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 30, 2009

Charlie (via Greer) makes a 2012 move

    "The latest shots in the war over the Republican Party's ideological future will come Thursday morning in a battle over who will head the Republic National Committee's Rules Committee, according to RNC members."
    At issue is who emerges as chairman of the 56-member Rules Committee -- a moderate backed by Mr. Steele or one of the two conservative candidates.

    Some members say the outcome matters because the winner assumes a powerful post that could tilt the 2012 presidential nomination playing field, while others say panelists wish to free themselves from the national chairman.

    The contestants in Thursday's election are Jim Greer of Florida, considered a moderate; and Bruce Ash of Arizona and Curly Haugland of North Dakota, both viewed as conservatives. RNC members and panel alumni once shy about blasting each other in public have drawn unusually stark battle lines.

    "Greer is the single most disliked guy on the RNC -- that would be my guess," former South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, who lost a hard-fought contest for RNC chairman to Mr. Steele in January, told The Washington Times. "Curly should win the rules chairmanship but [Mr. Steele's] paid staff is working against Haugland."

    Mr. Greer, an ally of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist as well as Mr. Steele, already has reminded Rules Committee members that he has the chairman's backing, an act that ruffled feathers on the famously independent-minded panel.
    "Rules fight seen as window to GOP's future" (via "Could Jim Greer get ousted?").

    The Palm Beach Post editors want you to know ...

    ... that police unions are bad: "Cops go bad, keep working" ("doing a favor for the police union, the Legislature and Gov. Crist made it even harder to fire police officers. The move won't win them any favors from the places where those bad cops get dumped.")

    The best he can do?

    "Attorney General Bill McCollum is well on his way to locking up support of the state's Republican Establishment in his race for governor. His campaign released its 'leadership structure' today. The state chair is Charlie Bronson, the incumbent agriculture commissioner who'd wanted to run for governor himself until party officials made clear a primary wouldn't be tolerated. Also included are the current and future legislative presiding officers, a raft of former officeholders, Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty and 13 of the state's Republican congressional delegation. But it's at least a little interesting that two congressmen -- Adam Putnam of Bartow, who's running for Ag Commissioner; and Winter Park's own John Mica -- aren't on McCollum's list." "Most of GOP Establishment on McCollum's team".

    10th amendment wingnuttery

    Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "State Sen. Carey Baker wants to make sure that Floridians don't have too much access to health care."

    To that end, the Eustis Republican is sponsoring a proposed constitutional amendment that would specifically cut Floridians out of any federal health care plan proposed by the Obama administration. Putting it on the ballot will require a 3/5 vote of the state Legislature, followed by a 60-percent approval from voters.

    Baker's proposal -- with a House companion sponsored by Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood -- suggests it would "preserve the freedom of all residents of the state to provide for their own health care."
    Read the entire piece here: "Plot to block health care half-Bakered".

    More from Bill Cotterell: "two GOP legislators this week waded into the national health care debate with an opt-out plan for Florida. Nor is this the first time legislative Republicans have said "no thanks" to the grand plans of President Obama and the Democrats who control Congress."
    "A law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system," states House Joint Resolution 37. It says every Floridian and every employer in the state can buy health services, while "providers" — doctors, for instance — can sell their services, free of government (you finish the sentence). ...

    "Today, we're drawing the line in the sand," said [gun entrepreneur] Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, in a statement issued when he and [all purpose wingnut] Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, introduced their constitutional amendment this week. "It is bad enough that our federal government wants to choose your doctor and ration your treatment, but to do so virtually in secret and in such a rush proves that the goal is not to get better health care but to get socialized health care."

    Plakon quoted Dr. Benjamin Rush [who is surely turning over in his grave as a result], a signer of the Declaration of Independence and delegate to the constitutional convention, who warned that medicine might become "an undercover dictatorship and force people who wish doctors and treatment of their own choice to submit to only what the dictating outfit offers."

    You thought Jefferson and Adams could see over the horizon? Here's a guy who foretold creation of HMOs, and history barely notes his name.

    Baker, by the way, is a candidate for agriculture commissioner. ... And it's worth noting that all state legislators who will vote on their amendment have fully paid-up family health insurance, provided by the.... ummm, oh, the... uh, you know... the government.
    "States' rights, health care clash".

    Douglas Lyons points out the obvious, "Legally, I'm not sure how you use a state constitution to ward off federal law." "Legislators want to use the state constitution to fend off health care reform".

    After all, Article. VI. of the U.S. Constitution, that pesky "Supremacy Clause", is pretty clear that "... the Laws of the United States ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land ... any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Even a RPOFer should be able to understand that? Or perhaps this is just another wingnut get out the (teabagger-RPOF base) vote scheme. Imagine that.

    What about local employees?

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "It's understandable Tampa City Council would want city contracts to go to local vendors. But members should be wary of a local preference rule, which could end up hurting taxpayers and the economy." "Local preference could rig work bids".

    More from the "drill, baby, drill" crowd

    Mike Thomas: "Some in Congress now want to bribe Florida into accepting offshore oil and gas rigs. I'm good with that. Energy companies get drilling rights by leasing tracts of submerged land from the federal government. They also pay royalties on what they pull up. The proposal would cut us in on 37.5 percent of this booty. It could be worth billions of dollars for a state in desperate need of billions of dollars." "Why shouldn't Florida cash in on oil drilling?".

    Water war still on

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board:

    a dispute continues over the use of the water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system, and after almost 20 years of fighting in courts and maneuvering in state governments, it's still unsettled whether those waters are better used quenching the thirst and watering the lawns of people in Atlanta, maintaining the fertile farms of central Georgia, generating electric power in Alabama, or feeding the rich sea life of the Apalachicola region.

    U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson ruled last week that Lake Lanier, created by damming the Chattahoochee, was intended not to ensure northern Georgia's water supply but to produce electric power. And he gave Georgia, Alabama and Florida three years to work out a deal, with Georgia's position being weakened considerably by the ruling.

    Is that the end of it all, a clear victory for Florida? Hardly.
    "Our Opinion: Water wars, still".

    Yee haw!

    "Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair is looking to restart his political career with a run for a state House seat that will become vacant next year."

    But Blair could face a tough challenge in a Republican primary for the seat representing District 47 - Carrollwood, Northdale and the northwest corner of Hillsborough County.

    Recently retired Verizon executive Irene Guy, well-known on the Tampa political scene, said Wednesday she's making plans to run for the seat.

    One other Republican candidate, Richard Reidy, an aide to County Commissioner Ken Hagan, already has filed, and other prominent Republicans may be interested as well. Former state Sen. John Grant and radio host and lobbyist Bill Bunkley are both considering entering the race.
    "Blair may seek seat in state House".

    For Crist, "an opportunity to take the easy way out"

    Pamela Hasterok: "Every time gas prices go up, Congress attacks Florida's beaches. This time senators from oil producing states propose drilling within 45 miles of the Gulf coast. That would undo a 2006 moratorium banning oil drilling within 125 miles of the Panhandle and 235 miles away from Tampa south for at least another 13 years."

    Crist, a Republican running for retiring Mel Martinez's U.S. Senate seat, calls it an opportunity. He contends the state can split the baby -- drill for oil, reap a portion of the profits and still protect our beaches and tourism. Too, he says it would help us become energy independent.

    It's hard to see how drilling off Florida's coast would make America anything but more dependent on cheap oil. For Crist, it's an opportunity to take the easy way out while drumming up support from voters frustrated over the high price of gas.
    "Get out the tar remover.".


    "When a secretive electioneering group attacked Eleanor Sobel's political opponents in a Broward state Senate race last year alleging "shady land deals,'' Sobel vowed she had nothing to do with it."

    "I have no control over those groups,'' Sobel told The Miami Herald in August as People for a Better Florida Fund filled mailboxes with last-minute missives just before she defeated Tim Ryan and Ken Gottlieb.

    But new court documents provide clear links between Sobel's campaign and the attack ads.

    Sobel's political consultant was also a paid consultant for an affiliate of People for a Better Florida Fund and helped coordinate the attacks and plot strategy, according to e-mails and a deposition taken in a defamation suit Ryan filed against the group. Another campaign vendor also was paid in the effort.
    "Eleanor Sobel's Senate campaign linked to attack ads". Background: "Ex-Florida Senate hopeful Tim Ryan seeks lawsuit over attack ads".

    Related materials (in .pdf form) courtesy of The Miami Herald: "E-mail from Timothy J. Stapleton", "Read the lawsuit Tim Ryan filed", "Read the defendant's answer and defenses" and "Read Tim Stapleton's deposition".


    "Citing "pressure" from the Obama administration and other members of Congress, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings has withdrawn an amendment that aimed to weaken the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy that bans gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. Hastings, D-Miramar, wanted to add language to a defense appropriations bill to prohibit spending money to investigate or discharge members of the military who reveal they are homosexual or bisexual." "Hastings cites White House 'pressure' in giving up attempt to strike military's gay ban".

    Perhaps this one will pass, Billy

    Alleged Floridian, and Birther nut, "Congressman Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, and 30 of his colleagues introduced legislation that would require bills to wait 72 hours between the time they are printed for review and voted upon." "Congressman Posey, others propose wait time on bills".

    Florida receives federal bail out

    "Florida school districts received $28.9 billion in government funding in 2006-07, the fourth-largest amount in the country, according to a new Census Bureau report. Only California, Texas and New York schools collected more." "State 4th in D.C. funding for schools".*

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *10th amendment experts, RPOFers Baker and Plakon presumably want to return the federal portion of these monies.

    HD 57

    "The first Democrat has entered the race for state House District 57, which covers Westchase, Town 'N Country and South Tampa. Tampa attorney Clifford L. Somers, 68, filed candidacy papers with the Florida Division of Elections on July 16, bringing to three the number of people vying for state Rep. Faye Culp's term-limited seat." "Democrat Clifford L. Somers joins race for House District 57 seat".

    On King

    Mark Lane: "Sen. Jim King -- the death of a guy who loved his job".

    Off topic

    "Central Fla. man finds mouse in Diet Pepsi can". See also "Man charged with attacking roommate with coconut".

    Our spineless Governor

    "Crist, who has kept himself at arm's length in the thorny debate over sex offender residency laws, inched toward a compromise on Wednesday, saying he would help 'facilitate a solution.' However, he reiterated his position that the state would not overrule local laws -- even if the residency boundaries vary greatly from one municipality to another." "Governor joins debate on sex offender laws".


    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "While no one wants a registered sex offender living nearby, they have to live somewhere. Where? The answer in Miami-Dade County is under a causeway." "Strict rule hurts public safety".


    "Blaming the state's budget crunch, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has drastically reduced its policing of Broward County's three parimutuel 'racinos,' including no longer keeping on-site offices at the gambling facilities." "FDLE to reduce policing at Broward County's three `racinos'".

    Never mind

    "Five Florida counties made a national news organization's list of places `where the jobs are.' Four of them have unemployment rates above 11 percent. Oops! " "Need a job? Website probably won't help".

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