Thursday, July 26, 2012

Today's Florida Political News and Punditry

"Rick Scott's 'Shameless' Tactics Blasted By Republican". Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

Florida's "whack-a-do, right-wing crazies"

"In a wide-ranging deposition that spanned two days in late May, former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer denounced some party officials as liars and 'whack-a-do, right-wing crazies' as he described turmoil in the months before his resignation."

Greer said some GOP leaders were meeting to discuss ways they could suppress black votes while others were constantly scheming against each other.

He blamed criminal fraud charges filed against him in 2010 on legislative leaders and other party officials who he says orchestrated an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the statewide grand jury to avoid paying him money he was due.

His statements were in response to questions from lawyers for the party, Senate President Mike Haridopolos and Sen. John Thrasher. Greer has filed a civil suit against the party and the two officials in an attempt to collect $130,000 he was promised in a written agreement shortly before he resigned. The civil suit, pending in Leon County, is unlikely to be resolved until after a criminal trial scheduled for mid November.

Copies of the 630-page deposition and other documents were released by statewide prosecutors Wednesday.
"Former RPOF chair Jim Greer lashes out at Republican party leaders".

Farm Bill Settlement

"Adam Putnam Expects Farm Bill Settlement in Lame Duck Session".

Obama's new TV ad in Florida and other swing states

"Republican criticism and mockery of President Obama for his 'you didn't build that' remark about businesses has clearly struck a nerve."

The Obama campaign responded this week with a new TV ad in Florida and other swing states in which the president, speaking directly to the camera from the White House, accuses Mitt Romney and the GOP of twisting his words about individual initiative and public infrastructure.

Both the Romney and Obama campaigns lined up small business owners on Wednesday to denounce or defend the president.

In West Palm Beach, registered Democrat Kevin Ressler, who owns a marble restoration and maintenance business in Boca Raton, said he “took offense” to the president’s remarks and won’t be voting for him this year after doing so in 2008.

“I’ve got tons of business friends that own their own companies and they’re all up in arms over this comment,” said Ressler. He appeared at one of two dozen “We Did Build That” events scheduled by the Romney campaign in 12 battleground states.

Democrats countered by setting up a national conference call in which a pair of small business owners praised Obama’s business record and blasted Romney.
"‘You didn’t build that’ fight heats up in Florida with Romney attacks, new Obama ad".

Florida's $7.6 billion foreclosure program flops

"A federal inspector general report critical of a $7.6 billion foreclosure prevention plan specifically mentions Florida as failing to set measurable goals for its Hardest Hit program." "Report criticizes Florida for no measurable goals in program meant to help people in foreclosure".

Florida one of the nation’s largest gambling states

"There is little concern that Florida is in danger of shedding its label as one of the nation’s largest gambling states. Revenue jumped 15.1 percent from the prior year at Florida’s six gaming facilities in the recently completed 2011-2012 fiscal year. The casinos reported a net revenue of $411.3 million to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering." "Casinos' Revenue Hard Count Hits $411 Million in Florida".

HD 21

"HD 21: Keith Perry Could Face Well-Funded Democrat in November".

Ghost writers duke it out

"Gov. Rick Scott and state Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, wrote columns for U.S. World and News Reports’ 'Debate Club' series arguing for and against Medicaid expansion in Florida." "Rick Scott Pens Opposition to Medicaid Expansion".

PIP changes

"Nearly 90 insurers have been approved for changes related to the new personal injury protection law, but only six have filed for rate adjustments for a law that is designed to provide cost savings." "Insurers line up for PIP changes, but not rate changes".

Goodman leaves Florida House race

"Citing her husband’s health, former League of Women Voters vice president Pamela Goodman is ending her campaign for the District 89 Florida House seat against incumbent Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton." "Boca Raton Democrat Goodman leaves Florida House race; party to seek replacement".


"Everglades restoration plan evokes concerns at public hearing".

"Smoking guns or partisan nonsense"?

"Since she became President Barack Obama's handpicked chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in May 2011, Republicans have been sifting thorough whatever data they can find, hoping they'll turn up something that could embarrass her or the president — an effort that's intensifying as the political season heats up. Whether this involves smoking guns or partisan nonsense is in the eye of the beholder." "Republicans take magnifying glass to Wasserman Schultz".

Florida falls short when it comes to auditing ballots

"Florida fares well in election technology thanks to paper ballots; falls short when it comes to auditing those ballots".

HD 112

"Primary Profile: Familiar names running in HD 112 race".

Brains not required

"'Brainstorming' is on the agenda for Gov. Rick Scott's Florida Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform." "Fla. higher education task force to 'brainstorm'".

Broward gadfly

Fred Grimm: "Broward gadfly showed how it’s done".

HD 3

"HD 3: Doug Broxson Faces GOP Primary Challenge from Santa Rosa Political Scion Jayer Williamson".

Underrating Romney's strength in swing states?

Matt Towery: "As one who polled the 2008 presidential race extensively, it dawned on me, looking at the various 'swing state' surveys taken recently, that many pollsters might be making a significant error that results in President Barack Obama with a lead, when perhaps the lead in reality belongs to Mitt Romney."

Towery has in his

gut a belief that the polls we are seeing now underrate Romney's strength. For example, we saw a hugely enthusiastic young voter turnout for Obama in 2008. As a result, polls were weighted to give more voter strength to the category of 18- to 29-year-olds than in past years. In general, younger voters just do not turn out to vote.
"Pollsters May Have Fatal Flaw in Obama Romney Numbers".

Nearly 1 million Florida concealed weapons permits

"Florida nears 1 million concealed weapons permits".

Allegation that Mack's campaign violated election law

"A Jacksonville lawyer has filed an FEC complaint against Connie Mack's Senate campaign for allegedly violating federal election law through the purchase of Brooks Brothers clothing. The purchases, about $470, were reported last week by the Buzz. Mack's campaign has blamed it on an unnamed staffer and said the charge was taken care of." "Connie Mack's campaign violated election law, filing says".

"Each accuses the other of lacking moral character"

"Florida’s most-brutal state House race is unfolding in Miami amid vicious attack mailers, phone calls and a whisper campaign involving pornography, divorce, a stalking claim, an arrest warrant and a reference to the recent Colorado shootings. The District 112 campaign pits two well-known former Republican legislators and one-time allies against each other: former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and state Rep. Gus Barreiro. Each accuses the other of lacking moral character." "Nasty state House race turns nastier".

Say it ain't so, Joe

Joe Henderson: "Charlie Crist isn't saying he plans to run for governor in 2014, but he isn't saying he won't. Read into that what you will."

In the ever-nuanced world of political speak, saying he doesn't have an idea could be a clue. His stock response in the past has simply been to say how much he likes life as Charlie The Lawyer for the Morgan & Morgan firm. He hasn't added the caveat about having no idea, which means he has thought of running.


We play these games because there is elevated interest in Crist's future plans. He wrote an op-ed piece Sunday in the Washington Post, criticizing the purge of illegal voters initiated by Scott.

Crist, a registered independent, used words like "un-American" to describe the governor's push to remove would-be voters who can't prove their citizenship. He called it "mean-spirited."

That prompted a counter-punch by Florida's Republican Party, with a news release titled "The Two Faces of Charlie Crist," pointing out differences between his rhetoric and his record.

"I must have struck a nerve," Crist said.
"Is Crist contemplating a political comeback in 2014?".

"Romney campaign couldn’t have picked more puzzling examples"

"The Mitt Romney campaign offered up an inspirational tale of two local companies Wednesday as a way to cast President Barack Obama as an out-of-touch, big government apologist who doesn’t understand how business works."

One problem: The facts about the companies in many ways contradicted Romney’s point.

The campaign held a morning event to highlight A.D. Morgan Corporation and Value Enterprise Solutions as Florida small businesses that became successful because of the pluck of their owners and the benefits of the free enterprise system.

Government, in other words, had nothing to do with it.

But the Romney campaign couldn’t have picked more puzzling examples. Far from not needing big government, the Tampa companies have embraced government and benefited from it.

According to its website, A.D. Morgan — a construction firm — has received at least $150 million since 1999 for work on government buildings, prisons, schools and libraries. The figure represents only the total from the fraction of news releases that included a dollar figure. The company lists more than 130 projects that it has completed; nearly all of them are in the public sector.

Value Enterprise Solutions —an information technology company — boasts strong government bona fides, as well. Its Facebook page describes the company as “providing value added service/education to business, local government, federal government, Department of Defense and industry contract organizations.” The Facebook page also describes the company as a “minority/service disabled veteran owned small disadvantaged business.” That’s a designation that gives companies a special status, so in some cases they can be a lone bidder on a project. But that designation is recognized by government, not the private sector.
"Tampa business owners who criticized President Barack Obama’s comments about business live off government work".