Perfect Republican storm in Florida
"The tea party was rising, President Barack Obama's poll numbers were falling, and in Florida, the GOP establishment was struggling with a mounting scandal. 2010 was shaping into a year like no other for a conservative outsider, and Rick Scott briefly flirted with the idea of running for U.S. Senate." "Scott strategist: Governor-elect took advantage of a 'perfect storm'".
"Marco Rubio's campaign to win a U.S. Senate seat was a risky and remarkable political journey." "Marco Rubio: How he beat the odds".
"Bush tells Florida crowd what he misses about presidency".
Teabaggers sounded as if they were leading an armed insurgency
Fred Grimm: "A quarter million Broward County students became so much collateral damage in the struggle between this far right, gun-loving militaristic duo [Joyce Kaufman and Allen West] and the various 'malevolent forces' they imagine are out to destroy them both."
Kaufman hosts an afternoon AM radio talk show on WFTL out of Pompano Beach where she demonstrates the kind of messianic self regard common among talk jocks on the wild side of right. (Lefties can't seem to garner enough audience to warrant super-ego radio.)"Be aware of the crazy-talking radio jock".
WFTL introduces her as "The most heavily armed talk show host in South Florida.'' Gun references abound. Hawking one of her sponsors, the Palm Beach Shooting Center ("You can use your own factory ammo at this range,'') Kaufman declares gun ownership not only a right but an obligation. From there, she goes off on Muslims, immigrants, liberals, RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) and the media as if all-the-above were the kind of cartoon enemies one exterminates in a video game.
Kaufman managed to transcend the shackles of the first-person pronoun and champion Allen West's improbable bid to oust Rep. Ron Klein from his District 22 congressional seat. Together, tea party zealot West and Kaufman could sound as if they were leading an armed, rather than an electoral, insurgency.
These numbers don't add up
"Former Gov. Jeb Bush shook up Florida's education establishment and sparked major reforms during his eight years in office. Now, Gov.-elect Rick Scott is ready to take the baton and finish what Bush began."
Scott wants to change how schools are funded, reducing school property taxes by up to 19 percent and filling the gap with other state funds."As governor, Rick Scott likely to push big changes for schools".
Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, a former Volusia school administrator heavily involved in education issues during her stint in the Legislature, said that plan worries her.
"Certainly we want to reduce taxes, but we don't want to hurt education," Lynn said, adding that Scott may have to temper some of his camping promises once in office.
"He may change his thinking on some things when he sees how the process works."
Give the voters what they voted for
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "State Republicans ran the table on Nov. 2, winning the governor's race, all three Cabinet races and picking up veto-proof majorities in the state Senate and House."
So it escapes us how the person in line to become House speaker in 2014 — Rep. Chris Dorworth — could effectively champion the Republican Party's fiscal principles and serve as a credible leader. ..."Dorworth has no business as speaker".
He co-sponsored what certainly would have been an unconstitutional ban on abortions in Florida, declaring, "I'm not saying it passes constitutional muster." A disregard for the law of the land is not a quality for speaker of the House.
Mr. Dorworth fights for many of the causes his fellow Republican lawmakers believe in. Fewer rules on developers, for example. But unlike some of his peers, he's not well-equipped to make the case. Mr. Dorworth wants to dismantle the state agency that regulates growth, for example, but when pressed couldn't name a single instance where the agency blunted a worthy local development.
Unfortunately, Mr. Dorworth's ascendancy is a product of term limits that don't give time for lawmakers to rise based on their accomplishments. Mr. Dorworth was elected speaker-in-waiting by his peers barely two years after he was first elected to the House.
Such a system rewards popularity, ambition and connections. Who's best for the state, who's right for the party, may not enter into the equation. That was the case when Mr. Dorworth was tapped to be speaker.
He should step aside and let his party select someone better suited to lead the House in four years.
To which we say: give the voters what they voted for. Perhaps they'll do a better job next time.
RPOF laffs all the way to the country club
Michael C. Bender: "Republicans will swear in their first veto-proof Legislature in the modern era of state politics on Tuesday morning. Wasting little time, they'll open up a special session in the afternoon to override Crist's vetoes while the new transition team of Gov.-elect Rick Scott, also a Republican, observes it all."
Oh yeah, now that Scott has been elected on the strength of growing wingnut-teabagger-religious extremist part of the party faction of the RPOF, he has suddenly forgotten his friends:
Scott has not asked lawmakers to consider any specific issues on Tuesday."Republican-dominated Legislature to baste lame duck Gov. Crist by overriding vetoes".
That's in contrast to this summer when, embroiled in a Republican primary, he demanded lawmakers approve an Arizona-style immigration law during the oil-drilling special session that taxpayers were already "on the hook to pay for."
"The Arizona law is just a few pages long," Scott said in July. "It's not complicated, because it's just common sense."
Taxpayers are paying for this special session, too. But Scott has not raised the immigration issue.
What will the Teabaggers do as the RPOF leadership laffs all the way to the country club?
The rich are different
"Government sell spoils of Madoff's lavish life in final auction of his possessions".
"We're in for a long four years"
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "After campaigning on his passion to cut the state budget, Gov.-elect Rick Scott wants to confirm the feasibility of high-speed rail before he spends state money on the proposed line from Tampa to Orlando."
Walking away from the deal now will mean more than a lost opportunity. It will mean that even more of the federal fuel taxes collected here will be spent in other states, to help other cities grow."Don't block rapid rail".
If the new governor thinks that's a smart strategy, we're in for a long four years.
Where are the Teabaggers?
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Just two weeks after Florida voters delivered a veto-proof majority of Republicans to the Legislature, its new leaders are exploiting that power to try to force tax breaks for large landowners, roll back environmental regulations, help big business and rush privatization of Medicaid for the poor. The test now for Republican legislators, including two who beat Democratic incumbents in Pinellas County, is whether they will blindly embrace these bad ideas during a one-day special session on Tuesday or exert their independence on behalf of Floridians and push their leaders for more thoughtful consideration in the regular session." "Lawmakers: Serve people or lobbyists?".
It appears Florida's Teabaggers nothing more than a Republican Party front group, after all.
"Alice in Wonderland"
"Mae Duke, 83, thinks the bipartisan panel counseling President Obama on how to reduce the deficit needs a reality check."
"Who am I, Alice in Wonderland?" Duke said. "I live in the real world here."Deficit-cutting proposals by bipartisan panel have few fans in South Florida".
"My neighbor lives on $395 a month and they are talking about reducing our cost-of-living increases? I don't know where those people writing that report are shopping, but around here everything keeps going up."
Duke, president of the Democratic Club at Century Village near West Palm Beach, was responding to a preliminary report issued by the panel, which was formed by Obama in February and will deliver a final report on Dec. 1. The group is headed by Alan Simpson, a former Republican Senate leader, and Erskine Bowles, who was chief of staff for former President Bill Clinton.
The report released Wednesday calls for permanently reducing the Social Security cost-of-living increases. It also recommends extending the retirement age to 69 - over a 65-year period - and eventually reducing benefits paid to those future retirees, except for the very poorest.
Earth to Jackson, Earth to ...
Tom Jackson: "State GOP must partner with voters".
"Lobbyists could peck new rules to death"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The Legislature gets new leaders this week, and they can't wait to get started. On at least one issue, though, they should restrain themselves."
Among other things, they want to ease rules for septic tank inspections and fix a rebate program for energy-efficiency appliances. Sexy, right?"Let this stealth bill die".
Similarly, a bill dealing with the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee sounds bland. In fact, the vetoed legislation (House Bill 1565) is a stealth attempt to weaken environmental rules.
After the Legislature passes a law, a state agency must write rules for implementing it. Currently, agencies must determine how much the rules would cost businesses and government. If the cost seems high, the agency has to consider alternatives. All well and good.
HB 1565, however, would require that the Legislature ratify any rule estimated to cost $1 million statewide over five years. As Audubon of Florida correctly points out, that's a tiny amount in a state this large. The practical effect would be that lobbyists or hostile legislators could peck any rule to death.
Environmental protection rules would be at greatest risk.
The West-Kaufman nutball express
"Rep.-elect Allen West (R-FL) is standing by the honor of his almost-chief of staff, right-wing talk radio host Joyce Kaufman, who pulled out of the job after media attention focused on her violent anti-government statement. And he's using some colorful language himself to describe her detractors." "GOPer Backs Anti-Gov't Yakker Against 'Vile' Left-Wing Machine".
This is an example of "why"
"A microcosm of why Florida is in such bad shape" is this embarrassing guest column in what purports to be a college newspaper. (Courtesy of "Why They Don't Take Florida Seriously").
Promising signs of growth in Florida
"The pace of the recovery in the nation is moderating and the lift spurred by nearly $800 billion in federal stimulus spending is fading, but there are several promising signs that growth will continue, including in Florida, a leading national fiscal analyst told reporters Friday morning." "Moody's Hopeful on Recovery, Notes Pent-Up Florida Demand".
"Stealth campaign" against Florida judges
"Using e-mails, websites and YouTube videos, conservative groups waged a stealth campaign against Florida Supreme Court Justices Jorge Labarga and James Perry. And some legal watchers are worried." "Florida judges may be on political hot seat".
I feel safer
"New Navy battleship commissioned in Fla.".
"Florida could find itself in recount hell"
"It took Palm Beach County nine days to finish a recount of about 50,000 votes in a school board race. What would have happened if canvassing boards across the state had needed to recount the nearly 5.4 million votes for governor?"
Hello, 2000."Trail could lead back to hell".
In a recount, some boards would finish by the state-imposed 12-day deadline. Some wouldn't. State law says results submitted after the deadline should be ignored. Which means some votes wouldn't count. As in 2000, when an initial count showed that fewer than 2,000 votes separated George W. Bush and Al Gore, court battles would be fierce. So despite a change in voting equipment - two changes, in some cases - Florida still could find itself in recount hell.
"Project brings massive snails to South Beach".