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 Saturday, July 04, 2009

Marco teabags in Orlando today

    Marco Rubio, will join tea baggers in Orlando today; the tea bagging will begin on the steps of the appropriately named, Amway Arena at 11 a.m.

    "Rubio is running what amounts to a right-wing insurgent campaign for the U.S. Senate — shut out by the state and national GOP apparatus and snubbed by most of the party's biggest givers"
    Rubio's candidacy has gotten the attention of national conservative groups such as the Club for Growth, which is contemplating buying ads against Crist.

    And he has racked up high praise from some big-name conservatives — from Weekly Standard columnist Bill Kristol to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — who are more concerned with reigniting the Barry Goldwater wing of the party than with more pragmatic goals such as denying Democrats a filibuster-proof 60-seat Senate majority.

    "People are going to know Marco better and better," U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said this week in a conference call. "I'm betting on Marco to win this whole thing and show the whole Republican Party that with candidates who really believe in something, we can take back the majority."
    "And there is evidence that Rubio is making strides."
    Though polls have shown Crist with a massive lead 14 months out from the primary, one recent Mason-Dixon poll suggested that Republicans familiar with both men were evenly divided. Those voters gave Crist a statistically insignificant lead of 33 percent to 31 percent, with 36 percent undecided.

    In a low-turnout primary — only about 1 million of the state's 3.9 million GOP voters voted in the hotly contested 2006 gubernatorial primary between Crist and Tom Gallagher — hard-core conservatives could carry the day.

    "There's an underbelly of anti-Crist vote among Republicans," said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker. "If Rubio kind of plods along, he can be the tortoise. He doesn't have to be the hare."

    But it's only a matter of time before the Crist campaign tried to define Rubio — perhaps as a tax-hiker who as speaker tried unsuccessfully to raise the sales tax by 2 cents in order to phase out property taxes.
    "Upstart Rubio's Senate run bucks GOP etiquette". See also "Crist doesn't have Senate race wrapped up yet".

    That silly U.S. Constitution thing ...

    Florida's Montana side is showing: Republican state Reps. Scott Plakon of Longwood and Ritch Workman of Melbourne

    argue that "many federal laws are in direct violation of the Tenth Amendment," whose limits on Washington "established the foundational principle that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states."

    "And yet," they add, "currently the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government."

    "We, the people of the United States of America and each sovereign state in the United States, now have, and have always had, rights the federal government may not usurp," the memorial continues.

    Thus, "this memorial serves as a notice and a demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, from issuing mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers." ...

    Future proposals would include supporting a flat income tax, requiring federal lawmakers to spend 90 percent of their time in their districts
    Hey, isn't Bill McCollum from Longwood?

    Not a deep bench

    Fla Dems are keeping their fingers crossed this week end - Republican Orange County (which includes Orlando) Mayor Rich Crotty will decide this week end as to whether he will challenge "firebrand freshman Democrat Alan Grayson in the District 8 seat centered in Orange County."

    Here's the problem

    Crotty has had a terrible six months — and expressed some indecision about running.

    He has been castigated for orchestrating a 25-cent toll increase as chairman of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.

    A day after that vote, an Orange County grand jury cited the "culture of corruption" that characterized political fundraising under the authority's previous chairman and said Crotty was a beneficiary.

    This week, three national Republican strategists said Crotty's "baggage" could make it more difficult to focus the race on Grayson, a millionaire liberal with an outsized personality. Instead, they said the GOP could be better off with what one called a more "vanilla" nominee.
    "Jason Miller, who helped former U.S. Rep. Ric Keller win the seat in 2000 and 2002",
    and now works at a public-relations firm in Washington, said Republicans need someone who "doesn't have any obvious red flags that Grayson and other liberals can beat up on."

    Added Miller, "I think everyone views this race as a great chance for a pickup. We just need to figure out who our candidate can be.
    After Crotty, the other RPOFer wannabees are, if anything, even less awe inspiring. Some RPOFers
    are now romancing [sic] an alternative candidate, House Speaker [due to Sansom's indictment] Larry Cretul, R-Ocala.
    The charismatic
    Cretul flew to Washington several weeks ago to discuss his candidacy with national GOP congressional strategists, whom he said encouraged him even though only about 10 percent of the district's voters live in his Ocala hometown area.[*]
    Also in the mix is another RPOFer superstar, state Rep. Stephen Precourt, R-Orlando."Rich Crotty for Congress? Wait for it ...".

    To call this a "weak bench" is, well ... putting it nicely.

    - - - - - - - - -
    *More about some of the denizens of Cretul's "Ocala hometown area" in this lengthy piece from the Ocala Star-Banner: "State-rights activists say Florida must assert sovereignty" ("Two area lawmakers co-sponsor legislative measure that rebukes many federal laws as unconstitutional.") "Rebukes"? Heaven help us.

    GOPers shooting themselves in the tails

    Headlines like this one from the Miami Herald must make Dem organizers smile: "Republican: Sotomayor had ties to extreme group".

    Big of him

    "Crist today crossed party lines and named Democratic state Rep. Priscilla Taylor of West Palm Beach to fill the minority-dominated Palm Beach County commission seat of retired Addie Greene." Charlie didn't have much of a choice; after all,

    District 7, which runs from Lake Park to Delray Beach, is about 48 percent black and 40 percent white. ... In District 7, Democrats outnumber Republicans by roughly a 4-to-1 margin.

    Many Republicans publicly urged the Republican governor to name a GOP appointee to the seat. County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein was among those calling for a Republican appointee, but he conceded Republicans probably would not be able to hold the seat in an election.

    Some Republicans said privately they would not object to Taylor because she has maintained cordial relations with the business community.
    "Crist picks Taylor for Palm Beach County commission seat".

    Another Greer laffer

    "Palin's sudden resignation draws Greer compliment".

    The locals stand behind their empty Prada suit: "Local Republicans will stand by Palin" ("Jason Steele, chairman of the Brevard County Republican Executive Committee ... said Palin is popular among Brevard Republicans.")

    Meantime, the question on every knuckle-dragger's lips: "If she runs, could Palin win?". To which we say: Run Sarah, Run!

    What's the vig?

    "Is St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Deveron Gibbons in the predatory loan business?"

    [C]onsumer advocates say Gibbons is part of an industry that preys on cash-strapped Americans and sucks them into a crushing cycle of debt.

    "They drain a lot of money out of the community and put a lot of consumers in a debt trap," Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America said of "payday lenders" like Amscot.

    Gibbons, 36, was hired five years ago to be the face of Amscot, and the privately held company could hardly find a better PR man for an often controversial business. He's a former Tallahassee lobbyist well versed in state lending laws, a gregarious Republican operative who charms top political leaders as easily as inner-city activists.
    "The trend nationally, ..."
    is that states are banning payday loans or restricting their annual interest rates to the point that lenders can't stay in business. Amscot, and particularly in-house lobbyist Gibbons, keeps a keen eye on the regulatory climate in Florida and Washington, and Amscot has made nearly $630,000 in political contributions in Florida since 2000, more than half of it to the Florida Republican Party.
    "Is St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Deveron Gibbons in the predatory loan business?".

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