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 Saturday, January 02, 2010

"The Senate seat is for the Dems to lose"

    Stephen Goldstein: "Florida Republicans and Democrats are in disarray. Whichever party unites by November will win the U.S. Senate seat once held by Mel Martinez. "
    The Republican Party is tearing itself apart. Once thought to be a shoo-in for the Senate seat, Gov. Charlie Crist is now in the campaign for his political life. Until now he has climbed the electoral ladder with astonishing success, considering he's basically a lightweight, whose strategy has been to stay tanned, keep smiling, stay on script, and tell everyone whatever they want to hear. He's become anathema to Republican conservatives for literally embracing President Obama in a photo-op and welcoming stimulus money.
    "So, now the Republican purists-extremists are rallying 'round former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, whose every move is orchestrated by Jeb Bush. He's saying all the right ultra-right-wing things. Recent polls suggest that he's in a near tie with Crist."
    But what should be a perfect opening for Democrats to score a victory is by no means guaranteed: They are more fundamentally divided than Republicans. A year ago, Florida went blue for Barack Obama because a powerful coalition came together to make it happen. But the tragic fact is: Obama has not had coattails. Democrats haven't been able to create an ongoing coalition to ensure success in turning Florida progressive; they splinter apart, especially on social issues.

    The tragedy is that the Senate seat is for the Dems to lose.
    See what he means: "Florida should give Obama another vote in the Senate".

    Florida "Tea Party" infighting begins

    George Bennett: "Conservative Tea Party activists hope to make a political mark in 2010, but an Orlando attorney's effort to run candidates under the 'Tea Party' label in Florida is being met with suspicion and outright hostility by many in the movement."

    The flap illustrates the allure of the Tea Party brand, which was more popular than the Republican Party in one recent national poll.

    It also highlights the decentralized, grass-roots nature of the Tea Party movement, which sprang up in Florida and across the U.S. in 2009 to rail against the federal stimulus bill and healthcare overhaul efforts. There are as many as 80 Tea Party groups in Florida alone.
    "Attorney Fred O'Neal registered the Tea Party with the Florida Division of Elections in August as a political party. O'Neal is closely tied to Orlando political consultant and anti-tax activist Doug Guetzloe and has worked on anti-tax issues, but hasn't been involved in Tea Party demonstrations."
    South Florida Tea Party Chairman Everett Wilkinson and many other Tea Party organizers around the state oppose the idea.

    "This is exactly what we're fighting against — political consultants and parties, politicians trying to make deals," Wilkinson said. Wilkinson wants Tea Party activists to influence the upcoming special election to replace U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, and other 2010 races — but not as an organized political party.

    "We really are focusing on public policy and informing people. We already have problems with the two-party system and the deals being made. A third party is a third problem," said Wilkinson.

    In addition to leading the South Florida Tea Party, Wilkinson is Florida director for a national organization called Tea Party Patriots and is on that group's board. But, while there is some national structure to the movement, activists say the Tea Party movement is really made up of autonomous, individual groups.

    Palm Beach County Tea Party activist Fred Scheibl opposes O'Neal's third-party idea, but isn't surprised that someone is trying to capitalize on the name.
    Much more here: "Tea Party as third party? Many activists oppose attorney’s idea".

    Bennett fails to mention the elephant in the room in his otherwise valuable column, to wit: Tea Partiers are a mere subset of the GOP "base". The "Tea Party" leaders oppose the creation of a new political party because a separate party will siphon off RPOF votes, and harm the RPOF at the polls. Tea Party "leaders" are content to use the Tea Party "movement" as an artifice to attack Democrats and, in the end, support RPOFers at the polls.

    Even a broken clock ...

    ... is right twice a day: The Sun-Sentinel editorial board is "disappointed the Senate ruled out a public insurance option". "Health care bill worthy of passage".

    "Democrats unusually active"

    "The new year promises plenty of campaign activity, not only for statewide contests where every state post offers an open race with no incumbent, but for local politics and elections as well. The primary is Aug. 24 and the general election is Nov. 2. Lee County Democratic leaders say their party members will be energized early, with at least four primary races on the ballot for Democratic voters - an unusual number in a county dominated by Republicans." "State, local offices up for grabs this year".


    Some snippets from the Sun-Sentinel's look at pending, by HCR William E. Gibson and Bob LaMendola:

    About 27 percent of Florida adults under 65 were uninsured as of last year, third highest rate in U.S. That includes 600,000 people in Broward and Palm Beach counties ... Immigrant advocates say excluding the nearly 1 million undocumented Floridians would leave a huge gap in coverage, burdening providers who often are legally required to treat them despite not being paid.
    "Comparing the health reform plans".

    Stop the madness

    The Tampa Trib editors: "There is no doubt the nation needed to toughen the process of issuing drivers' licenses and identification cards. Consider: 18 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 obtained drivers' licenses or ID cards in the United States to "establish" identifies in this country. Several of them came to Florida for flight training and obtained drivers' licenses."

    But in trying to protect residents against murdering zealots, state and federal officials have gone overboard in requiring all applicants for drivers' licenses and ID cards to dig deep into their past to prove who they are.

    The new paperwork requirements, which took effect New Year's Day, are mandated by Florida law and "Real ID," a federal law adopted in 2005. States were given time to comply.

    The rules are so burdensome for longtime residents that anyone who needs to renew their licenses and identification cards better start the footwork several weeks in advance.
    "It's bad enough that people in Florida who have to renew their cards and licenses this year will discover the Legislature has substantially increased fees - to $48 for a standard driver's license, up from $27 last year, for example."
    With the new paperwork requirements, Floridians are being hit with a double whammy, one that will likely result in more costs for people needing copies of documents.

    Congress and officials in Florida and other states need to revisit this law to establish a reasonable coverage period or, better yet, have it apply only to new residents or those who have lived in a state for five years or less.

    The across-the-board approach defies common sense.
    "Double whammy at the DMV".

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