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 Sunday, July 19, 2009

Charlie's latest laff riot

    Aaron Deslatte takes down one of Charlie's latest con games: "Crist took a stab last week at saying where he stood as a U.S. Senate candidate on one of Washington's most contentious issues: whether to involve the federal government further in providing health care."

    Charlie ought to be an expert in what constitutes a health care disaster, after all he is presiding over one:
    Florida has nearly 4 million uninsured residents. And according to a new Families USA report, 3,500 more each week are losing their insurance or dropping it because premiums have doubled in the past decade.
    Nevertheless, Charlie is actually holding
    up his year-old Cover Florida program as a national model for how Congress and the White House should act.

    "I'd like to see more private-sector involvement. I think that what we've done in Florida can be a pretty good model," Crist told reporters. "The real concern here is to make sure the people have access to health care that's affordable. Through our Cover Florida program, we've shown a way to do it where you don't have to increase taxes."

    Basically, Cover Florida has induced private carriers to put together no-frills packages that cost as little as $150 a month. Critics say that, for anyone with serious health issues, these bare-bones policies remain unaffordable.
    One of the many defects in Charlie's approach - to wit: let's eliminate minimum standards for "insurance" so we can make it look like lotsa people have "insurance" - is that, even with this "pretend insurance" sleight of hand, in total
    In its first year, the program enrolled just over 3,200 people through the end of May — less than the number who lose coverage each week.
    "Florida health plan can serve U.S., Gov. Charlie Crist says".

    FlaDem fundraising "could spell trouble for Republicans"

    "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."

    Alex Sink, the state's Democratic Chief Financial Officer, raised almost $1.3 million to Attorney General Bill McCollum's $1.04 million, since April 1. The Democratic Party raised nearly $2 million, while the Republican Party of Florida raised almost $1.2 million.
    "Alex Sink's fundraising success could mean trouble for GOP".

    "Lawson is undeterred"

    "Trailing badly in the money race, veteran state Sen. Al Lawson continued to predict victory in his bid to unseat Congressman Allen Boyd, a fellow Democrat."

    According to the latest campaign-finance reports, Lawson faces an uphill battle against the Blue Dog conservative farmer from Monticello who has represented the sprawling Second Congressional District since 1997.

    Lawson, an insurance executive from Tallahassee who is winding down a 27-year career in the state Legislature, raised $55,285 for the quarter that ended June 30. After spending $17,651, Lawson was left with $37,634 in the bank.

    Boyd raised $570,193 and spent $139,465 during the same quarter. But he entered the race with a $1.3 million war chest from his last campaign and had nearly $1.6 million cash on hand at the end of the quarter.
    "Democrat: Lawson trailing Rep. Boyd in U.S. House fundraising".

    "Summer school for state legislators"

    "Despite severe travel restrictions they imposed on state agencies, 27 House members and 15 Florida senators are attending national conventions in Atlanta or Philadelphia this month. And a lone legislator has been authorized for another four-day convention next month in Winston-Salem, N.C." "House, Senate restrict junkets".

    Death politics

    "Florida governor reschedules man's execution date".

    Scott Maxwell ...

    ... sounds like he's posting on a blog this morning:

    Study after study shows that Florida spends far less on children than most other states. We rank near the bottom when it comes to spending for public education and child welfare in general. That's why we have lower graduation rates, more uninsured children, less healthy students and foster kids that end up living in deplorable conditions.
    "How to talk to your elected double-talker".

    So layoffs are out, then?

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Putting a cap on Department of Children and Families caseloads would help Florida foster children at risk".

    Nuthin' sadder than a desperate RPOFer

    "In Kosmas, GOP sees slipup, blasts it".

    Busy bees

    Without a substantive idea in what seems like decades, Orlando-area RPOFer "lawmakers are getting deeper into the air attack against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink'suse of state planes. ... State Rep. Mike Horner, R- Kissimmee, then sent a public-records request to CFO Sink's office asking for copies of the investigative files generated from her internal inquiry. Horner and a handful of other House Republicans including Rep. Chris Dorworth, R- Lake Mary, had asked for an outside investigation." "Plane flap not over".

    "Defining moment" for "scandal-tainted Palm Beach County"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The term 'defining moment' can be overused, but this truly is such a moment for the scandal-tainted Palm Beach County Commission and the government it oversees. The county's future depends on real reform. Any commissioner who doesn't want to create an independent and free-wheeling inspector general's office to make a clean break from how things have been done isn't fit to remain on the commission, and should resign." "Support reform, or get out".

    Cash cows

    "U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, a freshman Tequesta Republican whom Democrats hope to unseat in 2010, increased his campaign war chest to about $250,000 during the second quarter of the year, according to campaign finance reports released last week. GOP watchers are hoping Rooney raises more than the $1.6 million he collected for his 2008 campaign. But Democrats said it would not be enough to scare them away." Unfortunately, the

    Democrats have not yet fielded a candidate ....
    Across the aisle from Rooney, U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, raised $371,211 from April 1 to June 30, the period covered by the most recent campaign finance reports.

    This was the most money from any member of the Palm Beach County or Treasure Coast delegations and brought his cash on hand to $1.9 million.

    Klein's likely Republican opponent, Allen West, raised $218,243 during the same time. West had $135,687 on hand after the first six months of the year. ...

    West received checks of $2,300 - the maximum individuals are allowed to contribute - from New York billionaire John Catsimatidis and his wife, Margo, and Tennessee businessman Randall Doerter.
    "Tom Rooney, Ron Klein get big boosts in 2010 campaign accounts".

    The country clubbers are all abuzz...

    The folks down at the country club, err at the Chamber of Commerce, err on the The Tampa Tribune editorial board are worried that Obama might "ram this shadowy proposal through, promising to extend health care coverage to all Americans and at a lesser cost to them. Does he want the impossible?" "Don't let reform lead us to ruin".

    Meanwhile, across The Bay

    A lengthy article Susan Taylor Martin, Saint Petersburg Times Senior Correspondent: "Canadians pay higher sales taxes — 13 percent in Ontario compared to 7 percent in Tampa — but all 33 million are entitled to hospital and physician services at government expense." "O Canada, where health care is free" (however, "one irrefutable truth about the Canadian system is that people often have to wait weeks, even months, for non-emergency care.")

    "Kill the snakes"!

    Mark Lane:

    In a political season dominated by complex debates over macroeconomic theory, restructuring of health care and the science and economics of global warming, it's good to hear a phrase with the clarity of "kill the snakes."

    Both Crist and Nelson have keenly developed ears for issues that are visceral, easy to grasp and offer opportunities for quick response. Even if the quick response is mostly symbolic. It's no surprise that they discovered the Snake Invasion Issue almost simultaneously.

    This could be big. And nobody would want to be seen as soft on invading snakes when the negative political ad season begins.
    "Snakes on the 'cane!".

    "So, what's in the new name?"

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Unlike State Farm, Allstate hasn't announced that the company is leaving the Florida property insurance market. Allstate is just leaving its name. So, what's in the new name? Not a whole lot." "EDITORIAL: New Allstate? Not really".


    "Orlando state Rep. Scott Randolph is endorsing Sen. Dave Aronberg in his Democratic primary with fellow state Sen. Dan Gelber for attorney general." "AG race".

    The RPOFer who Charlie picked ...

    ... to replace elected Democrat Phyllis Busansky: "Elections leader promises fairness".

    Free choice and all that

    In a bit of a surprise, The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board endorses the latest version of the Employee Free Choice Act. In doing so, the editors parrot the Chamber of Commerce falsehood that union recognition via a "card check"

    was undemocratic, because it eliminated the privacy of a secret ballot that protects employees from being badgered or bullied by co-workers and union organizers into signing union cards.
    Nevertheless, the editorial does contain some language sure to discomfit the editors' friends at the club:
    Even today, workers who are members of unions generally enjoy better pay and benefits than others. But the U.S. labor movement has been withering for decades, with unionization rates down to 7.6 percent of workers in the private sector. There are a host of reasons, but an important one is that employees are too often fired, intimidated and retaliated against for union activity, and employers face few penalties. With solid Democratic majorities in Congress and a labor-friendly president, significant labor reform should be passed this year.

    The Employee Free Choice Act is the bill the labor movement has set its sights on. It is a comprehensive updating of labor law that would give employees wishing to exercise their right to organize significant new legal protection. There is much in the bill to commend, including sharply increased penalties for firing employees who engage in union activities. Another key provision would make arbitration mandatory for the first contract after collective bargaining has failed to reach an agreement. ...

    Shortening the time for an election would prevent employers from spending weeks inundating workers with antiunion messages and threats.

    This seems like a reasonable middle ground. As amended, the Employee Free Choice Act will give workers a fairer opportunity to organize and bargain collectively.
    "Welcome reforms for labor".


    "State Sen. Jim King has suffered a setback in his two-month fight against pancreatic cancer, receiving a diagnosis that cancer has spread to other organs. King, a Jacksonville Republican and former Senate president whose district includes parts of Volusia and Flagler counties, received the diagnosis during the past week." "State Sen. King's cancer spreads to other organs".

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