Sunday, September 15, 2013

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

"Florida primed for 2014 election focusing on economic class issues"

William March: "Florida Gov. Rick Scott is aiming his proposed $500 million tax cut at both businesses and consumers, saying its purpose is to 'help Florida’s middle class.'"

The Democrats’ response: Scott’s proposal amounts to “big giveaways to businesses at the expense of the middle class.”

Claiming the mantle of middle class champion is emerging as the moral high ground in politics, a likely campaign issue in the 2014 Florida gubernatorial race and future elections.

"The battle for that ground is being fueled by troubling statistics."
They show a large and growing gap in income and wealth between the nation’s upper crust and all others, plus a development some consider even worse: increasing economic stratification that makes generations less likely to move up the ladder from their parents.

With a reputation as the land of opportunity, the U.S. by some measures is actually one of the least economically “mobile” societies among prosperous Western nations.

"Florida is primed for a 2014 election focusing on economic class issues."
Scott, a wealthy health care executive who has emphasized tax breaks and deregulation to help “job creators,” could end up facing populist [sic] former Gov. Charlie Crist.

“In Tallahassee today, if you’re well off, you’re taken care of, but where are the people who are looking out for the little guy and gal?” Crist said. “It seems to be absent.” He called it “very likely” that economic fairness will be part of his campaign if he runs.

Former Crist strategist Danny Kanner, who works on gubernatorial races for the national Democratic Party, said 2014 campaigns including Florida’s will focus on the issue.

“Rick Scott crystallizes this issue in a way very few other politicians can,” Kanner said.

There’s “broad agreement” among economists that inequality of both wealth and income is significant and increasing in the U.S., said Scott Solomon, an expert in international economics at the University of South Florida.

A study published last week by University of California, Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez found that in 2012, the share of all income reaped by the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. families reached 50 percent for the first time since 1917 — higher even than during the “Gilded Age” preceding the Great Depression.

Wealth disparities are even greater.

"Candidates seize on income disparity".

Lie down with dogs . . .

"Tea party activists, once unquestioned as a benefit to the Republican Party for supplying it with votes and energy, are now criticizing GOP leaders at seemingly every turn. They're demanding that Congress use upcoming budget votes to deny money for puting President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law into effect, despite warnings the strategy could lead to a government shutdown. They're upset that Republicans didn't block a Senate-passed immigration bill." "Fears about fallout from GOP divide with tea party".

Falling up

"Texas Land Commissioner candidate George P. Bush . . . — son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, grandson of former President George H.W. Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush — discussed the issues facing the Hispanic population across the state." "George P. Bush discusses Hispanic issues".

Shallow and ironic

Aaron Deslatte fumbles mightily through his column today, concluding that the "the row over [Rep] Rouson show why[s] it may be a long time before the [FlaDem] party is ready again for prime time." This, because the Dems

sacked the FDP's veteran House campaign fundraiser, Jeff Ryan, after learning that incoming Minority Leader Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, had set up what's called an "Affiliated Party Committee" to raise cash separately from the state party.

House Democrats are now calling for a re-vote on Rouson's leadership job, and it appears the Sept. 23 caucus meeting might be a bad day for him.

Deslatte excuses Rouson because, 'ya know,
it's not like Rouson was out there acting alone [by creating slush fund].

Besides his fund – which the FDP is in the process of dismantling, along with Rouson's brief tenure as minority leader-designate – House Majority Leader Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, has also created an APC.

Republicans don't appear ready to oust him.

And it isn't like Republicans haven't committed their own fundraising snafus. Attorney General Pam Bondi had to apologize this week for seeking a delay in the execution of Marshall Lee Gore, convicted of killing two women in the 1980s, so she could attend her own fundraiser scheduled for the same evening.

And Gov. Rick Scott had to scrap a cash-call that would have allowed big donors to hunt alligators on a private reserve after the invitation went public and questions were raised about how the hunt would be licensed.

"Money fumbles show Florida Democrats aren't ready for prime time".

Deslatte's defense - that it was OK for Rouson to maintain a slush fund because the Republicans are doing it - is both shallow and ironic. After all, Rouson is a former Republican.

No hugs here

"The Obama Administration is dispatching its top health official to Florida three times in the coming days to promote the Affordable Care Act in a Republican-led state that has been increasingly resistant to carrying out the new federal health law." "Sebelius to talk health care in Fla.".

I look forward to reading her tirade against the Batista regime

Fabiola Santiago's selective memory is on display in this diatribe against the League of Women Voters of Florida: "On Cuba, League of Women Voters ignores repression".

"Make out your checks to 'Let’s Get to Killing'"

In the wake of the Scott-Bondi money grubbing fiasco, Fred Grimm has a great idea:

With 405 prisoners on Death Row, and 135 of them qualifying for a rush job under the Timely Justice Act, the governor’s operatives could sell scads of $25,000 exclusive death chamber tickets to Tallahassee lobbyists and fat-cat contributors. Surely an exclusive seat at a lethal injection would capture the essence of his reelection campaign better than a private alligator hunt.

Tuxedos optional. BYOB. Space is limited. Make out your checks to “Let’s Get to Killing.”

"Executions, gators and other Florida fundraisers".

Crist ready to run

Yawwwnnn: "Once one of the state's most successful Republican politicians, Crist is nine months into his new life as a Democrat and is preparing to run for his old job with his new party. And considering Obama carried Florida twice, the hug may not a bad thing as Crist tries to convince Democrats he's one of them and not just a politician trying to redefine himself and jump-start a dead political career." "Crist: Ready to run for old job with new party?"

Pants on Fire!

"When Blitzer asked about Obama’s decision to strike Syria, Wasserman Schultz defended the president and argued that he has support, unlike when the United States 'stood alone' against Iraq. Although Democrats often criticize Bush for invading Iraq without more global backing, including that of the United Nations, Bush did put together a coalition. Nearly 50 countries, most notably Britain, ultimately supported the invasion, with many sending troops of their own. That’s roughly on par with the support network that Obama has put together for action against Syria, and possibly exceeds it. We rate her claim Pants on Fire!" "PolitiFact: U.S. Debbie Wasserman Shultz on Iraq support vs. Syria".

"A mockery"

The Sun-Sentinel editors: Scott and Bondi "made a mockery of being tough on crime and placing the public interest before all else." "Bondi, Scott make mockery of execution".

Rick Scott is "on the wrong path"

The Tampa Bay Times editors write that Rick Scott is "on the wrong path in proposing $500 million in tax cuts in a state that already has relatively low taxes. Where Florida families are getting pummeled is on the rising cost of regulated services: property insurance, electric rates and health care. Those are hidden taxes that dramatically affect the cost of living, yet the governor and the Legislature have embraced policies that are increasing those costs." "Gov. Rick Scott wants to cut taxes by $500 million.".

And the usual tax trash from the usual suspects: "Area business leaders, tax watchers support move to cut Florida fees, taxes".

"Hamlet from Hillsborough"

Marc Caputo and Adam C. Smith write that, "Alex Sink, otherwise known as Hamlet from Hillsborough, is still grappling with whether to run for governor again in 2014."

"I go back and forth," said the former state chief financial officer, who had planned to make a decision by Sept. 1 but now says it will be by Oct. 25, when the state Democratic Party kicks off its state convention. "I really don't know." Most Florida politicos doubt Sink will ultimately run because there have been few signs of earnest preparation for a grueling race against Gov. Rick Scott, but we haven't found anyone who knows for sure.
"Will she or won't she? Alex Sink wavers on governor's race".

Will next purge be another "unmitigated disaster"?

The Tampa Trib editors "forgive the state’s supervisors of elections for being more than a little testy."

The state’s effort to purge ineligible voters from the rolls last year turned into an unmitigated disaster, and the supervisors were left to deal with the mess.

Fast-forward to this year and a renewed effort by the state to target ineligible voters. Secretary of State Ken Detzner plans to hold a series of meetings with supervisors to get their thoughts on the process moving forward.

Detzner needs to listen closely, and make certain the state provides the supervisors with the paperwork needed to prove someone should be kicked from the voter rolls.

"State needs to listen before purging voters".