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 Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rubio's "stalled plan" now a full-on fail

    "After President Obama swooped in with a DREAM Act-like executive order, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is starting to cool on his already stalled plan for an alternative to help immigrant kids who were brought to or remain in this country illegally." "Marco Rubio’s DREAM Act plan might be dead this year".

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Despite Sen. Rubio’s claim that Democrats killed the Dream Act two years ago,"
    Republicans deserve more of the blame for the decade-plus of congressional intransigence on immigration reform. Yes, five Democratic senators voted against the Dream Act, which “failed” 55-41. But 36 Republicans voted no. The margin in the House was 216-198, but among the supporters were South Florida’s three Hispanic representatives, all Republicans.

    Two Republican senators voted yes: Michael Bennett of Utah and Richard Lugar of Indiana. Mr. Bennett had lost his reelection bid after being deemed insufficiently conservative. The same thing happened this year to Sen. Lugar. Too many Republicans remain too quick to shriek “Amnesty!” at any immigration policy that doesn’t involve armed guards 10 yards apart on the Mexican border. George W. Bush, his Texas background giving him a unique perspective on this issue, tried to pass immigration reform. His party blew him off.
    "Obama immigration policy is no nightmare".

    As for those saying it was just "politics", The Sun Sentinel editorial board urges readers to "remember, too, that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who is widely believed to be on presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's vice presidential short list, was also working on legislation to provide similar cover for this segment of America's illegal immigrants."

    Meanwhile, The Tampa Bay Times editorial board writes that "Romney tap dances on immigration".

    The usual suspects are whinging up a storm: "Republican Rivals in Congress Call Out Obama on Immigration". See also "Florida GOP: Obama's Deferred Deportations Harm Real Immigration Reform".

    "Scott may be a zombie"

    Frank Cerabino: "There appears to be no end to the Obama birther nonsense."

    So it seems only fair that if the political right continues to indulge the fantasies of its fanatics about Obama, the liberals in Florida should be afforded an equal measure of mouth foam over the election of a potential face-eating governor.

    After all, we do seem to be in the middle of a zombie apocalypse in the state.

    Show us the death certificate!

    It’s certainly mysterious how this once dead-listed Rick Scott has been allowed to come alive on the Florida voting rolls and then, through the virtue of $73 million of his own money, turn his distaste for government into a seat at the very pinnacle of the government he holds in such little regard.

    Oh, the horror! We’ve elected somebody who is part Koch-brothers creation, and part-Bat Boy lookalike. A blood-sucker on multiple levels.

    There’s a karmic symmetry to the wacky belief that Scott may be a zombie, considering that Scott was elected by so many people who believe that President Obama may be a Kenyan.

    You can think of it as Obama birthers vs. Scott deathers.

    It didn’t take long after the Scott dead-voter-mixup story to appear for the wheels of conspiracy to start cranking.

    “Dead people are illegally running for office and then trying to purge the living from the voter rolls once they take office!” a commenter on the web site Politico wrote.

    Another commenter said this called for swift and decisive verification.
    "'Obama birthers vs. Scott deathers'".

    Dems Outregister GOPers

    "More Democrats than Republicans registered to vote in Florida in May, driven by women and Hispanics, according to state registration data released early by the Democratic Party. Democrats said they registered 5,108 more voters in May than the Republican Party did, the fourth month in a row the party has led the GOP in new registrations." "Dems Outregistering GOP, but Both Lag Behind NPAs".


    "During her bid to become Florida attorney general, Pam Bondi downplayed talk about her future political ambitions and ripped into her opponents -- Jeff Kottkamp and Holly Benson in the Republican primary and Democrat Dan Gelber in the general election -- as career politicians. But with Florida remaining one of the most crucial states in national politics, as a member of the state Cabinet, Bondi cannot escape politics even if she wants to, and this week she threw her weight around in two of the most interesting Republican primaries in the state, even as her star continues to rise at the national level." "Pam Bondi Leaves Her Mark on State GOP as National Spotlight Looms".

    "You could almost hear the champagne bottles popping"

    Steve Bouquet: "A half-dozen Republican Senate candidates were on the verge of winning new terms without opposition — until the Democrats saw an opening."

    Democrats concede they don’t have a realistic chance of winning the seats. But by fielding little-known candidates at the last minute, they were able to freeze the ability of those Republicans to make large donations to the state GOP in a crucial election year.

    As the deadline drew near for candidates to pay money and be listed on the ballot this month, several Republican Senate candidates were within an eyelash of taking office unopposed, without a single vote being cast. You could almost hear the champagne bottles popping.

    Every one was sitting on a mountain of campaign cash in hopes of scaring off competition. But one by one, in rapid succession, each drew last-minute Democratic opposition, seemingly from out of nowhere.

    They include Rep. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, running for an open seat, who had raised $749,000 through March (the next reporting deadline is July 10); Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, who raised $513,000; Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, $473,000; Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, $442,000; Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, $428,000; and Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, $397,000.

    Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, incoming leader of Senate Democrats, knew that when the qualifying period ended, candidates can donate unspent money to their political party, on one condition: They have to be unopposed.

    That meant the Republican Party of Florida was on the cusp of an infusion of some $2 million from unopposed Senate candidates, money that could put to good use in more competitive races.

    Smith has no illusions of knocking off the well-financed Republicans in solid GOP districts. But by fielding candidates, he was able to tie the financial hands of the GOP.

    Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, the likely next Senate president, didn’t think much of Smith’s move.
    "Democrats thwart GOP’s state Senate strategy".

    Rubio "smart"? Just ask him

    "Rubio leaves a portrait of an obsessive, smart and sometimes insecure politician who had to be persuaded by his wife to stick with the Senate campaign." "Rubio in his own words".

    Aside from it being a self-serving "feel good" story, Rubio "the book reads almost as if Rubio is vetting himself [for VP]. Nearly every negative issue or question about his past that's been raised since he began his 2010 Senate campaign, from charging personal items on Republican Party credit cards to the beginning of foreclosure proceedings on a house he co-owned, is addressed." "Rubio addresses mistakes, criticisms in his memoir".

    Atlas shrugged

    "In an unprecedented case, federal prosecutors have charged a Miami man with engaging in a massive money laundering scheme that moved millions stolen from the federal Medicare program into Cuban banks." "Feds in Miami: Millions stolen from Medicare wound up in Cuban banking system".

    Week Ahead

    "The Week Ahead for June 18 to June 22".

    Running schools like a bidness

    "As chairman of the Blue Ribbon Task Force to reform the higher education system, Brill wants to develop recommendations based on solid business practices." "Q&A with: Dale Brill".

    Bill stats

    "A greater proportion of bills that have gone to the governor have originated in the House, according to statistics compiled by LobbyTools research staff. Since the second term of Gov. Jeb Bush, the Legislature has been less productive and seen a steady decrease in the number of bills passed overall." "Infographic: Who's passing bills?".

    Gaming rules repealed

    "With no hearing requested, a dozen state rules regulating pari-mutuels and slot machines are slated to be repealed in September." "Gaming rules to be repealed without hearing".

    Atwater stays in the mix

    "While he passed at jumping into the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Florida CFO Jeff Awater continues to remain politically active, endorsing candidates in competitive contests. Despite floating his name in the Senate race to take on Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, Atwater has generated buzz as a future gubernatorial candidate in either the 2014 or, more likely, the 2018 election cycles. Whatever his future plans, Atwater has shown no hesitation in backing candidates in some of the most competitive Republican primaries in Florida." "One Eye Down the Road, Jeff Atwater Active in GOP Primaries".

    Wingers wonder ...

    Nancy Smith wonders "What's Wrong With Obama's Re-election Campaign?".

    Worker safety, Florida style

    "Rothstein said that when a worker was electrocuted at Southern, the largest worldwide manufacturer of swimming pool and deck finishes, he had one of his law enforcement contacts rush 'to clear the scene.' Workers attempted to address safety violations that led to the death before the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) got there to investigate, he testified June 8 as part of his most recent deposition." "Rothstein: I used a cop 'in a position of power'".

    "Enough already"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "For four years straight, each of Florida's public universities has raised its tuition as much as state law allows, with the blessing of their state overseers. Enough already. Though nine of 11 public universities, including the University of Central Florida, are seeking another round of 15 percent hikes, the Florida Board of Governors should slow the tuition treadmill during the board's meetings this week in Orlando." "Put the brakes on state university tuition hikes". See also "Board of Governors faces tuition increase decisions this week" and "Most Florida Universities: We Won't Back Off Requests for Full Tuition Hikes".

    "Space race back on Earth"

    "A record-breaking mission to the International Space Station has triggered another space race back on Earth, with Florida competing against Texas and Puerto Rico for the chance to land a new launchpad for SpaceX and its ambitious line of Falcon rockets."

    The rivalry — already ongoing — only has intensified in the weeks since SpaceX became the first commercial company to blast a spacecraft to the station and return it safely to Earth. And though none of the rivals has made public the incentives each is offering, the numbers are certain to be in the millions of dollars.

    The stakes are high: hundreds of good-paying jobs at SpaceX and supporting companies that would pop up around its operation, as well as the prestige — at a time when NASA is no longer flying its own rockets — of serving as home to the commercial space industry's most successful startup.
    "Florida, 2 others vie to host new SpaceX launchpad".

    "Write-in gimmick"

    The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Write-in candidates almost never win. But because of an arcane loophole in Florida law, such candidates — even though their name will never be printed on a ballot — can indirectly disenfranchise thousands of voters."

    In four races across Tampa Bay this fall, write-in candidates will keep Republican primaries closed, meaning independent and Democratic voters will have no influence on who will be their next elected official. That's not how democracy should work. The Florida Legislature, which has repeatedly rejected calls for open primaries, should at least change the law to keep primaries open whenever there will be no other candidate's name on the general election ballot.

    This write-in gimmick is outrageous no matter which party utilizes it, and Democrats have as well.
    "Write-in gimmick used to disenfranchise voters".

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