Friday, August 31, 2012

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

"Ryan, Rubio and Bondi, the Peter, Paul and Mary of the public trough"

Daniel Ruth: "To hear the top hat of Republicans cavorting at their convention, you would think that until he entered the White House Barack Obama had never held a job and barely understood which button to punch on an office phone to get an outside line."

"Really? ... the cadre of waiting-in-the-wings Republicans possess all the private sector experience of a Cuban five-year agricultural planner — but with a better taxpayer-funded health care plan."

Let's begin at the top of the Republican ticket. As Mitt Romney's choice for vice president, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has never worked an adult day in the private sector. Well, you could count his time spent thinking at Jack Kemp's think tank, where presumably Ryan was paid per thought.

Since he graduated from Miami University in Ohio, when he wasn't wiling away the hours think tanking, Ryan has spent his entire adult life working as a congressional staffer, or since 1999, a member of Congress, collecting a government check and health benefits.

He has never met a payroll, or fretted over a company budget, or sold so much as a widget. But because he managed to read at least some of that great literary doorstop Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand without lapsing into a coma, Ryan is now regarded as the intellectual leading light of capitalism.

"Pam Bondi also is considered an up-and-comer. Yet she too has spent her entire career in the public sector, first as an assistant Hillsborough state attorney and now Florida's attorney general with all the attendant taxpayer-funded perks. She has never gotten within a dry martini of a billable hour. The closest she has ever come: appearances as a commentator for Fox News."
Last night, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced Mitt Romney for his acceptance speech. This was a bit like Popeye's Wimpy ("I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today") setting the stage for Warren Buffett.

Rubio has been lathered up in government largesse since his late 20s when he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, rising from a gofer factotum for Speaker Johnnie Byrd to eventually claiming the top job himself.

Now Rubio is widely regarded as the beefcake boy of GOP conservatives and especially those government-is-the-tool-of-Moscow tea party worrywarts. All this adulation for a chap who also has spent at best 20 minutes in the private sector — as a lawyer.

The man who will introduce Mitt Romney as the face of private sector success couldn't even manage the payments on a Tallahassee home, which eventually fell into foreclosure. And apparently Rubio had a hard time distinguishing the difference between his personal credit card and a Republican Party-issued credit card on which he charged off any number of personal expenses.

Today, Rubio is a United States senator, collecting a $174,000 public paycheck, exquisite government health care and eventually a tidy taxpayer-supported pension, while railing against big government intrusion into the lives of Americans.

Ryan, Rubio and Bondi, the Peter, Paul and Mary of the public trough, are supposed to represent the next generation of fiscally tight-wadded champions of the working classes fending off the oppressive, ham-handed faceless bureaucrats, while they owe their entire careers (and political celebrity) to that very same government they claim to want to rein in.

"Private sector or public trough?".

"Romney should realize that pitting regulations against jobs isn't a winner in Florida"

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Floridians rely on a healthy ecosystem to protect the state from a range of natural disasters, serve a growing population and to keep millions employed in fishing, agriculture, tourism, construction and the services industries. ... Romney should realize that pitting regulations against jobs isn't a clear winner in a state where residents have a vested stake in standing for the environment in a tough economy." "Put environment front and center".

The best they could do

"Rubio revs up Republicans, Romney". See also "Rising GOP star Rubio draws praise as he introduces Romney at convention".

Demings, Webster, race could depend on turnout from other campaigns

"Though their politics differ greatly, Democrat Val Demings and U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, share one key trait. Both are disciplined, serious workers, whether it's Webster in Congress or Demings as former Orlando police chief."

Which is why their November showdown over Central Florida's 10th Congressional District likely won't be decided by an ill-timed gaffe or passionate speech. Instead, it will be a numbers game, a grind for support that ultimately could depend on turnout from other campaigns, namely runs for president and U.S. Senate.
"A disciplined clash of ideas from Webster, Demings".

Say anything

"Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton warned Florida delegates to the Republican National Convention on Thursday that if President Obama gets a second term, he will lessen America’s standing as a world power." "John Bolton Warns Florida Delegates the World More Dangerous Under Obama". Meanwhile, "Chris Christie Tells Florida: GOP Doesn’t Need to Modify the Message".

Voter suppression advocates claim victory

"As several leftist civic groups crow victory over a federal judge’s recent suppression of a few elements of Florida’s 2011 revisions to its elections laws, a source close to the Department of State (DOS) tells Sunshine State News the lion’s share of the ruling represents a victory for the state and greater accountability for third-party voter registrants." "Department of State Insider: We, Not Plaintiffs, Got Better Deal in Voter Registration Ruling".

Dem quits HD 27 race

"The Democratic candidate in a Volusia County-based state House district abruptly dropped out this week, throwing into flux one of the few potentially competitive legislative races in Central Florida. Dennis Mulder, a former mayor of Deltona, was forced to withdraw because his young son is battling a medical condition, said Phil Giorno, chairman of the Volusia County Democratic Party. Mulder had been set to face Republican David Santiago, a former Deltona city commissioner, in House District 27, which strategists from both parties see as one of only a handful of potentially competitive seats in Central Florida this fall." "Democratic candidate drops out of state House race".

Outa here

"Tampa Bay area supporters of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan got a chance to bid them farewell as they depart following the Republican National Convention." "Romney, Ryan, stump in Florida today before heading to Louisiana". See also "Romney salutes RNC, addresses rally in Lakeland".

"Charlie's Democratic Convention Address"

"Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry has sent a video to Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston -- what he believes the public may hear from former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist next week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte." "Lenny Curry Offers His Draft of Charlie's Democratic Convention Address".

Variables in Mack's bid to replace Nelson

"There are a lot of variables in play in U.S. Rep. Connie Mack's bid to replace Democrat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate but, as he sees it, the result will boil down to one likely set of outcomes. 'If Mitt Romney wins, I win. If I win, Mitt Romney wins,' Mack told reporters Thursday, hours before his evening speech before the Republican National Convention to a friendly audience of Floridians." "Connie Mack says his chance to defeat Nelson is tied to Romney win".

And so it goes

"Two more candidates defeated in Miami-Dade County races earlier this month have sued to contest the results, citing a Hialeah absentee-ballot fraud investigation. The lawsuits bring the total number of complaints stemming from the probe to four."

Paul Crespo, who lost a Republican primary against state Rep. Carlos Trujillo, and Alex Jimenez Labora, who came up short in a judicial race against Maria de Jesus Santovenia, filed separate lawsuits Tuesday asking the court to discard absentee ballots cast in the contests.

In the race for an open circuit judge seat, Santovenia, an assistant North Miami Beach city attorney, defeated Labora, a traffic magistrate, 52 percent to 48 percent. Without the absentee vote, according to his lawsuit, Labora would have won, 51 percent to 49 percent. ...

In the Republican primary for Florida House District 105, Trujillo garnered 56 percent of the vote, compared to Crespo’s 44 percent. Trujillo noted he would win the election even if the absentee ballots were not counted. ...

Late last week, County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez and Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia filed similar complaints asking the court to throw out absentee ballots in their respective races.

Martinez lost his mayoral bid to incumbent Carlos Gimenez; Garcia lost his reelection to state Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Without the absentee vote, the mayoral race would have gone to a runoff, and Garcia would have defeated Lopez-Cantera.

A hearing has yet to be set in those cases. On Wednesday, Gimenez’s attorneys, Kendall Coffey and Robert Fernandez, asked the court to expedite the matter. The county elections department has set a Sept. 7 deadline to put races on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

All four complaints cite the arrests of two Hialeah ballot brokers, known as boleteros, who have been charged with voter fraud. Police say that Deisy Cabrera forged a terminally ill woman’s signature and that, in a separate case, Sergio Robaina filled out two absentee ballots for different candidates than the voters involved wanted.

"Two more defeated candidates in Miami-Dade challenge election results, citing absentee ballot fraud probe". See also "Bernard files lawsuit to overturn State Senate primary result, saying 49 more votes should have been counted".

Get over it, Jebbie

"Jeb Bush to Obama: stop blaming my brother for “your failed economic policies”". See also "Jeb Bush defends brother in convention speech".

GOPers take advantage of suppression legislation

"Many liberals and voter registration groups said the law suppressed registration in predominately poor and diverse areas, which have a higher concentration of potential Democrats." "Florida Republicans out registering Democrats; Is new elections law the reason?".