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 Wednesday, May 26, 2010

John Mica, of all people

    Scott Maxwell: "Of all the people assigning blame for the massive oil spill in the gulf, it's awfully strange that one of them is John Mica."
    John Mica — the most drill-happy congressman Florida has ever elected.

    John Mica — the guy who told me a few years ago: "I voted to drill in the Everglades in the 1970s …and I'd do it again."

    John Mica — the only member of Florida's congressional delegation unwilling to sign a letter in 2003 that called for drilling restrictions in the eastern gulf.

    John Mica — whose brother runs the Florida Petroleum Council.

    Yes, that John Mica.
    Maxwell continues:
    In fact, the Winter Park Republican is not only looking to cast blame, he's pretty sure he's found the culprit: Barack Obama.

    At a hearing last week, Mica presented his timeline for what he called "The Obama Oil Spill."

    Not the British Petroleum Oil Spill, mind you. In fact, Mica went so far as to say: "I am not going to point fingers at BP, the private industry, when it is government's responsibility to set the standards, to do the inspections."

    Apparently, big government wasn't big enough.

    And why blame the company that actually ran the rig when you can blame the head of the opposing political party?
    Much more here: "Drill-happy Mica casts oil-spill blame? Not slick". Related: "Nelson says oil-friendly colleagues 'playing games'".

    "A lifeline for Florida"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The U.S. House could consider as early as today a jobs bill that would be a lifeline for Florida. Critics on Capitol Hill are threatening to undermine the measure because it would further swell the federal deficit. But Florida's Republican-led Legislature is already counting on the money, and the state's unemployed residents need the help."

    The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act is a monster of an enterprise, a political compilation of niche issues that has been under negotiation between the House and Senate for months. Among the provisions: money for teen jobs, small business loans and aid to farmers; restored Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors; and provisions to help struggling pension plans weather the recession.

    The bill, costing $190 billion, is fueling a new round of rhetoric from deficit hawks because it only raises about $56 billion in revenue. The cash would come from higher taxes on wealthy investors and multinational corporations' overseas income.

    But critics must not lose sight that two key provisions of the bill are extensions of the federal stimulus plan that has created jobs and eased economic pain that would otherwise be far worse.
    "Fla. keeps hurting; jobs bill is a must"..

    Crist NPA move hurting Meek the most?

    Eric Kleefeld at TPM "In the two months since Gov. Charlie Crist began building up to and ultimately did switch from Republican to independent, he appears to have overtaken Rep. Kendrick Meek as the de-facto Democratic candidate in the race against Republican Marco Rubio, according to the polls."

    Instead of becoming the alternative to the two Republicans in the race, Meek seems to have suffered the most from Crist's entrance in the race as an independent. Crist's presence has siphoned off votes from Meek, poll show, and threatens to leave the Democrats' own presumptive nominee with too little oxygen. Meek's hopes of being the clear alternative to Rubio are fading.

    When asked for comment about their decline in support, Meek campaign communications director Adam Sharon predicted that Crist's surge among Democratic-leaning voters would not last, declaring that "his conservative record cannot escape him."

    The TPM Poll Average for the race current has Crist at 32.9%, Rubio 32.7%, and Meek 15.9%. Furthermore, the graph shows a clear trend in the last two months, of Meek's support falling and Crist's rising by a nearly identical amount.
    "Is Crist FL-SEN's De Facto Dem?".

    Thrasher on the road

    "Between a legislative session in a lean budget year, initiating a campaign to keep his state Senate seat, and -- oh, yeah -- Gov. Charlie Crist's defection from the party to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent, Thrasher has kept busy. " "State's new GOP leader notes key races in 2010".

    Spill baby! Spill!

    "Scientists take Everglades samples before potential oil spill hit", "South Florida gets break from oil spill threat", "Florida tries to reassure tourists of oil-free beaches", "March set to raise oil-spill awareness" and "Short term, oil spill means mini job boom in Gulf".

    Sixty-eight per centers

    At the time of this post, sixty-eight percent of the voters* in an Orlando Sentinel online poll claim to "miss" Dubya, responding affirmatively to one of the following two assertions:

    Yes. I missed him the day Obama took office, and I haven't changed my mind. The country has gone straight downhill.

    Yes. The history books will remember him a lot more fondly than the liberal press today, which blames Bush for everything.
    Read it and weep.

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *That number has by now changed.

    Wasserman Schultz-haters

    "U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D- Weston, is arguably South Florida's brightest political star — and facing an unprecedented field of challengers fighting to take her seat."

    "Because of the tea party movement and the widespread anger at the Washington establishment, you're seeing a lot of new candidates coming in and hoping to take advantage of the widespread anger," said Lance deHaven-Smith, a political science professor at Florida State University.

    That's especially true for Republicans Karen Harrington of Davie, Robert Lowry of Hollywood and Donna Milo of Miami — none of whom has held or even sought any kind of elected office before. In interviews and appearances at Republican events, they more often rail against President Barack Obama, the Democratic Congress and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi than Wasserman Schultz.

    At one recent Republican club gathering, Lowry referred to Wasserman Schultz as "Debbie Pelosi."

    The winner of the Aug. 24 Republican primary will be on the November ballot, along with no-party affiliation candidates Stanley Blumenthal of Sunrise and Robert Kunst of Miami Beach. Write-in candidate Clayton Schock of Sunrise, one of four Broward residents who are registered voters in the Whig Party, also qualified.
    "Wasserman Schultz faces field of opponents out to dim her luster".

    Nelson to oppose DADT

    "Florida Sen. Bill Nelson will vote for repealing a 17-year-old law banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, the senator's spokesman said Tuesday. Nelson was one of five senators who had been targeted by one of the nation's largest gay rights groups as a key vote on the issue." "Bill Nelson says he'll vote for repealing military ban on gays". Related: "UF professors helped research 'don't ask, don't tell' policy".

    "Too little, too late"?

    "Simmering frustration over the oil spill's potential damage to Florida tourism erupted Tuesday into blunt criticism of Gov. Charlie Crist, who defended the state's response and later trumpeted the arrival of $25 million from BP for TV ads aimed at calming tourists' fears." "Crist a target of frustration".

    "An angry Panhandle lawmaker on Tuesday accused Gov. Charlie Crist of not doing enough to promote tourism in Northwest Florida to counter massive cancellations in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill." "Gaetz: Crist not doing enough to promote tourism in Northwest Fla.".

    "The summer tourist season kicks off this week with the three-day Memorial Day weekend, but with hotels losing bookings and restaurants short of customers, the state's chief financial officer, Democrat Alex Sink, joined Republican state Sen. Don Gaetz of Niceville in a blistering critique of the state's response as too little, too late." "Critics say Crist falling short on oil spill". See also "Florida gets good news - its beaches still clean - and $25 million to tell the world" and "Oil spill politics heat up in Tallahassee".

    "Rubio wants Americans to work longer and retire later"

    "GOP candidate Marco Rubio wants Americans to work longer and retire later to places like Florida, a stand that has drawn criticism from his Senate rivals and unnerves some in the Sunshine State where one out of every seven residents gets a Social Security check." "Senate candidate Rubio favors raising retirement age".

    Round two

    "Crist enthralled Florida's teachers unions when he vetoed Senate Bill 6. Whether he impressed the Obama Administration remains to be seen. The Florida Department of Education this week is preparing the state's second run for Race to the Top funding. The federal initiative will award $700 million in grants to states that implement education reforms. Florida finished fourth in the initial phase of the competition; only the two top-ranked states -- Tennessee and Delaware -- received funding in that round. With second-round submissions due in Washington June 1, Florida school districts have been asked to support the state's new application. As of Tuesday afternoon, 59 of 67 districts had signed on. More were expected to join during school board meetings last night. Tuesday was the state's deadline for districts to act." "Florida Hopes Second Time's a Charm in Race to the Top".

    Crist moves left

    Kos: "Crist's move to the left paying dividends".

    "A federal takeover"?

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "As frustrated as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and other politicians are with BP's failure to cap the massive oil leak in the gulf, a federal takeover of the effort is not the answer. The federal government does not have the expertise, equipment or personnel to do the job — and BP cannot be let off the hook. Instead, federal, state and local officials should focus their efforts on ramping up environmental oversight of BP's cleanup and fast-tracking financial aid to Gulf Coast residents who have had their livelihoods disrupted by this disaster." "U.S. spill takeover not the answer".


    "For years, U.S. Rep. John Mica has taken pride in snagging federal dollars for hometown projects, once even vowing that there was 'no way in hell' that he would support a ban on the so-called "earmarks" that lawmakers slip into federal spending bills."

    But with control of Congress in the balance this year, Mica has backtracked from that pledge and is joining with other House Republicans in forgoing all earmark requests — even though the Winter Park legislator still maintains that bringing home the bacon is a "constitutional right."
    "Democrats defy GOP on earmarks, push for the pork".

    The best they can do?

    Bruce O’Donoghue, one of the Seven Dwarves (with apologies to dwarves), in the Republican primary in Florida’s 8th Congressional District, has unveiled something called "The Grayson Files", which ought to appeal to the local RPOF/teabagger crowd, but largeely works as a greatest hits website for Grayson. "O’Donoghue compiles 'Grayson Files'".

    The website trumpets the following (what many consider courageous) remarks by Grayson:

    "The Republican health care plan is this: 'Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly."

    Alan Grayson eventually "apologized" saying "I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America."

    "I am the only member of Congress who actually worked as an economist, and this lobbyist, this K-Street whore[*], is trying to teach me about economics!"
    The website also accuses Grayson of actually associating with:
    Howard Dean: "It is a real pleasure to stand up with [Alan Grayson]."

    Congressman Dennis Kucinich: "He's someone who's needed in this Congress."

    Michael Moore: "I have a great deal of respect for [Alan Grayson]...I'm supporting him for his re-election bid. I'm contributing what I can to his campaign...we need to keep him in Congress."

    Code Pink

    Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gave Grayson $2,000 (Friends of Rahm Emanuel)

    Congressman Charlie Rangel

    Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "My good friend Alan Grayson, who has blazed a trail since his election to Congress in 2008, the likes of which we've never seen.

    Congressman Barney Frank gave Grayson $2400 (Barney Frank for Congress)

    Congressman Xavier Becerra gave Grayson $4,000 (Becerra for Congress)

    Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro gave Grayson $1,000 (Friends of Rosa DeLauro)
    There's more; the site gives real insight as to what motivates the RPOF base, which is becoming less and less distinguishable from the teabag crowd.

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *Among the several definitions of "whore" in Merriam Webster's is "a venal or unscrupulous person", although it appears Grayson was using the phrase "whore" in conjunction with the word "street" to effect a particularly clever double entendre.

    Vetoes ahead

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Crist has been warning that he might take an ax to millions of dollars worth of projects in the $70.4 billion budget that legislators passed last month. Mr. Crist is facing a Friday deadline to act on the state spending plan for the year that begins July 1, which came in more than $1 billion over the budget he proposed to legislators." "Use veto pen with care".

    Redistricting lawsuit

    "Two members of Congress want a court to remove a citizen initiative on congressional redistricting from Florida's Nov. 2 ballot. U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, announced Tuesday that they had filed the case in state Circuit Court in Tallahassee." "Congress Members Want Redistricting Initiative Removed From Florida Ballot".

    Running government like a bidness

    "Citizens Insurance hands out another no-bid contract".

    Privatization follies

    "Hillsborough Kids Inc., a state contractor that placed the boy, says it's not liable because it subcontracted with another agency which directly cared for the boy. HKI contends the state Department of Children & Families is ultimately responsible for overseeing its providers, according to court documents." "DCF, contractors point fingers in Tampa abuse case".

    "Road to nowhere"

    "Talking Heads co-founder David Byrne sues Gov. Charlie Crist over alleged song use".

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