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, March 26, 2012

"Rubio feverishly positioning himself" for VP slot

    Adam C. Smith and Alex Leary write that, "for a guy who keeps insisting he has no interest in being vice president, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio appears to be feverishly positioning himself for the job."
    Rubio this month took the unusual step of asking the Florida Ethics Commission to close out a complaint that he misused Republican Party and campaign money "to subsidize his lifestyle" while in the Legislature.

    His political committee has spent more than $40,000 for investigators to research for negative attacks that could surface against him.

    And last week the Florida senator announced he is rushing publication of his memoir to June from February. That will help him frame his story before a presumably less-flattering unauthorized biography is released in July and will ensure him waves of publicity before the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.

    "Marco's saying all the right things, because nobody who wants to be vice president should admit it. But he's bound to be on the nominee's short list and he's smart to prepare for it now,'' said Ana Navarro, a Republican fundraiser and Rubio friend in Miami. "If he does get asked, it will be very hard to say no."
    Much more here: "'Saying all the right things'". See also "Can Florida Finally Cash In on the Veepstakes in 2012?".

    "Cowards of Tallahassee who loaded the gun"

    Daniel Ruth: "Outrage abounds. A 17-year-old young man on a fatal Skittles run to a nearby convenience store is gunned down by the neighborhood Barney Fife from hell who claims, because of a supremely stupid state law, that he was defending himself."

    Go ahead. Be as outraged as you want over the killing of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman, a Sanford subdivision busybody with Charles Bronson issues. But save just a bit of your anger. You're probably going to need it as long as the Florida Legislature continues to meet and as long as that gathering of beagles in the House and Senate and governor's mansion continue to serve as the fawning factotums of the National Rifle Association.
    "Thanks to the Florida Legislature, a wholly owned personal foot massager for the NRA's Marion Hammer, the Madame Defarge of the Smith & Wesson set, two knuckleheaded laws got passed."
    First Tallahassee made it easier for yahoos like George Zimmerman to carry a concealed weapon. As of late last year, Florida had issued nearly 900,000 concealed weapons permits, which are easier to obtain than Fourth of July fireworks. Or put another way, six out of every 100 adult Floridians are secretly packing, which included, of course, the Sherlock Holmes of Sanford. Feeling all warm and secure, are you?

    So not only did the Florida Legislature, the lap dogs of Marion Hammer, make it easier for every rube in the state to walk around with a concealed weapon under their pelts, then they made it more convenient to be able to shoot people. Killing field kismet?

    Seven years ago the Legislature passed its "stand your ground" law, that says no person has an obligation to retreat from a threat (which would seem to be a pretty good idea) even if that is the only safe option.

    In both cases, police agency officials, prosecutors and judges, begged the Legislature not to pass the concealed carry and "stand your ground" bills arguing the measures would make their jobs more difficult and lead to needless violence.

    They were right. And they were ignored by a cowering Legislature more afraid of incurring the wrath of Marion Hammer, than concerned with protecting the public.

    George Zimmerman may be the one who shot Trayvon Martin, but it was the cowards of Tallahassee who loaded the gun.
    "Looking for blame in Martin case?".

    "NRA usually dictates the storyline in Florida’s Capitol"

    "With Trayvon Martin’s death, Florida’s 'Stand Your Ground' law and the National Rifle Association’s agenda are in the crosshairs."

    And the NRA probably couldn’t be happier to stand its ground.

    Chances state lawmakers will strike the deadly force law from the books: Nil.

    Chances it will be amended: Slight.

    Chances the NRA will get to boast of a win: High.

    That means bragging rights, a happy membership and, ultimately, more money for an organization that can boast of its effectiveness in the state Capitol.

    The NRA relishes a fight. But it has gotten nearly everything it wanted out of Florida’s Legislature. And that could become a strange problem — for the NRA. ...

    And it’s the NRA that usually dictates the storyline in Florida’s Capitol.
    "NRA ready to stand its ground over Stand Your Ground".

    "Tough Political Choices" for some Senators

    "With the new Senate maps expected to easily pass the House next week, lawmakers in the upper chamber and potential candidates for those seats are beginning to evaluate their electoral futures."

    Perhaps the most intense decisions will be made by those lawmakers who are facing decisions based on the districts they were drawn into or out of. For example, Sen. David Simmons of Maitland said he will relocate after being drawn into the same district with fellow Republican Andy Gardiner of Orlando, slated to become Senate president in 2014.

    "I will move back to Seminole County," Simmons said. ...

    A tougher decision might be ahead for Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton. Despite media reports to the contrary, Sachs apparently lives in the new District 25. That places her just outside of the reconfigured District 34, which includes Republican Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale and contains about 40 percent of Sachs' current district.

    Both of the new districts are staunchly Democratic, but running in District 25 could spark a contested primary between Sachs and Rep. Joe Abruzzo, a Wellington Democrat who is expected to run in that district. ...

    Other lawmakers face different questions. Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, would be allowed to hold onto his seat until 2016 under the current map -- two years after his term as Senate president would come to an end. That's because he was assigned an odd number in the raffle the Senate Reapportionment Committee held to decide which lawmakers would get two-year terms and which would get four years.

    Gaetz said he hasn't decided whether to stay on after his leadership role came to an end.
    Much more here: "Some Senators Facing Tough Political Choices". Meanwhile, "Ball bounces just right for Sen. Detert".

    The Sarasota Herald-Tribune editorial board: "Better Senate districts".

    "Perhaps no state has as much at stake as Florida"

    Barbara Peters Smith: "When oral arguments begin Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court over the controversial health care coverage 'mandate' in the Affordable Care Act, perhaps no state has as much at stake as Florida. State leaders have refused tens of millions in federal funds for implementing early portions of the 2010 law, betting on the success of a 26-state legal challenge that has finally reached the nation’s highest court." "Florida has much at stake as Supreme Court reviews health care mandate". See also "Health care law has Supreme stakes for all Floridians".

    "Misbegotten law"

    The Miami Herald editorial board joins the "Stand your ground" debate: "This misbegotten law is at the root of the absence of an arrest in Trayvon’s killing. (Even the lawmakers who sponsored the the ill-conceived Stand Your Ground are flummoxed that it’s being cited in this case.)"

    The law is poorly understood, unevenly applied throughout the state and, worst of all, has become a license to kill under a variety of suspect circumstances.

    As questions whirl around the law’s implications in the Martin/Zimmerman case, in Miami-Dade County last week, Circuit Judge Beth Bloom dismissed a second-degree murder case citing Stand Your Ground. She granted Greyston Garcia immunity, as the law allows, after ruling his testimony about self-defense was credible. Mr. Garcia chased a car burglar for more than a block, stabbed him and killed him. Perhaps the task force can get to the bottom of how someone can stand his ground at the same time he is giving chase to a fleeing suspect.
    "Revoke this license to kill". More here from Fred Grimm: "Stand-your-ground law had a sad history before Trayvon".

    Scott abandons Fla-baggers

    "The tea-party movement, dominated by conservative voters who champion drastically reining in government expenditures, sent Scott to victory in 2010. But since he has started to tone down his tea-party rhetoric, he has seen a slight uptick in his approval ratings."

    Last year, after the end of his first legislative session as governor, Scott was polling at only 29 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University poll. By January of this year, following a media blitz and his pledge to increase education spending, his positive rating had risen to 38 percent.
    "For some in tea party, honeymoon with Gov. Scott is over".

    The Smiths

    Nancy Smith writes that "Rod Smith's attempt to keep politics out of the Trayvon Martin tragedy is honest and courageous and entirely the right thing to do." "Gutsy Reminder From Democrat Rod Smith: 'Stand Your Ground' Was Bipartisan".

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