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, July 16, 2011

Haridopolos campaign stalling

    "High-level staff departures. A drop-off in fundraising. A stinging tea-party loss in his own backyard."
    The U.S. Senate campaign of Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos is showing all the signs of stalling.

    The biggest setback for the Merritt Island Republican came late Thursday, as word trickled out that his longtime friend and political advisor, Pat Bainter, would no longer work for his campaign. Also departing: his de-facto campaign manager and spokesman, Tim Baker. ...

    But the man in charge of state Senate campaigns, Niceville Republican Don Gaetz, said he was unaware that Bainter would be his full-time consultant for the upcoming 2012 races.
    "Top staffers leave Haridopolos' U.S. Senate campaign".

    "Obama's army is rumbling to life in Florida"

    "A massive army is rumbling to life in Florida, though it sometimes looks deceptively like a ragtag band of recruits. " "Obama machine revs up in Fla."

    "All strategy, all the time"

    "A cigar-smoking data-crunching pollster, Fabrizio is the person Scott insiders point to as being the brains behind the Republican's improbable transformation from political nobody to governor of the nation's most important swing state."

    Fabrizio's role as Scott's pollster and strategist didn't end with the governor's election. He still plots strategy, hones the governor's message and polls for Scott by way of the Republican Party of Florida, which has paid him more than $183,000 since Election Day.

    "During the transition, there was a belief that we're here to govern and politics is over," said Fabrizio. "Well, politics is never over. Now we have to think a lot more about the big picture. And there are a lot more opportunities."

    Fabrizio, 51, is all strategy, all the time.
    "Tony Fabrizio: Gov. Rick Scott's unrelenting engineer of strategy".

    "Florida Republicans propelled by the tea-party movement"

    "Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Republicans in Congress are betting that tax breaks and government spending cuts will spark widespread hiring in their job-starved state. Some early signs indicate the bet might pay off, as companies expand or trickle into Florida to take advantage of tax refunds and low corporate tax rates while tapping a huge pool of unemployed job seekers. Business promoters appreciate the help, but acknowledge anything politicians can do is dwarfed by the natural forces of the marketplace."

    "It's a hundred jobs here, 50 jobs there, it just keeps adding up," Scott boasted in an interview while touting Florida's employment-generating efforts to a recent gathering of business leaders in Washington. "The Legislature gave me more authority to make this happen. There's a lot of enthusiasm. People are excited."

    Florida Republicans, propelled by the tea-party movement, are pushing similar tactics in Congress. They hope President Barack Obama and Republican leaders will strike a budget deal on debt reduction that will whack federal spending, fend off tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations, and clear a path for targeted tax incentives benefiting small businesses.

    "I have never met a job creator who told me they are looking for a state with high taxes and burdensome regulations," Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said on the Senate floor this week. "If we do it the right way, [we will] lower everybody's tax rate so people have more money in their pockets to spend on the economy, to grow their business or start a new business. Because that's how jobs are created."

    Economists remain skeptical that tax incentives alone will prompt businesses to begin hiring in great numbers. They say tax cuts in recent decades have had limited impact on the creation of jobs.

    "Companies are already sitting on record amounts of cash, but they are not using that cash to create jobs," said Chris McCarty, consumer survey director at the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research. "So I'm not clear how creating breaks that send them more cash necessarily translates into jobs."
    "Republicans in Washington, Tallahassee push tax breaks to create Florida jobs".

    Taj Mahal scandal

    "Lawyers for 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Paul M. Hawkes urged the Judicial Qualifications Commission Friday to throw out charges filed against him this year in connection with the Taj Mahal scandal." "Appeals court judge in Taj Mahal case seeks dismissal of charges".

    "It’s not a real budget"

    "Which begs some questions: If it’s not a real budget, why did the mayor release it? And how can the administration lower the tax rate and still balance the budget if it really has no intention of furloughing the city’s 4,000 employees? Part of the answer, Regalado says, is that the commission surprised him two weeks ago with a request that he produce a proposed budget by July 14. Normally, the mayor offers the commission his proposed budget in early September." "Miami mayor: Rushed budget not too accurate".

    Extremists lineup behind Diebel

    "The district doesn't exist yet, but Karen Diebel has already raised $97,044 to run for a new congressional seat in Central Florida. Among her early donors: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. ... Among her early financial backers:"

    - Wayne and Fonda Huizenga: $2,500 each.

    - U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Prosperity PAC: $1,000.

    - U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, chairman of the National Republican
    Congressional Committee: $7,000 (including $5,000 from his People for Enterprise, Trade and Economic Growth PAC, which raised and spent $1 million in 2010).

    - Anita Staver: $1,000 (wife of Liberty Council leader Matt Staver).

    - Cathy Gillespie: $1,000 (wife of former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie).
    "Karen Diebel Gets Jump on Yet-to-be-Named Congressional District".

    Connie threatens to call his daddy

    "Connie Mack Demands Obama Submit Free-Trade Agreements by July 29".

    "Federal investigators launch probe"

    "Federal investigators have launched a probe of the state's 24 regional work-force boards to determine if they have been improperly awarding contracts to companies controlled by or linked to agency board members." "U.S. Labor Department probes Florida workforce contracts".

    Weekly Roundup

    "In a number of not-so-surprising revelations this week, Citizen’s Property Insurance Corp. is too big, Panhandle business owners are frustrated over the pace of BP payments and Gov. Rick Scott remains unpopular, despite recent efforts to get his message out in a flurry of radio interviews around the state." "Weekly Roundup: Rick Scott's Policy, If Not His Popularity, Reinforced". See also "The Week in Review for July 11-July 15".

    "Republicans gorging on millions of dollars from business lobbyists"

    Aaron Deslatte: "The Republicans gorging on millions of dollars from business lobbyists and big donors are doing so to maintain their stone-fisted grip on power. And they've done so with scientific precision for years." "Despite economy, cash rolls in to GOP". See also "Infographic: Second Quarter Party Campaign Contributions".

    "Wealthier candidates ensure better government"?

    Commentary by Fred Markham, a member and director of the Florida Initiative for Electoral Reform: "In the continuing judicial erosion of public campaign finance laws, a federal judge has eliminated the matching funds provision in the Florida Election Campaign Finance Act. The ruling follows and models the June 27 Supreme Court decision declaring the matching funds provision of Arizona's Clean Elections law unconstitutional."

    Florida's law, dating from 1992, enabled the election of Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles and Republican State Treasurer Bob Milligan, both using only small donations to defeat well-funded opponents. Though still in effect, Florida's law was soon made moot by the Legislature through its raising of the expenditure limits to levels that ensured that only candidates raising large private donations could compete. The law has not been effective in removing big-money influence from elections since at least 1996. ...

    Since the state already has a dysfunctional public campaign financing system, the loss to Florida will be slight. We will merely be treated to a yet more blatant display of special-interest funded and/or personally wealthy candidates purchasing our public offices. Through a long chain of cases, the courts have followed the logic that money equals political speech, more money equals more political speech, more political speech equals better democracy, and implicitly, that political office is the exclusive domain of those who can bring the most wealth to bear.

    These rulings are clear victories for those who believe that wealthier candidates will ensure better elections and better government.
    "Making political office the exclusive domain of the wealthy".

    "One of just 13 Republicans not blindly following the party line"

    "U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Indian Shores was in his first term when he voted for the Clean Water Act in 1972. This week, Young was one of just 13 Republicans — and the only Republican from Florida — to vote against gutting the law he embraced nearly four decades ago. Florida is fortunate to have at least one member of Congress willing to take the long view and not blindly follow the party line." "Young stands apart on Clean Water Act".

    FSU exonerates itself in Koch deal

    "FSU faculty approves right-leaning Koch Foundation deal, with caveats". See also "Barron says Koch donation has benefited Fla. State" and "FSU's review of Koch deal suggests future donors shouldn't have power over faculty decisions" ("The deal also set up an undergraduate 'market ethics' elective that used Ayn Rand works as required readings").

    FlaDems hammer Jebbie's Medicaid deform as "reckless and irresponsible"

    "Democratic legislators sent a letter on Friday asking the federal government to reject Medicaid Reform launched by former Gov. Jeb Bush and the new Medicaid overhaul program passed this session by the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature. Republican leaders call the letter 'reckless and irresponsible.'" "House Democrats ask feds to just say no to all Medicaid managed care".

    "South Floridians changing their driving habits?"

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Are South Floridians changing their driving habits for good? The answer isn't clear, but a recent traffic study in Palm Beach County bears watching. The 1 percent drop in county traffic counts between this and last year may not seem significant, but the fact that those who stopped driving switched to mass transportation should send a clear message to state and local policymakers." "Driving habits may be changing in car-crazy South Florida".

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