Wednesday, May 08, 2013

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

"The Greta Garbo of the Governor's Mansion"

Daniel Ruth writes that, "Only in political life do we stumble across people who aspire, yearn, crave to hold high and powerful offices without the slightest clue about what the job requires."

Scott spent $73 million of his personal fortune to buy the governorship without ever comprehending what a governor is supposed to do. This would be like dropping a couple hundred thousand dollars on a Lambor-ghini and never bothering to learn how to drive.
"But by 2013, don't you think it might have finally sunk in to the Thomas Pynchon of Tallahassee that maybe it would be a good idea to invite Senate President Don Gaetz or House Speaker Will Weatherford to sit down and share three straws over a Boston cooler if for no other reason than to pretend he is actually running the state?"
What Scott doesn't seem to grasp is that the governor's job is much more than merely the chief executive officer of the state. The governor, at least an effective one, is also the arm-twister/knee-capper and back-slapper-in-chief.

It's true not everyone has the retail political skills to cajole, threaten and otherwise work their will to accomplish an agenda. It is also true that without the skill set of Machiavelli meets an Amway salesman, perhaps one ought not aspire to the governorship.

The governor of the fourth-largest state entered this year's session with only two modest goals: a sales tax break for manufacturers and pay raises for teachers. This was like a tyke sitting on Santa's lap and only asking for a chattering teeth toy in the stocking.

Scott also meekly came out in support of accepting $50 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the next 10 years to help 1 million Floridians get health insurance. Then he promptly went back to sleep instead of using the bully pulpit of his office to hammer a tea-party-beholden Weatherford and an ideologically recalcitrant House to accept the money.

He didn't. They didn't. And more than a million Floridians are now left holding an empty Medicaid bag.

And yet, the Greta Garbo of the Governor's Mansion wants to run for another term as governor. What's the point? So he can redesign the state's Bob's Barricades on road construction projects?

Regardless of party, some of Florida's most notable governors — LeRoy Collins, Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush among them — understood the power and the optics of the office and how to use them. So did many of the others, including Bob Martinez and Charlie Crist.

And all of those governors realized that a legislative session is not the time to go into political seclusion as if they were the Mary Celeste of the subtropics.

Scott could have schmoozed Weatherford and maybe, just maybe he might have made an inroad on Medicaid funding. To be sure, winning over a speaker who has become the beefcake boy of the Villages would have been a long shot.

But the political mortal sin here is that Scott didn't even try.

Lawton has to be spinning in his grave.

"The governor who wasn't". See also "" and "".

"The beefcake boy of the Villages"

As the session progressed, House Speaker Bill "Weatherford was better known for being the roadblock to accepting $51 billion in federal aid to expand Medicaid. Or to government workers, the man who pushed hardest to dissolve the state’s pension system. Or to public school teachers, the champion of a proposal that would allow parents to demand that some public schools be transformed into charter schools." "Weatherford’s veer to the right confuses Democrats, wins support from Republicans".

Raw political courage

"Bondi enlists Florida businesses to help fight human trafficking".

Emergency contraception lawsuit

"A group of Florida activists are leading the fight to give access to emergency contraception to girls and women of all ages. A judge will hear arguments Tuesday in New York to determine the next steps in making Plan B One Step, a morning-after pill, available." "Florida women play key role in emergency birth-control case". The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Obama had vowed not to let politics interfere with science.".

Illegal campaign contributions to Buchanan

"The Federal Election Commission has fined three men and two Tampa companies a total of $16,000 for illegal campaign contributions to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota."

Buchanan, a millionaire car dealer, has repeatedly denied involvement in illegal fundraising. In an earlier investigation, the FEC took no action though its general counsel said it was "more likely than not" that Buchanan violated election laws and concluded that many aspects of his testimony were not credible.
" FEC fines 3 men, 2 Tampa companies for illegal contributions to Rep. Vern Buchanan".

"Out of the blue"

"The employees said that their abrupt firing was an act of revenge. But a new report from the state's chief inspector general did not find direct evidence of retaliation. . . . [This, despite the fact that] Citizens' claims of poor performance by the investigators appeared to come out of the blue. The investigators, who made up the Office of Corporate Integrity, were not accused of underperforming until after their inquiries led to the abrupt resignation of a top executive, tough interrogations of several others and several policy changes." "Report: Performance issues that led to sacking of Citizens investigators came out of the blue".

Grant, Brodeur help themselves to public grant money

The Tampa Trib editors: "State Rep. Jamie Grant’s acceptance of millions of dollars in grant money from a public agency in Hardee County is a textbook example of why elected officials should avoid private business deals involving public money." "Rep. Grant’s wrong turn".

Out of the woodwork

"The Republican effort to knock off freshman Democrat Congressman Patrick Murphy began in full force on Tuesday as two challengers entered the race, while a crowd of other potential candidates continues to consider it." "Congressman Patrick Murphy Draws Two GOP Challengers in One Day".

Missing the mark

Nancy Smith: "Perry Thurston Plain Missed the Mark".

Budget blues

"Nine Things You May Not Have Known Were in the Budget".

Just lay off the texting

"A Richard Steinberg Comeback Try May Hinge on Wife Micky's Political Success".

Entrepreneurs in action

"Emperor, Mysterious Florida Company, Bilked Feds out of $750,000".