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 Friday, November 05, 2010

The GOP's racist "Southern strategy" is "all but complete"

    AP reports that the "white Southern Democrat - endangered since the 1960s civil rights era - is sliding nearer to extinction."
    The Republicans' effort to win over the South, rooted decades ago in a strategy to capitalize on white voters' resentment of desegregation, is all but complete.

    "Right now in most of Dixie it is culturally unacceptable to be a Democrat. It's a damn shame, but that's the way it is," said Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, a campaign strategist for conservative Democrats such as Jim Webb of Virginia, one of the few remaining Southern Democratic senators.
    "When the new Congress convenes in January,"
    there will be at most 16 white Southern Democratic House members out of 105 seats in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Two races in Virginia and Kentucky were still too close to call, so the total could be as low as 14.

    The setback continues a four-decade decline for Democrats in the South, where they once dominated. The slide began after the civil rights movement, when Republicans under President Richard Nixon began employing a Southern strategy to retake the region by appealing to white anger over desegregation. The GOP later highlighted liberal Democratic positions on social and welfare issues.
    "Election nearly wipes out white Southern Democrats".

    5 seconds

    "With Governor-elect Rick Scott and a strong Republican majority in the Florida legislature, a push for an Arizona-style immigration enforcement law in Florida seems certain." "With Republican dominance, how long till push for Arizona immigration law here?".

    And so it begins

    The RPOFers are rushing to Tallahasse to hold a special session - not to begin to create Rick Scott's promised 700,000 jobs in seven years mind you - but rather to deal with excrement, literally. It somehow seems appropriate that the RPOF would seize upon the right to defecate into Florida's groundwater as one of its first actions, as it works to postpone the effective date of a law that will require

    increased septic tank inspections to protect groundwater.
    The RPOF will apparently deal later with "Crist's vetoes of the controversial teacher tenure bill (Senate Bill 6), the bill requiring that all women seeking an abortion submit to an ultrasound and the bill enabling political parties to create political funds controlled by legislative leadership." "GOP plans to override 9 vetoes".

    The rush to Tallahassee for a special session - and all the expense a special session entails (there has been no talk of the RPOFers paying for the special session out of their own pockets) - is to take care of what the RPOFers consider to be emergencies. The RPOFer emergencies include overriding the following Crist vetoes:
    # SB 1842, Transportation Projects: The bill required notice when the Department of Transportation intends to install medians. Crist's veto message warned, "These important public safety projects should not be subject to unnecessary delays."

    # SB 5611, Department of Management Services: Moves oversight from the governor's office to the entire Cabinet and makes 17 managers subject to Senate confirmation. Crist's veto message said, "I am concerned that this bill reflects an increasing encroachment of the legislative branch on the operations of the executive branch."

    # HB 545, Residential Property Sales: Repealed required disclosure of hurricane-readiness. Crist's veto message said, "There's no compelling reason to repeal this consumer friendly law."

    # HB 569, Landfills: Allowed yard waste to be dumped with residential garbage. Crist veto message said, "Florida is a leader in recycling. I am concerned that this will be a step backward in our efforts."

    # HB 981, Agriculture: Makes it easier to maintain ag-land classifications after sales. Crist's veto message said, "Rather than benefitting farmers as the greenbelt provision is intended, this bill could subsidize private real estate speculation at the expense of taxpayers."

    # HB 1385, Petroleum Site Cleanup: Streamlines cleanup of contaminated gas stations. Crist's veto message said it lowers standards, "without providing the funding to address whether this would put the public at greater risk."

    # HB 1516, State Owned Lands: Calls for the Department of Environmental Protection to create a comprehensive list of state-owned lands. Crist's veto message said it would, "blur the natural resource protection mission of the agency and provide increased responsibility outside of that mission."

    # HB 5603, Department of Financial Services: Streamlines the state's risk-management system to save worker-compensation costs. Crist said it was a good bill, but a last-minute amendment on repackaged pharmaceuticals was not fully vetted.

    # HB 1565, Rulemaking: Gave the Legislature greater say over agency rules. Crist's veto message said, "every rule would have to await an act of the Legislature to become effective. This could increase costs to businesses, create more red tape and potentially harm Florida's economy."

    # Shands Hospital: Restores $9.7 million for the University of Florida facility. The action will draw down $21 million in federal dollars.
    "Special session set for proposed veto overrides". The stim-hating hypocrites also want to "allow the state to use $31 million in federal stimulus funds". "Senate and House leaders have eyes on stimulus funds, overriding Crist's vetoes". See also "Mike Haridopolos, Dean Cannon to Override Charlie Crist Vetoes in Special Session ", "Legislature may consider energy rebate funding during special session", "Legislature may consider energy rebate funding during special session", "GOP's new veto-proof Fla. legislature plans session to override Crist vetos", "Key environmental issues to be reconsidered during special session", "Lawmakers to override a dozen vetoes this month" and, get this, "Among GOP plans for legislature’s special session? Increased spending".

    And then there's the trial lawyers: "Incoming Speaker Cannon said medical malpractice was included in the Medicaid statement of intent because it was a priority for the Senate." "Med mal, Medicaid included in November special session".

    Scott already beginning to flip flop

    "Mica: Private sector must kick in money for high-speed rail". Good luck with that. Florida's "private sector" is tapped out purchasing Mr. Scott and the Legislature, and it will no doubt insist upon taxpayers picking up the load. Related: "Election results could derail train projects".

    Meanwhile, Scott is already beginning to flip flop on his rail stance during the election - the Teabaggers are sure to be outraged.

    So much for the "outsider" crap

    "Insiders Jennings, LeMieux on Scott's gubernatorial transition team". See also "Rick Scott Transition Team Full of Familiar Names" and "'Outsider' Rick Scott taps trusted advisers, government insiders to aid transition". Scott is already planning his reelection campaign, and for that he needs the usual insiders.

    "A return 'to the Dark Ages'"

    The New York Times: ""

    Behind Mr. Scott’s campaign slogans ("Let’s get to work" with "seven steps to 700,000 jobs in seven years") are proposals to privatize more prisons, give vouchers to parents for schools and to Medicaid recipients for health insurance, and to reduce what businesses have to pay for injured workers.

    To “lighten the burden of government on every Florida family,” as he said Wednesday, Mr. Scott has also pledged to shrink the state payroll by thousands of jobs, and to usher in hefty tax cuts — even though that would mean less revenue to help fill the projected $2.5 billion deficit that Florida faces next year.

    Democrats are predicting a return "to the Dark Ages." Republicans are thrilled. "It’s a real opportunity for us," said Mike Haridopolos, the State Senate president.

    Not since the 1860s, Mr. Haridopolos said, has the state had such a conservative concentration of power, and as a result, he said a lot of legislation would be likely to pass. Specifically, he said the state would probably revisit a Senate bill vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist that would have established merit-based pay for teachers.

    Former Gov. Jeb Bush agreed that Mr. Scott "will have willing partners in the Legislature to do bigger things."
    "In Florida, a CEO Prepared for Cuts".

    GOP already bending over for oil companies

    "Congress watchers say the power shift in Washington will chill attempts to open Cuba to American tourists, increase pressure to allow more drilling for oil in offshore waters and discourage immigration reform – all major concerns in Florida." According to George Gonzalez, a political scientist at the University of Miami:

    "Already you can see signs of pressure to give the oil industry a free hand in the Gulf," he said.
    "Florida Republicans in U.S. House will gain new clout".

    Florida insists on its right to pollute the 'Glades

    "In letters to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency and during a news conference, South Florida Water Management District executives ran down a broad list of objections to a federal call to nearly double the vast expanse of marshes used to absorb the troubling nutrient phosphorous." "Water managers blast federal Everglades cleanup plan".

    Grayson ain't done

    "Alan Grayson, the highest profile Florida Democrat in Congress to lose Tuesday, blamed his loss on poor Democratic turnout and implied he'd likely seek a return to public office." "Grayson: I'll (probably) be back, and Republicans still stink".

    RPOFers to run wild in Tally

    "In the Legislature, only 51 Democrats remain — 12 in the 40-member Senate and 39 in the 120-member House. That's not enough to defeat legislation, block attempts to waive the rules or reject proposed constitutional amendments." "Democrats lose clout in Tallahassee".

    "With 81 votes, incoming speaker should have no problem getting his program through". "Dean Cannon and GOP Will Have a Full House".

    Fun with 527s

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Another election season is over, and so should be voters' patience with negative, misleading and caustic attack ads."

    If it feels like the 2010 campaigns were uglier than most, it's because this election has been nastier than most of the previous ones. Certainly, each prior election cycle has had that one disgraceful campaign. This year, though, there were so many spiteful local, regional and statewide races that toxic campaigns seemed more the rule than the exception.

    And, once again, so-called 527 fund-raising groups were a key contributor to the polluted electoral atmosphere. These groups, as has been pointed out many times before, skew the political panorama because they are largely anonymous, and pretty much free of limits on monetary contributions.
    "527 groups again contribute to dirty political campaigns".

    Raw sewage as far as the eye can see

    "In the wake of a historic election cycle, Floridians are left wondering what will change in coming weeks, months and years for a state besieged by high unemployment and other, perhaps less publicized problems facing the state, like degrading wetlands and heavily polluted waters. What can we expect in the way of environmental policy from an all-GOP cabinet and legislature?" "What do the midterm elections mean for Florida’s environment?".

    Guvship 4 sale

    The Sun Sentinel editors point out that the "$73 million that Gov.-elect Rick Scott splurged on his campaign worked to get him elected as Florida's 45th governor." And

    more than 2.5 million Floridians who voted against him.
    "Scott must forge relationships to be an effective governor".

    "Cuban Barack Obama"

    The New York Times: "For many Tea Party conservatives, Hispanics, and young Americans frustrated with the national debt that baby boomers have saddled on their future, Marco Rubio’s victory in the Florida Senate race gave them an extra reason to celebrate." "In Rubio, Some See Rise of the 'Great Right Hope'".

    Conservative groups dwarfed spending by liberal groups

    Scott Maxwell points out that "conservative groups such as Karl Rove's American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dwarfed spending by liberal groups such as the National Education Association by a 5-1 margin. And since most of those business-backed candidates won, expect lots of those outsider nasty-grams next time as well."

    The Trib calls this "breaking news"

    "Publix making major push toward premium cheeses".

    Florida's future

    "A bad precedent on removal of judges".

    New rules needed

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "It remains to be seen whether state Sen.-elect Jim Norman will be charged criminally for his wife's acceptance of $500,000 from a political powerbroker who benefited from Norman's votes as a Hillsborough County commissioner. But regardless of the outcome of a federal investigation into the gift by the late Ralph Hughes to Norman's family, state lawmakers need to mandate that such acts render a candidate ineligible for election." "Deceptive candidates shouldn't be on ballot".

    About Charlie

    "How the once-popular governor miscalculated his way to defeat in U.S. Senate race" "The Rise and Fall of Charlie Crist". See also "What next for Charlie Crist?".

    DMS speaks

    "In a formal response to a highly critical audit of the project released last month by Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, officials at the Department of Management Services say they complied with state laws, used money provided by the Legislature and supervised construction of a building design selected by the court's judges." "State overseer defends role on 'Taj Mahal' courthouse". See also "DMS' Linda South responds point-by-point to audit".

    Perhaps we should put them in charge

    "Tax breaks, noise bans: Teens pitch ideas for bills".

    And this is our new Governor?

    "Governor-elect Rick Scott promises 'better days are coming'".

    Another RPOFer wants an exception

    "Rep. C.W. Bill Young said Thursday he will seek a waiver from term limits on leadership posts in order to retake control of the appropriations subcommittee on defense." "Rep. C.W. Bill Young wants waiver to retake chair of defense appropriations subcommittee".

    Cannon and Haridopolos take it in the shorts

    Scott Maxwell: Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos "put their reputations on the line to fight the fair-districting amendments … and got beaten like a bass drum. You know why? Because their defense of gerrymandering was transparent and lame. And 62 percent of voters knew it." "What's fair about districts? Voters paid attention".

    Teabaggers thrilled with RPOF success

    "Members of the loosely organized and hard-to-define tea party movement were generally jubilant with Tuesday's election with conservatives backed by the anti-spending, small government crowd having success around the country, including wins by favorite Florida candidates at the top of the ticket, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott." "Florida Tea Party remains hopeful after elections".

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