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 Monday, April 11, 2011

The more Floridians learn about Scott, the less they like

    "A Quinnipiac survey last week put Scott's approval rating at 35 percent and indicated that as some Floridians learn more about Scott, the less they like."
    Months after making a campaign promise that he would force welfare recipients to pass drug tests, Scott e-mailed his policy adviser, Tennessee-based campaign consultant Mary Anne Carter, asking, "How does one get on welfare?"

    Months after making a campaign promise that he would force welfare recipients to pass drug tests, Scott e-mailed his policy adviser, Tennessee-based campaign consultant Mary Anne Carter, asking, "How does one get on welfare?"

    Enu Mainigi, a corporate lawyer from Washington, D.C., and Scott's closest adviser during the transition, was briefed on how many justices sat on the state Supreme Court, which state judges were appointed and the length of their terms.

    "I need the basics," she wrote in an e-mail asking for the memo.

    When Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll wondered how the administration would celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Scott cautiously asked for the list of events Crist and Bush attended.

    Scott wanted weekly town halls, a tactic that would have introduced him to more Floridians and might have eased the unfavorable opinion many voters had after he devoted much of his $60 million TV campaign to negative ads.

    But the few town halls scheduled were in front of GOP groups or at businesses where bosses could keep a watchful eye over employees' questions.

    Meanwhile, the transition bogged down over internal squabbles and mixed messages.

    On Nov. 15, Pam Pfeifer, a policy adviser now in the governor's budget office, boasted that a pair of transition advisory teams for Scott included, "no legislators, no state employees, no insurers."

    Three days later, Pfeifer asked health care lobbyist William Rubin to make suggestions for Scott's health care advisory team.

    Mainigi asked for briefings she received a week prior. Carroll complained she had yet to see a schedule of inaugural events, despite a calender posted online and published in newspapers.

    Carter mocked the unwieldy advisory teams: "So much for streamlining and efficiency."
    "Unusual leadership style colors Gov. Scott's first 100 days".

    "Cutting to the bone not a badge of honor"

    The Tampa Trib editors: "Throughout this session of the Florida Legislature the elephant in the room has been a $3.75 billion budget shortfall, and the reality is that the state constitution requires a balanced state budget."

    The result has been budget plans from both chambers that will drastically reduce funding for education and numerous other services and programs, hurting many Floridians, including the sick, poor and disabled.
    "Cutting to the bone should not be a badge of honor, yet that has been the sole focus. The Senate even endorsed a constitutional amendment that would cap future tax revenues, as if it could predict the state's future needs."
    It's irresponsible that no one in leadership has been willing to show courage on this critical need.
    "A lack of leadership".

    Today in Tally

    "Today in Tallahassee: Oil spill claims czar to visit".

    Public urination match

    "Scott's communications director, Brian Burgess, is taking to Twitter to contradict and argue with reporters and criticize news outlets. Shots have often been fired back in what some are describing as an online fight between capitol reporters and the governor's main messenger - sometimes to the amusement of those following the exchanges." "Fla. Gov.Scott's team, media in "Twitter war"".

    "Only God knows"

    "Church and state are intermingling in Tallahassee, as lawmakers consider bills critics say could both help and harm religion in Florida. And it seems only God knows whether any of them will become law." "Florida lawmakers take up religion in funding, courts".

    DWS to claim GOPers are trying to eviscerate Medicare and SS

    "Debbie Wasserman Schultz plans to help President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats win elections in Florida and across the nation next year by accusing Republicans of trying to eviscerate Medicare, Social Security and protections for the most vulnerable Americans." "Wasserman Schultz to attack GOP Medicare agenda".

    Florida Teabaggers lovin' the Trump

    "Donald Trump, toying with a run for the Republican presidential nomination and popping in the latest polls, will make his pitch to a tea party gathering in Boca Raton on Saturday."

    The Donald is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech to the third annual South Florida Tax Day rally at Sanborn Square, 72 N. Federal Hwy. The event starts at 1 p.m.

    "This is big," said Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. "The country needs him in the mix."

    Trump, a New Yorker who maintains a Palm Beach residence, has performed this kind of presidential mating dance before. He flirted with running in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

    The perceived weakness of the Republicans' 2012 field has rekindled interest in Trump -- and the flamboyant self-promoter isn't bashful about fueling speculation.

    Turning up on talk shows, Trump belatedly jumped on the "birther" bandwagon, questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in this country.

    He has sounded off against same-sex marriage, flipped from pro-choice to pro-life and has opined on Charlie Sheen while sparring with Whoopie Goldberg on daytime TV. His scheduled speech at a Lincoln Day dinner in Iowa this June got more tongues wagging.

    Some pundits have theorized that Trump's pastiche of social conservatism and celebrity populism positions him for a GOP presidential bid. Dick Morris, a former Bill Clinton adviser, recently declared, "I think he has a good shot at the nomination."

    Everett Wilkinson, head of the South Florida Tea Party, which is sponsoring the April 16 event, notes that Trump easily won a straw vote his group conducted last month.
    "Donald Trump Flirts With Tea Party in South Florida".

    You get what you vote for

    "Not only does Gov. Rick Scott's plan to seize control of the state's economic development dollars put him in charge of a super-sized pot of money to dole out to companies in exchange for creating jobs, but it also is riling the state's biggest industry: tourism." "Scott's power grab goes after tourism".

    Runnin' gub'ment like a bid'ness

    "When expensive pumps meant to draw water from Lake Okeechobee failed, the South Florida Water Management District did little to pursue repairs or a refund." "Faulty pumps cost agency $1.5M".

    Voucher madness

    "Lawmakers are poised to expand the state’s school voucher programs instituted more than 10 years ago that enable more students to attend private schools. Under three bills advancing in the Legislature, all of Florida’s existing voucher programs would be affected in some way. But unlike when these major school reforms were proposed over 10 years ago, protests have been muted. Some Democrats, who were once ardently opposed to voucher programs, have even begun to support vouchers." "Lawmakers Poised to Expand Voucher Programs".

    Waitin' on that federal handout

    "7 years after disastrous hurricanes, Orlando still waits for FEMA cash".

    Florida's "uterus rebellion"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Pro-choice advocates are right to point out the irony of the 'uterus rebellion,' the flippant name for the flap over the ban of the word uterus in the Florida House. With 18 anti-abortion bills introduced in the Legislature, it’s offensive that lawmakers feel uncomfortable saying the word uterus but have no qualms about legislating it."

    Florida Republicans, emboldened by their sweep of both chambers in November, are moving forward with a host of anti-choice bills that would make it harder for women to get abortions. The party that rails against government interference — when it’s convenient — knows whatever they pass will be signed by Gov. Rick Scott, who did not campaign on the issue but stands with his conservative brethren.

    The proposed legislation includes a fast-tracked measure virtually identical to one that Mr. Scott’s predecessor, Charlie Crist, rightly vetoed last year. It would require pregnant women to view and listen to a description of a live ultrasound picture of their fetus before an abortion. Advocates say this is just a matter of being sure a woman has all the relevant information. It is in fact done in hopes of dissuading women from terminating their pregnancies.

    No matter how lawmakers try, it is impossible to justify imposing their religious politics onto such a private matter.
    "Anti-abortion legislation goes too far".

    Friends of Ricky

    "Carl Littlefield, harshly criticized for management failures and his oversight of a home for developmentally disabled men, has landed a new, well-paid state job." "Scorned bureaucrat gets a new, high-paid state job".

    "Total systemic failure"

    "Barely three months into his job as head of the state Department of Children and Families, Secretary David Wilkins described what he found there as 'total systemic failure of the child welfare system.'" "DCF hopes to avoid past overhaul mistakes".

    Only 34% of Florida independents approve of Obama

    "President Barack Obama is in trouble in Florida as he begins his re-election campaign."

    A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll found that only 34 percent of independent voters in Florida — always the key to winning — approve of Obama's performance, and that either former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee would beat the president in Florida if the election were held today.

    "If one of the top-tier Republicans gets the nomination, it will be a real fight for Florida," said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker.

    The April 4-7 telephone poll found Romney slightly leading Huckabee among Republican primary voters, 23 percent to 18 percent. They were trailed by business magnate Donald Trump with 13 percent, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 11, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty with 8. ...

    In hypothetical general election matchups, Romney beat Obama 48 percent to 43 percent, and Huckabee beat him 49 percent to 44 percent. But Palin loses to Obama 51 percent to 39 percent and Trump — who has talked up Florida as key to his potential campaign — trails 48 percent to 40 percent.
    "Poll: Only a third of Florida independents approve of Obama's performance".

    More Charlie?

    Jeremy Wallace writes that "former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is not slamming the door shut on his political career just yet. Before speaking to the Sarasota League of Women Voters last week, Crist was asked if he was going to get back into politics. 'Not immediately,' said Crist, who lost his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2010 to Republican Marco Rubio." "Former Gov. Crist might campaign again".

    More Haridopolos stoopidity

    "Without much attention or fanfare, the Florida Legislature is almost certain to approve a constitutional amendment mandating one of the nation's most restrictive caps on taxes. In echoes of California's Proposition 13 in 1978 and Colorado's tax cap in the late 1990s, Republican lawmakers are pushing for a constitutional amendment that would cap tax collections and limit state spending growth."

    In Colorado, the only state to adopt a similar cap, many business leaders aggressively lobbied to lift the restriction after spending on education, highways and a host of other services failed to keep pace with demands. Colorado's Republican governor came out against the tax cap and the state temporarily suspended the restriction by popular vote in 2005.

    Yet Florida's tax cap push is attracting little attention, overshadowed by the budget crunch, deregulation and teacher merit pay. The proposals add up to one the most significant anti-tax movements in state history.
    "Amendment to create restrictive tax cap".

    They might be Dems

    "New rules forcing felons who have completed their sentences to wait at least five years before they can apply to have their rights restored are onerous enough ... But the new application is making it even harder and could discourage felons from trying to get their rights back at all, they say." "Clemency activists call for easing civil rights restoration process".

    Slush funds in Tally

    Randy Schultz: "Rep. Richard Corcoran. He just got elected last fall, but he's already the House Speaker-designate for 2017-18 - his final term. How did that happen? Rep. Corcoran was chief of staff to former Speaker Marco Rubio, now U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. Also, Rep. Corcoran's brother is a lobbyist with a client list that includes Florida Crystals and Wal-Mart."

    Getting ahead quickly in Tallahassee means raising money from, among others, lobbyists. That will be easier for those in power, now that the Legislature has repealed the two-decades-old ban on "leadership funds." Gov. Crist blocked repeal last year. Gov. Scott is fine with what amount to slush funds financed by those who want something from the Legislature.
    "Legislature goes retro, and state goes backward".

    Haridopolos to announce money haul

    "Haridopolos and session fundraising part 2". Earlier: "Haridopolos, 'the law,' and fundraising during session".

    Imagine that, a bid dispute

    "Florida's much-anticipated prescription drug database is finally underway after Department of Health officials on Friday signed off on an order ending the bid dispute that's held the system at bay for more than a year." "Florida signs a deal to combat rogue clinics, but debate isn’t over". Related: "Florida signs a deal to combat rogue clinics, but debate isn’t over".

    Scott gutting DCA

    Andrew Marra: "Scott and the Legislature have in mind far more than streamlining. They would all but eliminate one of the most important voices planning Florida's future. Under the guise of ending 'job-killing regulation,' they would actually make it harder for the state to attract new jobs." "Gov. Scott, legislators should improve, not gut, agency that helps plan state's future".

    FCAT Follies

    "State to debut FCAT changes".

    Will Teabag agendaresonate with voters next year?

    "Florida's Legislature headed into the second half of its 2011 session this week pushing an aggressive conservative agenda that critics call harsh but Republican leaders are confident will resonate with voters next year. Unions, teachers, students, state workers, lawyers, the courts, Medicaid recipients and women seeking an abortion are among those in the GOP bulls-eye along with nearly any mandate that comes from Washington." "GOP advances conservative agenda".

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