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 24, 2009

Crist seeks to "revitalize" his campaign

    "Crist sought to revitalize his U.S. Senate campaign in a visit to the Broward Republican Party."
    In a widely anticipated speech to the Broward Republican Party, Gov. Charlie Crist sought to regain momentum in the U.S. Senate race Monday by portraying his surging Republican competitor as all talk and no action.

    Crist addressed roughly 300 activists at the same Fort Lauderdale hotel where former House Speaker Marco Rubio spoke last month as part of a statewide offensive to show up the governor at Republican clubs across Florida. ...

    Crist, who used to act like the inevitable nominee for the Senate, no longer sounded like someone taking anything for granted. He seemed instead like a candidate who, after months of steady criticism from conservative activists and from Rubio, is eager to engage and peel away the veneer on the former state House speaker. ...

    The Rubio campaign brushed off Crist's hints that he would paint Rubio as a phony.
    "After 'rough patch,' Crist vows to turn up heat on Rubio".

    Maddox goes after RPOFers on drilling

    Catherine Dolinski: "Democrat Scott Maddox said today that he wants to make the debate over offshore oil drilling a major issue in his 2010 race for the office of state agriculture commissioner."

    That shouldn't be hard, since the next commissioner may have a key vote on drilling. It's also an issue that sharply divides Maddox from both GOP candidates: U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam and state Sen. Carey Baker.

    Maddox, a lawyer in Tallahassee and former chairman of the state Democratic Party, is one of four Democrats running for commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. Maddox is leading the pack comfortably, having raised more than $170,000 by the end of September, or nearly $150,000 than all of the other Democratic contenders combined.
    "Democrat wants ag commissioner race to address oil drilling".


    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "State officials should be embarrassed for sticking by such major polluters as paper, pulp and phosphate manufacturers and for tarring the cleanup as a back-door tax."

    Predictably, the polluters [including their Chamber and AIF shills] and the state bureaucracy that enables them oppose the EPA's involvement, saying it will lead to arbitrary pollution limits and require a back-door "federal water tax" to clean up what's now flowing into public waterways. Both arguments are ridiculous. The pollution limits are arbitrary now; if anything, quantifying the pollution caps into actual levels for specific waterways will give industrial polluters more clarity. And industries have no way of knowing what costs consumers might face until the EPA establishes the pollution limits. That process will continue through October. The opponents, including two former state environmental secretaries, are seeking a reprieve from Congress. That shouldn't happen.
    "Clean up our waters".

    "Jeb!" tries to make himself relevant

    Mike Thomas: "Gone, but not about to be forgotten, Jeb Bush loaded up his musket and once again took aim at that rascally varmint — Charlie Crist."

    The volley came in a Sunday column Jeb wrote, in which he said "populist'' power politics will doom us to a future of huddling around candles in the living room.

    "Populist'' is code for Charlie.
    Thomas continues, parroting Jebbie's PR flacks once again:
    Jeb has no qualms about making people unhappy now because he's all about consequences. ...

    Jeb would force you to eat broccoli because you'll be healthier for it 30 years from now.
    "Jeb Bush takes aim at 'populist' Charlie Crist over energy policy".

    Let's take a quick walk down memory lane, and recall some of the achievements of a man Thomas calls "has no qualms about making people unhappy now because he's all about consequences".

    -- Jebbie courageously "reduced taxes by $12.2 billion over his eight years, with more than half of that going to the wealthiest 4.5 percent of the population." "The Washington Post".

    -- "At times, basic competence has been an issue for Bush." Time

    -- "Bush's back-to-back terms were marred by frequent ethics scandals, official bungling and the inability of the government he downsized to meet growing demands for state services, including education and aid for the infirm and the elderly." Washington Post

    -- He left Florida "first in the nation in mortgage fraud, second in foreclosures, last in high school graduation rates." Time

    -- "Jeb ... has been an aggressive privatizer, and as The Miami Herald put it after a careful study of state records, his bold experiment has been a success, at least for him and the Republican Party, records show. The policy has spawned a network of contractors who have given him, other Republican politicians and the Florida G.O.P. millions of dollars in campaign donations." Paul Krugman

    -- Even before his brother's economic depression kicked in, "Jeb had the lowest job-creation rate of any Florida governor dating to 1971." "The Washington Post".

    -- "Jeb Bush issued an executive order directing state agencies 'to voluntarily comply' with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act's standards, and leaving cities and counties to decide for themselves what they needed to do. But no state resources were devoted to ensuring compliance or guiding safety efforts. The move was a wink and a nod toward protecting employees, and little more. Then in 2006 a tragic explosion of methanol occurred at a wastewater treatment plant in Daytona Beach." The St Petersburg Times

    -- He courageously "led the charge against the state's intangibles tax on investments. Since 1999, the tax (on individuals with at least $250,000 of investments) has been reduced four times with a total cumulative cut of nearly $4 billion." The Gainesville Sun

    Villages idiots

    "Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue' book tour is heading to the retirement community where she attracted a crowd of tens of thousands as Republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate." "Palin book tour stops at Fla. retirement community".

    Bring him on

    Today we read in the The Palm Beach Post that "U.S. Sen. George LeMieux ruled out a run for attorney general next year but was less definitive when asked today about challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012." "LeMieux: no run for AG in 2010; possibilities open for 2012".

    Just yesterday, The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board pointed out that LeMieux "appears more interested in laying the groundwork for a future political campaign. Florida voters should remember that when he needs their support — and not just support from his old boss — to win his next job." "Partisan politics isn't service".

    Who elected this dope?

    LeMieux on HCR: "What I fear is down the road all we're going to have is Medicaid for the masses.'" "GOP Sen. LeMieux says Democratic health bill will likely pass but calls it 'bad for America'". See also "GOP Sen. LeMieux says Democratic health bill will likely pass but calls it 'bad for America'".

    Daily Rothstein

    "Attorney Scott Rothstein had his fingers – and maybe his toes too – in a lot more business pies than was evident when the $1 billion Ponzi scandal surrounding him first broke three weeks ago, according to new documents filed in federal court Monday. Rothstein's tentacles extended into nearly 100 corporations and businesses, according to federal prosecutors, from a California software company to a Pembroke Pines night club, as well as equity interests in two banks, a chain of fancy restaurants, a luxury watch business, a mortgage company and an alternative biofuel company." "Feds seizing even more Rothstein assets".

    "A dry hole"?

    "The push for the Florida Legislature to approve near-shore Gulf Coast drilling in its 2010 session is like oil exploration itself — surveys and projections, expert opinions, test wells to take the political pulse and throwing around plenty of money in search of a gusher that ends in a positive vote."

    As things stand now, it's likely proponents will hit a dry hole, at least in the immediate future. But, as with wildcatting, a surprise strike is always possible.

    The House earlier this year voted 70-43, almost precisely on party lines, to explore drilling in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Senate President Jeff Atwater then refused to take up the matter.

    Four months out from the start of next spring's regular legislative session, it appears drilling legislation would still pass in the House. And Atwater still appears unlikely to move the legislation through the Senate.

    In 2011, the situation could be different because two main proponents will lead the House and Senate.

    In the 2008 presidential campaign, Gov. Charlie Crist startled environmentalists who had supported him by echoing Sen. John McCain's "drill here, drill now" call, but he's backtracked as a U.S. Senate candidate.
    "Drilling bill would likely pass House but not Senate".

    Related: "Real prize could lie in waters controlled by U.S. government", "Lawmakers are wary of oily beaches" and "Oil drilling: The players".

    Heaven help us

    "10 North Naples Middle students suspended for taking part in 'kick a Jew day'".

    "A tsunami of South Florida foreclosures in the pipeline"

    "A tsunami of South Florida foreclosures in the pipeline is dampening hopes for a housing recovery, despite an optimistic report Monday on home sales and prices." "Looming foreclosures threaten housing rebound".

    "A fool's errand"

    Pam Hasterok: "Giving public money to private businessmen to do the public's good is a fool's errand."

    Look at [Volusia] county's former economic development partnership with private industry, the Volusia County Business Development Corporation. Its staff was arrogant, its enterprises often misguided -- some businesses it helped had to return the money for not creating the promised jobs -- and it utterly failed to lift the local wage.

    The interests of government and the interests of business generally aren't the same.
    "New plan recycles bad old idea".


    "Lawmakers closed in on winning votes for a special session on high-speed and commuter rail funding. Tri-Rail could be among the beneficiaries. " "Tri-Rail fund shortfall could be ended soon". Related: "Unexpected tax dollars could clear way for SunRail".

    Federal judicial vacancies

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Charlene Edwards-Honeywell as the 15th federal judge for the Middle District of Florida, which includes Volusia and Flagler counties. Edwards-Honeywell, a graduate of the University of Florida School of Law and of Howard University, is President Obama's first confirmed appointment to Florida's Middle District. That's the good news."

    Here's the bad news. The Obama administration is doing a poor job of nominating and winning confirmation to the federal bench, especially when compared with previous presidents.

    The federal bench, heavily stocked by Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes but comparatively much less so by Bill Clinton (who also did not make judicial nominations a priority), has tilted decisively in favor of conservative social and business causes. It could scuttle Obama's agenda just as a conservative judiciary scuttled Franklin Roosevelt's in his first four years. ...

    There are 98 vacancies in the federal judiciary -- 78 in district courts and 20 in appeal courts. Obama has pending nominations for just 19 of those seats (including Beverly Baldwin Martin for the 11th Circuit, the court of appeals with jurisdiction over Florida).
    "Vacancy: federal bench".

    Enough already

    "Apopka's longtime mayor ponders his, and city's, future".

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