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.


Older posts [back to 2002]

Previous Articles by Derek Newton: Ten Things Fox on Line 1 Stem Cells are Intelligent Design Katrina Spin No Can't Win Perhaps the Most Important Race Senate Outlook The Nelson Thing Deep, Dark Secret Smart Boy Bringing Guns to a Knife Fight Playing to our Strength  

The Blog for Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Knuckle-dragging in the margins

    "Conflict is brewing between Rick Scott's agenda and the Republican-controlled Legislature, a predictable outcome of one-party control." "Conflict brewing over Scott's agenda in Legislature".

    Will Ricky pee pee in his teacup?

    What's a wingnut to do? "Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called on the state's governor-elect Monday to accept $2.05 billion in federal funds that have been authorized for the Tampa-Lakeland-Orlando high-speed rail project, which Nelson said has fallen 'under a cloud of uncertainty.'"

    Speaking to an audience of more than 1,800 representatives from small businesses to international firms at the opening day of a two-day high-speed rail forum, Nelson said the project represents a crucial opportunity to put Floridians back to work.

    "Let's ask the governor-elect (Rick Scott) not to return the $2 billion in federal funds the state so desperately needs.

    Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor said the project would be "an economic shot in the arm for Tampa."

    "Then we have to figure out how to connect to Pinellas County and the beaches," Castor said.

    Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin last week indicated they wanted to return federal high-speed rail money the Obama administration designated to their states.
    "Nelson to Scott: Don't reject federal funds for high-speed rail".

    To which Ricky will say, "Never Mind"?

    "2,000 seek high-speed train jobs".

    "Charlie Crist minus the personality."

    Mike Thomas: "If Scott can't slash Medicaid, then he can't slash the budget and he can't slash taxes. And all the editorial boards get to call him a huckster and a fraud – a Charlie Crist minus the personality." "Medicaid is a big black hole that will suck in Rick Scott".

    'Taj Mahal' blues

    Howard Troxler: "Nobody, not even the chief judge in the $48  million 'Taj Mahal' courthouse scandal in Tallahassee, lost an election because of it."

    The judges of the 1st District Court of Appeal can congratulate each other now over their 20 miles of African mahogany and granite countertops.

    Unless . . .
    "While it's meeting next week, Florida Legislature should shut down the 'Taj Mahal'".

    Where's the bag man when you need him?

    "Jim Norman won his state Senate seat last week, but his fight is far from over.The beleaguered Hillsborough County Republican still faces the outcome of a federal investigation and an ethics complaint filed by a Hillsborough Community College professor over the home his wife bought with money from his political benefactor." "Professor files ethics complaint of Norman".

    West deigns to come down from the house ...

    "With his convincing victory over Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, Allen West will be the first black Republican congressman in Florida since Reconstruction and one of only two black Republicans in the House, joining just-elected GOPer Tim Scott of South Carolina."

    West plans to join the Congressional Black Caucus, which hasn't had a GOP member since three-term Connecticut Rep. Gary Franks was defeated in 1996. Former Oklahoma Republican Rep. J.C. Watts rejected joining the caucus, calling its members "race-hustling poverty pimps."

    Conservative West, who seldom discussed race in his campaign, is critical of the "failure of the liberal welfare policies in the black community" and says the caucus could use some ideological diversity.
    "Congressional Black Caucus could use some ideological diversity, West says". See also "Black Caucus Awaits Allen West's 'Request'".


    Antonio Fins: "The Republican leadership, from Senator-elect Marco Rubio to soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner, sounded a correct note in victory speeches that were short on triumphant braggado. Instead, they sounded more humble notes in recognizing their own party's past mistakes." "Life lesson: Party that learns from flubs will rule".

    The best they can do?

    "Fresh off an across-the-board electoral drubbing last week, Democratic activists are jockeying to elect their first new state party chief in five years."

    Among the names in the mix: Hillsborough state committeeman Alan Clendenin; Pasco Democratic chairwoman Alison Morano; Miami-Dade chairman Richard Lydecker, whose candidacy is being touted by Sen. Bill Nelson's aides; Palm Beach Democratic chairman Mark Siegel; state House minority leader Franklin Sands of Weston; and vice chairman Rhett Bullard of Hamilton County.

    With the support of Nelson — Florida's senior Democrat — Lydecker becomes the ostensible front-runner.
    "Democrats jockey to take reins of state party".

    And the RPOFers wanna drill, baby drill!

    "Where's the Gulf oil? In the food web, study says".

    "More venting than introspection"

    "Telling voters they've lost their minds probably isn't an effective comeback strategy for Democrats. But there was more venting than introspection when Palm Beach County Democratic leaders and activists gathered Thursday night to ponder the future of the party after Tuesday's Republican midterm election tsunami." "Florida Democrats blame lack of unified message in election-day beat-down".

    There's an idea

    "Shellacking doesn't quite cover it. Florida Democrats, like their counterparts in many parts of the country, got their butts kicked. You may have lost your party's senatorial nomination this summer to U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, but now the stage is set for you to win a far bigger prize."

    Set up a think-tank and bring together the greatest minds to develop new ways to, say, lure new industries and technology to Florida.

    Everybody's talking jobs, jobs, jobs. It's a winning issue, and one that was central to your campaign. Push the issue hard, add a little hobnobbing with the notables, a few high-profile symposiums and white papers and some very public "support" of those politicians who wholeheartedly back your cause.

    This is a grooming opportunity, and the Florida Democratic Party should be the first in line to take advantage of it. They've got "issues" and clearly need to find a winning message to attract good candidates to run for public office. If anyone doubts that, check the scorecard of recent gubernatorial elections. Dems 0, GOP 4.

    Imagine a Jeff Greene Institute of Innovation churning out Democrats who can actually string nouns and verbs together into a compelling and convincing message that will actually win elections. It's not like Florida Republicans have a lock on bright ideas that will fix problems.
    "Florida Democrats need a kingpin".

    Run Jebbie! Run!

    "George Bush Weighs In On Tea Parties, Says Jeb Should Run In 2012".

    "Crist at war with ultra-conservative Legislature"

    "With only eight weeks left in office, Crist finds himself at war with his former party, an ultra-conservative Legislature poised to override 10 of his vetoes and the possibility that his successor will cancel scores of his appointments." "Crist now isolated lame duck".

    FlaDem leadership team

    "With incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, announcing Friday that he will name Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey, as speaker pro tempore and Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, as House majority leader, incoming House Minority Leader Ron Saunders of Key West responded Monday by naming key members of his leadership team." "Ron Saunders Names Dem House Leadership Team".

    "Corruption County"

    "Of the 67 counties in Florida, one stands out with an unflattering moniker: Palm Beach 'Corruption' County." "Palm Beach County's Ethical Dilemma".

    Non, je ne regrette rien

    "Crist: No regrets on quitting GOP".

    GOPers in action

    Hundreds of elderly or disabled refugees in Florida have lost their benefits recently.

    "Congress has passed extensions of refugee benefits, most recently in 2008 under President Bush. But lawmakers adjourned late last month so they could campaign and didn't pass an extension." The problem, you see, is that

    "one senator on the Republican side put an anonymous hold on it."

    That hold caused another 850 people in Florida and more than 3,500 nationwide to lose their benefits Oct. 1, according to the Social Security Administration.
    "Thousands of Florida elderly, disabled lose benefits in legal and political snarl".

    RPOFer laff riot

    "Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein, who's held the post for eight years, is seeking to run for the state chairman’s job in January if reelected next month." "GOP chairman Dinerstein eyes state post in January".

    'Ya know ... less regulation of hospital chains

    "Governor-elect Rick Scott's agenda: smaller, limited government".

    "Laughing and spinning in his grave"

    Daniel Ruth thinks "P.T. Barnum must be laughing and spinning in his grave that he was born too late to own a laptop computer." "Political delusions just a click away".

    Will the teabaggers call for Carroll's impeachment?

    "The company from which Lt. Gov.-elect Jennifer Carroll said she subleased office space for seven years is being investigated by Jacksonville City Hall. Carroll used the firm’s address to prove her consulting firm had a Duval County address and was eligible for a city contract program." "Jacksonville City Hall probes company that Lt. Gov.-elect Carroll subleased from".

    Media in a dither

    "Over 3,300 Miami-Dade County employees took home more than $100,000 in pay last year".


    "Bush: Cheney angry Bush did not pardon Libby".

    Wishful thinking

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Like nearly half of Florida's voters, we have misgivings about Gov.-elect Rick Scott, who has never held elected office and has a disturbing business record. He wasn't our choice for the job, but he prevailed in the election and now we hope he can lead Florida to better times."

    If Scott shows he is more concerned with building a better Florida for future generations – rather than quickly appeasing noisy special interests – he will leave office far more popular than he is entering it.
    "When Gov. Scott gets to work".

    And then there's Amendments 5 and 6

    "Besides seats, GOP wins sway in 2010 redistricting".

    "Florida Republicans enjoyed a near total sweep on Election Day ... But their celebration is muted with the passage of Amendments 5 and 6, two redistricting measures backed by liberal-leaning interest groups that could hamper Republican hopes of solidifying their gains in the years ahead." "Redistricting a setback for GOP".

    "It's not a business"

    Bill Cotterell: "Scott and a compliant, even-more-conservative Florida Legislature will probably not be able to realize the Republican dream of running government like a business. It's not a business." "State workers will be sharing the pain".

    "Strange days"

    "Strange days may have found Gov. Charlie Crist." "Crist contemplating posthumously pardoning Jim Morrison".

    Rubio laffs at teabaggers

    "Rubio's party loyalty is clear: GOP not tea". Related: "Rubio's rock star status carries rewards, risks".

    Wingnuts on the prowl for Floridians that read books and stuff

    "Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga won the highest score in a Bar Association poll, but got the lowest retention vote of any high court judge in state history last Tuesday. That disconnect reveals a growing gap between the public and legal elites who nominate state judges. Labarga and fellow Justice James Perry were targeted for removal by a conservative coalition [of Tea party groups and an organization called Citizen2Citizen] angry over the court's decision to kick Amendment 9 off the fall ballot. The measure would have given voters the opportunity to exempt Florida from the Obama health care law." "How Justices Labarga, Perry Survived Retention Fight".

    Florida, "America's next great backwater"

    Steve Otto: "Remember mass transit in Hillsborough County? Remember the high-speed rail that would connect with our local mass transit system and eventually to a statewide network of high speed trains?"

    It didn't take but a couple of days for all those lofty news conferences and slick releases of recent months to come crashing down to reality. It ain't gonna happen.

    How much it ain't gonna happen is still a question, but it isn't going to look like it did in those fancy brochures. The catalyst for the collapse was the Hillsborough County voters' rejection of a 1-percent tax that would have expanded bus service, established a light rail system and fixed a few roads. Now John Mica, a Winter Park Republican going back to Washington for the 10th time, is slated to run the House Transportation Committee. He was one of the advocates for the Central Florida SunRail plan that would have been a boon for the Orlando area.

    He is suggesting we don't need a high-speed rail connection to a backwater like Tampa, which voted down a transportation plan. Instead he says something like a shorter version of the train – it could run among the Central Florida theme parks, around Orlando, and maybe out to their airport -- would be swell.

    In the brave new world in which we find ourselves after last week's elections, Mica might be able to pull it off. Whether he does or not, the idea of a comprehensive transportation system around here appears kaput until maybe they attach a new baseball stadium to the next effort
    Otto continues:
    Speaking of backwaters, there was a story out of Flagler County, where a school committee at Palm Coast High School decided to cancel a student production of Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird.''The reason: Parents and others in the community complained about offensive language -- the N-word -- although the book is on most ninth grade reading lists, including Palm Coast's.
    "America's next great backwater".

    Talk about a weak bench

    "Florida Republicans walked away from last Tuesday's election in control of every major statewide office save one — the U.S. Senate seat of Democrat Bill Nelson. And if the GOP gets its way, that final stronghold will fall when Nelson runs for re-election in 2012."

    Several Republicans have hinted that they might challenge the two-term senator, including incoming state Senate President Mike Haridopolos of Merritt Island and U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, whose temporary appointment ends in January when senator-elect Marco Rubio is sworn in. ...

    Beyond LeMieux and Haridopolos, other potential GOP candidates include U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan of Sarasota, Connie Mack of Fort Myers and Tom Rooney of Tequesta.

    Buchanan, a car dealer worth an estimated $55 million, can fund his own campaign, and Mack recently dropped a big hint when a fundraising letter to supporters asked for help in stopping "the ultra-liberal and counter-productive philosophy Sen. Bill Nelson has zealously followed," according to a report in The (Fort Myers) News-Press.
    "GOP taking aim at Bill Nelson, the last Democrat standing". See also "Republicans Line Up to Take Down Bill Nelson".

    Thank you, Mr. Obama

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "The long, negative campaign season and high unemployment rate give the impression that today's business environment is toxic to job growth."

    Yet much evidence suggests business is already looking up.

    USA Today's economic outlook for individual states and cities, based on research by Moody's Economy.com and updated Oct. 28, is sensational.

    Florida is projected to have the nation's highest rate of job creation a year from now, with a 3 percent increase.
    "Business forecast brightens".

    "Classy Kendrick Meek"

    Nancy Smith: "Classy Kendrick Meek, Hero; Karen 'It's Not My Fault' Thurman, Zero".


    "Efforts to enact E-Verify, a program that would stop the hiring of immigrants not authorized to work in Florida, will likely return in Florida’s 2011 legislative session." "Next CFO Atwater commits to support immigration verification program E-Verify".

    Citizens to boot 200,000

    Gary Fineout: "Florida’s largest property insurer will have to shed nearly 200,000 policies along the coast in the next two years unless state lawmakers step in during next session. The board that oversees Citizens Property Insurance Corp. on Monday signed off on a plan that calls for Citizens by 2012 to cancel 195,000 policies, many of them in places such as Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Sarasota and Volusia counties." "Citizens could be forced to drop nearly 200,000 policies across the state".


    "Schools likely to get less from Florida Lottery in coming year".

    RPOFers in a jam

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "With Amendment 8's demise, legislators can no longer postpone tweaking the more inflexible class-size rules in the 2011 session to give schools space." "Revise class-size policy".

    Time to change the AC filter

    "GOP Wins Spell Doom For Climate Change Policy".

    "One man's vision"

    "Pam Bondi's journey from a prosecutor's office in Tampa to being elected Florida's next attorney general was a mix of perfect political timing and hard work. Her rise began with one man's vision." "Hard work, perfect timing drove Attorney General-elect Bondi".

    And the NRA would say ...

    "Boy charged in mother's fatal shooting is freed".

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