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 Monday, May 17, 2010

Webster stumbling

    "Former Florida Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster was once thought to be a top House prospect, a politically pedigreed Republican who offered the GOP its best chance at knocking off freshman Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.)."
    But Webster has experienced a sharp downturn in his political fortunes that raises questions about whether he can even win the Republican nomination in the Orlando-based 8th District.

    One month after announcing his candidacy, Webster finds himself trying to fend off at least two serious primary opponents and on the defensive over disclosures that he billed meals to a state Republican Party American Express account.

    It’s a surprising turn of events for Webster, a former state House speaker and 28-year legislative veteran who carries endorsements from popular former GOP Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

    But insiders say Webster’s troubles were predictable and are due in no small part to a key misstep: his initial announcement back in October that he would not run for the 8th District seat, a move that opened the door for businessman Bruce O’Donoghue and state Rep. Kurt Kelly to launch campaigns of their own.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37323.html#ixzz0oBg8ZnrI
    "Politico: Stumbles bedevil Daniel Webster".

    The rich are different

    "Can two very rich men, each with serious personal baggage, convince disgruntled Florida voters that lack of political or government experience is a virtue in this tumultuous election year?" "Wealthy Florida candidates say lack of experience is a benefit".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    "The Associated Press has learned that an independent firm hired by BP substantiated the complaints in 2009 and found that the giant petroleum company was violating its own policies by not having completed engineering documents on board the Atlantis when it began operating in 2007." "BP's own probe finds safety issues on Atlantis rig".

    See also "Deep sea oil plumes, dispersants endanger reefs", "Oil may be entering Gulf current, could reach PBC" and "Worry that Gulf oil spreading into major current".

    Going after DROP

    Bill Cotterell: "There's a bill pending on Gov. Charlie Crist's desk to cut the interest rate on pensions in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan from 6.5 percent to 3 percent for those who enroll after July 1. That will probably touch off a rush to join DROP, among those who can."

    Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, has urged Crist to veto the reduction but that doesn't seem likely. Poltically, Crist's newly independent U.S. Senate race doesn't benefit by him being nice to state workers; conversely, he has a lot to lose by protecting a high interest rate for retirees who are piling up pension payments and still working.

    To be brutally frank, most of the Floridians Crist will be asking to vote for him don't have jobs that let them stockpile pensions for five years while still earning their pay checks. Some of them don't even have jobs. Having alienated the Republican regulars by leaving the party (they were mad at him anyway), Crist needs to do something to look conservative.
    "Florida Retirement System is far from broke, or broken".


    "South Florida Tracks See Growth in Gaming Compact". Related: "Seminole Gaming Deal Could Face Legal Challenge".

    "Sound vaguely obscene"

    "'Naked credit default swap' may sound vaguely obscene, but it's actually a complex financial instrument that helped make Palm Beach real estate investor Jeff Greene a billionaire."

    His Democratic U.S. Senate opponents, Kendrick Meek and Maurice Ferre, say Greene and his credit default swaps were part of the cause of the 2007 economic crash.

    CDS's are controversial, and Congress is considering banning the kind Greene used. But experts say that doesn't make him responsible for the crash.
    "Greene made billions through controversial financial move".

    Crist's "curious foundation"

    "When Gov. Charlie Crist declared he would run for Senate with no party affiliation, he was joined by a rowdy platoon of Democrats, independents, a few Republicans and a handful of activists pushing everything from renewable energy to the legalization of medical marijuana."

    It was a curious foundation for a guy who owed his political life to the GOP.

    Now that Crist has abandoned the party, he is hastily recalibrating his political GPS.

    He has relocated his headquarters to St. Petersburg, adopted a conspicuously populist tone and cast himself as a public servant fed up with partisan sniping.

    If he is to become Florida's first independent to win a statewide election, he must walk the tightrope of a three-way race without a party safety net. Standing in the way are former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a favorite among conservatives, and the likely Democratic nominee, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.
    "To win, Crist must widen his coalition of supporters".

    Convention dreams

    "Florida Republicans hope the choice of Tampa for their party's 2012 national convention is a political coup that will help swing Florida to the GOP side in the 2012 presidential race and boost the party's fortunes this year as well. The convention, some believe, also could be a career-boosting showcase for the party's rising young star, Marco Rubio, if he wins this year's Senate race." "GOP hopes holding convention in Tampa translates into votes".

    Tom Jackson: "Thus do we return to the story in which the former Florida governor was a centerpiece, but his memory appears to have confused. In a Reagan Day Dinner speech last week that 640 rapt listeners otherwise regarded as flawless, Bush praised Pasco as a harbinger of state and national election outcomes, using the interminably contested 2000 showdown between brother George W. Bush and Al Gore as evidence."

    Challenged by dates?

    As Jeb recalled it, the entire Bush family was watching election returns from the Texas governor's mansion when he learned Pasco had fallen into W's column. That's all he needed to know to predict the rest of "Florida, Florida, Florida" (as Tim Russert, the late host of "Meet the Press," presciently called it) would flow his brother's way.

    Ultimately, Florida did slip into the Bush column, although with historic narrowness and, notably, without a majority in Pasco.
    "RNC invests in happy dream born in Pasco".

    Late arrivals

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "House Speaker Larry Cretul gets credit for making his three appointments, in March. But appointments from Senate President Jeff Atwater and Gov. Charlie Crist? Crane your neck and check your watch all you want. They've not arrived. What's keeping them?". "Run to catch the trains"

    Tea Baggers can't find the words "DADT" in the Constitution

    "More than two-thirds of Florida voters say gays should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, a poll showed." "Poll: Most Floridians say let gays serve in the military".

    "Support dropping like a rock"

    Jane Healy: "With his support, well, dropping like a rock, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist had almost no choice but to run as an independent in his race for the U.S. Senate. Running without a party is an uphill battle. But here are two things that might make it work: Go for broke. ... Revel in his independence. Now that he's an independent and freed of the shackles of party-line positions, he should make the best of it." "Jane Healy: Crist's paths to victory: I-4 and independence".

    "Political juice, economic reality"

    "The $1.4 million in raises for law-enforcement agents in the state's Fish and Wildlife division may smack of a political payoff to a friendly labor union, but other unions say there are bigger forces at work." "Union Rules: What About the Rest of Us?"

    Tally update

    "If Gov. Charlie Crist wants to be nice to the Legislature – though really, there’s no indication he does – he may this week officially call the special session he’s already said he’ll likely pursue. Crist has said he wants lawmakers to return at the end of May, most probably the week of May 24, for the special session on banning oil drilling and alternative energy policy." "In Tallahassee This Week".

    "Last time they had power ..."

    Tom Blackburn: "Gov. Crist may be half-gone, but there is no sign of brilliant replacements coming in to take charge of government."

    Last time they had power, Republicans gave us a Great Recession, two wars, securities regulators who didn't regulate, mine inspectors who didn't inspect, drilling supervisors who didn't supervise, prisoners they couldn't figure out what to do with and an empty bank account - the faults of cheap government without the cheapness. Those are the good old days to the young hotspurs for whom the party has sacrificed proven vote-getters.

    Dictatorships regularly hold purges. In a democracy, however if a party discards three kings in the name of ideology, you have to wonder what game the party thinks it's playing.
    "More Republican than thou: And if they lose, it's time to lock and load.".

    PolitiFact gives Billy a little love

    "Democrats misquote McCollum on subprime mortgage crisis".

    Good luck with that

    "Donna Milo, a transgender conservative Republican running in the GOP primary for Congress, will speak Monday night to a gay Republican club in Fort Lauderdale." "Transgender candidate a label-free conservative". See also "Transgender conservative Republican takes on Broward-based U.S. Rep. Wasserman Schultz".

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