yarborough of Texas.

    Back in Florida, then-Gov. Claude Kirk persuaded Carswell to run for the Senate against the anointed GOP nominee, former U.S. Rep. Bill Cramer of St. Petersburg. It was a little like Rubio challenging the party-establishment choice, Crist, today. There was also a tempting irony in the prospect of Carswell sitting in the Senate among men who'd spurned him — but not tempting enough, as Cramer won the primary. Having beaten up on Carswell in the primary, though, Cramer could hardly turn around and tap conservative sympathy for the judge in the general election, won in a walk by Lawton Chiles.

    There's no need to rehash the bitterness of the Carswell confirmation hearings, except for one similarity. ...
    "It's about politics, not the nominee".

    "Matt Gaetz [the son of state Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville] has announced his candidacy for the District 4 seat in the Florida State House of Representatives. Gaetz, 27, a resident of Fort Walton Beach, is the third Republican candidate to announce his interest in succeeding state Rep. Ray Sansom, whose term in the House would expire next year. Kabe Woods and Bill Garvie, both also of Fort Walton Beach, have also pre-filed to run." "Matt Gaetz to seek Sansom's seat".

    HD 1

    "The race to replace state Rep. Greg Evers in the District 1 race has attracted three men new to politics in a field almost certain to grow. Doug Broxson, Matt Dobson and Ferdinand Salomon — all Republicans — have filed to run in the primary to be held next August, ahead of the general election in November 2010. The majority-Republican district includes parts of Santa Rosa, Escambia and Okaloosa counties." "Three jump into race for Evers' seat".

    What's Chain Gang Charlie to do?

    "A pair of adoptive parents are urging Gov. Charlie Crist and lawmakers to stop the 'chemical restraint' of children in state care. " "Crist urged to stop 'chemical restraint' of foster kids". See also "Adoption rate celebration gives way to drug concerns".

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