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.


Older posts [back to 2002]

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The Blog for Sunday, October 17, 2010

West says racist, anti-semitic and homophobic gang ties OK

    The West campaign appears to be imploding: TPM "reported earlier this weekend, Allen West, a national tea party favorite and the Republican nominee for Congress in Florida's 22nd Congressional District, has been a fan and defender of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, a national group targeted by the FBI for involvement in racketeering ... 'In an interview with Hotline On Call West said flatly that the issue is a nonstarter because the club does 'not accept blacks, Jews or gays' in their membership. (West is black.)'" "FL Tea Party Fav On Criminal Biker Gang Ties: They Don't Even Let African-Americans Join Anyway".

    Background: "Florida Tea Party Favorite Spoke To, Defended Criminal Biker Gang (VIDEO)".

    Carroll opens mouth, inserts foot

    Scott Maxwell: "Several weeks ago, a Florida legislator warned citizens of the dangers they might face if it elected Republican Rick Scott as governor."

    "We do not need that seat to be a seat where you're learning," she said, "to be a seat where it's for personal gain, to be a seat where the residents and the citizens of the state of the Florida will be negatively impacted because of the lack of vision."

    That person accusing Scott of lacking vision and seeking gain wasn't some flaming liberal. She was a Republican state representative.

    And not just any Republican, but Jennifer Carroll — the woman currently serving as Scott's running mate; his pick for lieutenant governor.
    "The Republicans have spoken: Rick Scott is unfit to be governor".

    Right wing editors jump on Sink bandwagon

    Even the Republicans on comprising the Tampa Tribune editorial board are endorsing "Alex Sink for governor":

    In Republican Rick Scott, Florida voters are being asked to entrust their state to an individual who made his fortune supervising an organization that systematically fleeced taxpayers. He has sought to elude tough questions, and when faced with them, has revealed a disturbing disregard for Florida's history and its needs. Despite his dubious background, his largely self-financed campaign is flinging mud freely.
    "Floridians should have no trouble recognizing the superior candidate: Democrat Alex Sink, the former Tampa banker who has performed honorably as the state's chief financial officer."

    More surprising still, the exceedingly conservative Orlando Sentinel editors take a break from endorsing every RPOFer in sight to contend that "like so much else Mr. Scott has said during his improbable run for governor, [he's] dead wrong. Wrong on the facts. And absolutely wrong for Florida." "Alex Sink for governor".

    "This thing is crazy unpredictable"

    "Before the rise of the Tea Party, before a multimillionaire health-care executive came out of nowhere to claim the Republican nomination for governor, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink could easily claim title to the most compelling political story."

    Sink goes into the final three weeks of the campaign with a 44-40 lead in the latest Mason-Dixon poll with 13 percent undecided, down from her 47-40 lead in September and within the 4-point margin of error. Scott is still close to Sink, despite the fact that he has 45 percent unfavorable name recognition, a contradiction that suggests the mood of the voters is hard to measure.

    "This thing is crazy unpredictable," Coker said.

    Democratic strategist Steve Schale, who is working with the Sink campaign, notes that Sink has a bigger lead among Democrats than Scott does among Republican voters.

    "In addition, she wins NPA," Schale said, referring to independents. "If things hold to form, she will be hard to beat. Those fundamentals have not changed much from the last (race) to this one."
    "Independent vote, party support make Sink hard to beat".

    What was Bondi's grade in con law?

    "Republican Pam Bondi and Democrat Dan Gelber clashed on a wide variety of issues Saturday in a spirited debate between the leading candidates for Florida attorney general."

    On health care, Bondi supports Florida joining 19 other states in a legal challenge to President Barack Obama's health care plan, but Gelber opposes the lawsuit. "I think the way to do that is through the Legislature, not the courts," Gelber said.

    Bondi said the Obama plan is an unconstitutional overreaching of federal power. "The bottom line is, this is just unconstitutional," she said. "This has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with states' rights."

    Gelber said he supports a Miami court decision allowing gay couples to adopt children. Bondi refused to state her opinion on the issue, either on TV or in a question-and-answer session afterward.

    Bondi faulted Gelber for vowing if elected to immediately sue the Legislature under a 1998 constitutional amendment that requires Florida's public education system to be adequately funded.

    Gelber tried without success to force Bondi to say if she thinks Florida schools are funded adequately. "They're not funded adequately, and I have three kids in public school, and you need to answer that question," Gelber told Bondi. "I know you don't want to."
    "Gelber presses Bondi to answer questions in only TV debate".

    Has Obama's 2008 coalition crumbled?

    "President Barack Obama's winning coalition from 2008 has crumbled and his core backers are dispirited. It's now Republicans who stand to benefit from an electorate that's again craving change."

    Among the survey's key findings:

    -73 percent of Obama voters now approve of how he's doing his job, 13 percent don't approve and 13 percent have mixed feelings. Nearly half have a very favorable impression of the president, down from two years ago, when two-thirds felt that way.

    -40 percent say they're frustrated by his presidency, 20 percent say they're excited, and 26 percent say they are proud - a marked turnaround from Election Day 2008. Still, 59 percent say they remain hopeful - a reason for optimism as Obama gets ready for his likely re-election campaign.

    -30 percent of Obama voters say he is living up to his promises to change Washington, while 19 percent say he's breaking those promises. Half think it's too soon to tell.

    -76 percent of Obama voters say they will support the Democrat in their House district, while 8 percent plan to back the Republican and the rest are undecided.

    -71 percent of McCain voters say they will vote for the Republican in their House district, while 9 percent plan to get behind Democrats and 20 percent haven't chosen a candidate.
    "Poll: Many Obama 2008 supporters defecting to GOP".

    Cannon can always plead the fifth

    "On Monday, lawyers for former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer will depose incoming state House Speaker Dean Cannon."

    It should be interesting. In the past, they've indicated they'll grill Cannon, R- Winter Park, about a secret severance deal he and other party bigwigs signed that would have paid Greer $123,000 to step aside and keep quiet.
    "Jim Greer's attorneys to depose Dean Cannon on Monday".

    'Ya reckon?

    "Politifact says: Truth gets lost in most ads from political groups".

    Blog fight

    Last week, one prominent diarist at DailyKos explains "Why [he'd] Rather Lose to Rubio Than Win with Crist". By contrast, Kos argues that "FL-Sen: It really is about the governor's race".

    Elections half over

    "The early balloting that begins across Florida on Monday is not just a popular convenience for the voters, it's a tactical challenge for political strategists." "Early voting: Elections are half over when polls open Nov. 2". See also "Early Voting Starts Monday".

    If this wasn't so sad ...

    ... it would be a regular laff riot: "Giuliani comes to Florida to support Rubio campaign" and "Rudolph Giuliani campaigns with U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio in Delray Beach".

    An independent kinda guy

    "Will Charlie Crist's independence win voters in the U.S. Senate race?".

    Not ready for prime time

    "Adams wants balanced budget, end to earmarks".

    SD 16

    "Democrat Bill Montford has all the advantages, politically and financially, but he's taking nothing for granted in the Big Bend state senate race." "Montford 'cautiously optimistic' in Senate District 6 race".

    "Both sides of the ledger"

    Bill Cotterell: "If Rick Scott ran a balance sheet on his political assets and liabilities, his business success would probably count on both sides of the ledger." "Anti-incumbency public mood gives Scott voter appeal".

    "Voting has changed dramatically"

    "Voting has changed dramatically for millions of Floridians in the past decade. At least a third of the people in Broward and Palm Beach counties vote when and where they please — days or weeks before Election Day." "Widespread early voting and voting by mail shake up elections".

    "Jeb!" flip flops on Scott

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Rick Scott is 'ruthless.' Rick Scott was 'making millions while ignoring people.' Rick Scott's companies 'systematically defrauded taxpayers.' Rick Scott is 'not trustworthy.'"

    These are not our characterizations of the Republican candidate for governor, whose hospital company was fined $1.7 billion for cheating the public. These are characterizations of Mr. Scott by Republicans. They were featured in ads approved by Florida's leading Republicans, who opposed Mr. Scott in the GOP primary.

    Now that Mr. Scott has defeated Attorney General Bill McCollum, however, those Republicans want voters to forget all that. Before the primary, former Gov. Jeb Bush said, "I don't know Rick Scott." Now, apparently, he knows him well enough to say that Mr. Scott wanted to fight the government's charges in 1997, but the board of Columbia/HCA caved. Before the primary, Mr. Bush wanted a "principled, centered leader out there," and it wasn't Rick Scott. Now, apparently, Mr. Scott will do for Mr. Bush and the state's Republican Establishment.
    "Sink, for ideas, integrity".

    "Scheming political hacks"

    Randy Schultz: "Tallahassee is full of scheming political hacks. But when one of them is a judge - a very important judge - even the cynics take note." "In search of a courthouse, a judge lost his way".

    Another knife in Meek's back

    "The one-time 'Chain Gang Charlie' has pushed to bring back prison work gangs, has cheered tea party queen Sarah Palin and has recently come out in favor of civil unions for gay couples. 'I really believe that he is really himself these days,' said former state House Speaker Peter Wallace." "Will Charlie Crist's independence win voters in the U.S. Senate race?".

    Editors accidentally endorse workers' collective action

    The Saint Petersburg Times editors thinks that at least some collective action is OK (although they an't quite bring themselves to describe it as anything more than a mere "coalition"): "The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has finally gotten a major Florida tomato grower to agree to pay farm laborers a penny-per-pound premium. The landmark agreement is a testament to the perseverance of the coalition. " "A breakthrough for tomato pickers".


    "Before Rick Scott was ousted from the company he founded, before FBI agents fanned across the country to scour its offices, before a $1.7 billion settlement was reached with the government, he stood stoic in a Nashville hotel listening to investors' relentless complaints."

    The federal probe of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. was already well known on that day in May 1997 - long before Scott entertained the thought of running for governor of Florida - and its stockholders wanted to know why the hospital chain was targeted, why the stock price had plunged, why truckloads of documents had been hauled away.

    Scott scolded them, telling them to sit down. Protesters shouted "shame on you." A van full of guards waited to whisk the CEO away safely.

    Two months later, the company's board met late into the night and sent Scott packing. His successor said it was time for a new management style and promised he'd ensure the law was followed. Scott got a $300 million severance package and vanished from the national scene for a decade.

    Now in the thick of a gubernatorial election in which the economy is king, Scott's business acumen has drawn voters to his side in droves. But the Republican's experience poses questions about how he did business, what he knew about massive fraud that occurred under his leadership and why he insists his dealings are private when he touts them as his main qualification for public office.
    "Businessman's record central in Fla. gubernatorial".

    Blah, blah, blah

    "Rick Scott's mantra: I'll make job creation my mission".

    "Ideology, sloganeering and snap judgment"

    Howard Troxler: "Eighth and last in a series of columns on key votes taken by the Florida Legislature since the last election."

    Without a doubt, the biggest issue of the Legislature's 2010 session was Senate Bill 6, which abolished tenure for public schoolteachers in Florida and linked teacher evaluations to student scores on standardized tests.

    I would like to point out that this dramatic, sweeping, even radical reform of the entire Florida educational system came only after careful deliberation …

    In-depth study …

    And mature discussion, with important input from all parties.

    I would like to be able to say all that.

    Instead, SB 6 was rammed through the Legislature on the fly just a few weeks after it first saw the light of day, with no changes or meaningful interaction allowed.

    It was, in short, a triumph of ideology, sloganeering and snap judgment.
    Just read it: "How the Legislature voted on the teacher tenure bill".

    Beware wingnut "ballot security" in Florida

    "Tea Party groups, the Republican National Lawyers Association, conservative organizations and websites like Pajamas Media have at least one major advantage over the Republican National Committee when it comes to anti-voter fraud programs. Unlike the RNC, such groups aren't subject to a consent decree that requires the RNC to inform both the Democratic National Committee and a federal judge when they are operating 'ballot security' programs." "Outside Groups Have A Leg Up On RNC In 'Ballot Security' Efforts". Background: "Wingnut voter suppression schemes" ("According to the Republican National Lawyers Association ... they have held events in ... Florida.")

    Will our Attorney General take steps to block these voter suppression schemes?


    "Scott first began mentioning public housing shortly before the August primary, a strategy political observers say is designed to let the little guy identify with the very wealthy Scott, who puts his personal fortune at more than $200 million." "Rick Scott lived in public housing 3 years, records show".

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