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 Sunday, April 08, 2012

Rubio's phony "DREAM Act without the dream"

    The Republican Party's designated Hispanic, Marco Rubio
    is floating a Republican version of the DREAM Act. It’s still just a concept, but with the backing of the leading Hispanic Republican, it’s seen as a way for the GOP to appeal to Latino voters turned off by the party’s harsh rhetoric on immigration. Democrats have already panned it, and a New York Times editorial called it "the DREAM Act without the dream."
    "Marco Rubio, the GOP and the DREAM Act".

    The Times' explains:
    Take Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has recently been floating his stripped-down version of the Dream Act">stripped-down version of the Dream Act, a bill to legalize young unauthorized immigrants — Americans in all but name — who serve in the military or go to college. Mr. Rubio’s idea to make it palatable to his party is to offer them legalization without citizenship. "You can legalize someone’s status," he says, "without placing them on a path toward citizenship." He warns that if Dream Act youths became citizens, they could — horrors — someday sponsor family members to enter legally. This idea is nothing more than some newly invented third-class status — not illegal, but not American.

    It’s the Dream Act without the dream and should be dismissed out of hand, along with similar half-measures embraced by Mitt Romney and other Republican presidential candidates, who endorse legalization for military service but not college, and not citizenship in any case. Representative David Rivera of Florida has offered a limited Dream Act only for those who join the military and has said that he would file another only for youths younger than 18-and-a-half who earn four-year college degrees and wait 10 years to adjust their status.
    "A Dream Act Without the Dream". More from The Hill: "Republicans seeking out Hispanics".

    Florida GOP primary did nothing to settle the nomination

    "The Republican National Committee has cut Florida's delegation from 100 to 50 and promises to limit the number of floor passes and other perks Florida receives to the convention in Tampa as punishment for moving its primary to January in violation of party rules."

    By moving the presidential primary to January, Florida blew up the entire 2012 schedule and by some accounts contributed to the protracted primary that has done little to help the GOP's standing with the public. And contrary to what most Florida leaders predicted, the primary here did nothing to settle the nomination.
    "Florida's GOP won't dodge punishment".

    Florida Republicans freak out over Obama declaring martial law

    "A White House order updating federal emergency powers has raised alarm among some conservative commentators, and [Orlando] U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams, that President Barack Obama is attempting to grab unconstitutional powers."

    A columnist with The Washington Times declared the mid-March order — an update of a 60-year-old document outlining the president's authority in a national emergency — "stunning in its audacity and a flagrant violation of the Constitution." The conservative [wingnut] Drudge Report website linked to it with the headline, "Martial Law?"

    And Adams, R-Orlando, said it "leaves the door open for the president to give himself control over American resources during both times of peace, and national crisis."

    So Adams filed a nonbinding resolution specifying what Obama cannot do with the order — including institute a draft, confiscate personal property and "force civilians to engage in labor against their will or without compensation."

    But legal experts from both ends of the political spectrum said it's a stretch — at best — to believe the order allows any of those powers.

    As written, the executive order outlines the powers the president can exercise "in the event of a potential threat," such as mobilizing for war. These range from the mundane, such as preparing disaster plans, to more robust authority that includes taking control of civil transportation and forcing U.S. companies to prioritize defense contracts.

    All this has been on the books for decades. ...

    [Nevertheless,] Adams' resolution has at least 37 co-sponsors, including six Florida Republicans: Gus Bilirakis, Jeff Miller, Richard Nugent, Dennis Ross, Steve Southerland and Allen West. It has yet to receive a committee hearing.
    "Orlando's Rep. Adams fears Obama power grab".

    Rubio burnishes VP cred, claims he can see Cuba from Florida

    Can you imagine a weaker VP candidate? "Online bookmaker gives Rubio good odds".

    "Lest anyone doubt the importance of Florida's 29 electoral votes"

    Adam Smith: "Lest anyone doubt the importance of Florida's 29 electoral votes to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, consider the schedule taking shape for this week:"

    Obama will speak Tuesday at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton about the so-called Buffet Rule that would apply to millionaires the same effective tax rate that middle-class Americans pay.

    Then on Thursday, first lady Michelle Obama will give a speech to high school junior and senior girls and their families at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, part of a program to honor military families.

    Now we're hearing that the White House is looking into the president stopping in Tampa on Friday for an official event.
    "Obama's Florida visits reveal importance of state's electoral votes".

    Tax dollars subsidizing the Chamber

    "$2M in public dollars went to area pro-business groups".

    Trayvon killing boosts voter-registration drive

    "On Palm Sunday, LaVon Bracy stood before the congregation of New Covenant Baptist Church in Orlando and announced plans to participate in an effort by 50,000 black congregations nationwide to register 1 million voters on Easter Sunday." "Trayvon Martin killing boosts Easter voter-registration drive".

    Wingnuts whine about turnout

    Anthony Man: "First came the prayer, then the politics."

    The venues couldn't have been more antithetical – one night at McKenna's Place, an Irish pub in Greenacres, the next at Calvary Chapel, the megachurch based in Fort Lauderdale – but the purpose was the same.

    The objective: inspiring South Floridians Christians to undertake a new form of outreach, with the goal of toppling President Barack Obama. They were enlisted to reach out to the thousands of other area Christians who aren't registered to vote, sell them on signing up, and mobilize new and old Christian voters alike to cast ballots this fall.

    "We're organizing Florida to take back America," said John Stemberger, president of the Orlando-based Florida Family Policy Council, a group with conservative views on social issues that include combating abortion and gay marriage.

    "This is very, very critical," Stemberger told about 175 potential volunteers who gathered one recent evening at Calvary's Fort Lauderdale campus. "What you do or don't do in the next seven months could mean the difference in who is running the free world. It's that serious."

    His comments aren't hyperbole. Several key demographic groups – the young, seniors, blacks, Hispanics, and Jews, as well as conservative Christians – could tip the balance in the state on Election Day and determine which candidate wins Florida's 29 electoral votes and the presidency.

    Stemberger didn't provide specific numbers of unregistered Christians in his speech or in a subsequent email interview. But the political arm of the national Family Research Council, another socially conservative political organization affiliated with his group, reported that when Obama won Florida by 236,450 votes in 2008, the state was home to 668,890 conservative Christians[*] who didn't cast ballots because they weren't registered.

    "With a fraction of that, we can win Florida," Stemberger told his audience in Fort Lauderdale. "These are people who would vote the right [sic] way if they were registered."

    Stemberger, a former political director of the Florida Republican Party, and his supporters are clear: the right way means preventing Obama, a Democrat, from securing a second term.
    "Unregistered Christian voters could turn tide in presidential election".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *One suspects that the Family Research Council (mistakenly) conflates the words "conservative" and "Christian" .

    Obama beating Romney among women by 14% in Florida

    Adam Smith: "Four years ago Obama narrowly won Florida when he beat John McCain among women by 5 percentage points, according to exit polls. A Quinnipiac University poll of Florida voters in late March showed Obama beating Romney among women by 14 points and leading the state overall by 7 points."

    While debates over contraceptive coverage or Planned Parenthood have drawn much of the media attention lately, the gender gap extends to a wide array of issues.

    "For more than a decade, women have been more likely than men to favor an active role for government. And recent surveys show that higher percentages of women than men say that government should do more for the poor, children and the elderly," Pew Research said in a recently released report.

    Quinnipiac's Brown suggested the wide gender gap apparent lately is related to much more than Limbaugh outbursts.

    "Women tend to be more risk averse and more security oriented," he said. "The Republicans for the most part are for cuts in budgets that women more than men see as potentially a threat to their economic security and those around them."

    Recent polls point to independent and swing voter women moving toward Democrats in recent months, but there also is anecdotal evidence that the GOP rhetoric has helped energize the Democratic base.

    Anne Sankowski, 58, a retired postal worker in Tampa, said she started volunteering for the Obama campaign in September after listening to then-candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry sound "like religious fanatics."

    That, along with the union-busting efforts in Wisconsin and talk of cutting Medicare for future beneficiaries, fired her up to get active politically: "It's just everything they've been talking about for the last six months is backward movement not just for women, but for everybody.''
    "Republicans have a woman problem that Romney must take seriously". Related: "Democrats plan rally to highlight claims of Republican war on women".

    When did Kingsley get his law degeree?

    They talk a lot about the horrific end of the lochner era between rounds of golf down at the country club.

    Kingsley Guy, who apparently thinks he's a lawyer, pontificates on constitutional law today: "Florida, now the nation's fourth most populous state, has been playing a bigger role in the political life of the country. So it should come as no surprise that the ObamaCare lawsuit has a strong Florida connection. The suit was brought by 26 states, but it was Florida under former Attorney General Bill McCollum that initially launched the challenge."

    Many Florida Democrats heaped abuse on McCollum at the time, labeling him a political hack who was wasting money pursuing baseless legal arguments. But those not blinded by left-wing zealotry, and who had a fundamental understanding of federalism, recognized immediately the challenges had merit. ...

    Since the principle of "judicial review" was established by the 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision, the Supreme Court has overturned all sorts of laws because they didn't pass constitutional muster. As for passing by a "strong majority," the health care legislation achieved only the 60 votes in the Senate needed to make it filibuster-proof. As for House, the "strong majority" amounted to only seven votes.

    Does the president really believe the American people are so stupid that they'll accept such a statement as fact? Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, but if this is any indication of the quality of his instruction, his students should ask for their money back.
    "Health care poses pointed questions".

    "Political assault on higher education"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "This year Florida lawmakers launched what former Gov. Bob Graham aptly described as "a political assault on higher education." How rough was it?"

    -Lawmakers passed a budget that would slash $300 million in funding for the state's 11 public universities, directing them to raid their reserves and ratcheting up pressure on them for another year of 15 percent tuition hikes.

    -For the University of Florida and Florida State University, lawmakers eliminated the upper limit on raising tuition, creating the likelihood that students at those schools will have to swallow even higher annual hikes.

    -Yet lawmakers also added to the financial stress on the system by caving to Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander's parochial crusade to create a 12th university, Florida Polytechnic University, from a University of South Florida branch with locations in and around his district. Groups representing USF students, faculty and alumni came out against the idea, but Alexander bullied colleagues into backing it.
    "Rick Scott should turn back assault on universities".

    Voucher madness

    "Political, legal fights over school vouchers' fate".

    "Nuclear advance fee" lawsuit

    "A group of four legislators say the Florida law that requires utility customers to pay in advance for new nuclear plants is unconstitutional and have joined a lawsuit asking the state Supreme Court to overturn it." "Four Florida lawmakers join lawsuit against nuclear advance fee".

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