Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

Grayson can raise more in a day than his opponent has raised all year

"Todd Long won an improbable victory in the Aug. 14 Republican primary, but he may have to hit the political equivalent of the lottery to beat Democrat Alan Grayson when the two congressional candidates face each other in November."

Not only does the newly drawn 9th U.S. House District — which includes Osceola County and parts of Orange and Polk — tilt Democrat, but Grayson, a former congressman, can raise more campaign dollars in a day than the $25,058 that Long has raised all year.
"Nor should he expect significant backing from the interest groups — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 60 Plus Association and the Republican Party — that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to propel now-U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, to victory in 2010 over Grayson, then a freshman congressman."
Similar support has yet to materialize for Long. A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said the group would provide "organizational support and advice" — though there was no promise of money. By contrast, Grayson had $1.2 million in the bank as of July 25 and has aired or reserved more than $1.7 million in TV ads.
"Long-Grayson contest is an apparent mismatch".

The Week Ahead

"Week Ahead for Aug. 27 to Aug. 31".

And state employees last got a raise, when?

"Rick Scott on Monday said Florida is poised to help its Gulf state neighbors as Tropical Storm Isaac appeared to spare much of the state from significant damage." "Rick Scott: Florida Poised to Assist Other Gulf States".

"The State That Couldn't Vote Straight"

Bob Graham: "Only 12 years ago, Florida was embarrassed by a voting tornado. As the nation became familiar with hanging chads and butterfly ballots, Florida was the State That Couldn't Vote Straight."

Fellow Floridians, we have a similar humiliation headed for us now. Different from a tornado — which appears almost without warning — this menacing hurricane has been lumbering toward us for over a year. Here's its track to date. In 2011 the Legislature passed and the governor signed the most sweeping changes in Florida's election laws in decades. The alleged rationale was the prevention of voter fraud, although no or only trivial instances of irregularities could be identified. The lingering suspicion was that the real reason was suppression of voting by specific groups of Floridians.
"Florida's voting fiasco, part 2". See also "Graham says repeat of 2000 election chaos possible".

Another rocket scientist

"Nikki Haley: The White House Contest Comes Down to Florida".

"The greatest egos on Earth"

Daniel Ruth asks, "should it take 30 speakers on an endless loop of Angela Davis-inspired rhetoric to say that we're up a creek if the Romney cabal gets elected? Look, the assembled crowd was already well on board with the Romney is the Angel of Death shtick. As the speech-a-thon began, so did the rains, but a little moisture was not about to put a damper on verbosity. The greatest egos on Earth had to press on." "Marching to beat of their own voices".


"GOP convention buzzing about Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist".

Wingnuts run wild

"The tea partiers lined up outside a Tampa Bay Church wearing red, white and blue. They photographed themselves with men in colonial garb and clutched signs depicting the president as Pinocchio." "Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain fire up tea party faithful ahead of RNC".

"Marquee endorsements"

"Republican Adam Hasner and Democrat Maria Sachs picked up marquee endorsements in two of the hottest political races in Broward and Palm Beach counties." "Voter group picks Republican Hasner over Democrat Frankel".

And they expect pensions?

"Firefighters battle warehouse fire during storm".

Just another dead worker

"The search continues for the body of a 58-year-old worker who fell into a cement silo eleven days ago when the roof he was standing on collapsed." "Search for body of cement plant worker continues".

Never mind the part where Ryan wants to voucherize Medicare for those under 55

Kingsley Guy: "As Florida goes, so goes the nation. It could be the key state in deciding this year's presidential election, just as it was in the 2000 contest. That's one reason Democrats are salivating over Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate."

The conventional wisdom among members of the Obama camp is they can dust off the old, reliable "Medicscare" tactics and terrify a critical mass of Florida seniors into voting Democratic. If Florida's 29 electoral votes end up on the Obama side of the ledger, the president's re-election is all but guaranteed. ... Obama and his acolytes would have seniors believe that Romney and Ryan are a couple of radical wretches who would, "End Medicare as we know it." The Medicare plan put forth by Ryan as chairman of the House Budget Committee, however, wouldn't apply to people 55 or older. Medicare would stay exactly as it is for today's seniors, but don't expect Democrats to mention this in their stump speeches.
"Democrats bank on scare tactics".

Scott was "shocked"

The Miami Herald editorial board: "Former Gov. Charlie Crist lobbed a bombshell announcing his support of President Obama just as the Republican National Convention was about to begin this week."

Many Republicans at the convention weren’t surprised by Mr. Crist’s op-ed published in his hometown paper, The Tampa Bay Times. They have viewed Mr. Crist as a turncoat opportunist ever since he and the president hugged during an event to unveil stimulus funding that saved hundreds of thousands of jobs in Florida for police, teachers, firefighters and other public employees at the worst point in the recession.
"Rick Scott told The Herald Editorial Board on Sunday that he was 'shocked' his predecessor would come out for the Democratic president just as Floridians were dealing with approaching Tropical Storm Isaac. Such are the political storm winds with Hurricane Charlie."
Mr. Crist may have put the Republican Party on the spot with his endorsement of Mr. Obama, but he also put Florida’s Democratic Party on the defensive, as the Democrats rightly criticized the former GOP governor’s relationship with Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein and former GOP chief Jim Greer, accused of bilking party coffers. Criticism of Mr. Crist’s political opportunism aside, he raises a crucial issue for Mitt Romney as he tries to show the nation who he is and what his party stands for. As governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney had to compromise in a heavily Democratic state. If he is to win this race in a sharply divided nation he must show Americans that he can stick to his principles of “economic freedom” and “individual opportunity” while compromising with shared sacrifice to reduce the national debt, a symbolic clock that the RNC has ticking at its convention hall. Mr. Crist offered this assessment to Republicans: “Across Florida, in Washington and around the country, I’ve watched the failure of those who favor extreme rhetoric over sensible compromise, and I’ve seen how those who never lose sight of solutions sow the greatest successes. . . . The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.” He’s right. In the most recent CNN poll of likely voters surveyed from Aug. 22-26, President Obama holds a narrow lead of 50 percent to 46 percent for Mr. Romney in Florida, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
"Charlie Crist’s warning". Meanwhile, Jim Turner writes that "Will Weatherford Amazed at the Power of Obama’s Hug".


"Charlie Crist will speak at DNC convention in North Carolina".

"Strip clubs await Republican windfall"

"Low GOP delegate turnout so far, Tampa strippers say". See also "Tampa's strip clubs await Republican windfall".

An hour-long drive, each way"

"Florida delegates face an hour-long drive, each way, to get to the Tampa Bay Times Forum and the Republican National Convention headquarters." "Fla. delegates housed at resort far from GOP convention site". See also Scott Maxwell's "Florida Republicans at RNC: Banished, but still revved up".