"Confounding the normal political wisdom"
William March writes that: "this year's race for Florida's open U.S. Senate seat will confound the normal political wisdom on how to win a Florida election."
"It's the first time I can recall a contest for Senate or governor with an Anglo, a Hispanic and an African-American," said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato."Contenders in 3-way Senate race all have shot at win".
"In a three-way race, you blow up the standard formula," said Florida International University political scientist Kevin Hill.
That formula says that Democrats win southeast Florida, Republicans win northern and southwestern Florida, and the Interstate 4 corridor swing area tips the balance.
Two of this year's major candidates are from Miami-Dade County with its large ethnic populations: Rubio will be able to appeal to its large Hispanic population and Meek to its black voters. Both will be heavily funded by their respective national parties, Rubio probably overwhelmingly so.
Crist has long had a stronghold in the Tampa Bay area, anchor of the I-4 corridor.March reviews each candidate's advantages and disadvantages here:
"Unexpected consequences and ideological traps"
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board reminds us that "the real endgame in state budgeting comes not this month, but next year. The federal stimulus dollars will run out and, if the economy hasn't dramatically improved, those re-elected lawmakers or newly relocated officials will be hit in the face at both legislative and executive levels with the mess of unfinished business, short-sightedness, unexpected consequences and ideological traps that regrettably Florida's new cobbled-together budget represents." "Session aftermath". See also "Florida expects $6 billion hole in budget in 2011".
More: "A session assessment: For conservatives and for Crist", "LOSERS: Fla. legislation that failed or was vetoed in 2010", "2010 session features some high-interest bills", "Who won and who lost in 2010 session?" and "Legislative session has its share or losers, winners". See also "Central Florida lawmakers stagger home from busy, emotional legislative session".
Understatement of the year: "Legislature Takes a Turn to The Right".
And then there's this: "Crist – and his veto pen – still have friends in Florida politics" and this "Session is over but veto looms".
And this: "Chances abound for Crist to call legislature back into session".
Meet Mr. Greene
"They're rich, they're running — can they win?". More on Mr. Greene: "Billionaire Candidate Has Lively Past". Background: "Billionaire Jeff Greene Shakes Up Senate Race".
"A bloody Republican primary could give Kosmas a better chance of winning re-election. Already, [Craig Miller, former CEO of Ruth's Chris Steak House] and [former Winter Park City Commissioner Karen] Diebel have feuded over immigration policy, with Diebel using the endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado to label Miller as soft on the issue. Miller responded by lambasting Diebel for allying with Tancredo, who once called Miami a "Third World country."" "12 Republicans qualify to take on two congressional Democrats".
"If it's Rubio vs. Obama, it's Crist vs. the Legislature". See also "Florida Gov. Crist's final 24 hours as a Republican" and "Crist: Lieberman Was Right, 'I'm Much Happier Now'".
"Where was Jay Burmer when Charlie Crist needed him? . . . When asked who his campaign manager would be, the governor pointed to himself. Though Crist expects to pick up sizable contributions at a fund-raiser at his wife's Fisher Island home this weekend, his ragged campaign is a far cry from the well-oiled, party-supported machine it once was. One of the cogs in that machine was Jay Burmer, who directed Crist's campaign for education commissioner in 2000 and subsequently landed a series of political appointments."
Burmer's name popped up prominently this past week as receiving $316,000 for party consulting work during a 2 1/2-year period under the Greer regime."Will Burmer Come Back to Haunt Crist?".
It was not clear what exactly Burmer did to earn this payout, which only fueled speculation of rampant cronyism, "ghost" employment, or worse. Once an insider, ableit a shadowy one, Burmer is now being tossed like a toxic hot potato.
Drill baby ... whaaaa?
"Crist toured coastal portions of Escambia County on Saturday as massive efforts to shield Florida's delicate Gulf shoreline from the growing oil slick were hampered by high seas and troublesome winds." "Fla. prepares for oil landfall, fears worst".
"Favorable weather gave Florida's Panhandle a reprieve, but it's likely brief as coastal communities braced for a potential onslaught of black ooze." "As oil blob triples in size, Florida fears nightmare". See also "Oil spill ballooning in size", "Potential Florida impact", "Where the oil is heading", "Spill could be disastrous for Fla. economy", "", "", "" and "Gulf Coast dreads oil spill's creep to shore".
Carl Hiaasen: "Oops. That's the official position of British Petroleum."
In Tallahassee, where Big Oil's lobbyists have been spreading gobs of money, several geniuses in the Legislature will next year continue their push to permit drilling within five miles of some prime Florida beaches."Gulf spill can kill our tourist season".
Perfectly safe, they say. Ya'll just relax.
Two days after exploding, the Deepwater Horizon went down on April 22 about 50 miles from mainland Louisiana. It took only a week after that for the first streaks of oil to reach the shore. . . .
If it had happened near Jacksonville or Daytona Beach, Naples, Sarasota, Key West . . .
By all means, let's surround Florida -- a virtual hurricane magnet -- with drill rigs. According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, hurricanes Rita and Katrina destroyed 113 gulf platforms, damaged 457 pipelines and caused 146 spills that dumped 17,652 barrels of petroleum.
One medium-sized blowout could trash miles of shoreline and kill a tourist season. Nothing sells seaside hotel rooms like YouTube videos of gunk-covered turtles and dead pelicans.
This is a no-brainer. Florida can't afford offshore drilling. The risk to the economy is ludicrous, compared to the relatively small amounts of oil to be found.
Related: "Obama travels to Gulf on Sunday for spill update".
The Miami Herald editors: "It just takes one disaster".
Even the wingers are fessin' up - Mike Thomas: "There is nothing like the taste of crow deep-fried in a barrel of light, sweet crude." "I was wrong about dangers of offshore drilling".
The Orlando Sentinel editors think it is "time that Rep. Dean Cannon — sponsor of the stunningly reckless proposal to lift Florida's own offshore-drilling ban and bring rigs within a few miles of the Gulf Coast — abandon his plan. Permanently." "Reduce risks of drilling".
But you know, ultimately, Obama is going to be blamed for this, even by them so-called libruls at the St Pete Times:"Obama too slow on oil spill".
In the meantime, the GOPer-Teabaggers can't find the phrase "oil spill" in the U.S. Constitution. See "Right, left spar on federal response".
Teabaggers in a dither
"Ann Coulter Attacks Rove, Rubio For Opposition To Arizona Immigration Law".
Poor Marco in a bind
Myriam Marquez whines that "Poor Rubio now has been left to straddle whether he's going to keep the Panhandle excited about another Cuban American getting elected to the U.S. Senate."
It's tricky.Marquez is
After all, former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez lost his conservative street cred* when he became a key player in trying to get immigration reform passed three years ago.
betting the immigration issue in Florida won't play out like it has in the West or the Deep South -- at least among registered Hispanic voters."Immigration to add spice to U.S. Senate race".
Central Florida's Hispanics are predominantly Puerto Rican. They're U.S. citizens at birth. Many sympathize with immigrants, but it's not their issue.
Activists and Miami politicians like Maurice Ferre support reform that includes legalization, of course. But talk radio in Orlando was a whole other matter. Many Puerto Ricans viewed immigrants as taking U.S. benefits away from those who have that birthright.
Cuban Americans, too, are split. Many exiles say, "We arrived here legally. We are political refugees.'' And Miami's Cuban radio bears out the "us vs. them'' mentality.
That sad division among Latinos will be exploited in the U.S. Senate race.
Just watch. It's going to get hot.
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*The phrase "Conservative street cred" is truly funny. It reminds one of the kiddies from Gulliver Prep blasting out rap in their Mercedes convertibles.
"The News Service of Florida Open government advocates are asking Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill (HB 7079 that allows people who believe they're the victim of a stalker to have their name be kept out of otherwise public records." "Open-government advocates seek veto of bill allowing records exemptions for stalked".
This is your RPOF
Randy Schultz: "One by one they preached, middle-aged white men telling the women of Florida what would be good for them. In this case, the supposed good was a law that would require any woman seeking an abortion in the first three months of her pregnancy to have an ultrasound, and require the woman to see it unless she declined in writing."
None of these middle-aged white men who pontificated late Thursday afternoon cited any evidence that the women of Florida wanted this law, or that the doctors of Florida wanted women to have it. Indeed, most of the women in the Florida Senate chamber - the venue for this testosterone-fueled display of good will - argued against the law, and then voted against it. . . ."A legislature from Mars".
Gov. Crist faces a tough choice. Vetoing the whole bill (HB 1143) could create licensing problems at Florida's nursing homes. Politically, the governor is proudly "pro-life." But Marco Rubio probably has the social conservatives locked up. So the governor could say this: "Every abortion is a tragedy, but as a man I believe that one group of people knows what's good for women when it comes to health care: their doctors."
"Hoping to make history"
"From earthquake fundraisers in Miami to business forums in Port-au-Prince, conversations about a homeland in crisis are giving way to a new political possibility in the United States — or a missed opportunity for the South Florida Haitian-American community. Four Haitian-Americans, all big names with deep roots in the community, are candidates in a crowded field vying for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, who is making a bid for the U.S. Senate." "Four Haitian-Americans hoping to make history in congressional race".
"Not a moment too soon"
The Sun-Sentinel editors: "This bill, unlike others that faced legislative debate, will make a difference for generations to come, and not a moment too soon. Floridians' — as with many Americans — grasp of civics leaves a lot to be desired." "Politicians put civics at the head of the class".
Following the money
Scott Maxwell follows the money:
TECO Energy, for example gave both $215,000 to the Republican Party of Florida and $125,000 to Florida Dems. The company is apparently an ardent supporter of conservative liberalism."Look who's cutting the biggest checks to your politicians".
Other companies cutting hearty checks to both parties during the first quarter of 2010 include Progress Energy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Disney.
Disney apparently sent Mickey over to the GOP with more than $100,000 worth of checks stuffed into his oversized hands. For the Democrats, Disney must've dispatched their little-known eighth dwarf, Stingy, since the libs collected only $10,000.
"Lawmakers put redistricting amendment on ballot".
Fred Grimm: "So much bluster, but foster kids' drug nightmare ...".
Letting the feds carry the water
"Crist will leave it to the Obama administration to run the federally subsidized high-risk health insurance plan that is to cover people unable to buy such insurance in the private market due to preexisting conditions such as cancer or diabetes." "Crist wants federal government to run high-risk health insurance pool".