Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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, December 26, 2011

Candidates ignore Florida at their peril

    "The attention may be focused on the Republican presidential contests around the corner in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the candidates ignore what's under way in Florida at their peril."
    More Florida Republicans — about 370,000 — already have requested absentee ballots for the Jan. 31 primary than the number of Republicans who voted in the 2008 Iowa and New Hampshire contests combined.

    The ever-growing volume of votes cast before the primary in Florida is one of the factors that make the state a very different challenge from the earliest elections, in Iowa on Jan. 3, New Hampshire on Jan. 10 and South Carolina on Jan. 21. Candidates not only have to grapple with the sheer size and diversity of Florida, but they must prepare for a contest where half the votes or more are in well before the primary.
    "While focus is now Iowa, GOP can't sleep on Florida".

    Florida's fed stimulus "cushion is running out"

    "Throughout the recession and economic hangover, Florida social-services advocates have warned that budget woes could unravel the safety net that supports millions of low-income families, seniors trying to stay in their homes, and people with debilitating illnesses or disabilities."But entering Florida's fifth year of billion-dollar budget shortfalls, the state's core social services — from medical care to drug treatment to organ transplants — have proven remarkably resilient to cuts, thanks largely to billions of dollars routed to Florida by the 2009 federal stimulus act.

    But now that cushion is running out. And much of the give-and-take over how to balance Florida's budget in the coming months will revolve around whether to replace stimulus cash — or cut services to the poor, sick and elderly by hundreds of millions of dollars.
    "Loss of stimulus funds imperils social services".

    "Unpromising patches of habitat have become vital"

    "They are the most unlikely wildlife refuges: a corporate park next to Interstate 95, a set of retention ponds along Florida's Turnpike in Palm Beach County, a landfill in northern Broward County."

    But these unpromising patches of habitat have become vital to many animal species, particularly migratory birds desperate for resting spots before long journeys to Mexico or Central America. With the spread of strip malls, housing and office buildings across South Florida, birds traveling what's known as the Atlantic Flyway are forced to rely on scraps of habitat that persist amid the concrete and steel.
    "South Florida's unlikely wildlife habitats".

    Term limits

    "Nearly a decade after Palm Beach County voters overwhelmingly approved term limits for county commissioners, the Florida Supreme Court will rule in 2012 on whether those limits are constitutional." "Only two four-year terms for Palm Beach County commissioners? Florida Supreme Court to decide in 2012".

    "A spark for the state's stalled economy"

    "[S]ome big-money backers are touting a new attraction that promises to boost jobs: Casinos. They argue Miami can become a shimmering East Coast version of Las Vegas, generating a spark for the state's stalled economy. Miami's selling points, they argue, could help the area transform itself into a serious rival to Vegas. " "Future of casinos in Florida may come down to jobs".

    Southerland mailer off the mark

    "U. S. Rep. Steve Southerland sent direct mail to his Florida constituents this month with a multiple-choice survey, telling them: 'Make your voice heard in Washington.'"

    However, "Southerland's [mailer] implies the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 didn't help job creation. At one point in his note, he explains: 'Higher taxes, record spending, and bigger government have failed to create jobs or boost economic growth.' What does the evidence say?"

    In November, the Congressional Budget Office released the most recent report, estimating that in the third quarter of 2011, Recovery Act policies:

    • Raised real gross domestic product by between 0.3 percent and 1.9 percent.

    • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.2 percentage points and 1.3 percentage points.

    • Increased the number of people employed by between 0.4 million and 2.4 million.

    • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 0.5 million to 3.3 million. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers.)

    So, since the stimulus bill passed through August 2011, 2.4 million jobs were lost. But without it, 2.8 million to 4.8 million people might be out of work, according to the nonpartisan CBO and private economic analysts.
    "PolitiFact Florida: Florida Republican is close on jobless figures but blame misplaced".

    "A favorable regional image"?

    "Millions of dollars and months of preparation focus on four days in August when tens of thousands of delegates, media, protesters and hangers-on will join Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and friends at the 2012 Republican National Convention."

    But the greater payback for host city Tampa could take place in the years after presidential and vice presidential candidates are selected.

    Sustainable improvements in transportation, economic development, security and high-tech communications are the Tampa Bay Host Committee's key goals beyond a short-term outlook to fill hotel beds and project a favorable regional image to a worldwide audience.
    "GOP convention's afterglow may linger".

    The best we can do?

    "Some ... people to watch in Florida politics in 2012:"

    U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio: One of the few politicians who combines appeal to the tea party movement with solid backing from the Republican establishment. He's coveted as a running mate for the 2012 presidential candidate, a role he says he doesn't want. In any case, he will be a star at the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala: The experienced and canny veteran legislator, often a maverick, is mounting an insurgency against the Tallahassee GOP establishment by challenging the party's pick, Sen. Andy Gardiner of Orlando, for Senate president in the 2015-16 term. ...

    Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio: Is she headed for a race for higher office? Governor? Cabinet? A congressional seat after the district remapping? ...

    Former Gov. Charlie Crist: The rumors never stop. Crist is attending another Democratic fundraiser. Crist is making calls to South Florida Democratic donors. Crist's new boss, superlawyer [?] John Morgan, is pushing him to Democratic leaders. ...

    Former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink: After she won the CFO seat in 2006 in her first run for office, the first new Democratic statewide winner in eight years, she looked like the party's future. ...

    State Sen. Nan Rich: Can a South Florida liberal ever win another statewide election? Rich, an eloquent spokeswoman for the party's most idealistic issues, including education and helping children and the disabled, is likely to try to find out.
    "Poised to make a move?"

    Unnecessary and tragic

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "The accidental deaths earlier this month of a 17-year-old boy and the young man charged with his care and the injuries to six other boys — all in a vehicle that plunged into a canal — were as unnecessary as they are tragic. The boys had no choice in this matter; they were delinquent kids in state custody, placed in a private school." "An accident waiting to happen".

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