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 Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Q Poll has McCollum stretching lead

    "Florida voters support State Attorney General Bill McCollum's promise to challenge the constitutionality of any federal health care bill that forces people to buy health insurance and give the Republican a 41 - 31 percent lead over State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrat, in the governor's race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today."
    McCollum's promised legal challenge is a "good idea," Florida voters tell the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey 49 - 42 percent. Support for the idea is 73 - 18 percent among Republicans and 53 - 39 percent among independent voters. Democrats oppose the lawsuit idea 73 - 19 percent.

    Florida voters disapprove 57 - 32 percent of the health care reform plan being considered by Congress.

    In the Governor's race, McCollum leads Sink 84 - 4 percent among Republicans and 33 - 25 percent among independent voters, while Democrats back Sink 68 - 8 percent.

    "Attorney General Bill McCollum has moved out to a double-digit lead in the race for Governor. He's beating CFO Alex Sink among independents and doing better among Democrats than Ms. Sink is doing among Republicans," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But McCollum shouldn't start picking out draperies for the governor's office. Certainly part of his lead is due to being somewhat better known than Ms. Sink - although neither one is a household name in the state."

    Voters approve 56 - 20 percent of the job McCollum is doing and give him a 35 - 15 percent favorability, with 48 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

    Sink gets a 39 - 22 percent approval rating, with 40 percent undecided, and 68 percent don't know enough about her to form an opinion.

    McCollum dominates a Republican primary with a 44 - 6 percent lead over State Sen. Paula Dockery, while 47 percent remain undecided.
    "January 27, 2010 - Republican Leads In Florida Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds" ("From January 20 - 24, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,618 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.")

    More: "Poll: GOP's McCollum opens 10-point lead over Sink" and "GOP primary for Fla. Senate seat dead heat, but both lead Democrat candidate, poll says".

    Q Poll has Rubio taking lead

    "Former State House Speaker Marco Rubio has squeaked past Gov. Charlie Crist in the race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination,"

    leading 47 - 44 percent and topping Gov. Crist on trust, values and conservative credentials, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

    Rubio beats the leading Democrat, South Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek, 44 - 35 percent in a general election matchup, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Crist leads Meek 48 - 36 percent.
    "Rubio's lead over Crist in the horse race represents a major reversal from October when the Governor led 50 - 35 percent; from August's 55 - 26 percent Crist lead and from June's lead of 54 - 23 percent."
    "Who would have thunk it? A former state lawmaker virtually unknown outside of his South Florida home whose challenge to an exceedingly popular sitting governor for a U.S. Senate nomination had many insiders scratching their heads. He enters the race 31 points behind and seven months later sneaks into the lead," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "And, the horse race numbers are not a fluke. Rubio also tops Crist on a number of other measurements from registered Republicans, who are the only folks who can vote in the primary. Rubio's grassroots campaigning among Republican activists around the state clearly has paid off.
    "January 26, 2010 - Rubio Edges Crist In Florida Gop Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds" ("From January 20 - 24, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,618 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.")

    More: "New poll gives Rubio slight lead over Crist", "Rubio leaps past Crist in Senate poll" and "Rubio tops Crist in poll".

    "The greediest generation is in its prime"

    The Q poll, showing that "Florida voters disapprove 57 - 32 percent of the health care reform plan being considered by Congress" and "support State Attorney General Bill McCollum's promise to challenge the constitutionality of any federal health", make Pierre Tristam's essay today particularly timely.

    Tristam discusses the "disconnect in health polls, which now show a sizable majority opposed to "health care reform," whatever that is, but not to proposals in their particulars. Big majorities still think the uninsured should be covered, that government has a responsibility to cover them, that a government-backed public insurance system competing with private insurers is a good idea, even that Medicare should be expanded. Bundle all those proposals under "health care reform," and you get a big fat "No" -- not from those who don't have insurance or jobs but from those who do: the employed, the retired, the rich. In sum, what "rebellion" there is about Obama and his agenda isn't the cry of the dispossessed. It's the rasp of the misers. It's the size of a national character diminishing in tandem with its presumed returns. The greediest generation is in its prime." "Americans fear losing affluence after decades of dole".


    "Voters were opposed, 50 percent to 46 percent, to a decision by the Obama Administration to grant temporary legal status for 18 months to Haitians living in the U.S. when the earthquake hit and divided on allowing more immigrants into the country. Quinnipiac said the survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points." "Poll: Fla. voters want immigration laws enforced".

    Goodness gracious ... what's a knuckle-dragger to do?

    "A Miami judge has approved the adoption of a foster child by a lesbian couple, bringing to three the number of adoptions by gay parents since 2008." "Ruling a third strike against Florida's gay adoption ban".

    James Madison would cry

    The current president and CEO of Florida's inaptly named "James Madison Institute" argues for government sponsored tax credits and vouchers for the families of children attending religious schools. "Liberate education from one-size-fits-all model".

    However, one James Madison, presumably the James Madison Institute's namesake, had quite the opposite perspective on such ideas; Madison "personally deplored" ever "involving the state in religious exercises". Indeed, Madison feared Congress

    "might even establish religious teachers in every parish and pay them out of the treasury of the United States"
    James Hutson, "James Madison and the Social Utility of Religion: Risks vs. Rewards".

    These "James Madison Institute" acolytes apparently didn't spend much time hitting the books in their history classes, assuming, of course, they attended public schools.

    "Dare we dream?"

    Scott Maxwell delivers some well-deserved snark this morning:

    if we keep this up, we might one day become … dare we dream? … Average!

    Bringing school funding up to the national average is something moms and dads have been craving for years.

    But until now, public schools have had to get in line behind everything from corporate tax breaks to free health care for legislators.

    As a result, Florida's per-pupil spending levels (the true measure of education spending) usually rank near the bottom of the nation.

    Finally, though, Crist has proposed a funding boost of $535 million that would translate into another $179 per student, getting us back to where we were in 2007. It's a good start.

    The timing may be suspicious — perhaps an attempt by Crist to pander for votes in the U.S. Senate race. But at this point, we'll take what we can get.
    "Gamble worth taking: Crist's $500M idea for schools cash"


    "The governor announced he supports a plan to loosen the class-size limits imposed by a state constitutional amendment in 2002." "Gov. Charlie Crist backs easing class-size rules".

    7 percent solution

    "With possibly the lowest turnout in Hillsborough County's election history – less than 7 percent of eligible voters cast ballots – Democrat Janet Cruz and Republican Hunter Chamberlin edged opponents in Tuesday's primary elections to fill the vacated state House District 58 seat." "Cruz, Chamerlin win light District 58 primary".

    FCAT Follies

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board has to concede that Jebbie's so-called "reforms also put far too great an emphasis on how students perform on a standardized test - the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The test, at best, is only a partial measure of what students have learned." "Move away from FCAT to improve schools".

    Daily Rothstein

    "Rothstein plea likely to be low-key affair".

    More anti-union bile ...

    ... from the Orlando Sentinel editorial board:

    Orlando's flamboyant first-term congressman, Democrat Alan Grayson, has drafted his own package of legislative fixes in response to the ruling. Some of them are business-bashing nonsense and probably wouldn't — shouldn't — stand up to a legal challenge.

    His better ideas are worth taking only half seriously, because Mr. Grayson has targeted corporations but conveniently ignored labor unions, which have contributed $120,000 to the congressman since his 2008 election. He contends corporations have more to spend, and more to gain from it.

    While the treasuries of major corporations may dwarf those of unions, organized labor can be a major player in campaign spending. The government employees union AFSCME is the nation's second biggest contributor to political action committees, according to the Tampa Tribune.

    But Mr. Grayson's idea of requiring greater disclosure for election spending from corporations — an option left open by the Supreme Court — is a good one, so long as it also applies to unions. Voters shouldn't be left guessing if Corporation X or Labor Union Y is bankrolling an ad for or against a candidate. And the cost of that ad should be promptly reported and made accessible online.
    "New day, new limits".

    Anyone with even the most basic knowledge of election and labor law would know that in right-to-work states, like Florida (and the rest of the former Confederate states), employees enjoying the benefits of union representation do not have to join or pay a penny to a union (though unions are required by law to represent them (for free) just as thoroughly as they represent members). And, among those employees have chosen to become members, none of their union dues can be used for direct political expenditures in federal elections (although dues can be used for certain indirect expenditures).

    Even in non-right to work states (by and large the same states that fought against slavery in the civil war), employees are not required to "join" a union (even though, believe it or not, unions are legally obligated to fully represent such free riders); however, such free riders in non-right to work states are required only to pay a representation fee (a sum less than normal union dues) to the union that cannot be used for any political purposes (direct or indirect), and can only be used for employee-employer representation purposes.

    In no circumstances can union member or non-members' money be used for direct contributions to a federal candidate, unless the a union member has, separate from union dues, chosen to contribute to a PAC fund.

    For the Orlando Sentinel editorial board to, after equate unions and corporations (which can spend without shareholder consent) is either ignorance, or a willful attempt at union bashing.

    Sansom whines

    "State Rep. Ray Sansom accused a state prosecutor of misconduct Tuesday and asked that charges of misusing $6 million in taxpayer money be dismissed." "Florida Rep. Ray Sansom lobs misconduct charge at state prosecutor, seeks to get charges dropped".

    The Trib drags its knuckles ...

    ... for Tebow, James Dobson* and Focus on the Family**. The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "The Tebows' life-saving Super Bowl ad".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *"Dobson is an intelligent design supporter and has spoken at conferences supporting the subject, and frequently criticizes evolution, contrary to the teachings of his Christian denomination, the Church of the Nazarene. In 2007, Dobson was one of 25 evangelicals who called for the ouster of Rev. Richard Cizik from his position at the National Association of Evangelicals because Cizik had taken a stance urging evangelicals to take global warming seriously." "James Dobson".

    **"In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, [Focus on the Family] shifted from support of Mike Huckabee to not supporting any candidate, to finally accepting the Republican ticket once Sarah Palin was added to the ticket. Prior to the election, a television and letter campaign was launched predicting terrorist attacks in four U.S. cities and equating the U.S. with Nazi Germany. This publicity was condemned by the Anti Defamation League. Within a month before the general election, Focus on the Family began distributing a 16 page fictitious letter titled Letter from 2012 in Obama's America, which describes an imagined American future in which 'many of our freedoms have been taken away by a liberal Supreme Court of the United States and a majority of Democrats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.' According to USA Today, the letter 'is part of an escalation in rhetoric from Christian right activists' trying to paint Democratic Party presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama in a negative light. Other Evangelicals like Jim Wallis and various progressive Christians denounced the letter as fearmongering." "Focus on the Family".

    "Man hug" blues

    "Crist, who has been taking a steady pounding for his 'man hug' with President Barack Obama last February, now says he may be with the president again Thursday in Tampa." "Gov. Crist doesn't rule out meeting President Obama in Tampa". St Pete Times editors: "Crist should greet Obama".

    Enough is enough

    "Ticket prices increasing for Florida Strawberry Festival queen's pageant".

    Running government like a business

    "A highly critical state report released Tuesday night finds Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Frank Peterman ran up $25,000 in questionable travel and should reimburse taxpayers for those expenses." "Steve Bousquet - St. Petersburg Times".

    Because we're FPL

    "Utility regulators have asked FPL to justify its claim that it will suspend projects after it didn't get the rate increase it wanted." "FPL pressed to explain project-suspension statement".


    "Miami city commissioners debated late into the night, before an overflow crowd, over who will replace suspended Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones and represent the city's most impoverished district." "Crowd delays panel's choice".

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