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 Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Club for Growth endorses Rubio, Pinellas GOPers next?

    "The influential Club for Growth, which helped push Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter into the Democratic Party and recently spent about $1 million to defeat a liberal Republican in an upstate New York congressional election, on Monday formally endorsed Rubio."

    "After picking up [that] key endorsement Monday that could pump big money into his campaign, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio set to work on another win that would deliver a big, symbolic blow to Charlie Crist in the governor's home county."
    The Miami Republican, challenging Crist for the U.S. Senate nomination, drew about 400 people Monday night to a meeting of the Pinellas Republican Party. In January the group will hold a "straw poll'' on whether local activists prefer Rubio or Crist as their nominee. While officially meaningless, a Pinellas victory for Rubio, a former Florida House speaker, would be especially stinging coming from the Republican activists who know Crist best.
    "Rubio picks up influential endorsement in Senate race". See also "Rubio endorsed by conservative Club for Growth".

    Daniel Larson in The American Conservative writes about what "bothers" him about
    the Club for Growth and similar organizations that are responsible for trying to enforce conformity on GOP representatives and governors. Either they launch primary challenges against representatives who are better-suited to their districts, and end up losing the district all together, or they force candidates to hew to such a strict line that they reduce them to carbon copies of one another and deprive them of the flexibility and adaptability they need to advance local interests. The more uniform the movement and party become, the less resistance there will be to uniform and centralist national policies aimed at imposing a top-down “conservatism” that exists to secure conservative control over the Court and pays less and less attention to the Country. That doesn’t make Crist preferable or desirable as a candidate for Senate, but defeating Crist will be a hollow victory so long as the movement conservative alternative to the Crists of the party seems increasingly pre-packaged and crafted by national activists who are oblivious to and uninterested in local conditions around the country.
    "Rubio And Crist".

    Not nuts enough?

    "As an underdog U.S. Senate candidate courting the GOP's conservative wing, Marco Rubio takes a hard-line position against illegal immigration: no amnesty."

    But as the powerful speaker of the Florida House, presented with a slew of bills aimed at curbing illegal immigration, he didn't put a single proposal up for a vote.

    "A lot of us are mad at him because he did block those bills,'' said David Caulkett, a founder of Floridians for Immigration Enforcement. "Rubio claims to be anti-amnesty, but the question is, 'Do we trust him?' .''

    Rubio says he hasn't wavered in his opposition to granting citizenship to illegal immigrants but that the issue should be dealt with by the federal government, not the states. The Legislature was focused on tax and insurance reform on his watch, he said.
    "Rubio takes tougher stance".


    "Senate President Jeff Atwater hinted Monday that he might not consider opening up Florida waters to offshore drilling in the next legislative session, his last before term limits force him to step down." "Atwater in no hurry on drilling". Related: "Nelson says Gulf drilling could curb military training".

    "A long and undistinguished record"

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board:

    The National Rifle Association has a long and undistinguished record of advocating for gun rights ahead of all other rights, including the right to life, safety and free expression. It is more important to the NRA, for example, to defend the right of a gun owner to have that gun than to ensure that the gun has trigger locks. It's more important to the NRA that gun dealers have the right to sell weapons than to license those dealers to enable background checks, which is a boon to arms traders and criminals. And as Ormond Beach Mayor Fred Costello found out, belonging to an advocacy organization such as Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- which, like the NRA, is a lobbying organization -- may get you publicly smeared by the NRA's considerable membership.

    Add this new twist to the NRA's radicalism for guns: Gun ownership's secrecy is more important to the NRA than the safety of children.
    "Lawmakers, guns and babies -- a bad mix".

    "A pattern of losses, laxity, closeness and coverup"

    Howard Troxler: "Over the past year my colleagues Sydney Freedberg and Connie Humburg have documented a pattern of losses, laxity, closeness and coverup."

    Freedberg and Humburg also have reported:

    • Wall Street firms and others with a stake in the game lavish Florida politicians with campaign contributions, either "bundled" in batches from their employees, or disguised through third parties.

    • Florida lost $250 million in a failed Manhattan real estate deal. Auditors also had repeatedly warned Florida about real estate risk for years. For months the state refused requests for public records of the deal.

    • Florida is unusual in that its attorney general also is a trustee of its investments — creating a difficult conflict of interest since the attorney general cannot investigate himself.

    • Major developments have been kept from the public, and sometimes even from Crist, Sink and McCollum, such as the State Board of Administration filing of a claim for $682 million against now-defunct Lehman Brothers.

    • Reviewing thousands of e-mails and other records, Freedberg and Humburg found a pattern of stonewalling or even deception to representatives of local governments and other investors. One city was so upset that it asked the FBI to investigate.

    • In all of these matters, both Sink and McCollum have frequently refused to be interviewed — even though Sink, a Democrat, and McCollum, a Republican, are running for governor. How are they fit to be governor, then? ...

    Florida needs to ask whether the state's top three politicians, and especially its attorney general, are really the people to be overseeing the state's investments.
    "Enough with these 'surprises' in Florida's state investment scandals".

    Where's Charlie ...

    ... now that his friend needs a friend?

    "Federal prosecutors accused a high-profile South Florida attorney of concocting a Ponzi scheme that lured millions of dollars from investors with promises of big payoffs from legal settlements that never existed, according to court documents filed today."

    The civil complaint, seeking forfeiture of eight pieces of property owned by lawyer Scott Rothstein, marks the first time prosecutors have leveled fraud allegations at him— even though criminal charges have yet to be announced. It was filed the same day FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents seized luxury cars, boats, bank accounts and other possessions of the once high-flying Rothstein. The forfeiture complaint put the value of the real estate at more than $18 million.

    In the complaint, prosecutors claim that Rothstein operated the Ponzi scheme since 2005 using his law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler. Investors were promised fat profits of 20 percent or more by paying lump sums to people who had won legal settlements that would supposedly pay out larger amounts over a longer period.
    "Feds seize assets of Fla. lawyer in Ponzi probe". More: "IRS says Rothstein ran Ponzi scheme since 2005".

    See also "Feds haul away lawyer Scott Rothstein's 'toys'". More: "Rothstein raised funds for Crist, Florida GOP".

    Charlie dodges Scott

    "Crist has canceled his second fundraiser in Palm Beach County in four days due to a state emergency." "Tropical storm keeps Crist away from fundraiser with Scott Rothstein ties".


    "The Democratic National Committee said today that it will target 'vulnerable' Florida Republicans C.W. Bill Young and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for voting against the House health care plan despite Barack Obama winning their districts in 2008." "Democrats 'target' Young and Ros-Lehtinen".

    Duval GOPers "run out of salads"!

    "Speculation of a 2012 run for Romney already has begun. The Republican Party of Duval County expected 700 to show for Monday's cocktail party and dinner at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel, but that number was exceeded as staff set up extra seats and murmured that they may have run out of salads." "Mitt Romney highlights Republican dinner".

    Enough already

    "Florida's tough prison sentences for juveniles came under scrutiny at the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, with justices appearing divided about whether locking up teenagers for life constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Attorneys for two Florida teenagers who are serving life in prison with no opportunity for parole told the justices that such sentences in cases that don't involve a homicide are unjust to teenagers, who often outgrow their felonious ways." "Justices divided on tough juvenile sentences". See also "High court looks at life sentences for juveniles".

    Background: "Attorneys for Florida juvenile 'lifers' present case to Supreme Court".

    Buchanan 'fraid Dems wanna kill grammy

    "U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan told a Sarasota audience Monday that he voted against the health care reform bill because he thinks it will lead to rationed care and the government 'pulling the plug' on grandmothers to save money." "Buchanan explains his 'no' vote".

    "Stimulus stutter-step"

    Aaron Deslatte: "Crist's stimulus stutter-step comes at a crucial time for fellow Republican U.S. Senate opponent Marco Rubio, who is attempting to follow up a solid fundraising quarter and continue to prove he is a legitimate rival to Crist. Rubio has hammered the governor repeatedly for taking the money (which, had Crist not, about 20,000 teachers maybe have lost their jobs)." "Crist still doing stimulus cash dance".


    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Florida Public Service Commission should set the bar high today in enacting new conservation targets. The state's power companies need a push to wring more efficiencies from the system and to invest in cleaner technologies." "Energy efficiency gains can't wait".

    "PSC to debate utilities' energy-saving goals".

    "Florida's run of political as well as climatological good luck"

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "As Ida moved along in the Gulf yesterday, being reduced from possible hurricane status to a tropical storm or maybe just a big storm, Florida's run of political as well as climatological good luck had apparently, mercifully, been extended." "Insurance chaos".

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