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 Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crist leaving Floridians an "economic disaster"

    Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

    Crist leaving Floridians an "economic disaster"

    "Florida is among nine states barreling toward an economic disaster similar to California's ongoing fiscal crisis, a new study warns." "Report: Florida among 10 states facing budget disasters".

    "Florida ranks near the bottom of a think tank's list of the states' financial health, and its battered real estate sector may take even longer to recover than California's." "Florida lags in financial fitness".

    "A near-mutiny among party activists"

    Adam Smith: "Republicans should have the wind at their backs this election season with President Barack Obama's poll numbers dropping and independents turning away from Democrats."

    But many Florida Republicans increasingly see a significant obstacle to success: Jim Greer, the most controversial and polarizing Florida GOP chairman in decades. He has become a lightning rod for infighting, distraction and distrust, and gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum could be a casualty.

    Greer and his main benefactor, Gov. Charlie Crist, are fending off a near-mutiny among party activists, elected officials and fundraisers fed up with what they see as inept political operations, dirty campaign tactics, unfair treatment of candidates like U.S. Senate hopeful Marco Rubio, dubious fundraising practices and lavish spending.
    "Florida's GOP chief faces heat from his own party's faithful".

    Weak bench

    TPM: "The Republican efforts to find a candidate against the fiery liberal Democrat Alan Grayson continue -- with a focus on finding someone else besides the current de facto frontrunner, 28-year old real estate developer Armando Gutierrez. So what exactly is their problem with him?"

    Gutierrez, who comes from a politically well-connected family in the Miami Cuban community, has picked up some decent endorsements so far, including Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), several state legislators, and George P. Bush, the son of former Gov. Jeb Bush. However, other candidates could still get in -- state Rep. Kurt Kelly says he might get in if nobody better opts for it, and Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty, who previously shied away from the race, now says he's staying out "for now."

    A Republican source told us that local GOPers aren't accepting Gutierrez, due to youth and inexperience, and the fact that he is seen as having moved into the Orlando district from Miami to buy the nomination.
    "What's GOP's Problem With Candidate Against Grayson?". See also "State Rep. Kelly may challenge Grayson".

    "Rolling the dice"

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "A compact with the Seminoles or a free market for gambling — which one should Florida pick? Legislative leaders would do well to think this one through before rolling the dice." "State lawmakers mull gambling options.".


    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "A truism in politics (as well as in romance) is that the power of saying 'no' is greatly enhanced by the possibility that you will later say 'yes.'"

    So when Senate President Jeff Atwater earlier this week said not exactly "no," but more like "whoa!" to the matter of opening up Florida waters to offshore drilling, skeptics speculated that it was a maneuver.

    If Mr. Atwater slows down this particular march to the sea now, he will be in a position later to insist upon certain terms and conditions — regulations, permitting, revenues — in exchange for his "yes" when the time is right, when negotiations with the house are running hot and heavy.

    Because Mr. Atwater is also running for the statewide post of chief financial officer, if he wins, he'll be on the Florida Cabinet. Those three elected officials, and the governor, would have the power to issue oil- and gas-drilling leases in state waters if legislation now on the table passes and the 20-year ban is lifted.

    So there are many ways to look at the North Palm Beach Republican's declaration that he wants to wait for more significant scientific and economic research before moving forward with drilling as close as 3 nautical miles to our prized Gulf beaches.
    "Atwater's go-slow approach on drilling is welcome".

    Y'all come back now

    "National Tea Party Express makes local stop".


    Bill Cotterell: "Florida doesn't fire members of Congress unless they really mess up."

    Rep. Mark Foley had that House page thing, and the guy who beat him, Tim Mahoney, gave the seat back to the Republicans with a scandal of his own. Republicans Tom Feeney and Ric Keller lost in the Orlando area because of personal miscues — Feeney's ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Keller's reneging on a self-imposed term limit of eight years.

    The last time North Florida fired a congressman was in 1990. Bill Grant could still be in Congress if he hadn't switched parties back when being a Republican seemed plausible around here.

    Boyd's problems are small by comparison.

    He has a ton of money, and he's using it early. A new TV ad about combatting Internet predators just went up, on the heels of spots crediting Boyd for legislation aiding veterans and the region's economy. He's challenging the Food and Drug Administration over Gulf Coast oysters and, in Panama City, a contingent of Sallie Mae employees turned out to thank him for opposing a bill they said would jeopardize student loan-processing jobs in Lynn Haven.

    And consider Boyd's political track record.
    "Fire Boyd? It seems unlikely". Related: "Boyd's health-care town hall set for tonight in Tallahassee".


    "Legislators close to SunRail deal".

    Unionized employer raking it in

    "Profits at the Walt Disney Co. leapt 18 percent during its fourth quarter, the media-and-entertainment giant reported this afternoon." "Disney profits up 18% in 4th quarter".

    "Bad press"

    "Crist's longtime communications director is leaving -- the latest shake-up involving Crist's administration and U.S. Senate campaign staff."

    Shane Strum, Crist's new chief of staff, on Wednesday characterized Erin Isaac's departure as a resignation in favor of "other opportunities.'' Isaac did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

    In recent weeks, there were whispers that Crist's inner circle was unhappy with his public image and press coverage.

    The news comes just days after Crist announced that Andrea Saul, former spokeswoman for Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, would be his U.S. Senate campaign communications director -- a job once perceived as possible for Isaac.
    "Crist communications chief leaving". See also "Crist communications chief quits amid bad press" and "Gov.'s communications head disputes reports of being fired".

    "Life term at 14?"

    Mike Thomas: "Life term at 14? That's an injustice".


    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Council should avoid local preference".


    "The Board of Governors has ordered Florida's 11 state universities to develop work plans that identify their 'unique missions.'" "State wants unique 'missions' from colleges, universities".

    Daily Rothstein

    "The suspected Ponzi scheme run by a high-profile South Florida lawyer is likely to exceed $1 billion and involved thousands of investors in the U.S. and abroad, a top FBI official said Thursday." "FBI: Fla. lawyer's alleged fraud over $1 billion". See also "Feds seek investors with Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein".


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