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 Sunday, July 04, 2010

The RPOF's "Star-spangled cesspool"

    Scott Maxwell: "Today, as we celebrate the birth of our nation, let's look at the current state of our political system — as seen in the investigative reports involving Jim Greer and the Florida Republican Party."
    They reveal a star-spangled cesspool.

    Details about why the former GOP chairman was charged with fraud, grand theft and money-laundering reveal everything from lie-filled press conferences to details about the inner workings and involvement of one of Central Florida's most powerful law firms.
    Maxwell finds that it particularly interesting that
    GrayRobinson — the law firm that Greer asked to set up his secret corporation — willingly provided investigators with private information about the firm's dealings with him.

    Whatever happened to attorney-client privilege?

    Well, GrayRobinson said it takes client confidentiality very seriously, but that Greer's partner in the deal, Republican Party of Florida director Delmar Johnson, waived that privilege.

    But it seemed interesting that one guy could waive privilege for another.

    I spoke to several legal experts who found it interesting too. ...

    I just have trouble envisioning GrayRobinson being so willing to spill the beans about work it might have done for someone like Jeb Bush or Bill Nelson … regardless of who else said it was OK.

    What we see is a firm that seemed willing to help Greer set up a secretive corporation when he was a power player — and just as willing to help rat him out after his fall from grace.
    But here's the bottom line:
    Here's the thing: Greer wasn't a public official. He ran a private, political organization.

    There are, however, plenty of public officials — including house speakers past and present — revealed to have run up massive bills for questionable expenses on the party credit cards as well.

    And much of that was underwritten by special interests who wanted laws crafted in their favor.
    Much more here: "Arrest unravels Greer's legal maneuvering".

    One of Jebbie's many passes

    "Crist was downplaying the potential political fallout from his connections to the indicted ex-party chairman Jim Greer when he made this analogy to the Greer mess: 'Jeb's feet weren't really held to the fire when that guy at Corrections got popped.' Crist was referring, of course, to Jim Crosby, the former prison boss who's still serving time for taking kickbacks from contractors. For those who have been under a rock for the past 18 months, Jeb Bush is a strong supporter of Crist's Senate rival, Rubio." "Slapping Jeb".

    Choice politics

    "The story of a severely premature girl has made its way into Florida's race for governor, where businessman Rick Scott and his principal rival, Attorney General Bill McCollum, have made accusations about each other on abortion positions." "Preemie birth case ignites GOP race for governor".

    "Corrupting influence of big money in Florida"

    "Nothing better illustrates the corrupting influence of big money in Florida politics than the charade two Republican candidates for governor are playing to collect piles of cash from special interests."

    Attorney General Bill McCollum and health care executive Rick Scott are coordinating with third-party groups, avoiding the fundraising limits and disclosure rules their own campaigns must follow. The outrage is not that they are violating any laws but that their cynical manipulation of the system is legal. The average voter will need a crystal ball to ascertain before the Aug. 24 primary exactly who is trying to influence their vote — and who these men would be beholden to if they moved into the Governor's Mansion. ...

    McCollum's campaign is coordinating directly with at least two third-party groups. And those groups have already received more than $1 million from other third-party groups controlled by the incoming Republican legislative leaders, Sen. Mike Haridopolos of Melbourne and Rep. Dean Cannon of Winter Park.
    "Scott, McCollum in big money race". See also "Charlie Crist's Cash Crunch Sparks New 527".

    McCollum racks up the wingnut vote

    "Attorney General Bill McCollum has won the support of a social conservative who once blasted him as pandering to the gay community."

    John Stemberger, who heads the Florida Family Policy Council, endorsed McCollum's candidacy for governor this week.

    "The millions of value voters in Florida who are concerned about the future of issues related to life, marriage and family should thank Bill and (his wife) Ingrid McCollum with their support for governor," said Stemberger, who ran the successful campaign to define marriage in the state Constitution as being between one man and one woman.
    "Last week, Stemberger chose McCollum over Rick Scott, the former head of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain who has never held public office. Both candidates oppose abortion and are vying hard for social conservatives' support."
    Stemberger's endorsement follows that of Dennis Baxley, founder and former director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, who criticized Scott for presiding over a hospital chain that performed elective abortion
    "McCollum wins support of social conservative".


    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida needs more than a temporary congressional deal to protect its coast from another BP drilling disaster. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, has filed a bill to make permanent a moratorium approved by Congress in 2006 that bans drilling in federal waters within 235 miles of Tampa Bay and 125 miles of the Panhandle. That ban expires in 2022. The buffer is essential to protect the state's economy, and it includes airspace that is vital for military training. Congress should make it permanent." "Florida needs a permanent drilling ban".

    "Workers from all over the state are going west to look for jobs related to the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill." "In search of oil-cleanup jobs, Floridians go west".

    See also "Gusher of oil brings geyser of litigation", "Heavy-hitting Tampa trial lawyer Steve Yerrid building legal team to take on BP", "EPA chief: I wouldn't swim off Panhandle", "Hopes ride on giant oil skimmer in Gulf of Mexico" and "In Pensacola Beach, business plunges amid oil crisis".

    "Details, schmetails!"

    "Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott is ... unburdened of any detailed policy proposals or deep knowledge of Florida government."

    - His take on last year's sweeping overhaul of Florida's growth management laws? "I'm not familiar with that," said Scott, a former health care executive.

    - How about the state's proposed $536 million deal to buy 73,000 acres from U.S. Sugar Corp. to restore the Everglades? "I don't know all the details, but here's my impression: It's great.

    - Any concerns with Florida's Bright Futures scholarship program? "Right now it's fine, but we have to look at how can we continue to afford it and if we can't how can we spend those dollars better."
    "Details, schmetails! He just wants top job".

    Enuf' with McCollum's hackery

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Critics of health care reform such as Attorney General Bill McCollum need to quit claiming that it will overburden state finances by opening Medicaid to a flood of new poor and low-income recipients."

    A recent study confirms the federal government will absorb nearly all of the cost of expanded Medicaid while giving Florida the benefit of sharply reducing the number of uninsured low-income adults and bringing an influx of billions of dollars in new federal spending.

    Leading a multistate effort, McCollum has filed a lawsuit to upend the new health care reform law. Part of his argument is that the law "infringes on Florida's constitutional status as a sovereign,'' by requiring the state to expand Medicaid eligibility to people and families with incomes less than 133 percent of poverty. The suit says that Medicaid could require the state to cover 1.7 million new Floridians at a cost to the state of up to $1.6 billion in 2019.

    But a report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured offers a very different perspective, one that shows what a boon health reform is to states like Florida. The study predicts that by 2019 Florida Medicaid will cover 951,000 previously ineligible people, including nearly 700,000 who would not have had insurance otherwise. That translates into a reduction by more than 44 percent of the number of low-income adults in Florida without health coverage. Yet the cost of this will be almost entirely borne by the federal government. Florida is estimated to pay only 1.9 percent, or $1.2 billion over six years.
    "Medicaid reforms a boon to state". See also "Medicaid Expansion in Health Reform: National and State Estimates of Coverage and Costs" and "Financing New Medicaid Coverage Under Health Reform: The Role of the Federal Government and States".

    Welcome to RPOF-World

    Randy Schultz: "A few days ago, the [Palm Beach Post] Editorial Board met with Allen West."

    The retired Army lieutenant colonel challenged U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, for the U.S. House 22 seat in 2008 and will do so again in November if he wins the Republican primary. Last year, Col. West gave a stemwinding speech in which he urged people to "fix bayonets" and "take back the country." It was a YouTube sensation, and brought in lots of donations. Col. West referred to the "tyranny" of the Obama administration. So we wanted to know what he considers examples of "tyranny."

    As it turns out, "tyranny" to Col. West means President Obama's criticism of the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address. It means extracting $20 billion from BP upfront to compensate victims of the company's negligence. It means the stimulus package, the financial bailout and the health care bill.

    Tyranny? Elected representatives cast those votes. Most of those representatives will go before the voters and have to defend their records. Those who believe that parts of the health care law are unconstitutional will get to make their case in court. That's democracy, not tyranny. In a democracy, sometimes your side loses.
    "It's democracy, not tyranny".

    Pensions are bad things

    It is only fair that nobody has a decent pension because, you know ... most nonunion employees are forced to live with cheesy 401(k) plans. So, it is only fair that we all join the race to the bottom.

    That isreasoning of one John R. Smith, chairman of the South Florida business group BizPac [sic], who Sun Sentinel writer Josh Hafenbrack chose to quote in his piece attacking defined benefit pension plans:

    The state's benefit package contrasts with the private sector, where many companies have cut 401(k) contributions. John R. Smith, chairman of the South Florida business group BizPac, said public pension benefits should more closely resemble those offered in the corporate world.

    "There's a basic fairness [sic] in this union pension problem," said Smith. "If those of us who are paying their pensions and salaries are suffering, public employees should suffer too."
    "Florida taxpayers foot bill to shore up state pension".

    Not surprisingly, this John Smith person is just another boring right winger, who describes himself as "chairman of Palm Beach County's BIZPAC and owner of a financial services company. A native Floridian, Smith has become a fixture in the county's business, political, and civic community." The delightful BIZPAC is a "private company categorized under Political Organizations and located in Palm Beach, FL. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of 110,000 and employs a staff of approximately 2."

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