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, September 01, 2010

Chiles drops bid, boosting Sink campaign

    "In a sign of relief for Democrats,"
    Lawton "Bud'' Chiles III is expected to abandon his independent bid for governor.His departure would make it a two-way race between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott -- a contest in which Chiles, a former Democrat, was expected to play spoiler.
    "With `spoiler' out of race, it's a one-on-one matchup". See also"" and "Reports: Bud Chiles dropping independent bid for Florida governor".

    No wonder Jebbie likes Scott

    The irrelevant "Jeb!" Bush has discovered he loves Rick Scott.

    "Republican gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott is prepared to be Florida's next governor and has the background for the job, former Gov. Jeb Bush told some 200 GOP loyalists Tuesday. Bush, who was Florida's governor from 1999-2007, formally joined ranks with the Republican nominee at a Republican Party unity rally in Jacksonville after supporting Attorney General Bill McCollum in last week's primary."

    Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, head of the Republican Governors Association, joined Scott and about 200 mostly elderly supporters at a Miami-area community center.

    Scott's campaign called the appearances a "unity tour," a week after a terse exchange between Scott and the governors' group over a primary ad attacking McCollum.

    Senate President Jeff Atwater and incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon emphasized Republican teamwork was needed to send Scott to the governor's mansion in November instead of members of what they called "Obama's team."
    "Republican leaders mend fences in Fla. with Scott". See also "Jeb Bush: Scott prepared to be governor".

    But Jebbie's new found love for the fraudster really isn't much of a surprise. After all, in Jebbie's first publicized business activity since leaving office, "Jeb!" hooked up with ... you guessed it ... a company that had just paid $900 million to settle allegations of Medicare fraud.

    As reported at the time,
    former Gov. Jeb Bush is joining the board of Tenet Healthcare, the national hospital that has been working to clean up its image and performance since dealing with widespread allegations of fraud. ...

    The hospital chain has been struggling to emerge from a series of legal and financial problems. Earlier, it paid $10 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Medicare fraud allegations. Last year, it reached an agreement with the federal government to pay $900 million to settle allegations of Medicare fraud.
    "Jeb Bush joins Tenet board of directors".

    According to Forbes, Bush remains on the Tenet Healthcare Corporation board; his most recent reported total compensation from Tenet was $241,046.00.

    Florida in the front lines

    "Needing to pick up 39 seats to take control from the Democrats, Republicans are dreaming of picking up more U.S. House seats -- and Florida is in the front line of their effort to take the gavel from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as they focus on four possibilities to pick up seats." "Florida Becoming Front Line in Battle for Congress".

    Special session needed

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Is the time for a special legislative session that in July Speaker Larry Cretul and Senate President Jeff Atwater said would be more appropriate in September? No." "Our Opinion: Special session on oil issues deserves full attention".

    "A blow to Republican legislative leaders"

    "The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld lower-court decisions to remove three legislatively drafted constitutional amendments dealing with property tax breaks, redistricting and the federal health-care reform from the Nov. 2 ballot."

    Leon County judges had removed Amendments 3, 7 and 9 from the ballot this summer because they deemed their summaries for voters to be too confusing — and a majority of the justices on Florida’s high court agreed, delivering a blow to Republican legislative leaders who had pushed the measures.

    Earlier this month, House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon took the unusual step of appearing before the court to defend Amendment 7, which would have given lawmakers broader power to draw political districts regardless of other standards currently in the Constitution. Critics said it would have also weakened Amendments 5 and 6, which are also on the ballot and seek to limit lawmakers’ power to gerrymander districts.
    "Ruling keeps redistricting, tax, health amendments off ballot". See also "Supreme Court Strikes Amendments From Ballot", "Florida Supreme Court strikes 3 GOP-backed amendments from ballot", "Amendments 3, 7, 9 stricken from November ballot" and "Florida Supreme Court keeps three amendments from ballot".

    "Political hacks" take it in the shorts

    Scott Maxwell: "In wrestling terms, Florida politicians have suffered a pile-driver, full-nelson and double-knee gut-buster. All within the last few weeks. And all delivered by judges who say political hacks don't have the right to thwart the people's will, or trample on the state constitution, just because they want to." "Legal smackdowns should send politicians a strong message".

    Sink's school plan

    "Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink's education plan proposes sending education decisions back to locals and strengthening state standards." "Sink unveils plan for school changes".

    Crist "a campaign chameleon"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Charlie Crist seems to have become a campaign chameleon, shifting shape and changing colors depending on where he is and to whom he's talking." "Charlie, who are you now?".

    Rubio "supporters eager for more"

    Tom Jackson "Two months remain in the dash to Election Day. Two months to work the stump speech and tilt the fence-sitters. Perhaps the best thing about the Taste of Marco Tour: He left his supporters eager for more." "Rubio blitz leaves backers hungry for more".

    RPOFers urge Scott to pretend ...

    ... that he never said those things. "The '800-pound gorilla' at Tuesday's closed-door meeting between the newly crowned Republican nominee for governor and Hispanic state legislators wasn't their strong support for his former rival, according to one participant."

    It was Rick Scott's hardline stance on illegal immigration.

    Scott has championed Arizona's new crackdown that requires police to question suspected illegal immigrants and says he wants to bring a similar law to Florida. Some Hispanic Republicans say they hope the issue will take a back seat to the economy between now and the Nov. 2 general election.
    "Hispanics urge Scott: Reduce immigration issue emphasis".

    Early-Retiree insurance

    "Sixty-nine Florida businesses and government entities have been accepted into a new federal program designed to help employers and unions maintain health coverage for early retirees not yet eligible for Medicare." "Early-Retiree Insurance: a Broken Bridge?".

    "Reminiscent of Fiasco 2000"

    "It's not deja vu all over again. There are no 'butterfly' ballots, no presidency at stake, no Supreme Court arguments and no candidates by the name of Bush or Gore."

    But Sarasota County's latest recount battle is reminiscent of Fiasco 2000 in one key respect: It again proves that human error can lead to some very controversial election results.

    The error this time is a certain lack of foresight on the part of two people, Kathy Bolam and Kathy Dent, in connection with last week's primary vote.

    Bolam, a county Charter Review Board candidate, conceded a very close race too soon. Worse, she did it by e-mail -- which is considered legally binding by the Florida Division of Elections. When she tried to undo her decision and get a recount, it was too late, state law suggests.

    Bolam (down by 136 votes, according to the election supervisor's Web site) should accept the result and learn from what amounts to a beginner's mistake. She apparently plans to formally contest the decision, however.
    "Return to controversy".

    Teachers = their union

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board can't get it through their heads that the teachers union is not comprised of a bunch of Bolsheviks, but rather the teachers themselves: "Don't give on merit pay reforms".

    Sore loserman

    "State Rep. Kevin Ambler, who lost a bitter Republican primary election to Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman for the state Senate District 12 seat, has named his opponent in a lawsuit filed Tuesday."

    Ambler, who has represented state House District 47 for eight years, did not immediately concede defeat to Norman after the election. An Ambler spokesman said the state representative planned to take some time to consider his options.

    The lawsuit marks Ambler's first public response since the primaries. Neither Ambler nor his Tallahassee attorney, Mark Herron, could be reached for comment.

    Norman issued a statement late Tuesday critical of Ambler's action. He urged his opponent to end his campaign.
    "Norman named in suit filed by defeated GOP rival Ambler".

    More RPOFer legislation bites the dust

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Local governments -- and the taxpayers who pay for them -- got a fair shake when a judge struck down a controversial 2009 growth-management bill that put an undue financial burden on cities and counties." "Good riddance to sprawl-promoting law".

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