Daniel Ruth: "In the end, maybe this all proves either the power of television, or how gullible people can be, or perhaps the awkward reality that as electrifying political candidates go, Bill McCollum is somewhere between Abe Vigoda and an anvil. "
What a difference some 60 days and nearly $5 million can make in a campaign season. Chances are, if back in March you had asked anyone in the state of Florida who Rick Scott was, the response would have been a deer caught in the headlights meets Banjo Boy in Deliverance."When money talks, do the voters hear?". Related: "McCollum draws 130 in Boca, says he takes GOP foe Scott ’seriously’".
But that was before Scott, a bazillionaire with plenty of time on his hands, decided to enter the Republican primary campaign for governor, to succeed Charlie Crist, the Martin Luther of the Grand Old Pogrom.
Now, in the wake of a $5 million advertising campaign touting his bona fides as a true ideological rock-ribbed Republican, Scott has managed to become an actual contender for the nomination and trails Florida's attorney general by a mere 14 percentage points in a recent poll.
McCollum flip-flops on Arizona-Style Immigration Law
TPM: "The Arizona anti-illegal immigration law is now catching on in the race for governor of Florida, with state Attorney General Bill McCollum saying that he would back bringing it to Florida -- after his new opponent in the GOP primary, former health care executive Rick Scott, began pushing it." "McCollumn Switches to Supporting Arizona-Style Immigration Law, After Opponent In Primary Backed It". See also "Bill McCollum: Florida should copy Arizona’s immigration law" ("Attorney General Bill McCollum has had a dramatic change of heart on Arizona's new immigration law. Here's what he said on April 27: "I think Arizona has its own unique problems. I don't think Florida should enact laws like this -- quite that far out.")
Josh Marshall: "Scott has been in the race for all of a month. And he's already giving McCollum, who was considered the de facto nominee, a run for his money." "That Didn't Take Long". See also "Bill McCollum: Florida should copy Arizona's immigration law".
It ain't just McCollum: "Florida candidates back Arizona immigration law".
"Is Gov. Crist posturing? Of course"
The Palm Beach Post editors: "Is Gov. Crist posturing?"
Of course. So are many Florida politicians as the expanding oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico changes minds. But as The Post has said consistently, the risk of drilling too near the state is too great. Tourism provides roughly 20 percent of all taxable sales in Florida, a state that runs on the sales tax. Visit Florida, the state's tourism promotion agency, calculates that the direct economic impact from tourism is $65.2 billion. That figure doesn't include the economic benefit from commercial and sport fishing."Posturing with a purpose: Crist outmaneuvering the GOP on drilling session.".
Further, the House last year refused to pass compromise legislation that would have required utilities to produce more energy from renewable sources. We understand that renewables can't at this point produce energy efficiently in bulk, but other states are far ahead in an effort that would reduce dependence on foreign sources and create jobs. If Republicans resist Gov. Crist's call for a special session on energy, they will look worse than their flip-flopping former partymate.
But The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board thinks "Crist needs to be sure he has the votes to place such a measure on the November ballot before he calls the Legislature to Tallahassee. Trying to shame reluctant lawmakers into doing the right thing in a special session could very well fail. And such a failure could be worse for the future of Florida’s shoreline than doing nothing now. " "Before session, get the votes".
McCollum "happy to hire sleazy services"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Attorney General Bill McCollum and George Rekers have this in common: They were both happy to hire sleazy services, and they knew what they were getting for the money. Now both are having trouble explaining themselves."
McCollum personally chose Rekers, a notorious antigay psychologist, as an "expert'' witness in Florida's legal effort to defend the state's indefensible ban on gay people adopting children. That decision is under renewed scrutiny following reports that Rekers traveled for two weeks in Europe with a gay male escort from Miami. Rekers denied having sex with the escort and said he paid him to carry his luggage. Taxpayers paid more than $120,000 for McCollum's poor choice of Rekers for the state's case. Neither man's explanations are reassuring. "Sleazy deal snares McCollum".
Rail on line
"The federal Railroad Administration has given Florida approval to begin designing, obtaining land and building the nation's first major high-speed rail line." "Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail plan gets OK".
Spill baby, spill!
Paul Flemming: "What are my hopes that this thing will be capped, Gulf microorganisms will semi-magically eat up the already-spilled oil and the 11 lives lost and Louisiana shoreline already despoiled are the full extent of this disaster? That's an easy numeric expression: Infinite. The chances that will happen? Let's just say it approaches zero." "This oil spill, by the numbers, is almost unfathomable". See also "As Gulf oil spill spreads, a rush to stop the gush" and "".
Big of him
"Democrat Diane Rowden, running for the District 44 House of Representatives, blasted her incumbent Republican opponent for his pro-oil drilling stance and for maintaining a deafening silence since the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. ... However, Schenck said he has reconsidered his stand on oil drilling and will consider joining Gov. Charlie Crist and other legislators to vote to put a constitutional amendment to ban oil drilling off the Florida coast on the November ballot." "GOP Rep. Schenck says he's willing to reconsider pro-drilling stand".
The Sun Sentinel editorial board puts union hating aside for a moment: "State schools, unions must succeed second time around".
"Florida's Panhandle on Wednesday boasted of famous sugar-sand beaches and clear Gulf waters." "Florida tourism plummets".
Nelson hits a wall
"Nelson's hard-charging reaction to the gulf oil disaster ran into a wall Thursday, a reminder of how influential the industry remains. Nelson and two other Democratic lawmakers, eager to show the public they are going after BP, wanted a quick passage of a bill to increase a cap on damages from oil spills to $10 billion from $75 million." "Sen. Bill Nelson loses out on bid to increase damages cap".
"Despite a court ruling that says Broward property owners are due $11 million, Florida doesn't want to pay for citrus trees cut down during a canker epidemic." "Court upholds $11M citrus canker payout, but Florida vows to appeal".
"Charlie Crist unleashed: A wide-ranging interview with the newly independent one".
"Dozens of protesters took their fight to Gov. Charlie Crist's doorstep this morning, carrying signs urging him to veto House Bill 1143, the controversial bill requiring women to get an ultrasound before an abortion." "Foes of abortion ultrasound bill protest outside Crist home".
"Pressure is intensifying on newly independent Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to either sign or veto a controversial 11th-hour bill passed by the Legislature that opponents argue makes it more difficult for women seeking abortions." "Planned Parenthood rallies across the state, calling on Crist to veto pre-abortion ultrasound bill".
"The governor, already at odds with his former GOP colleagues, is likely to veto millions in spending for local projects." "Crist poised to veto special projects".
"Crist signs Florida bill legalizing red light cameras". See also "Crist signs bill legalizing red light cameras".