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 Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Scott blindsides Cuban community, Rivera ready to take Scott to court

    "Scott began Tuesday morning as the darling of Miami’s Cuban exile community, but by day’s end he was being vilified for the way he handled a bill cracking down on companies that do business with Cuba and Syria."
    Shortly after praising their fellow Republican for signing the law at the historic Freedom Tower, Cuban-American lawmakers at the event learned Scott issued a letter that essentially declared the law unenforceable.

    The lawmakers — members of Congress, legislators and local commissioners — said Scott blindsided them and undermined the legislation, which prohibits state and local taxpayers from hiring firms that do work in Cuba and Syria. Multi-national firms and the Florida Chamber of Commerce worry about the law’s potential impact.

    After a heated telephone conversation with Scott, Congressman David Rivera said he was ready to take the governor to court.
    "Fla. Gov. Rick Scott signs Cuba-crackdown bill, but event turns into a public relations fiasco". See also "Gov. Scott's foreign policy: no business with Cuba or Syria" and "Rick Scott Signs Embargo on Business Contracts with Cuba and Syria".

    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Gov. Rick Scott might be the jobs governor, all right — for other gulf states. They are poised to benefit from wrongheaded legislation Scott signed into law Tuesday that penalizes firms for doing business in Cuba. That may make the governor more popular among the vocal but dwindling number of hard-line Cuban-Americans in Miami. But the law puts Florida's publicly owned ports and airports at a disadvantage, and it creates a new barrier as the state looks to capitalize on foreign trade. That's some strategy for the global economy."
    The law prohibits companies that do business in Cuba from securing contracts with state or local governments worth more than $1 million. Any contracts existing before the law takes effect July 1 also could be terminated. ...

    In a bill signing Tuesday in Miami, Scott acknowledged the law could cost the state jobs but said standing up for freedom is important because "principles matter." But this law does nothing to end the Castro communist regime. To the contrary, it targets legitimate businesses at home and abroad that operate on an island where federal law already allows at least limited economic activity. ...

    Making foreign policy from Tallahassee and signing a law that is constitutionally suspect and impossible to enforce hardly inspires confidence within the business community. Business leaders across the state, along with Florida's top two trading partners, Brazil and Canada, had warned the law could discourage investment from foreign firms. ...

    None of this stopped the show Tuesday in Miami. The probusiness governor signed into law a political statement that is bad for business, and it is another example of his failure to understand the diversity of his adopted state.
    "Scott signs away jobs".

    "RNC insists it wasn't punishing Florida delegation"

    "The Republican National Committee insists it wasn't punishing the Florida delegation by putting them so far away. People riding the bus might disagree." "Florida's RNC delegates may face dreary ride to the convention hall".

    "If America's economy is in the toilet, Florida's is in the sewer"

    Scott Maxwell writes that, "as recent stories about bungled payoffs, unethical arrangements and buddy-buddy deals have revealed, Florida is losing."

    We write checks to companies that don't provide jobs. We cut corporate tax breaks galore.

    Basically, Florida politicians trip over themselves trying to find ways to give your money to corporate execs.

    And it's not working.

    Florida's economy is still worse than America's in general.

    Our unemployment rate is higher. Our average salary is lower.

    More Floridians are uninsured. Our foreclosure rate leads the nation.

    If America's economy is in the toilet, Florida's is in the sewer.

    Yet all Florida politicians want to do is scream about problems in Washington.
    "Incentives no way to build state economy".

    "Changes must be made"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Justice Barbara Pariente pointed out in a separate, concurring opinion, there wasn’t enough time to deliberate any longer without disrupting the election cycle. After lamenting the time constraints put on the court to review new maps, she added, 'If it is this court’s role to be the guardian of the constitution’s intent, I believe that changes must be made to the process to ensure that the purpose of the [redistricting] amendment — to take politics out of the apportionment equation — can be fully realized.'" "Redistricting — legal, but flawed".

    "Rubio can breathe easier"

    Adam C. Smith writes that "Marco Rubio can breathe easier."

    A soon-to-be released biography of the Republican vice presidential contender turns out to be a nuanced and largely flattering portrait of one of the most exciting figures on the national stage, rather than the hatchet job some Rubio allies had feared. ...

    For Americans just getting to know Rubio, there is plenty in the book to raise eyebrows — criticism that he used Republican Party credit cards and political committees for personal expenses, for instance — though most of that has been detailed by the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald. Those allegations did little to damage Rubio's Senate campaign in 2010.

    The book recounts his longtime friendship with U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, who has been engulfed in assorted investigations into his personal finances and consulting work. And it delves into Rubio having often said or implied that his parents fled Fidel Castro, when in fact they immigrated to Miami before Castro took power.

    Roig-Franzia writes: Whether Rubio intended to mislead voters or simply never investigated the circumstances of his family's arrival is a question only he can answer. What is clear is that during his rise he placed great emphasis on his family's narrative, and he was eager to identify himself as the son of exiles.

    Likewise, tea party conservatives unfamiliar with Rubio's legislative record may be surprised he often supported big spending, whether it was public money for a new baseball stadium or local projects. ...

    Of Rubio's start in Washington, he writes: Power came to those who waited. But Rubio was not one who waited. Validation outside the building — on blogs, among conservative activists, on Twitter and Facebook — gave him more stroke inside it. More stroke inside the building gave him more validation outside it.

    He also notes the hardball tactics Rubio's media handlers use to guard his image, including a well-publicized skirmish with Univision when it started to report about an old criminal arrest of Rubio's brother-in-law. Rubio's team argued that the network was going after a private citizen and said Univision offered to spike the story if Rubio agreed to an interview with their star anchor, Jorge Ramos. Univision denies that.

    Roig-Franzia recounts a heated conference call about the story between Univision editors and Rubio's staff, including political adviser Todd Harris. Harris, the book says, at one point asked if the editors thought it would be appropriate to "poke into the private life of Jorge Ramos."

    Roig-Franzia writes: The Univision staffers heard the question as a threat. For a consultant who represents a senator who sits on committees with subpoena power to make such a suggestion made … those journalists uncomfortable.

    Harris called that "insane" and said he never said that.

    The book also delves into Rubio's unusual religious journey, which included being baptized as a Mormon at age 8 when his family lived in Las Vegas: He was the little boy who went to Catholic Mass. Then the adolescent who embraced Mormonism. He was the teenager who circled back to Catholicism. Then the thirty-something who defined himself as a Baptist. He was the ascendant politician who wanted to be Catholic again.
    "Unauthorized biography of Marco Rubio paints nuanced, largely flattering portrait".

    "Bring on Rubio"

    "Dems: Bring on Rubio".

    "The evidence points to boondoggle"

    The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board writes that, "despite also approving $300 million in budget cuts to the other 11 universities, Scott signed off on the creation of Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland."

    As a result, Alexander gets to return home to Polk County as the conquering hero, having delivered a newly independent university -- cut from its previous ties to the University of South Florida. Construction of new facilities on the campus is expected to put $338 million into the local economy over the next 10 years.

    As for the rest of the state, we get to pay the tab and wonder whether FPU will be a boon or a boondoggle.

    The evidence points to boondoggle.
    "Scott, the Tallahassee insider".

    Perhaps Bondi should do something to stop this

    "Community health centers across Florida will share $21.4 million in funding made possible by the Affordable Care Act, even as the state government continues its fight to invalidate the health care overhaul."

    Since being elected, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has urged the state to reject millions of dollars in funding tied to the law. Still, money tied to health care reform has found its way to Florida. Earlier this year, a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures noted that Florida had received $119.6 million in Affordable Care Act grants during the first two years under the law.
    "Florida health centers receive funding from federal health care law".

    Putnam won't challenge Scott

    "Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Tuesday chances are 'nil' that Gov. Rick Scott will face serious opposition within the Republican Party when he seeks a second term in 2014. Such a forecast means that Putnam has again ruled himself out as a candidate for governor in two years." "Putnam declines governor run".

    Rubio claims he "just reached for the wrong card"

    Rubio, "On his use of Republican Party credit cards while a state legislator: "

    "At the end of every month, we would get those statements, we would see what was on there that was party related and the party would pay that. If it wasn't party related, I would pay that directly to American Express. Now, obviously, in hindsight, it looks bad, right? Why are you using a party credit card at all. Well, some of these expenses were because the travel agent had the number … and they billed it to that card instead of the other card. Sometimes it was just a mistake — literally just reached for the wrong card. But it's important to understand I did not bill personal expenses to the Republican Party of Florida. The Republican Party of Florida never paid my personal expenses. Never. But look, I shouldn't have done it that way. It was lesson learned."
    "Rubio defends party credit use".

    Young, Romney's go-to-guy for earmarks

    "Needing earmark, Romney went to C.W. Bill Young".

    Let the whitewash begin

    "A government task force began its review of Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law and made plans to travel the state to conduct public hearings." "Stand Your Ground task force to hold public hearings". See also "'Stand Your Ground' Task Force May Need to Widen Focus" and "Florida "Stand Your Ground" panel launches review of self-defense law".

    Bondi needs help

    "Pam Bondi Asking for Help to Spend $300 Million".

    Cain, Bachmann, the best they could do?

    "Congressman Connie Mack, whose father held the Senate seat for two terms before not running for a third one in 2000 when Nelson won the seat, unveiled the endorsement of a prominent conservative on Tuesday afternoon -- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann. ... Over the weekend, businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain, another favorite of the tea party, announced that he was backing former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux for the Republican nomination to challenge Nelson." "Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann Back Rival Candidates to Take on Bill Nelson". See also "Ex-GOP hopefuls back Senate rivals".

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