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 Saturday, January 16, 2010

Crist is "Tallahassee's answer to Willie Loman"

    Daniel Ruth: "That Mr. Bluebird roosting on Gov. Charlie Crist's shoulder has sure left a pile of political poo-poo on his nice senatorial suit of ambition."
    You know things aren't going well on the journey to the Potomac when even Crist's hometown Republicans have started to treat the governor with all the love and respect of Tiger Woods' wife discovering her husband makes Hedonism II look like Lourdes.
    "This was supposed to be a cakewalk for the governor, who entered office on a wave of popular support, which has slowly eroded away as Rubio steadily has emerged as the beefcake boy of the Glenn Beck tea bag fellow travelers. Fun group."
    Governor? Welcome to reality. And it isn't pretty, is it?

    And thus Mr. Zippity-Doo-Dah now has found himself in the political grudge match of his heretofore pretty unruffled hustings career. More pointedly, if Crist doesn't do something now to begin to reverse Rubio's challenge, by this time next year the governor might have to get a real job. Uh-oh.

    Things have always come easy to Charlie Crist — the Florida Senate, education commissioner, attorney general and eventually governor. It's amazing just how far a warm smile, a firm handshake and spit-polished shoes can carry one in life. This has been like having Pat Sajak running the state.

    So it is that the governor, for all his charm and warmth and hail fellow well met persona, has discovered he runs the risk of becoming Tallahassee's answer to Arthur Miller's Willie Loman — a man who is liked, but not well liked. ...

    So if the governor really wants to be the next senator, he better get in touch with his inner Sean Penn and quick. Give 'em hell, Charlie. Has sort of a retro ring to it, doesn't it?

    Hey, it worked for Harry Truman. Oops, he was a dreaded Democrat. Sorry.
    "Nice guys finish last, governor". See also "" and "".


    "A year ago, Meek launched a workmanlike campaign that quickly cemented his status as the presumed Democratic nominee for Florida's open Senate seat. His only noteworthy rival, former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, said this week that he has less than $60,000 in the bank. Meek had $2.7 million stashed as of Sept. 30."

    The two Democrats rarely treat each other as rivals. Instead, they have piled on Crist, who until recently was viewed as the surefire Republican nominee.

    "He isn't prepared to lead this state in the United States Senate,'' Meek told the Tallahassee press corps last week. ``One, he doesn't like to make a decision. Two, he's very vague. And three, I believe he's more politician than leader.''

    Ferre's attacks have focused on accused billion-dollar swindler Scott Rothstein's close ties to Crist and the Republican Party of Florida.

    "I think the Rothstein issue is a clear indication of the unhealthy, and in my opinion, heartbreaking importance of money in politics,'' Ferre said. "Americans are really fed up with crooks and Ponzi schemes and the influence of money.''

    Rubio's surge in the polls is forcing the Democrats to expand their targets. The Democratic Party recently jumped on the former speaker of the Florida House for pledging to repeal the healthcare legislation headed for passage in Congress.
    "Meek gains as Ferre's Senate bid takes a hit".


    "The campaign to replace Durell Peaden in the Florida Senate may be a TKO more than eight months before the primary. Rep. Greg Evers, a Baker Republican, now has the endorsement of the National Rifle Association and Republican leadership in the Senate to go along with a nearly four-to-one money lead against Pensacola Rep. Dave Murzin and insurance agent Mike Hill." "Evers ahead in Senate race".

    "Tweeting, texting ..."

    "Florida considering ban on juror Tweeting, texting".

    "Busting teachers unions"

    The Palm Beach Post's Jac Wilder VerSteeg: "Robert Dow and I don't agree on everything. He's president of the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association ."

    But I agreed with Mr. Dow when he told me this week that "over the past few years, the whole thing has been to blame teachers — and especially teacher unions — for everything that's gone wrong in education."
    "It's so much easier to blame teacher than to blame, say, politicians who shortchange education budgets while dictating slavish adherence to high-stakes tests."
    "Race to the Top" is the latest manifestation of this inclination to blame, and punish, teachers.

    Race to the Top, part of last year's $787 billion federal stimulus program, supposedly is a $4 billion reward for innovative schools. In Florida, which could get $700 million, the main "innovation" would be busting teachers unions. ...

    A "Memorandum of Understanding" contains Florida's basic pitch for Race to the Top money. It talks about requiring more science and math classes. But the central "innovation" would change the way teachers are hired, assigned, promoted and paid.

    And the central factor in evaluations? FCAT results. Why? Because that's what we've got. Never mind that the FCAT is too narrow and too affected by factors outside the teacher's control, including socioeconomic status and parental involvement. Moreover, the FCAT already is used to grade schools. If praying to the FCAT idol — as we've done for a decade — could produce uniformly great teachers, we'd have them now.

    Supplying eyewash, the state says that teachers would be evaluated on other factors, such as evaluations by parents and students. But the FCAT remains the biggie. Add a spoonful of caviar to bucket of spit and you've still got mostly spit.
    "The amazingly silly race: State already relies too much on the FCAT".

    Bought and paid for

    "Fla. business leaders meet with lawmakers".

    Daily Rothstein

    "Disbarred lawyer and accused Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein's taint is spreading among Broward law enforcement agencies."

    The Fort Lauderdale Police Department has suspended two officers who may have violated off-duty work rules last year while in Rothstein's employ.

    And the Broward Sheriff's Office is investigating two high-ranking officials' links to Rothstein. In both instances, the investigations should be conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. An outside, impartial eye is best.
    "Rothstein's police ties deepen".


    "After going months without a competitive candidate for chief financial officer, Florida Democrats have recruited a former legislator to complete their slate of statewide candidates for 2010. Ex-state Rep. Loranne Ausley dropped her state Senate campaign this week to run for the position, which is being vacated by Democrat Alex Sink, who is running for governor." "Democrats select state CFO candidate". Related: "CFO candidate Jeff Atwater meets and greets area GOP".

    HD 58

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Cruz and Rojas-Quinones in District 58 primaries".


    "Worker crushed to death at construction site".

    "The job train"

    Steve Otto: "Florida Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson headed a string of speakers that included Mayor Pam Iorio and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who all used the mantra that the project will mean as many as 23,000 jobs for the initial construction to Orlando." "High speed push goes full throttle".

    Public records for $1M

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Florida Constitution requires doctors and hospitals to provide public access to records of medical mistakes. Yet when a patient went to University Community Hospital seeking one doctor's adverse incident reports, the not-for-profit Tampa hospital claimed it would cost $1 million to produce them. That suggests either UCH hasn't been complying with state law on maintaining medical records or it's inflating the cost to discourage requests. Either way, it has violated patients' trust and the Constitution." "Hospital violates trust, law".

    Sue, Charlie sue!

    "In a move cheered by environmental groups, the federal government Friday proposed stringent limits on "nutrient" pollution allowed to foul Florida's waterways."

    The geniuses weigh in:

    But a coalition of agriculture and industry groups, which formed two months ago to oppose the EPA rules, responded quickly by calling the proposed limits a "water tax."

    "This terrible regulation is not needed because Florida nutrient standards are perfectly adequate," said Jim Alves, a lobbyist who represents power companies and wastewater utilities. "The science isn't there to do this regulation."

    Barney Bishop, the president of Associated Industries of Florida, said the cost — which his group estimates at more than $50 billion — would hurt business recruitment and job creation.

    "It's onerous, stupid, ridiculous and idiotic," he said.

    Ever since the lawsuit settlement, political officials and special interests have waded into the debate. Gov. Charlie Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson previously voiced strong objections and suggested the state might sue the EPA.
    "EPA to provide pollution limits for Florida waters".

    Florida with its hands out, yet again

    "Crist Pushing for Agricultural Disaster Declaration".

    Buddy Johnson

    "Former Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson, facing foreclosure and a fraud lawsuit, has abandoned any claim to 20 acres of land he bought three years ago for $800,000, and still faces the prospect of having to defend his actions in court." "Buddy Johnson loses Plant City land". Background: "Buddy Johnson's troubles".


    "A Washington-based conservation foundation is hoping success of its first seagrass restoration project, now under way in the Keys, will lead to a seagrass mitigation fund for Florida. But some environmental groups criticize the effort. " "Controversy surrounds seagrass project".

    Tea-baggers in a dither

    "Vice President Joe Biden on Friday told Haitian-American and Florida political leaders the rebuilding of Haiti would remain a priority for the U.S. long after the story fades from the headlines." "Biden visits South Florida to discuss Haiti".

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