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 Sunday, November 15, 2009

RPOF "going to implode"

    Aaron Deslatte: "Crist for all his recent missteps -- showed Republicans one way to keep winning statewide elections, by moderating the social issues with pragmatism, emphasizing fiscal restraint and playing to the cameras like no other."
    Crist said Friday he had "full confidence" in Greer, who he said "is doing a great job leading our party with more diversity and reach-out to young people, to minorities."

    But a swath of the party wants it the Jeb Bush way. They view Rubio as the ideological purist and standard-bearer for the small-government, Christian conservative and Hispanic voters who kept Bush in office despite Democratic-trending demographics.

    And a lot of the tussling over Twittergate, limo rides and European vacations is an extension of that fight.

    Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein, one of the leaders who signed the letter, said Greer "got put in an untenable position" when Crist opted to run for the Senate instead of re-election. Greer has since had to walk a paper-thin line between his personal support for the governor and his party duty to elect Republicans.

    "He needs to disassociate himself from the Crist campaign."

    Greer agreed to meet with the group in Orlando this week. He also set up a private conference call last Thursday in which he acted apologetic, blamed a handful of party miscreants and vowed to work his hardest to unite the GOP.

    It won't quiet the growing chorus trying to oust Greer, who refused to return media phone calls afterward and asked those on the conference call to do the same.

    One who signed the letter, GOP audit committee Chairman Gerald Braley, is a Greer supporter from Orlando and said the financial complaints against him are unwarranted.

    "I know the books. I've been over them. There's no shenanigans going on," said Braley, who said he didn't know his name was going to be put on the letter and wouldn't speak about what was said on the call.

    "I think there's a lot of things going on out there that are really distracting [to] what the job of the Republican Party is, and that's to elect Republicans."

    Steele, who last week called on Greer to resign, sees things differently.

    "It's going to implode, and if the governor doesn't see that, I'm sorry."
    "Republicans divided when they need focus". Related: "Treasure Coast Republicans try to keep distance from state party infighting, rebellion".

    CPAC embraces Marco

    "The Club for Growth finally made it official this month and endorsed Marco Rubio for the Senate over Gov. Charlie Crist. The National Review made him a cover boy, and everyone from George Will to Laura Ingraham has touted him as more conservative than Crist."

    But now Rubio is officially the new darling of conservatives across the country. He has been invited to be keynote speaker of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington in February, a widely watched annual event. ...

    Crist hasn't been asked to speak, though he did get some attention at last year's convention that came just a couple weeks after the governor embraced President Barack Obama and his stimulus package during a Florida rally. People booed the mention of Crist's name, and in a 10-person straw poll of potential presidential candidates, he came in dead last.
    "Conservatives invite Rubio to be keynote speaker at Washington event".

    "Charlie needs his brain back"

    Mike Thomas: "Charlie Crist sent more than George LeMieux to Washington back in August. He sent his brain. And now it turns out he doesn't have a spare."

    Charlie has turned the orchestra that his "maestro'' left him into a third-grade marching band.

    And now he is panicking. Did you see that interview with Wolf Blitzer when Charlie's mouth took off like a skittish horse and he incredulously denied supporting the stimulus.

    It was Sarah Palin and Katie Couric all over again.

    Charlie needs his brain back.

    But George is living the high life in Washington, polishing his own apple for a change. ...

    There is talk he will run against Bill Nelson in 2012.
    "And now look at Charlie's post-George world. Nobody in the Legislature takes him seriously. Everybody has a duh Charlie story. His chirpy optimism, once endearing, now makes him look clueless as Florida faces a cataclysmic recession."
    His hand-picked chairman of the state Republican Party, Jim Greer, is a disaster, and George isn't here to fire him.

    His campaign has been one misstep after another.

    Charlie should have just owned up to supporting the stimulus: Teachers were in soup lines. Everybody else was grabbing the money. I lost my head. Won't happen again.

    He broke the cardinal rule of lying in politics: Don't deny doing something everyone saw you do on national television.

    His radio ads decrying Obama's spending only draw attention to his support for Obama's spending.

    Telling reporters he didn't know Obama was in Florida was simply bizarre, particularly given that his staff had a memo from the White House saying: Tell Charlie that Obama is in Florida.

    As unemployment passes 11 percent in Florida, Charlie flies off to ever more fundraisers to rake in ever-more millions.

    The media that once adored him now routinely pummels him.
    "Crist's missteps multiply with LeMieux gone".

    "Conservative jihad"

    Tom Jackson: State Senator Mike

    Fasano defended his (and, by extension, Crist's) governing philosophy as being rooted in seeking solutions. As we move deeper into the 2010 campaign season, he told them, "You're going to be hearing a lot of great rhetoric," but that they should seek candidates who "don't just talk a good talk."

    Though it arrived in a veil, no one in the room missed this reference to Marco Rubio, the former state House speaker and Crist's chief rival for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate. Fasano's difficulty with voters such as these is that they regard Rubio's free markets/anti-regulation positions as solutions in themselves.
    "Conservative jihad coming Pasco's way?".

    "Fasano seems to have had a memory lapse. He appeared on Political Connections on Bay News 9 in February and declared himself, unlike Crist, firmly opposed to the stimulus package." "Fasano forgets stimulus stance".

    "Trends demand radical budget changes"

    "It's no news to Florida lawmakers that they're in a budget hole -- a hole about $2.65 billion deep, by the most-recent figures. And they know they are running out of gimmicks to balance the books."

    But do they understand that after three straight years of budget cuts, they've gone beyond cutting fat, to cutting the muscle and bone that give structure to state government? Do they have the courage to make the tough decisions to keep the state's finances on solid footing and wean the state off revenue that depends on constant growth?

    The answers to those questions hold deep significance for all Floridians. ...

    In a report released last week, the Pew Center on the States included Florida among 10 states being driven to the "brink of insolvency," with real trouble looming in 2012, when federal stimulus money dries up. A weak housing market, soaring Medicaid costs and higher-than-average unemployment rate dim Florida's budget outlook. Grim times should embolden policymakers to make changes that will put Florida's budget on a more stable footing for generations to come.
    "From go-go to no-grow".

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Poor Florida, a state that seems to wind up at the bottom of a lot of rankings these days, made a Top 10 this past week. We were ranked right up there with California and eight others as states whose budget problems promise higher taxes or fees; pay cuts or job loss for state workers; along with crowded classrooms, higher tuition and less help for the poor." "Get creative". Related: "Shrinking Florida faces tough choices as residents flee and jobs vanish".

    Spoils system going strong

    "A move to 'downsize' local-government boards and councils — something that's happening right now mostly in the state of New York — hasn't taken hold in Florida." "Trend of 'political downsizing' hasn't hit Florida".

    The Loop

    "Black Bear Byway, 'The Loop' get federal designation".

    "Research contradicts the 'God gap' theory"

    "A new University of Florida study finds the religious left is emerging as an alternative to the Christian right."

    The research found that Christians who value being active members of a religious community tended to vote for Democratic candidates in 2006 and 2008. The research contradicts the "God gap" theory that white religious Christians are conservative and likely to vote Republican, Wald said.

    [UF political science professor Ken Wald] said the religious left is becoming more influential with the election of Barack Obama and his experience in community organizing and expansion of a White House office on faith-based initiatives. At the same time, Wald said, young evangelicals are placing more emphasis on traditionally liberal issues such as addressing climate change.

    "I think you're seeing the religious right erode a bit, and at the same time the religious left gets more aggressive," Wald said.
    "UF study: Religious left emerging to oppose right".

    Daily Rothstein

    "The FBI and IRS are urging investors to call or e-mail with information and verification of business dealings with Rothstein. Agents will then pore over the information and respond first to the biggest victims -- a process that could take weeks, Gillies said." "FBI seeking help from alleged Rothstein victims".

    A microcosm of flawed, short-sighted policies

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Get a politician talking and it's clear how Florida created the real estate bubble that blew up in its face. As St. Petersburg Times staff writers Michael Van Sickler, Marlene Sokol and John Martin reported last Sunday, revenue-hungry local governments bear considerable fault for the collapse in the housing market. Elected officials promoted urban sprawl as the pathway to success and often were rewarded with campaign contributions from the home builders who were cashing in on the binge. What happened in Hillsborough is a microcosm of the impact of such flawed, short-sighted policies throughout the state. The solution is certainly not more of the same unbridled development that helped trigger the recession, yet state and local governments have not learned their lesson." "Lesson still not learned".

    "Citizens' shotgun hire has raised eyebrows around the state"

    "The board of state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. approved what is likely the largest no-bid contract in its history last month, awarding $60 million to a software company in Jacksonville."

    The contract gives Inspection Depot Inc. responsibility for coordinating re-inspections of as many as 400,000 of the one million homes insured by Citizens, the state's largest property insurer.

    The goal: To ensure that homeowners qualify for the more than $700 million in wind mitigation credits they receive annually. And to reduce those credits if a second inspection deems them unwarranted.

    But Citizens' shotgun hire has raised eyebrows around the state, especially from competitors who challenge the insurer's claim that Inspection Depot has a unique ability to pull off the job.

    Interviews with Citizens' officials reveal that the staff did only a cursory check of Inspection Depot's capability. And they were unaware of the owner's spotty track record doing wind mitigation inspections for a previous state program.
    "Insurer Citizens' $60M no-bid contract draws anger".

    The Party of "no"

    "Two well-known Hillsborough conservative activists have begun campaigning to defeat a one-penny sales tax for transportation, putting themselves at loggerheads with Republican county commissioners who support the measure."

    Sam Rashid, a Brandon-area businessman and top GOP fundraiser, and David Caton, head of the Florida Family Association, are spearheading opposition to the tax.
    "2 conservatives lead effort to defeat tax increase for rail".


    "FDA backs off oyster regulation".

    Lie down with dogs

    "For nearly four years, communications director Erin Isaac was a valued player on Charlie Crist's team. Now, with her sudden resignation, she looks like a sacrificial lamb — or is it a scapegoat? — for Crist's current image problems." "A scapegoat for Crist?".

    'Ya think?

    Jane Healy: "Will Nelson, LeMieux impact health care?".

    "The Magic City will need more than a bag of tricks"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "With one Miami commissioner suspended by Gov. Charlie Crist and another who has resigned to Mayor Tomás Regalado effective Monday, the Magic City will need more than a bag of tricks to right itself. Unfortunately, Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones seems to want to play her own tricks." "Another Miami corruption mess". Myriam Marquez: "Shake-up at City Hall like the bad old days of 'all-drama My-a-muh'"

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