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 Saturday, November 13, 2010

RPOFer contributors dancing in the streets

    "Incoming Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon wants the Legislature to declare its intent to let for-profit companies provide managed care for Medicaid patients statewide." "Cannon wants Fla. Medicaid revamp commitment".

    As Paul Krugman explained, Jebbie's privatization schemes - which Cannon would expand - have been a windfall for
    the Republican Party, records show. The policy has spawned a network of contractors who have given him, other Republican politicians and the Florida G.O.P. millions of dollars in campaign donations."

    What's interesting about this network of contractors isn't just the way that big contributions are linked to big contracts; it's the end of the traditional practice in which businesses hedge their bets by giving to both parties. The big winners in Mr. Bush's Florida are companies that give little or nothing to Democrats. Strange, isn't it? It's as if firms seeking business with the state of Florida are subject to a loyalty test.
    "Victors and Spoils".

    Aaron Deslatte thinks the RPOF plan is just dandy: "Medicaid is a mess – but reform will be messier".

    Thurman to step down

    "Ten days after Florida Democrats suffered major election losses, Karen Thurman announced plans on Friday to step down after six years as state party chairwoman. Thurman's departure, which was widely expected, clears the way for the dispirited party to anoint a new leader heading into the presidential election year of 2012, when Florida as usual will be a pivotal state."

    The early front-runner for chairman is Rod Smith of Gainesville, a former state senator and state attorney and running mate of Alex Sink, who narrowly lost the contest for governor to Republican Rick Scott.

    Smith, who will turn 61 on Sunday, ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006. He has expressed his interest in the job but said he would take a few days to make up his mind. He could not be reached Friday.
    "Florida's Democratic Party chairwoman Thurman stepping down". See also "Thurman to step down as Fla. Democratic Party chair" and "Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman quitting after state election drubbing".

    Run "Jeb!" Run!

    The Fix "surveyed several state GOP insiders to get a look at the potential field, and the challengers' relative strengths and weaknesses. Here's the results:"

    LeMieux: If he decides to run, LeMieux, 41, would be the de facto incumbent on the Republican side although that might not be such a good thing if the political environment is anything like it was in 2010.

    Having served in Washington already, LeMieux could argue that he's best suited to hit the ground running in 2012; he'd also likely have better statewide name identification than other contenders and would already have a team in place.

    The biggest hurdle to LeMieux in the Republican primary, however, would likely be his long relationship with Crist -- not exactly a beloved figure among state Republicans.

    Even though LeMieux sided with former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) over Crist once the governor left the GOP (and has barely talked with Crist since) he could face criticism for serving for years as the governor's "alter ego."

    LeMieux detractors might try to make the case that he counseled Crist to take positions that were unpopular among conservatives -- including the governor's stance on cap-and-trade -- while LeMieux supporters could argue that the "wheels started to come off" for Crist once LeMieux left his administration, and that it was LeMieux who tried to convince Crist not to leave the party.

    Incoming state Senate President Mike Haridopolos: Haridopolos, who is also a lecturer at the University of Florida's Bob Graham Center for Public Service, is considered one of the state Republican Party's rising stars and one of the other major potential 2012 contenders. In an interview with The Fix on Thursday, Haridopolos said that supporters have been asking him to run for the seat "for a few months now" and that the idea of running against Nelson is "intriguing."

    "We're looking at it; there's no doubt," Haridopolos said. He declined to give a timeline for making a decision, noting that "it's still too early to discern that." But he indicated that he's talked it over with his wife and that she's given him the green light.

    "My wife basically said, 'Mike if you want to do this, I'm with you,'" Haridopolos said. He added that he'll make a decision to run independently of whether LeMieux or other candidates decide to run -- with the exception of former Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who remains enormously popular among state Republicans. "If Jeb Bush runs, I'm with Jeb," Haridopolos said.

    If Haridopolos does run, he'd likely try to stake out the conservative ground to LeMieux's ideological right; in talking with The Fix, he frequently compared himself to Rubio, casting himself as the conservative leader on the state Senate side while Rubio served as the leader among state House conservatives.

    "[Voters] want another Marco Rubio-conservative person, an unquestioned conservative in the ranks," Haridopolos said, adding that the state Senate's "always been this kind of squishy place, and now it's unquestionably conservative."

    Haridopolos is known as a good fundraiser for the party and as the head of state Senate campaigns, but he'd have to operate on a different level if running for U.S. Senate.

    Rep. Connie Mack: Mack, the 14th District congressman who coasted to a fourth term last Tuesday, has also been floated as a possible contender for the seat. He is the son of a former senator and would benefit from his political pedigree (and famous last name) but he could face some trouble among Republican primary voters for being seen as a moderate; he butted heads with members of his party earlier this year by coming out against an Arizona-style immigration law in Florida.

    Rep. Vern Buchanan: Buchanan, who had an easy victory in the Sarasota-area 13th District last week, is also said to be mulling a bid. If he jumped into the race, he'd have a big leg up in terms of his ability to self-fund; he's the eighth-wealthiest member of Congress, with an estimated net worth of more than $53 million. (Scott's 2010 campaign showed that self-funding can go a long way in Florida, although wealthy real estate developer Jeff Greene's millions weren't enough to see him through the Democratic Senate primary.)

    Freshman Rep.-elect Allen West: West, who bested Rep. Ron Klein (D) last Tuesday in one of the country's most hotly-contested races, hasn't made any indications (yet) that he'd pursue a bid, but some Florida Republicans say he's worth keeping an eye on. His status as a national conservative darling could help him fund a bid and raise his name ID if he decided to jump into the race. Working against him is the fact that he's not even been sworn into office yet and is already being dogged by controversy. He also hails from the Palm Beach area, which isn't exactly the strongest base for a Republican campaign.

    Rep. Tom Rooney: The 16th District congressman's name has also been part of the mix; he's seen as a rising star in the state, although he might be viewed as too young by some. (He turns 40 later this month.)

    State House Majority Leader Adam Hasner: There's been some buzz surrounding outgoing state House majority leader, who is term-limited. State Republican operatives believe he'd have the ability to build a strong organization quickly; they also note that his wife, Jillian, managed California gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman's (R) campaign. In addition, Hasner's Jewish background could be a plus in winning over Florida's significant Jewish population.
    "Florida Republican Sen. George LeMieux mulling a 2012 bid against Sen. Bill Nelson".

    Reinhard moves on

    Beth Reinhard says goodbye

    What is it with trial lawyers?

    "Four days after being elected Florida's next attorney general, Pam Bondi and her fiancé flew to Las Vegas to party with one of the state's most influential trial lawyers, Tampa's Jim Wilkes."

    It was Wilkes' 60th birthday and, while Bondi and her fiancé, Greg Henderson, say they paid for their hotel room and airfare to Las Vegas, they relied on the Republican Party of Florida to charter a plane to get them from Las Vegas to New Orleans, where she attended a meeting of the Republican Attorneys General Association the next day.
    BTW, this Wilkes fellow - a so-called "trial lawyer" - is a true DINO:
    Wilkes and his wife are registered Democrats, but his firm, Wilkes & McHugh, showed a bipartisan streak in political donations this year. It gave $100,000 to the Republican Party of Florida and $25,000 to the Florida Democrats.
    "Bondi's Vegas trip: duty or conflict?".

    With Democrats like Wilkes and other so-called "trial lawyers (many whom have never seen the inside of a courtroom), no wonder the FlaDems took such a drubbing. Perhaps the Dems ought to reconsider its relationship with these self proclaimed Dem stalwarts.

    Charlie's last laff?

    "With two months left as governor, Charlie Crist can still leave a lasting legacy with his remaining judicial, board and commission appointments. Crist’s independent streak can be seen in his past judicial appointments, nominating conservative and left-leaning judges alike, but some conservatives worry that his loss in the U.S. Senate race to Marco Rubio, after leaving the Republican Party, will lead him to appoint explicitly liberal judges." "Those Judicial Appointments: Will Crist Get Up to Mischief?".

    "Embarrassment of riches that is Florida politics"

    "The prospect of the lame-duck governor and his lame-duck Cabinet spending their final meeting debating the evidence or lack thereof of Morrison's trouser drop is too good to be true. And it's indicative of the embarrassment of riches that is Florida politics." "Time to close the doors, and open others".

    "Minor burns" to him ...

    ... but you and I would be whimpering all the way to the emergency room. See "Firefighter suffers minor burns battling Seminole County apartment blaze".

    Changing of the guard

    "Changing of the guard in Tallahassee: Who's out and who wants to stay".

    Nuthin' better to do?

    "The state attorney’s office has charged a former state House District 1 candidate accused of stealing campaign signs during the Republican primary race. Greg Brown and his wife Jennifer each are charged with one misdemeanor count of petit theft for allegedly stealing signs that belonged to Doug Broxson, who won Tuesday’s election." "Former state House candidate charged with stealing campaign signs".

    Wingnuts fight clean water

    "Florida's incoming governor and other newly elected Republicans on Friday joined a chorus of politicians and others who have been urging the Environmental Protection Agency to delay new water pollution rules."

    A lawyer for environmental groups, though, said they've been "brainwashed'' by state officials who concocted wildly inflated figures of what it's going to cost to comply with the new rules.
    Check out this collection of geniuses:
    Governor-elect Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner-elect Adam Putnam, Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi and five incoming congressmen sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking her to postpone action.

    The EPA is set to announce the standards Monday. They are required by the settlement of a federal lawsuit that environmental groups had filed against the agency.
    "Scott asks EPA to hold off on rules".

    "His critics, it seems, were listening"

    "When the First District Court of Appeals issued a ruling last month putting GOP Senate candidate Jim Norman back on the Nov. 2 ballot, the three-judge panel said the proper venue for the challenge to his candidacy was the Florida Ethics Commission. His critics, it seems, were listening." "Norman faces flurry of ethics complaints".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Salvation Army handled the Jim Norman scandal about as badly as it could. The charity needs to rebuild public faith in its sense of civic responsibility." "Salvation Army's tarnished image".

    Grayson, Kosmas class acts

    "Those expecting a fiery farewell speech from U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson might wind up disappointed."

    Aides to the bombastic Orlando Democrat -- who lost last week to Republican challenger Dan Webster -- said Grayson has no plans (yet) to walk on the House floor and tell his peers that he's mad about the election's outcome, the state of the Democratic Party and the future of healthcare reform.

    Instead, Grayson intends to use his final weeks in office to quietly press for $14.3 million in funding for hometown projects, including $5 million for medical research at Florida Hospital in Celebration and $1 million for emergency generators in Orange County.

    "I still have the job, and I have the job for the next two months," Grayson recently told ABC News. (He declined an interview request with the Orlando Sentinel.)
    "Grayson, Kosmas still pursue local projects despite election defeats".

    Wingnuts worship West

    "Despite chief-of-staff fiasco, West still a GOP star as he preps for D.C.".

    Why not hire Rush Limbaugh to do this?

    "Florida's health department wants to hire doctors to review patient records at pain-management clinics to see if they are legitimate or pill mills." "Hey doc, you want to moonlight for the state?"

    Jebbie's "victory lap" laffer

    "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be appearing on CNN's Sunday talk show this weekend, and if host Candy Crowley wants to make news, perhaps she should ask if he's interested in leading the national Republican Party for the next two years."

    Bush, who has already ruled out a run for president in 2012, is being interviewed with his big brother, currently campaigning for his place in history and selling books.

    Jeb, on the other hand, is taking a victory lap after Florida Republicans scored big in last week's election and may be looking to raise his political profile.

    He has close ties to Marco Rubio, who won election to the U.S. Senate and will be the nation's first Hispanic senator with tea party connections. Meantime, Florida Republican Gov.-elect Rick Scott has placed three of Jeb's close political associates and former aides on his transition team.

    As the next national Republican race, the one for national committee chairman, takes shape, a member of the anti-Steele caucus, Katon Dawson of South Carolina, has been dropping Jeb's name into conversations about possible alternatives to incumbent Chairman Michael S. Steele, who is expected to seek another two-year term in January.
    "Jeb Bush for GOP chairman?"

    Teabaggers fight for the right to defecate ...

    ... directly into Florida's pristine the groundwater: "Environmental concerns led the Florida Legislature last spring to require mandatory septic system inspections. But a public backlash, driven by the potential costs it carries, has legislators promising to reverse the new law as soon as possible." "Septic tank law worth the price?"

    After all, according to the St. Johns Riverkeepers, Florida is already rock bottom in the United States in terms of protecting its waters from pollution. More than 98 percent of the state's bays and estuaries, and more than 54 percent of its streams, are unsafe for swimming and/or fishing."

    Nutrient poisoning is the main cause of Florida's water-quality woes. Nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer, animal waste, sewage and polluting industries has become the most common water-pollution problem in the state. The nutrients feed toxic algae, kill fish, and spur respiratory problems in swimmers and beachgoers. The recurring summer "Green Monster" on the St. Johns is the sad result of nutrient poisoning.
    NevertNheless, the Teabaggers can't find the words "septic tank inspections" in the constitution.

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