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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 Saturday, August 28, 2010

Scott, the rural teabagger candidate

    Will Scott, the rural-teabagger candidate, have the courage to accept Sink's "challenge to 5 debates?"; that, and Crist's "dizzying reversal ... and re-reversal", together with our digest of, and commentary on the remainder of today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

    Scott, the rural teabagger candidate

    Jeremy Wallace: "Republican Rick Scott needs an urban renewal project if he hopes to get elected governor of Florida, judging by this week's primary election results."

    A Herald-Tribune analysis of Tuesday's vote across the state's 67 counties shows that Scott, the former hospital company CEO, captured a large section of Florida, including the Panhandle and Central and Southwest Florida. In those areas, which have a higher percentage of Tea Party followers and more conservative voters, Scott showed that he could inspire the electorate. The counties in which he won big had turnouts 10 percent higher than the state average.

    A cornerstone of Scott's campaign is reducing the size of government, and he is proposing cuts far larger than most mainstream Republicans have advocated. He wants to cut state spending to 2004 levels, to slash property taxes and to eliminate the state's corporate income tax.

    While such cuts are in line with what many Tea Party groups are advocating, it is uncertain how Scott's message plays with independents and moderates. Tuesday's results showed he struggled in areas with more moderate voters.
    "Analysis: Scott Needs Urban Areas For Gubernatorial Victory".

    Crist's "political amnesia"

    "In an Orlando television interview, Gov. Charlie Crist told an interviewer he would have voted for the health care reform plan proposed by the Obama administration—a dizzying reversal of his previous position—but then retracted the comment, saying he misspoke."

    That reverses Crist's position, stated on his web site, plus other past comments including his support of Attorney General Bill McCollum's lawsuit against the health care legislation.

    Crist's opponents, Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek, both pounced on Crist's reversal and re-reversal -- Meek saying Crist has "political amnesia" and Rubio saying, "This is getting ridiculous ... [Crist] doesn't actually care about health care, he only cares about getting himself elected."

    Even Crist supporters would have to acknowledge he's shown flexibility in his views since he began becoming alienated from the Republican Party, but this reversal is in a different category.
    "Crist says he'd have voted for health care, then retracts—'I misspoke'". See also "Opponents Rubio, Meek jump on Crist's flip-flop" and "Crist flip-flops on health care law again".

    Joint appearance

    "In their first joint appearance on the campaign trail Friday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink challenged Republican Rick Scott to five statewide televised debates and chastised him for a running an overwhelmingly negative primary." "Finalists for Senate, governor jostle, dodge and schmooze at Realtors' forum". See also "Sink challenges Scott to five televised debates".

    "Plenty of contrasts"

    "If you're looking for a statewide race with substantive differences between the two candidates, your search is over. In the race for attorney general, Pam Bondi and Dan Gelber provide plenty of contrasts."

    They disagree on Obamacare, education, guns and vouchers, and they seem to differ on how to utilize the assets of the office: the bully pulpit, the subpoena, the hundreds of lawyers skilled at chasing down the scammers and ripoff artists that are as much a part of the fabric of Florida as sunshine and orange juice.

    Bondi, 44, the Republican, won 38 percent of the vote in a three-way race. She took only 26 counties, but ran strongest in Tampa Bay, Orlando and Jacksonville.

    Gelber, 50, a Democrat, raised $1.7 million to overcome doubts about his fundraising ability. He took 59 percent of the vote against Dave Aronberg, winning 56 of 67 counties and exceeding his statewide average with 65 percent in Hillsborough and 63 percent in Pinellas.

    The bay area is vital in this fight. Advantage Bondi at this point, because of her familiarity to Tampa-area TV viewers.
    "Florida attorney general contest offers voters a vivid ideological choice". Related: "Aronberg endorses Gelber for state attorney general, promises to rise again".

    Saint "Jeb!" flops

    Beth Reinhard gives us her "winners" and "losers"; some of her choices follow:

    Winner: Marco Rubio. With only token primary challengers, the Republican Senate candidate scored more than 1 million votes -- roughly 150,000 more than the Democratic candidates combined. The lopsided turnout reminded me of a recent call from a Democratic consultant professing amazement over the thousands of people who turned out for conservative talk show host Sean Hannity's Freedom Concert'' in Orlando. Rubio could ride this so-called enthusiasm gap all the way to Capitol Hill.

    (Sore) loser: Bill McCollum. The unsuccessful Republican contender for governor won't endorse nominee Rick Scott or quit talking about his former company's Medicare fraud scandal. Guess you can't blame McCollum for feeling bitter about the end of his political career and his third statewide loss, but Democrat Alex Sink will exploit the Republican rift every day he spends sulking. ...

    Loser: South Florida. Turnout was about 17 percent in Miami-Dade, under 15 percent in Broward and just over 16 percent in Palm Beach, among the worst showings in the state. Pathetic. ...

    Winner and loser: Jeb Bush [who] filmed a television commercial for McCollum, campaigned around the state with him and raised money for the campaign.

    Loser: Charlie Crist.
    Much more here:"Time to assess primary's real winners, losers".

    "Florida lost"

    Howard Troxler: "In case you missed it, the battle for the soul and future of Florida was waged during the 2009 session of our state Legislature."

    Florida lost.

    After 25 years of at least pretending that this state is "managing" its growth, the Legislature instead voted to repeal a key part of our growth law.
    How'd that happen?
    The Audubon Society asked Gov. Charlie Crist to veto SB 360.

    The 1000 Friends of Florida asked him to veto it.

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Association asked him to veto it.

    The Florida chapter of the American Planning Association asked him to veto it.

    Crist signed it.

    At the time Crist was still a Republican, trying to curry favor with business and the Republican establishment. He signed the bill in private, and announced his action after hours, even while he was holding big showy "signing ceremonies" for lots of other bills around the state.

    It was the low point of his governorship, and he will go down in the history books as the governor who rolled back Florida's growth management.

    And yet Crist didn't do it by himself. SB 360 passed 78-37 in the House and 30-7 in the Senate.
    "How they voted (first in a series)". Related: "SB 360 growth management bill declared unconstitutional".

    "Winners, losers and lessons"

    Scott Maxwell "takes a look back at the winners, losers and lessons learned from this week's elections."

    • Watch out for whiplash. Get ready to watch some big-time back-tracking among members of the GOP establishment who are suddenly desperate to kiss Rick Scott's ring after weeks of trashing him. Take RPOF chairman John Thrasher, for example. Last week, Thrasher accused Scott of orchestrating "a multifaceted campaign of misinformation in an effort to mislead Florida voters …" On Wednesday, Thrasher touted Scott's "commitment to conservative values and his plan for creating jobs, reducing government spending and empowering the private sector." We can take you at your word, Mr. Thrasher … just let us know which of your words to take.
    Maxwell continues, with something only his editors (who are foaming at the mouth to endorse Webster) could love:
    • Uplifting message. Dan Webster had a great campaign slogan that distinguished him from so many of the constant carpers whining about the downfall of America. Said Webster: "America is not broken. Washington is." Such a line hints at hope and optimism — which is something I think people crave.
    More here: "The good, bad and ugly from the primaries".

    "...with the one what brung ya"

    Nancy Smith urges Rick Scott to "remember to dance with the one what brung ya". "Voters' Iron Will, Not Rick Scott's Money, Won the Day".

    "Financial and legal burdens numbering in the hundreds"

    "As dozens of attorneys gather in Miami Beach this week to brainstorm and share ideas, this fact remains: For thousands of gay couples in Florida and across the country, not being able to marry carries financial and legal burdens numbering in the hundreds." "Same-sex couples in Florida face myriad legal, financial hurdles".

    "GOP voters were 'exceedingly conservative'"

    PPP out polled Mason-Dixon and Quinnipiac by recognizing that Florida's GOP primary voters were one step away from Attila the Hun (with apologies to Attila who at least had the courage to fulfill his military obligations).

    Aaron Deslatte explains: "PPP was more accurate than conventional pollsters. PPP director Tim Jensen said his best guess was he got better results because his shop used a looser screen for the voters it sampled, calling general election GOP voters instead of past primary voters."

    "If the folks who voted [Tuesday] had been exactly the same as the folks who voted in the 2006 primary, I imagine McCollum would have won," Jensen said. "That's because he was the Republican establishment choice and the kinds of folks who vote in every primary likely went to him. But there were hundreds of thousands more people voting ... than in 2006 and my sense is the newbies went strongly for Scott."

    Jensen also said his poll detected that the more-likely GOP voters were "exceedingly conservative" compared to those who voted in the 2008 presidential primary.
    "'Robo-poll' turns out to be the only right poll".

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