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 Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crist insists he's a wingnut

    "Crist sent a message to his nearest Republican primary opponent for the U.S. Senate during a Lakeland appearance Monday: Don't try to out conservative him."
    Crist, in an appearance at a Lakeland Yacht Club luncheon sponsored by the Lakeland Republican Club, made it clear to the audience of more than 200 that he considers himself just as conservative as former Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio. The two are fighting for the GOP nomination in next year's primary.

    "When I was in the state Senate I was nicknamed 'Chain Gang Charlie.' It's hard to get right of that," he said during an interview with The Ledger prior to his address. ...

    Crist said in his Ledger interview that he would describe himself as "about as conservative as you can get" in his post.
    Charlie then crawled into the gutter, reducing his signing of a death warrant to a political stunt:
    Crist said he signed the death warrant for convicted murderer Paul Beasley Johnson at the request of Sheriff Grady Judd, who lost a friend and fellow deputy whom Johnson was convicted of killing along with two other men in 1981.
    "Crist Lays Out His Conservative Credits".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    "One of the world's largest oil companies says state price gouging laws are so broad that it could be in violation virtually any moment a state of emergency is declared. ExxonMobil, one of 15 companies under state investigation for inflating prices during Hurricane Ike last year, has asked the state to explain exactly what it means by gouging. The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services has 90 days to respond." "State's price-gouging law questioned".

    Billy tries to make himself newsworthy

    "Attorney General Bill McCollum on Wednesday will convene the first of three sessions designed to teach public officials that when they use instant messaging and social networking to discuss public business, it's still a public record." "McCollum seeking to `bust the myth' that new technologies skirt Sunshine Law".

    I am shocked, shocked!

    "After a joint investigation, no criminal wrongdoing has been found at the Public Service Commission." "Joint investigation finds no criminal wrongdoing at Public Service Commission". Meantime, "... commissioners likely headed for utility jobs"

    "Just ask the Florida Republican Party"

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "The Florida Democratic Party is cruising for trouble with its decision last week at a state party meeting to allow its chairman to sign big fat checks without also having the party treasurer's signature."

    By "big fat" we mean a $25,000 check could be signed by Chairman Karen Thurman, or whomever holds the job, without checks and balances long specified in party bylaws.

    For at least the past decade, the party chairman has been permitted to sign off on a check of up to $5,000 without the treasurer — currently Alma Gonzalez of Tallahassee — approving the check.

    This second signature may be cumbersome sometimes, but it's wise regardless of Ms. Thurman's argument that it's a bigger, busier party today than 10 years ago, and purchases for party business simply cost more.

    All the more reason to have safeguards. Just ask the Florida Republican Party, which is dealing with financial embarrassments regarding unguarded use of party credit cards that raises questions about who gives money to the party and who spends it, and for what.

    Today's public is skeptical, and rightly so, of the power of both state political parties to raise unlimited funds and spend them with very little scrutiny.
    "Just checking".

    As Florida crashes and burns ...

    ... "Crist will be in Las Vegas on Oct. 29 for a fundraiser with 'perhaps the Republican Party’s wealthiest donor.'" "Crist heads to Vegas for campaign fundraiser". See also "Crist heads to Vegas for campaign fundraiser".

    The real "unstable man who has come unhinged"

    Mike Thomas whines that Grayson is "calling Republicans knuckle-dragging obstructionists who want the sick to 'die quickly.'"

    If this fits the definition of unstable and unhinged [as National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andy Sere says], it certainly seems to have served a very lucid purpose.

    The Republicans are cowering in knock-kneed terror.

    Potential challengers are dropping out with comical regularity.

    The last credible challenger standing is former state Sen. Dan Webster, who is so conflicted he can't say yes and he can't say no.

    So he ponders away while the Republicans cross their fingers for a savior.
    Meantime, "Orange County GOP Chairman Lew Oliver says this about Grayson,"
    "I guarantee he's going to lose."

    Oliver is an unstable man who has come unhinged.

    "We'll have at least three or four candidates running," he says. "A couple will be credible or substantial people. A couple others will fall into the noncrackpot category."

    If you're not a crackpot and always wanted to see Washington, call Lew immediately.

    The Republicans look like a bunch of Chihuahuas yapping at the Rottweiler behind the fence. But this Rottweiler not only is snarling and frothing at the mouth, it also went to Harvard.

    It is a crazy and smart Rottweiler.

    So there is lots of yapping, but nobody is about to open the gate and take him on.
    Much more here: "Who's taking on Grayson? Anyone? Hello?".

    The best they can do?

    "Restaurant supply company owner Jerry Pierce plans to announce Tuesday that he will put $200,000 into his Republican campaign to take down U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando. ... That campaign down payment would double what fellow Republican Armando Gutierrez Jr., a South Florida developer recently transplanted to Orlando, has promised to infuse into his campaign to take on Grayson." "Another GOPer Pledges Own $ to Take Down Grayson".

    "Tawdry tale"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "The tawdry tale of South Florida ophthalmologist and political operator Alan Mendelsohn may be the strongest argument yet for cleaning up the money-polluted special-interest culture of the Florida Legislature."

    Mr. Mendelsohn was indicted two weeks ago on 32 federal corruption counts. Prosecutors allege he raided money he solicited for political-action committees to finance his children's education, pay a mistress and direct $87,000 to an unnamed public official through an intermediary.

    The doctor has pleaded not guilty. Last week, however, prosecutors said new charges or more defendants could be added to the case by the end of the year.

    Mr. Mendelsohn made a name in Tallahassee by raising the political profile of the Florida Medical Association. Later he expanded his influence-peddling portfolio to include gambling. While never registered as a lobbyist, he steered political contributions to the Legislature's Republican leaders, and touted his influence with them to clients. He was a member of Gov. Charlie Crist's 2006 transition team.

    Mr. Mendelsohn was particularly attentive to former Senate President Ken Pruitt, contributing to his campaign and giving $50,000 to a committee formed to help elect Mr. Pruitt's brother to a House seat in Central Florida. Both Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Crist wrote recommendations for Mr. Mendelsohn's son when he applied to the University of Florida's medical school. He was admitted over objections from a university selections committee.
    "Drain the swamp". Related: "Another Mendelsohn scam?".

    Grayson's Lake County constituents

    The Limbaugh-Beck-Hannity parrots were out in force in Lake County last night:

    Gilbert Kepler, 69, of Mount Dora, a Republican who was not able to get a ticket for the event, hoped to make his voice heard. The retiree said he opposes government-run health care because he is certain it would fail.

    "Social Security's broke. Medicaid's broke. The Post Office is broke," Kepler said. "If the federal government manages to get their hands on health care, it's going to be broke, too."
    "Grayson tones it down, but stands his ground in conservative Lake County". Background: "Grayson likely to face foes of government-run health-care". See also "'Die quickly' congressman hosts health care event".

    Anti-union Trib blames unions

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board fails to understand that "unions" don't get raises, people do: "Tampa taxpayers can no longer afford the generous raises to which the unions have become accustomed." "Say no to raises".

    Billy "playing politics with pensions"

    "'I'm of the adage,' said Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, "that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.""

    The thing that "ain't broke," according to Mr. McCollum, is Florida's system for managing public pension funds. He was speaking at the Sept. 29 meeting of the State Board of Administration. He's one of the board's three trustees. The other two are Gov. Crist and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. But it's a good bet that Mr. McCollum was speaking more as a Republican candidate for governor in 2010 than as an SBA trustee. ...

    Politics is the main problem. Ms. Sink is CFO, and Mr. McCollum and Gov. Crist know that enacting her financial reforms would give her a positive issue in her campaign against Mr. McCollum. Isn't she playing politics, too? Some, but she advocated these reforms before becoming a gubernatorial candidate. In any case, blocking financial reforms in the pension system, as Mr. McCollum and Gov. Crist are doing, is a sure sign that something is "broke."
    "Playing politics with pensions".

    'Ya reckon?

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Prison officials must do more to prevent abuse".

    See you in Havana

    "Two senators seeking to end the 46-year-old ban on U.S. travel to Cuba are finding it difficult to get their measure to the Senate floor. Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) have revived a bill they first introduced in March to lift the ban that was initially imposed by the Kennedy administration in February 1963." "Senators seek end to Cuba travel ban" ("The bill has attracted 32 co-sponsors").


    "Florida takes gradual approach to spending $15.4 billion in stimulus money".

    "But for how long?"

    "The real estate crash brought a halt to developers' plans to turn affordable lodging and housing in the Florida Keys into resorts and yacht clubs for the wealthy -- but for how long?" "Developers' plans for Keys at a halt -- for now".


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