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 Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rubio offers Romney "sloppiness, surprise or risk"

    "Rubio just gave Republican Mitt Romney 8,000 reasons to not pick him as a vice presidential running mate."
    Rubio’s 2010 Senate campaign was fined $8,000 by the Federal Elections Commission, according to a just-released report that said it received “prohibited, excessive and other impermissible contributions totaling $210,173.09.”

    By itself, the fine is a pittance for a campaign that raised about $21 million. The errors appear to be relatively small and largely clerical.

    Still, it’s sloppy. It’s also a surprise. And it feeds into a broader narrative that Rubio is risky.

    Romney’s campaign isn’t the type that suffers sloppiness, surprise or risk. Meantime, the New York-Washington media establishment seems eager to portray the 40-year-old Rubio as unprepared to be a heartbeat away from the White House.

    “He is not ready to be on a national ticket in 2012,” former Pensacola Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough said on his Morning Joe program on MSNBC. “He’s not ready to be in the Oval Office. He’s not ready to be vice president of the United States.”

    Others, including Alberto Gonzales, White House counsel and attorney general under former President George W. Bush, believe he would be a poor VP pick.

    Scarborough made his comments the day before Friday’s disclosure of Rubio’s fine.

    To be sure, Rubio is still beloved by tea party activists and conservative leaders, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
    "Still, this isn’t Rubio’s first bookkeeping problem."
    In 2008, The Miami Herald discovered he failed to properly disclose a generous home loan from a politically connected bank. About the same time, he appeared to ring up some personal expenses on a Republican Party of Florida credit card that was established for political purposes. The Herald and the Tampa Bay Times then discovered Rubio double-billed taxpayers and the RPOF card $3,000 for flights, the costs for which he then reimbursed the state.

    Then, late last year, a Rubio critic alerted the press to the fact that the senator’s official website incorrectly said his parents fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba. They actually had fled dictator Fulgencio Batista’s Cuba.

    The Herald/Times first reported the story, and was followed the next day by a Washington Post reporter who is writing an unauthorized Rubio biography. That story, though, incorrectly suggested Rubio had personally repeated the falsehood on multiple occasions. Rubio is writing a rival autobiography.

    Just last week, in a follow-up, the Post reporter (by way of the Politico website) unearthed a story about the Cuban-immigration struggles of Rubio’s maternal grandfather — whom U.S. authorities ordered deported in 1962 — and tried to compare it to the plight of modern-day immigrants from Mexico.

    The piece about Rubio’s grandfather came just as Rubio is winning accolades [from whom?] for a scaled-back DREAM Act immigration proposal to help children of undocumented immigrants. Another Washington Post report noted that the Obama White House appears worried about handing Rubio a win over immigration — a central talking point for Democrats this year.

    Opponents are quick to draw attention to every misstep by Rubio.

    When Rubio misplaced the final page of a well-regarded foreign-policy speech at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday, liberal commentators happily noted that Rubio should invest in a Teleprompter, which he has criticized Obama for using.
    Much more: "Case against Marco Rubio for VP grows by $8,000".

    Adam C. Smith: "Rubio is actually losing a little ground in the veepstakes. Why? Rubio may still be the most popular choice among grass root activists, but there's more and more chatter among the Beltway chattering class that picking the 40-year-old Rubio invites more risk than reward."
    George Will, touting Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, recently derided "Faux realists" arguing that a running mate can win over a particular state or demographic such as Latino voters. Respected political analyst Stuart Rothenberg made a similar case last week, noting the vice presidential candidates rarely "deliver" their home states or win over some demographic group.

    In Slate, John Dickerson called Rubio "this year's Sarah Palin" and suggested Romney would undercut his argument as the candidate of executive experience if he tapped Rubio.

    And then there was former Panhandle Rep. Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe last week: "Marco Rubio's a great guy, he's got a compelling story, and my God what a great demographic he will speak to on a national ticket some day. But he is not ready to be on a national ticket in 2012. … I would just warn those who are fans of Marco Rubio, who think they are doing him a favor by pushing him center stage right after he's been elected to the United States Senate: Back off. You're going to hurt him in the long run, because he's not ready to be in the Oval Office, he's not ready to be president of the United States."
    "Rubio may be losing some ground in the veepstakes".

    That said, one can only hope Rubio actually does get the nod. What better way to drive a stake into the political futures of two of the emptiest suits in the land.

    Mini Mack flip flops

    "U.S. Rep. Connie Mack has been urging the public to sign his petition to promote more domestic drilling. He says he's "always" been in favor of it, but that's not accurate." "Mack's drilling position changes".

    "Florida is on a dangerous course"

    "The public took notice when the state Legislature approved an expensive new university program and pushed aside the panel created to keep empire-building politics out of state university matters."

    It was 10 years ago, and more than 60 percent of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment creating a Board of Governors with the power to operate, regulate and be "fully responsible" for the entire state university system.

    Here we are again.

    A single, powerful lawmaker pushed a bill through the state Legislature this year creating a university in Lakeland, his backyard. It sidelined a Board of Governors' plan to create Florida Polytechnic University years down the road, after it met criteria to prove it could survive.

    Former Florida governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham has a word for that: "unconstitutional."

    University governance scholar Richard Novak doesn't go that far, but says Florida is on a dangerous course.
    "Political maneuvering over Poly is deja vu".

    Is Rubio "just an echo of yesterday?"

    About Rubio, Pat Buchanan asks, "as NATO already encompasses Poland and the Baltic states, what additional nations would Rubio bring in under our nuclear umbrella?"

    It is the George W. Bush idea of bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which would commit us to war with Russia over who owns the Crimean Peninsula and who is sovereign in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

    What vital U.S. interest is wrapped up in these regions?

    Absolutely none.

    All belonged to the old Soviet Union. Not even the toughest Cold War presidents dreamed of going to war over them.

    Is Marco Rubio tomorrow's man. Or is he just an echo of yesterday?
    "Rubio: Tomorrow's man — or yesterday's?".

    Scott ranks SOEs

    Nancy Smith: "Florida elections supervisors can object all they want. The fact is, Gov. Rick Scott's survey and subsequent ranking of the state's 67 elections officials was an act of leadership. And a good one at that. It shed a long-overdue light on the importance of an office taken for granted by too many Floridians. (Have a look at the supervisor rankings in the /Supervisor of Elections Survey, 2012': Supervisor of Elections Survey, April 2012 (.pdf))" "Scrutinizing Elections Supers: Give Gov. Rick Scott Credit".

    RPOF urges Romney to Fla-bag

    Bill Cotterell:"Republican Party of Florida leaders think Mitt Romney can win the state's 29 electoral votes -- and the White House -- by copying the game plan that lifted Gov. Rick Scott from obscurity to the Governor's Mansion two years ago."

    "If we lose, it will be our fault," Scott told members of of the GOP state executive committee at a weekend meeting. "We have every opportunity to win, and Florida is the bellwether of the country."

    As a wealthy hospital executive making his first bid for public office, Scott tapped into tea party anger against professional politicians in 2010 and won on a platform of creating jobs and reducing the size and cost of government. Romney won the Florida primary Jan. 31 and was guaranteed the presidential nomination with a five-state sweep of primaries last week but changes in his positions on issues important to the party's conservative base, including abortion and government health care, have given the former Massachusetts governor major fence-mending needs.
    "RPOF sees tea party route as way for Romney to win Florida".

    Altman too moderate?

    "Sen. Thad Altman of Melbourne -- described by some among the GOP faithful as "a moderate Republican" -- could be facing major challenges from members of his own party as he prepares to run for a second term. First elected in 2008, Altman’s district (SD 24) currently includes parts of Brevard,‭ ‬Orange and Seminole counties. The new district, SD 16, passed by the Senate and approved by the Florida Supreme Court on Friday, contains parts of Brevard and Indian River counties." "Is Sen. Thad Altman Now Looking at Major GOP Primary Opposition?".

    Rubio explains Violence Against Women Act vote

    "Rubio last week voted against a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and Florida Democrats pounced, calling it a "gross display of partisanship and extremism over sound policy." (Sen. Bill Nelson joined the majority in favor of the bill, which passed 68-31.)"

    But Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said Rubio opposed a provision that would divert 30 percent of STOP grants for domestic violence programs to combat sexual assault.
    "How Rubio voted".

    "Combustible combination of religion and politics"

    "It sounds as appealing as apple pie: ensuring religious freedom."

    In reality, a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution facing the state's voters is a much more complicated, and combustible, combination of religion and politics.

    Already, activists across the political spectrum are forming political action committees, holding news conferences and setting up websites as they mobilize for battle between now and November.

    The focus of their attention is proposed Amendment 8, which would rewrite the "religious freedom" section of the state Constitution. It would remove the longstanding ban on taxpayer funding of churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions and replace it with completely opposite language prohibiting state or local governments from withholding money based on religious belief.
    "Florida voters face choice over religion, politics".

    "When you get what you asked for, it is almost never what you wanted"

    "A lot of Republicans will be cheering if the U.S. Supreme Court declares much or all of the health care law unconstitutional this summer. But then what? "The Republicans need to be at the forefront with a plan. Symbolically we repealed ObamaCare, if you will, when we first got elected last January. But yet we've done nothing to replace it," U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, lamented ...." "After the court rules".

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