As the Republican Party of Florida implodes, the insiders are careful to give Marco Rubio a pass.
"State Republicans moved the three-way U.S. Senate race to a new level Saturday, with party leaders pointing to an audit of their books they say implies Gov. Charlie Crist — now an independent candidate for U.S. Senate — ran up potentially 'hundreds of thousands' of dollars in inappropriate charges."
The announcement is rife with political implications, given that Crist and Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio are running neck and neck in many polls, with Democrat Kendrick Meek a distant third."GOP: Audit links Crist to state party's financial scandal".
In response, "Crist campaign spokesman Danny Kanner: 'Given Marco Rubio is the candidate in this race who's under federal investigation for failing to report income to the IRS, it's probably best that the party bosses stop playing the same old political games and take a hard look at their own nominee before attacking the one truly independent candidate for U.S. Senate.'" "Crist campaign responds to Thrasher, smacks Rubio". See also "State GOP called ‘disingenous,’ accused of ‘political grandstanding’ over audit".
And then there's Mr. Thrasher, wearing out his broom trying to sweep it all under the rug: "In a move denounced as 'the same old political game,' the Republican Party of Florida accused Gov. Charlie Crist and two former party bosses of misspending hundreds of thousands of dollars but declined to offer proof Saturday by releasing a long-awaited audit of the party's finances."
The party's executive board decided to "request additional information regarding inappropriate expenses'' as it considers suing Crist, former party chairman Jim Greer and former executive director Delmar Johnson. Greer already faces fraud and money laundering charges related to party spending. A decision to sue may take up to 10 days."After emerging from Saturday's three-hour, closed-door meeting at Disney's Boardwalk hotel, the current chairman, John Thrasher, cited party-paid trips that Crist, Greer and Johnson took to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Greer raised no money for the party on those trips, but has said he was meeting with donors."
Greer's attorney, Damon Chase, noted that Thrasher and other party leaders had previously approved of party spending under Greer as part of the severance deal to get him out of office."Fla. Republican Party weighs suing Crist, ousted leaders Greer, Johnson". See also "State GOP mulls legal action to recover 'inappropriate expenses' by Crist, Greer, former aide", "RPOF to dig deeper into spending", "GOP Mulls Suing Charlie Crist, Ex-Leaders, Over Spending", "State GOP accuses Gov. Charlie Crist of misspending but doesn't release audit" and "State GOP considers lawsuit against Crist, ex-party officials".
"I'd like to ask John Thrasher, 'Were you lying then, or are you lying now?' '' Chase demanded.
By refusing to open the books and by raising red flags so close to the Nov. 2 election, the party left its motives open to attack.
Rivera getting desperate
"The specter of Cuban government infiltration into South Florida has surfaced in the race for a Congressional seat representing Miami and Collier County."
Garcia responded with one of the best quips in recent memory, suggesting
that Rivera assumed people would be too ignorant to translate Spanish into English."Florida race for Congress: David Rivera labels Joe Garcia an agent of Fidel Castro".
33% solution to "hypocrite of the grandest order"
Scott Maxwell: "Right now, Democrats are wringing their hands over which of their two children they should help in the U.S. Senate race: Kendrick Meek or Charlie Crist."
It's like "Sophie's Choice ... except that Crist can feign earnestness better than Meryl Streep.Maxwell continues:
Here's what Democrats seem to be missing: They don't have to choose.
All they have to do is make sure Republican Marco Rubio doesn't get more than 33 percent of the vote. One of the other two would win automatically.
That way, they get either Meek, a loyal Democrat, or Crist, the independent who's likely to side with the Democrats, since his loyalty rests with whomever is in power.
Getting Rubio below 33 shouldn't be too difficult. His poll numbers, after all, have basically hovered in the 30s. And that's without any hard-hitting attacks coming his way.Much more here: "Democrats' best campaign tool is Marco Rubio's record".
Democrats don't even have to be mean to bring Rubio's numbers down.
They simply have to be factual — which would be damning enough.
Rubio, after all, is a hypocrite of the grandest order — a preacher of the live-within-your-means gospel who has lived high on other people's money for much of his own political career.
Embarrassing sycophant strikes again
Myriam Marquez is at it again, attacking public employees (the day after 9-11 no less), and no doubt making her boss man real happy*: "A job with Dade County pays amid this recession".
Whenever this alleged journalist hits the keyboard, one should recall her having penned perhaps the most embarrassing sycophancy in Florida newspaper history, about failed governor Jebbie Bush, writing that "his vision is universal and timeless. ... His vision is as clear and electrifying as that day's cobalt-blue sky".
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*Marquez knows how things work at the Miami Herald.
The delightful workings of the Miami Herald editorial process are all too familiar: these are the same courageous editorial page writers whom originally "voted 9 to 2 to endorse Walter Mondale. But one of the two was the publisher, Richard Capen Jr., who insisted on Ronald Reagan."
Capen then promptly "overruled [the] editorial board decision to endorse Walter F. Mondale", and the paper endorsed Reagan.
On the heels of that, Capen ironically received an appointment as Ambassador to Spain."
"Let the bears live"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Let the bears live, and let higher-order thinkers behave more responsibility." "Loaded for black bear".
"The Dueling Columnists take on Amendment 4.".
"Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research in Florida, said preliminary numbers show Amendment 4 with support around the 60 percent mark, which is what's needed for passage."
Mason-Dixon will conduct formal polling on amendments later this month. But Coker believes the recession may cause support to erode."Amendment addresses developments, but is Florida ready?"
"I don't know if it'll get to 60. In this economy, it might not be the best time," he said. "If they had this on the ballot in '08, it would have passed."
The state's economic situation has changed in the seven years the amendment has been in the making.
Stephen Goldstein: "Floridians need to show the rest of the country that we're grown-ups and that we have our heads screwed on tight. Right now, the silent, rational majority needs to campaign against the Glenn Beck-tea party-Republican unholy alliance. It would be tragic if they gained control of the House of Representatives, let alone the U.S. Senate."
"No tea party: Time for everyone to reject extremists".
"The usual insider politics was in bloom"
Randy Schultz: "It was the spring of 2007 in Tallahassee, and the usual insider politics was in bloom." "No separation of powers on abuse of state budget".
Teabaggers are hoping ...
"Anti-Bush tide lifted Klein in '06; will anti-Obama wave help West?". Related: ""Path to reelection steeper for U.S. Rep. Ron Klein".
FP&L wants it all, and they want it now
"A bitter dispute between Florida Power & Light Co. and Florida Public Service Commission member Nathan A. Skop is now headed to a state appeals court." "Utility turns to court to resolve bitter dispute with PSC member".
"The worst bill of the session"
Howard Troxler: "What our Legislature does in the first year of our two-year cycle is too easily forgotten by the next election."
So this is a perfect time to revisit one of the Legislature's "greatest hits" from 2009 — an innocent bill that mutated into a monstrosity."How the Legislature voted on a 'foul thing'".
A lobbyist for Audubon of Florida called it "a foul thing," the worst bill of the session. That was saying a lot, since the same session also included the repeal of a key part of our state's growth laws.
Senate Bill 2080 started out mildly enough, dealing with water conservation. One of its forerunners was intended to promote "Florida-friendly landscaping."
But on the next-to-last day of the 2009 session, the bill was amended, without even the knowledge of its sponsor.
The new version ordered Florida's five water districts to turn over the granting of all permits for water use and for environmental destruction to their staffs — outside the normal process of public involvement and state rules.
"The last stand of Republican legislators"
Mike Thomas: "There will be wailing in the principal's office, classrooms torn asunder, lawyers running amok and budgetary chaos. That's the plan, anyway. This is the last stand of Republican legislators seeking to weaken the class-size amendment." "GOP practices chaos theory on class size".
Thank you for smoking
"One casino boasts that it is endorsed by the American Lung Association. Its main competitor has so much smoke that patrons sometimes wear surgical masks. Guess which one is making the most money?" "Unhealthy habit brings casinos healthy business".
More Amendment 4
"Proponents and opponents alike say Amendment 4 offers a straightforward question to voters in November." "Amendment 4: Should voters have a say in development?".
Funny how that works
"Dade budget cuts spare county commission perks".
"Since those wigged dudes ..."
Aaron Deslatte writes that "what neither candidate is willing to admit is that interest groups have always been a part of American democracy. Like-minded individuals, from corporate chieftains and union workers to doctors, lawyers and teachers, have banded together to bring their grievances to government since those wigged dudes included the "right to petition" in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." That and more political news from Deslatte here: "Funding Florida governor's race is an 'inside' deal".
The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin
Sally Bethea, founding director of Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a 4,800-member environmental advocacy organization, writes that "For two decades, Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been battling over future water allocation in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin which straddles their borders. The dispute also involves a number of federal agencies, courts, and mediators. Its outcome is one of the most important issues facing the Southeast." "States can work together to solve water conflict".