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 Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Marco Rubio uttering illiterate phooey"

    Daniel Ruth: "Marco Rubio uttering illiterate phooey in South Carolina in a craven attempt to goose your vice presidential aspirations."
    If anyone needs a cold shower and an American history tutorial, it would certainly be Rubio, who traveled to South Carolina a few days ago to get his freshman beanie in a wad over the presidential campaign.
    "Memo to Rubio: There are these things called books. They used to be all the rage. If the senator had ever bothered to thumb through a few history tomes, he might have discovered that Obama is a summer of love compared to some other figures who have traipsed through the nation's life."
    The vice presidential pick is supposed to be something of an attack dog. But is Mitt Romney seriously thinking about a running mate who can only chase his tail and still thinks he's in the hunt?

    Rubio was only getting warmed up, hinting that those who have attended Harvard and Yale are out of touch with the real world. That was a not-too-subtle swipe at Obama, who went to Harvard's law school.

    Uh, Sen. Rubio? Mitt Romney, the chap you are fawning over like a Lady Gaga groupie? He went to Harvard. Probably not the brightest move to impugn the nominee's school.

    Rubio has inherited Gingrich's rhetorical mantle of grand, absolutist, twaddle-filled statements. When it comes to notoriously divisive figures in American history, he opted to study at the foot of a grandmaster.
    "Rubio’s ridiculous red-meat, red-state rhetoric".

    Scott cares more about creating election problems than solving them

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Gov. Scott, his appointed secretary of state and the Legislature care more about creating election problems than solving election problems. Florida's independently elected supervisors of elections correctly have pushed back against Secretary of State Ken Detzner."

    First, Mr. Detzner sent the supervisors a survey that he intended to use to grade each of them. He was arrogant to send the survey, and his grading scheme was as bogus as the state's formula for grading schools. Supervisors, for example, were to earn extra points for turning in the survey on time, which has no relation to how well supervisors can do their jobs.

    Mr. Detzner, whom Gov. Scott appointed in February, gave up on his silly survey idea. Then his office put together a list of 2,600 registered voters suspected of being non-citizens and told supervisors to write an official letter to each, demanding proof of citizenship. That obvious attempt at voter intimidation fell apart when supervisors pointed out that the list contained errors.

    It felt much like 2000, when elected Secretary of State Katherine Harris used another error-riddled list to purge alleged felons from voting rolls. That year, the worry among Republicans like Ms. Harris was that a heavy African-American turnout would give Florida to Al Gore over George W. Bush, the governor's brother. Blacks make up a disproportionate share of Floridians who can't vote because of felony convictions.

    This time in Florida, the Obama and Romney campaigns are focused on Hispanic voters. Mr. Detzner's order targets newer Hispanic immigrants, who might be more likely to vote Democratic. Older Hispanic voters are more like the reliably Republican Cuban-Americans. The move also was a reminder that Gov. Scott used immigration fear-mongering to win his primary in 2010.
    "Perhaps if Democrats ran Tallahassee, they would be trying to suppress Republican turnout. Or maybe the effort at least would be less obvious."
    But for 12 years, the effort in Florida for the most part has been in tilting the elections process to favor Republicans, who never forgave Charlie Crist for extending early voting in 2008. Gov. Scott and Mr. Detzner say they aren't doing the same. Early returns don't provide them with the benefit of the doubt.
    "Purge partisan advantage".

    Related: "Critics question plan to close dozens of polling places". Meanwhile, "State purges 7,000 felons from voting rolls".

    We'll go with "dumber"

    "The folks at the Sunlight Foundation — best known for its work on campaign finance and lobbying issues in Congress — has done a fascinating new study of the language used by members of Congress. Their conclusion: those of you who think that members of Congress sound less intelligent (and use fewer big words) are right."

    "Congress now speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did just seven years ago, with the most conservative members of Congress speaking on average at the lowest grade level ..."

    The most dumbed-down — or plain-spoken — member of the Florida delegation will likely be a surprise to many. It’s U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, someone who by reputation is known as a colorful, clear and effective speaker but whose remarks the study found are pitched at a 9.4 grade level.
    "Study: Congressional speech is dumber – or maybe more plain-spoken – than it was 7 years ago". See also "Is Congress getting dumber, or just more plainspoken?" See also "Is Mack the dumbest speaker in Congress? It's complicated".

    "Lobbying on behalf of private businesses worked out swimmingly"

    Fred Grimm: "Across the state, 33 counties and 67 cities hired capitol lobbyists. Cities and county officials say that they need their own lobbyists to get heard amid the clamor of 2,000 registered lobbyists representing corporate interests. Oddly enough, they’re often the same lobbyists, representing both private and public clients."

    Here’s how that worked out. Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $147 million worth of local earmarks in the state budget, despite all that lobbying power in Tallahassee, zapping courthouse repairs and road projects and seaport renovations and a long list of worthy public projects.

    Meanwhile, lobbying on behalf of private businesses worked out swimmingly — with $750 million in tax breaks this year, more than $2.5 billion over the next three years.

    With that kind of disparity, it makes you wonder why city and county commissioners bother. Perhaps because the same lobbyists they hire, with such tepid results, to represent them in Tallahassee do a much better job making sure their political sugardaddies back home get re-elected. Lobbyists, along with members of their extended families, perhaps their family dogs, write checks for the maximum legal campaign contributions for their benefactors. They organize fancy fund-raisers that bring in even more money from their corporate clients. Until incumbents amass such formidable campaign accounts that opponents are overwhelmed.

    City and county taxpayers may not get much return on the public money spent on lobbyists, but the city and county commissioners who approve the expenditures sure do. It’s as if they’re funding their own campaigns with taxpayer money.

    Suddenly, I see the logic.
    "The method behind the madness of governments hiring lobbyists".

    Orlando gathering of "citizen watchdogs" welcomes O'Keefe

    Kenric Ward:

    "Your real enemy is the mainstream media," [James O'Keefe] told an Orlando gathering of "citizen watchdogs" hosted by the conservative Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity over the weekend. "The media aren't just biased, they're lying and trying to protect what's going on."
    "Bureaucrats, Media Enable Voter Fraud, James O'Keefe Says".

    Same-sex classrooms

    "ACLU: "Many" same-sex classrooms in Florida may be illegal".

    Florida Innocence Commission

    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "No one wants to see an innocent person wrongfully convicted of a crime, but it happens all too frequently. How to make it happen less often is the charge of the Florida Innocence Commission, which was established by the Florida Supreme Court in 2010. The commission met Monday in Tampa and will continue its hearings today. When the commission wraps up its work at the end of June, it should be prepared to propose serious reforms. Wrongful convictions are finally getting attention, but only bold changes will reduce the number of innocent people going to prison." "Bold change needed to reduce wrongful convictions".

    "Public relations extravaganza"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "On Monday, just days after the FCAT writing fiasco that forced state education officials to grade the test on a curve so that almost three-fourths of students who took the exam wouldn’t flunk it, Tallahassee launched a public relations extravaganza." "Getting it right this time". See also "FCAT Writing Solution: Split the Baby".

    Mack demands criminal investigation of LeMieux

    "The team behind Republican Senate hopeful Connie Mack on Monday continued to drill primary rival for his ties to former Gov. Charlie Crist -- and demanded the U.S. Department of Justice launch a criminal investigation that LeMieux used improper influence to get Crist to appoint him to the Senate." "Connie Mack Calls for Federal Investigation of Charlie Crist Senate Appointment of George LeMieux". See also "Mack wants LeMieux's appointment probed".

    "Nothing says 'Elect Romney!' like an unpopular multimillionaire"

    "This is unwelcome news for Mitt Romney: Florida Gov. Rick Scott expects a high-profile speaking slot at the Republican National Convention."

    Nothing says “Elect Mitt Romney!” like an unpopular multimillionaire awkwardly making the case on national TV.
    "Picking speakers at GOP convention is tricky task".

    "Bogdanoff and Sachs appear headed for an expensive clash"

    "In their quest to regain relevance in the Florida legislature, Democrats are zeroing in on a newly drawn Palm Beach-Broward Senate district where a pair of incumbent Senators -- Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff and Democrat Maria Sachs -- appear headed for an expensive clash." "Sachs-Bogdanoff state Senate race is No. 1 race for Florida Dems, party chief says".


    "The South Florida Water Management District wants to swap some its land for Mecca Farms -- the former orange grove that has been sitting idle since Palm Beach County bought it for $60 million as a potential site for The Scripps Research Institute in 2004." "Mecca Farms proposed for Everglades restoration".

    "The insurance industry denied it"

    "A legislator said a glitch in the car insurance bill could allow companies to deny some claims. The insurance industry denied it." "PIP reform loophole cited".

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