Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Friday, July 10, 2009

Charlie "Pullin' a Palin"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board writes what's on everyone's mind - "Palin & Crist abandoning ship". "How else to describe Sarah Palin and Charlie Crist?"
    Ms. Palin announced last week that she not only won't seek a second term as Alaska's governor, she's planning to leave office more than a year before her first term expires.

    Mr. Crist announced in May that he won't seek a second term heading Florida's government, making him the state's first sitting governor to decline a re-election bid since the state constitution was changed in 1968 to allow two terms.
    "Mr. Crist's ambitions weren't satisfied winning the Mr. Congeniality honor instead of the running mate-spot alongside Mr. McCain."
    Hence we all got handed his tortured rationale for why he wants to bounce from Tallahassee to Washington and into the Senate seat Mel Martinez is vacating: It's about solving the real problems saddling Florida, which, wouldn't you know, happen to be flowing from the nation's capital.

    Yeah, and Ms. Palin was equally convincing, saying she'll "make a positive difference and fight for all our children's future from outside the governor's office.
    "Government leaders, like ship captains navigating wicked storms, don't abandon their posts when challenges appear overwhelming."
    They don't set a lovely table — as Mr. Crist enjoys doing as governor — only to neglect seeing that the meal gets properly cooked and served. They don't say they'll champion kids' health care and education, preserve the environment and protect homeowners from predatory insurance practices but then run for cover as the problems involving them intensify. They don't take billions in stimulus cash from Washington but fail to strengthen the state budget's foundation so that it can withstand future economic slides. They don't add to the mess, allowing raids on state trust funds, and pretending that expanded gambling will solve the state's education mess. Leaders don't. But Mr. Crist did....

    But we understand that with Mr. Crist, he's always looking to the next job. He's given up each of his statewide posts — education commissioner, attorney general and now, governor — after just one term to seek higher office.

    That's Bunyan-sized ambition. But unfortunately it's also the mark of a quitter, one who's concerned that chronic problems he might not be able to solve could tarnish his smaller achievements.

    And, as a consequence, block his path to the top.
    Charlie's "no leader, but a politician whose habit of abandoning one job after another somehow gets him where he wants to go."

    Much more here: "Palin & Crist abandoning ship".

    Sore loserman

    "Jeb Bush says GOP lost elections on tactics".

    Crist "on his way to drowning Rubio,"

    "The Florida economy may be in the dumps, but Charlie Crist's campaign fundraising machine is humming along."

    Crist announced Thursday that in just 50 days he raised an eye-popping $4.3 million for his U.S. Senate campaign. That not only dwarfs the previous Florida U.S. Senate fundraising record set by Republican Mel Martinez -- $1.7-million in his first fundraising period in 2004 -- but it highlights the huge hurdles for Crist's Republican Senate rival Marco Rubio, who raised just $340,000 in the same period.
    "Until detailed reports are released next week,"
    it's not clear how much of Crist's total can be spent in the GOP primary because the maximum campaign donation allowed is $2,400 per election. The Crist campaign had been pressing people to donate $4,800 -- or $9,600 per couple -- with half to be used in the general election.

    But even if half of Crist's money must be held until after the primary, he's still on his way to drowning Rubio, the former state House speaker....

    Rubio has challenged Crist to a series of 10 debates, but the governor declined, saying through a spokesman on June 22 that he was too busy governing Florida. That day Crist was in Washington raising campaign money.
    "Crist fundraising for Senate race quickly leaves Rubio behind". See also "Gov. Crist smashes fundraising record in U.S. Senate race".

    Related: "Rubio Senate campaign rases just $340,000".

    Meantime, "Meek's Senate campaign raised $1.2 million last quarter".

    "A two-bit way to run a budget"

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "2010 is an election year, and with so many elected officials reluctant to break their "no new taxes pledges" as they campaign for higher office, it remains to be seen how much headway they will make in addressing Florida's fiscal problems. If so, expect more spending cuts and more user fees. For the nation's fourth largest state, it may be politically expedient, but it's a two-bit way to run a budget." "Fee hikes key to Florida's new budget".

    Orange going blue?

    "Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart leads a pack of potential contenders to follow Crotty" as Orange County Mayor. "Orlando area voters pan politicians in Realtors Association poll".

    Charlie's "mission accomplished"

    Paul Flemming: "In both the Seminole and the judicial-nominating case, Crist is the ultimate winner."

    # The tribe has expanded gambling, and the Legislature this year passed an agreement — still in process, but nonetheless an agreement — to allow it. That wouldn't have been the case without Crist's move, and his loss in court.

    # Crist now must make an appointment to the 5th District from a list he said he didn't like, though no one has said there aren't qualified candidates among those he must choose. Labarga, for instance, was on the original nominating list that the governor asked to be rejiggered to reflect greater gender and racial diversity. By his actions, Crist sought the appearance of diversity, or, the appearance of the desire for more diversity.

    In both court cases, Supremes aside, Crist can legitimately declare mission accomplished.
    "Crist wins even when he loses".


    "Read Crist’s lips: No new stimulus - probably".

    Another RPOFer soft landing

    "FAU President Frank Brogan, a former Florida lieutenant governor, has applied to be the next state university chancellor. He's considered a front-runner." "FAU chief seeks top college post".


    The Miami Herald editorial board: "As a rule, we like insurance-rate increases about as much as we like hurricanes -- not at all. However, the latest hike proposed by Citizens Property Insurance is necessary, and, in fairness, overdue." "Citizens' premium rate hike is necessary".

    "Pointing fingers and playing dumb"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "It should not take a lawsuit for Miami-Dade County officials to toss out a local ordinance that has created a shantytown of sex offenders under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Yet that's what the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida was forced to do on Thursday -- file a lawsuit -- after local and state officials spent the past couple of years pointing fingers and playing dumb." "Miami-Dade's sex-offender law must be changed".

    "Save our Homes"

    "An appeals court has ruled that the "Save our Homes" amendment that caps tax assessments on homesteaded property is constitutional. The 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling Wednesday that rejected a challenge by an Alabama couple who own a second home in the Florida Panhandle and claimed the provision was discriminatory." "Appeals court upholds Save Our Homes amendment".

    High-speed rail "closer to reality than ever before"

    "Left for dead nearly five years ago with little prospect for revival, the idea of a high-speed passenger train connecting Tampa and Orlando -- and eventually cities around the state -- is closer to reality than ever before." "Florida dream rides U.S. rail plan".

    Looking for a federal handout

    "Congressman Tom Rooney’s request of $43.6 million for Florida’s citrus industry has been included in the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations bill that is headed to the Senate. The request for the money — to pay for the Citrus Health Research Program — was the only one in the bill by the freshman Republican from Tequesta." "Rooney's request for $43.6 million for citrus industry money included in bill".

    Big of 'em

    "The VA has promised free treatment to veterans infected by improperly cleaned equipment used in colonoscopies. " "VA offers free care to veterans who might have been infected at hospitals in Miami, elsewhere".

    Jeff Atwater on a roll

    "$500k for Jeff Atwater's CFO campaign".

    Hillsborough SOE

    "Former state Rep. Sandy Murman is among the latest of 22 applicants vying for the job of Hillsborough County elections supervisor - and among the six whom Gov. Charlie Crist will interview personally for the position today." "Crist screening for elections job".

    Invasive creatures

    The Miami Herald editorial board:"As a Senate hearing so aptly pointed out Wednesday,"

    the United States needs to take control of the exotic species that have invaded every region of the country. The pest du jour at the hearing was the Burmese python, which Sen. Bill Nelson wants banned from importing and pet store inventories.

    In truth there are hundreds of invasive creatures threatening our native species -- everything from the zebra snails that plug up power-plant intake pipes in the Great Lakes to the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a bacteria-carrying insect that has caused nearly $40 million in losses in California's wine country.

    In all, say scientists with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, nonnative species -- plant and animal -- cost the country $100 billion a year.
    "Ban pythons".


    "Rack up three crash-related tickets in three years and you'll be back behind the wheel -- for a driving test -- under a new Florida law that becomes effective Jan. 1." "Florida's worst drivers will have to retake driving test". See also "State's worst drivers will soon have to pass driver education class, driving test".

    "Marathon fight"

    "Swine flu isn't going away anytime soon. So states must prepare to vaccinate against it and cope with its consequences. State and local officials say they are getting prepared." "Florida, U.S. brace for marathon fight against swine flu".

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