Sunday, December 16, 2012

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

"The real elephant here isn't Crist's past"

Aaron Deslatte boils the Crist-candidacy down to a simple calculus: "The real elephant here isn't Crist's past. It's his ability to raise cash." "harlie's future is all about campaign cash".

Florida is "Flori-duh" again in presidential elections

The Miami Herald editors: "Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner got an earful last week during his rounds of local election officials’ offices, as well he should have."

Recall that

the Republican-led Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott, who joined forces in 2011 to shorten the number of early voting days to eight from 14 and banned voting on the Sunday before the election. Lawmakers also put more burdens on organizations that register voters.

Then, the Legislature tacked 11 proposed constitutional amendments to the ballot, using convoluted language that made it longer and added to the long polling lines as individual voters struggled to make sense of them.

"Florida’s GOP leaders claimed the changes were to prevent fraud at the polls. How cutting back on early-voting days would prevent fraud is a mystery. The more likely intent was to stymie minority voters, who tend to vote Democratic and in large numbers on the Sunday before the election."
Mr. Detzner, who was appointed earlier this year, certainly got his marching orders from county election officials: Tell Gov. Scott and the Legislature to make it easier, not more difficult, for all Floridians to exercise their most basic of all constitutional rights without having to wait in line seven hours to do so.
"Florida Elections made easy".

Ugly whisper campaign dogging Rubio

Adam C. Smith writes that, although the "excitement and enthusiasm surrounding youthful, telegenic U.S. senator and likely 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio show no signs of abating, but in recent months an ugly whisper campaign has dogged Florida's junior senator. The Buzz had steadfastly steered clear of repeating the explosive charges, but Esquire has weighed in on the elephant in Rubio's room, and we can no longer ignore it. Marco Rubio is balding." "Rubio's heady concern".

Courtesy of Florida's "values" crowd

"Florida's rivers are in trouble. That's what the Orlando Sentinel found after a yearlong evaluation of some of the state's biggest and smallest, most urban and remote, cleanest and dirtiest, protected and abused rivers." "Florida rivers are getting sicker, Sentinel investigation finds".

Weak Bench

Adam C. Smith finds it "hard to argue with political analyst Stuart Rothenberg,"

who last week declared Bill Nelson the "Luckiest Politician of 2012." "The Florida Democrat won re-election last month by beating GOP Rep. Connie Mack, who raised little money and apparently figured that oozing cockiness was the best way to woo reporters and voters. "But what makes Nelson so lucky is that Mack was the third consecutive mediocre Republican he faced. The Democrat first won his Senate seat by defeating former Rep. Bill McCollum in 2000, and then was blessed with the controversial Katherine Harris as his opponent in 2006.
"Mediocre GOP opponents put luck on Sen. Nelson's side". Perhaps the answer is much simpler: the Florida Republican Part yhas an exceedingly weak bench. Unless running in gerrymandered districts (see the Florida Legislature), or the benefiting from a wave of teabaggery (see Rick Scott), Florida Republicans really doesn't have much to offer.

Good luck with that

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board laments that, "in Florida, the Republican-led Legislature has rolled over time and again to make access to guns easier." Among other things,

in Florida, lawmakers should reverse a 6-year-old public records exemption for concealed-weapons permit holders that prevents the public from knowing who has a right to secretly pack a gun in public places. Then the debate should move on to assault rifles, the size of magazine clips and unlimited access to ammunition.
"We can’t remain silent on gun control".

"Tax collections are expected to increase"

"Tax collections are expected to increase at least 4 percent this year and next." "Economist predict more revenue for state budget".

"One needn't channel Nostradamus to predict the result"

The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Last year, the Miami Herald revealed the horrors Florida's elderly and the infirm endured at the hands of unscrupulous assisted-living facility operators. Abuses that Gov. Rick Scott pledged to abolish when he convened the Florida Assisted Living Workgroup. Its charge: "ensure the safety and well-being" of Florida residents. Then, he stacked the group with representatives of the ALF industry and sympathizers. One needn't channel Nostradamus to predict the result." "Ideas lack bite to fight assisted-living hazards".

Week in Review

"Week in Review Dec. 10 to Dec 14.".

"Rubio has yet to release details"

"Rubio, 41, is trying to manage his party's newfound eagerness to win over Hispanics as he feels out a possible run for president. So he speaks broadly about the [immigration] issue, or focuses on changing the tone in which Republicans address it."

"He's trying to have it both ways," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which calls for tighter enforcement before broader steps are taken. "It's not going to be fatal to support legalizing illegal immigrants who came here when they were very young. But any bill that has a broader amnesty in it would end his presidential prospects." . . .

Rubio opposes the Dream Act but [nearly a year ago] used it as the basis for a proposal to grant legal status to some youth. The idea came under attack from some conservatives and Rubio has yet to release details. He said he will reveal his plan early next year, though the election has emboldened young activists and Democrats to push for the full Dream Act.

"Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart exemplify split among GOP on immigration reform".