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 Saturday, June 16, 2012

Romney runs, hides from Scott

    "Whatever strategy presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has for winning Florida, it doesn’t include campaigning with Gov. Rick Scott."
    While Romney stumped at an Orlando air filter manufacturing company, Scott was nowhere to be found.

    Scott’s obligation, according to his official calender: “staff and call time.” (Romney was introduced at the event by U.S. Reps. Daniel Webster and Connie Mack IV, who is running for U.S. Senate.)

    Later that day, Romney attended a luncheon with former Sen. Mel Martinez and Attorney General Bill McCollum at a posh Orlando country club.

    As for Scott?

    He was at a ceremonial bill signing in Miami.

    “Mitt Romney has had 53 events in Florida. @FLGovScott hasn’t attended any of them. #MittLostRicksPhoneNumber?” Eric Jotkoff, a Florida spokesman for President Barack Obama’s campaign, mockingly tweeted.

    Given the relative positions of the two politicians in the polls, the estrangement between Scott and Romney isn’t that difficult to understand, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

    “At this point, Scott is probably not an asset for Romney in this state,” Brown said. “Romney is doing OK in the state. He’s certainly more popular in the state than Rick Scott is.”
    "If Scott’s remoteness is just happenstance, it’s still something Romney campaign officials won’t discuss."
    The no-shows aren’t on purpose, Scott said. They’re coincidence.

    “Well, you know, he hasn’t been here a lot,” Scott said this week, adding that he couldn’t meet Romney Tuesday because he had other plans, including the bill signing.

    “I’d love to be helpful to him, but I have to make sure that after I commit to people that I’m going to their event, that I do it,” Scott said. “So I do know over time, we’ll probably be better organized.”

    Scott is more than just a governor in a swing state, however. He’s the leader of the state that’s hosting the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August. But Scott seems to be backtracking from an earlier statement where he said he hopes to get a prime-time speaking slot at the convention.
    "As Romney travels Florida, Gov. Scott is not on the bus".

    "Obama halts deportations of young immigrants"

    "Romney says immigration decision complicates issue". See also "U.S. to stop deporting certain younger illegal immigrants", "Romney back to economy after immigration detour" and "In election-year shift, Obama halts deportations of young immigrants, offers work permits".

    Scott's "claim Mostly False"

    "Gov. Rick Scott inflating Citizens' hurricane liability".

    Thanks to HAVA, not Jebbie

    Nancy Smith: "Florida's provisional voting law, enacted and signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush just ahead of the 2004 election, was intended to prevent one of the major embarrassments Florida experienced in 2000, when scores of voters, especially minority voters, were turned away at the polls because their names were not on the rolls." "Voter List Victim? Cool It, Deal With It".

    Nancy, although you say provisional balloting was "enacted and signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush", as if this was some sort of benevolent act by Saint Jeb, you overlook that provisional balloting was required by the feds (via the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)) after the 2000 Florida debacle that Jeb participated in. Hate to break the news to 'ya.

    "Audacious display of lobbying clout"

    "In an audacious display of lobbying clout, Connected Nation got the Legislature to force the DMS off the contract and steer the second grant to the firm." "Broadband contract at center of state dispute".

    Rooney laff riot

    "Mainstream media reports parroting the Obama administration and Democratic Party operatives persist in branding the state's efforts as a 'voter purge.'"

    "That's absolute hogwash," said Rooney spokesman Michael Mahaffey.
    "Rep. Tom Rooney Disputes Eric Holder's 'Hogwash' on Vote 'Purging'".

    FRS Winners and Losers

    The Palm Beach Post editors, wanting to ensure that employees don't get too uppity, write that "the 'winners' under Judge Fulford’s ruling might end up feeling more like losers if the high court upholds her. The state would have to pay back roughly $1 billion it withheld from worker paychecks for the pension contribution, and then the state would have to find another $1 billion a year to cover the lost employee contributions." "Workers lose either way on pension ruling".

    Fewer GOPer walk-offs this year

    Aaron Deslatte: "For years, the focus at the Florida Democratic Party has been on getting its top-of-the-ticket candidate elected — whether Alex Sink for governor or Barack Obama for president — to the detriment of down-ticket contests. This has translated into poor candidate recruitment for legislative races, lackluster fundraising and organizational support — and a self-reinforcing loop between the two. Would-be Democratic candidates saw the lack of grass-roots focus and didn't bother to run. That's why Central Florida Republican political consultants have admitted for years they have been scoring victories in the region in places where they had no business doing so."

    "This year is a deviation from that norm: The Democrats actually fielded candidates in most legislative races. All told, 34 of the 40 Senate districts will have partisan competition." "In new push, Florida Democrats force many Republicans to defend seats".

    Poor John

    "John Legg Faces a Primary Despite GOP Leadership's Support".

    Scott: It weren't Obama, it were me that did it

    Gov. Rick Scott credited his efforts to cut taxes, reduce regulations and attract out-of-state businesses to Florida for the continued downward trend."" "Rick Scott on Joblessness Drop: More Businesses Opting for Florida Equals More Jobs".

    "The absent are easily refuted"

    The Tampa Tribune editors: "Lying low is a poor way to try to generate public enthusiasm for Mack's request to join one the world's most significant venues for political debate."

    His stance may not hurt him in the primary, but the congressman will likely need more than a fortunate name and the testimony of others politicians to prevail in November.

    As author C.S. Lewis once put it, "The absent are easily refuted."
    "Join debates, Mack".

    Weekly Roundup

    "Weekly Roundup: Gov. Scott Alive, Well, Able to Vote".

    No mention of the death penalty, or economic and social justice

    "The seven bishops based in Florida on Thursday called for Catholics in the Sunshine State to pray and ponder the role of religion in the public square. ... In a footnote to their statement, the bishops took aim at both the political left and the right as possible hazards to religion in the public square. While the bishops jabbed the right on abortion, they hammered the left on a number of fronts including abortion and the role of the federal government in services provided by Church-affiliated organizations." "Bishops Call on Florida Catholics to Defend Religious Liberty".

    SEIU gets "prized site" during RNC convention

    "Tampa officials let Lady Luck decide which group got which downtown park during the Republican National Convention."

    With the help of a borrowed Bingo numbers machine, city attorneys chose pingpong balls Friday morning, each one designated to a group requesting park space for their events.

    Assistant City Attorney Mauricio Rodriguez said the brief lottery was designed to be as unbiased as possible. The winners have until June 29 to accept or reject their assignment.

    The prized site — Lykes Gaslight Square— went to Service Employees International Union for Sunday, Aug. 26. It also has an option for that Monday, with two other groups waiting as runners-up if union members opt out of the second day.
    "Luck of the draw picks parks for groups during RNC".

    "Paper tiger"

    "Lawmakers urged to increase maximum fines, give 'paper tiger' more power." "Florida ethics panel says it needs sharper teeth". See also "Ethics commission admits it needs teeth to enforce laws".

    GOPers spill blood in Pinellas County

    "The battle between a pair of Pinellas County House members for an open Senate seat is getting mean, and it’s just getting started."

    Reps. Jeff Brandes and Jim Frishe both want to be the new senator from District 22, which takes in South Pinellas and a slice of Tampa.

    Brandes got a big head start in a way that Frishe calls “unethical” and “gaming the system.” Brandes says he is following the law that applies equally to everybody.

    Brandes, 36, a wealthy member of the Cox Lumber family business, raised $143,000 in his bid for re-election to the House, even as he publicly voiced interest in becoming a senator. It all depended on how legislators reshaped district lines in this redistricting year.

    On June 1, Brandes withdrew as a House candidate and closed his fundraising account and one minute later became a Senate candidate instead.

    Brandes could have transferred all of his unspent House campaign money to his new Senate fund, but that would have required offering all donors pro-rated refunds, a time-consuming burden in the midst of a 10-week sprint to the Aug. 14 primary.

    Instead, Brandes must dispose of the unspent House money in other ways.

    But what irks Frishe is that Brandes also can legally ask donors for a second contribution of up to $500 for his Senate campaign.
    "Candidate draws heat for spending on ads using money from previous race".

    Not a Smart Man

    In this week's "Jeb Bush Ready for 2016", Jonathan Chait gives us a brief look at Jeb Bush's recent "effort to position himself as the next leader of the Republican Party." Unfortunately, Chait passes along Bush's well crafted self-portrayal, that of some sort of brilliant policy wonk.

    Indeed, Chait begins his piece with the proposition that

    one thing everybody agrees about Jeb Bush is that he’s a smart man.
    Actually, no.

    As Steven Pizzo once wrote, a former federal prosecutor who looked into Jeb's lucrative business dealings
    considered two possibilities -- Jeb was either crooked or stupid. At the time, he concluded Jeb was merely stupid.

    "Bush Family Value$". Indeed, "basic competence has been an issue for Bush".

    It is not so much that Bush is stupid qua stupid. Rather, Jeb is something less than "smart" in the conventional sense, and certainly no "smarter" than his sibling, George. Hence, many of us who have suffered through Jeb's years as a political figure in Florida (including his eight years as governor), find it difficult to square the words "smart" and "Jeb".

    A pristine example of this would be Bush's international blunder during a 2003 Gubernatorial visit with the prime minister of Spain. Bush uttered what one Spanish historian called "foolish and grotesque" remarks about Spanish history. See "Jeb Bush slips on Spanish history" and "Spanish sighs at Jeb's royal gaffe".

    A gaffe of this magnitude from an elected official might be explained away in the case of someone who wasn't particularly "smart", or interested in Spanish history. However, Bush has been extolled as "smart" by legions of second tier Florida political journalists; further, Bush claims to have a degree in Latin American studies, which suggests he might have some passing familiarity with basic Spanish history.

    Deficiencies of this sort are of course typical of leisure class slackers like Jeb. Equally common is the inability to connect with their perceived inferiors. During his first (failed) run for Florida Governor, Bush "famously answered a question on the campaign trail by saying he would do 'probably nothing' for blacks if elected governor". And then there are the Lesbian jokes, which Jeb presumed would go over well in Florida's panhandle. See generally: "When Jeb Bush speaks, people cringe".

    Underscoring the inability of the leisure class to connect with their lessers, is their sense of entitlement.  Journalist S.V. Date "rips Bush as a arrogant, power-hungry ruler who acted as if he had been elected king, rather than governor" in his book "Jeb: America's Next Bush". Some Floridians may recall the Palm Beach Post's Tom Blackburn's only half-facetious phrase, the doctrine of "Jebian Supremacy".

    We make dredge up these painful memories because, as Bush positions himself to run for president in 2016, it is important to avoid falsehoods from becoming truisms: here, that Jeb, unlike Dubya, is the "smart" one, and for some reason should be given a shot in the Oval Office. Recall that lies repeated long enough - see: John Kerry wasn't a war hero - can help determine the presidency.

    Sadly, an accurate picture of Jeb Bush is not likely to come from Florida's largely second tier political journalists: these wretches desperately want to ride in the big bus with the real reporters, and the only way to do that is to have Jeb (the only Floridian on the horizon) as the nominee in 2016.  Telling the hard truths about Jeb Bush will surely keep him off the dais, and Florida's political chatterers off the campaign bus.

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