FLORIDA POLITICS
Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary

 

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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a 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 Sunday, April 10, 2011

Desperate Teabaggers stare longingly at empty suit

    The media fluffing of Teabagger Marco Rubio has begun.

    Kingsley Guy: "Florida is the nation's fourth most populous state, and it's expected soon to supplant New York in third position. Florida also is a swing state. It gained two electoral votes as a result of the last census, giving it 29 and putting it on a par with New York, which lost two. A candidate who hails from here would almost certainly add Florida's electoral votes to his or her side of the ledger."
    So, Marco Rubio, are you the one?

    There's little doubt Florida's junior senator has the presidency in mind, if not yet in his sights. That became abundantly clear recently in an op-ed piece he wrote for The Wall Street Journal, in which he declared that he would vote against an increase in the national debt limit unless it was the last one ever authorized. To accomplish this, he wrote, the increase must be coupled with a plan for tax, regulatory and entitlement reform, a slash in discretionary spending, and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

    Rubio has staked out his political turf. His governing philosophy will appeal to tea partiers, for sure, but Rubio possesses superior intelligence [compared to your average teabagger, that is] and communication skills [compared to your average right wing pundit, that is], and he's more than capable of going head-to-head in political debate with the best the Democrats have to offer. One of his strengths is that he's able to convey his message in a simple, nonthreatening, and educational manner. In other words, he has the ability to sell his ideas to a broad spectrum of the electorate.

    Rubio's not yet ready for presidential prime time, and 2012 isn't his year. But it would be a surprise, and a huge mistake, if the GOP elders don't select him to make the keynote address at next year's nominating convention.
    "Florida's turn: Can Rubio bring state a president?". Related: "Rubio steps into the limelight".

    Hardly a bright light, even by Florida standards, Rubio is best known as someone who can't seem to handle his personal finances: "Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio is again answering questions about troubles with his personal finances after a bank sought to foreclose on a Tallahassee home he owns with another Miami lawmaker. ... David Rivera". "Senate candidate Marco Rubio in foreclosure tangle over Tallahassee property". See also "Marco Rubio campaigns with close pal on shaky political ground, David Rivera".

    And then there's this: "Rubio charged more than $100,000 to his GOP credit card during his two years as House speaker for expenses including grocery bills and plane tickets for his wife. Rubio released a statement saying that his expenses were for 'legitimate political purposes.'" "Marco Rubio, Florida GOP Under Federal Investigation, Report Says".


    Few Legislative successes for FlaDems

    "Legislative successes are few and far between for Democrats in Tallahassee, where Republicans control the House and Senate with a veto-proof majority." "Tallahassee: A lonely place for Democrats".


    Capitol Roundup

    "With the halfway point of the 2011 legislative session officially in the rear view mirror, Florida lawmakers this week spent much of their time teeing up spending plans, setting up a month of negotiations over retiree benefits and other budget differences -- and mounting uncertainty over the governor’s response to being only one leg of a three-legged stool." "Capitol Roundup: Follow the Money".


    Protest planning

    "Next year, Tampa hosts the 2012 Republican National Convention, when the party will nominate a challenger to incumbent President Barack Obama. ... "If a city wants to host a national political convention, then they also have to be prepared to host a protest," said Michael Pheneger, president of the ACLU in Florida. 'We believe that we could add something to the planning process.'" "ACLU wants seat at GOP convention planning table".


    "It's quite a loaded plate"

    The Sun-Sentinel editors: "Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat, has been an unabashed liberal and a passionate spokesperson for Democratic ideals and issues. So, yes, the four-term congresswoman will get a chance to be all that on a huge national stage after being picked by President Obama to lead the DNC. In recent years, Wasserman Schultz has taken a much bigger public role as a party leader, but now she, along with Obama, will be the main faces of the Democratic Party heading into the pivotal 2012 elections. The question is, can she juggle those responsibilities and still serve her constituents and play the role of deal-maker in the House? It's quite a loaded plate." "Wasserman Schultz faces challenging juggling act".


    Rivera's Press Secretary's job to rewrite history

    Fred Grimm: "Leslie Veiga, known in the Wiki universe as 'Lmveiga,' ought to be collecting at least $800,000 from her boss."

    David Rivera paid his favorite political consultant, Esther Nuhfer, at least $817,000 since 2006. Whatever Nuhfer did to earn her money – her invoices were not so illuminating – it could have hardly has been as challenging as the task assigned to Veiga, Congressman Rivera’s beleaguered press secretary.

    Veiga’s job was to rewrite history – Rivera’s history. A murky pursuit, indeed.

    Politico, the Washington-based online political journal, reported this week that a certain “Lmveiga,” AKA Leslie Veiga, had gone into the Wikipedia article on U.S. Rep. Rivera and added, with a generous flair, a list of “Rivera’s legislative accomplishments.”

    Lmveiga then erased a chunk of the Miami congressman’s Wikipedia bio, the stuff under the category of “controversies.” Unlike Rivera’s legislative accomplishments, his controversies entry had considerable heft.

    Wikipedia, before Lmveiga scrubbed things up last month, had included a reference to a 1994 domestic dispute that U.S. Rep. David Mauricio Rivera said must have involved another David M. Rivera. Not him. Which led to an entry recalling a 2002 traffic collision in which a car driven by Rivera happened to crash into a truck loaded with salacious political fliers targeting Rivera (with details from the 1994 abuse case). The truck had been rushing to beat a post office deadline. Rivera explained to police that he thought the truck was full of his own campaign fliers. The wreck, well, that was just an accident.

    But the explanation, laid out in Wikipedia, didn’t look so credible. Not to a savvy press secretary. Out it came.

    She also expunged the section about Rivera amending his state financial disclosure affidavit after his purported former employer, USAID, inspected its files and found no record of David Rivera working as either an employee or a contractor. The Wikipedia entry noted, “Rivera said he had worked for subcontractors to whom he had promised anonymity.”

    Lmveiga realized, despite the explanation, it still looked hinky. Better just erase the whole mess.

    Then came the bit about the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigating $500,000 in payments to Rivera’s mother from a Miami dog track although owners thought they were hiring Rivera. Not his momma. Zap that, Lmveiga decided.

    Unhappily for Lmveiga, the Wikipedia community has become hip to congressional staffers sanitizing their bosses’ Wiki bios.
    "Sanitizing bio for boss merits big bucks".


    RPOFers "relentless champions of top-down government"

    The Tampa Trib editors: "Members of the Florida House surprised the state's elections supervisors when a committee passed a bill that would enact sweeping election reforms few people anticipated."

    Under the tutelage of Speaker Dean Cannon, state Rep. Dennis Baxley's 14-page bill grew to 128 pages almost overnight. It passed out of the House Government Operations Committee on a party-line April Fools Day vote, despite opposition from supervisors, unions, advocacy groups and Democrats. ...

    It is one more case of lawmakers trying to ensure Tallahassee controls every aspect of government, including local decisions. This "conservative" Legislature is a relentless champion of top-down government.
    "Unnecessary elections reform".


    Bill Maxwell wants you to "Get it straight"

    Bill Maxwell wants you to "Get it straight: I'm no conservative".


    "Republican from Sanford", 'nuff said

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "The bill by Rep. Jason Brodeur, a Republican from Sanford, was rammed through a House committee last week."

    If the measure becomes law, Florida's hotel industry, which contributes mightily to the state's economy, will be put at a permanent competitive disadvantage.
    "Stop penalizing local businesses".


    The scamming begins

    "Florida House Readies for Redistricting".


    Second amendment stoopid

    "Man hit by shrapnel after firing BB gun at live cartridge".


    Florida's "foul, fish-killing algae blooms" get second chance

    "The rules – which the EPA has postponed to give the state more time – are aimed at reducing nitrogen and phosphorous that have helped trigger foul, fish-killing algae blooms in Florida waters from the St. Johns River to Florida Bay. A coalition of powerful critics, though, says the regulations go too far and will overburden local governments and businesses." "Costs of water quality standards rules re-examined".


    Norman joins coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats

    "Norman voted against a leadership-backed proposal to forbid public employee unions from deducting dues from members' paychecks. It's advancing in the Senate, and a similar bill passed the House. He also joined a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats seeking to soften the changes in public employee pensions." "Despite freshman mistake, Norman makes mark in first session".


    "Southern apologists seek glory in acts of treason"

    Leonard Pitts Jr. reminds us that "on Tuesday morning, it will be 150 years since the Civil War began."

    So this seems an apt moment to speak in memory’s defense. As Confederate battle flags flap from truck grills and monuments, as tourists gather around pigeon-stained statues of dead rebels baking under the Dixie sun, as Southern apologists seek glory in acts of treason, and as all of the above studiously avoid coming too close to the heart of the matter, to its cause, it is worth remembering that their forebears were not as circumspect.

    To the contrary, they said clearly and without shame that they fought for slavery.

    If that makes someone uncomfortable, good. It should.

    But you do not deal with that discomfort by telling lies of omission about yesterday. You do not deal with it by pretending treason is glory. No, you deal with it by listening to the hard things the past has to say — and learning from them.

    This nation took so much from the men and women it kidnapped. It took dignity, it took labor, it took family, it took home, it took names. In the end, the last thing any of us has is the memory of ourselves we bequeath the future, the reminder that we were here.

    And to their everlasting dishonor, some of us want to take that, too.
    "The Civil War: ‘A conspiracy of amnesia&#x...".


    More Rubio Teabaggery

    Tom Jackson does some free pub for the Teabaggers with this piece of alleged journalism today: "Area groups are, even now, preparing for their Third Annual TaxDay Tampa Bay Tea Party, with Pasco activists very much in the mix."

    The rally, set for the north parking lot of Raymond James Stadium on Friday, begins at 4 p.m. Freshman U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite if not a member of Congress' Tea Party Caucus, is the keynote speaker.
    "Seeking clues on Tea Party's alleged fade".


    Barbour reminisces about White Citizen Councils

    "Haley Barbour talks presidential politics in Tallahassee".


    Unfair tuition increases

    Saint Pete editors: "It’s reasonable to keep raising historically low tuition at Florida universities until it hits the national average. Yet it’s unfair to again embrace tuition increases of up to 15 percent while again cutting state funding for universities." "Passing buck on education".


    Florida legislators fail

    Scott Maxwell writes, "So legislators think merit pay is the way to go, eh? ... How about paying Florida politicians based on empirical evidence and data as well? Here are the criteria:"

    The economy. It stinks. Yeah, yeah, I know. It's not your fault. It's Obama's. Most everything evil is. Here's the thing: America's unemployment rate is 8.9 percent. Florida's is 11.5 percent. So your state stinks worse than his nation. (And you've been in charge a lot longer.) Your grade: F.

    Ethics. Let's see. The Senate president was just admonished for hiding his finances. There have been closed-door meetings. You rejected bills for tighter ethics laws. And one of you even had the gall to draft legislation that would allow lobbyists to give you more gifts. On the bright side: Unlike past sessions, no one's been indicted! Grade: D.

    Low taxes. Thanks to no income taxes, Florida's tax burden is lower than the national average for residents. And it's even better for corporations. The vast majority of Florida businesses pay no corporate income tax at all. Grade: A.

    Fair taxes. In recent years, lawmakers have jacked up costs for things such as drivers licenses. (They think if they call it a "fee" you won't notice.) Yet they have so many loopholes for corporations and special interests, massive companies such as Carnival Cruise Lines end up paying total tax rates of as little as 1 percent. Hmm. Do you pay 1 percent? Grade: F.

    Housing. Florida has one of the highest foreclosure rates in America and the highest inventory of homes in distress. Grade: F.

    Civics. Legislators have shown disdain and disregard for bedrock principles of our country and Constitution. They're using your money to try to overturn your vote — paying lawyers $300 an hour to fight Fair Districts. And they seem to have little regard for our Founding Fathers' belief in separate branches of government as they launch repeated attacks on the judiciary. Grade: F.

    Vocabulary. One word: "uterus." Grade: F.

    Organization. Our legislative leaders are very efficient at moving things along without wasting time on endless floor debates … or considering of differing viewpoints. Grade: B.

    Basic reading skills. Some legislators have eagle eyes. Others seem unable to explain their own bills. I don't want to embarrass anyone specifically. But if you claim you didn't know your bill would help only one company (Chris Dorworth for Darden) or would violate the U.S. Constitution (Jason Brodeur trying to imprison pediatricians for asking questions) you're either lying or you're a dolt. Grade: C.
    "You want merit pay? Let's start with legislative paychecks".


    Tally has no luv 4 men in uniform

    "Lobbying efforts have been frustrating in a year in which the word of law enforcement doesn't carry the clout that it once did." "Pinellas Sheriff Jim Coats finds legislators don't necessarily love a man in uniform".


    West threat

    "A letter containing white powder and a threat was opened at U.S. Rep. Allen West’s campaign office here on Friday afternoon, prompting a HazMat response and an FBI investigation, officials said." "Authorities: Powder sent to Rep. Allen West's Boca office is not anthrax".


    Like a good friend?

    "S. Fla. State Farm customers could see rates rise 64%".


    As Scott whines, database gets green light

    "Despite continued objections from Gov. Rick Scott, a prescription drug monitoring database has been given a green light." "Drug database set for launch". See also "Florida officials set to revive stalled pain pill database".


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