Monday, September 02, 2013

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

"It’s not that Rubio is two-faced. He has too many faces"

Marc Caputo: "Marco Rubio once looked like the Republican savior over immigration."

Now, to some conservatives, he seems as trustworthy as a door-to-door salesman.

From the right-wing talk-show hosts to local activists at town halls, many conservatives say they’re upset that Rubio’s talk and deeds conflict over comprehensive immigration reform.

“The problem is he sold this based on talking points,” said Jason Hoyt, an Orlando tea party activist, summing up the discomfort many conservatives have with the Florida Republican senator.

“He had four or five talking points, which sounded pretty good,” Hoyt said. “But then we saw the bill, and it was 1,200 pages of detail. And then there was article after article after article about how bad the bill was.”

"It’s not that Rubio is perceived as two-faced. It’s that he has too many faces, the equivalent of a computer program that updates with the political mood:"
Rubio2008: The Florida House Speaker whose chamber squashed state-based immigration reform. At the time, he said immigration was a federal responsibility.

Rubio2010: The upstart, long-shot candidate, who bested one-time Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, took a hard line on immigration and generally called a pathway to citizenship a mistaken “amnesty.”

Rubio2013A: A future White House hopeful who rode a wave of positive media coverage to become, in Time magazine’s words, the Republican savior after the party was drubbed nationally in the 2012 elections. The bipartisan bill he helped hammer out contains what many conservatives see as “amnesty.”

Rubio2013B: The establishment Republican who now barely talks immigration, unless he is asked about it during select interviews with friendly media or at little-advertised town hall-style meetings. Rubio wants to talk about his effort to defund Obamacare instead.

“He may win us back with that because that’s probably the worst thing,” Glen Leirer, a Panama City conservative told the Associated Press after a mid-August meeting there with Rubio.

During that meeting, Rubio responded to a question about his support for the immigration bill by noting all the woes with the existing system.

“If I presented that to you as my immigration plan, you would say that’s a terrible plan. That’s what we have right now,” he said. “What we have in place now, in many ways, is the de facto amnesty that I ran against.”

But Rubio didn’t run against “de facto amnesty.” His statements in debates and to reporters at the time show his words and tone were notably different in 2010.

In a debate, Rubio suggested illegal immigrants need to leave the country and then apply for citizenship. When a reporter asked whether that was “de facto amnesty,” Rubio didn’t answer, but later said “ ‘earned path to citizenship’ is basically code for ‘amnesty.’ ”

Now he backs an earned path to citizenship but says it’s not amnesty.

"How Marco Rubio lost his tea party credibility".

Annual Labor Day Insult

The Labor Day holiday has "evolved over a period of years. In 19th century America, there was already a tradition of having parades, picnics and various other celebrations in support of labor issues, such as shorter hours or to rally strikers. But most historians emphasize one specific event in the development of today’s modern Labor Day. That pivotal event was the parade of unions and a massive picnic that took place in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882. . . . When studying the history of Labor Day, two names stand out . . . One is Peter J. McGuire, a leading official in the American Federation of Labor and organizer of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. The other is Matthew Maguire, a machinist from the Knights of Labor [In the 1870s, Matthew Maguire led several strikes, most of which were intended to force the plight of manufacturing workers and their long hours into the public consciousness. By 1882, Maguire had become the secretary of and a leading figure in the Central Labor Union of New York.] . . . Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced S. 730 to the 53rd Congress to make Labor Day a legal holiday on the first Monday of September each year. It was approved on June 28, 1894." "DOL's Historian on the History of Labor Day".

By reading today's Florida newspaper editorial pages, you would never guess that Labor Day had anything to do with ... you know ... labor unions. As usual, Florida's newspaper editors have insulted Florida's labor movement by failing to even acknowledge its existence, on Labor Day no less.

For example, the faux "liberal" Tampa Bay Times editors don't even bother to acknowledge Labor Day.

As usual, nothing at all about "unions" from the Orlando Sentinel editorial board, although there is a well-intended guest piece from a "risk-management consultant" that likewise manages to overlook the word, "union". No surprise the anti-union Sentinel would be silent about unions, even though the community is in the incipient stages of a high profile effort by hospital employees to unionize, and is in the backyard of what is reputed to be the largest single site unionized employer in the nation.

The Tampa Trib editors are all about "Hillsborough [being] poised to lead way in job growth this Labor Day".

Credit the Miami Herald for an oblique reference to "last week’s strikes by fast-food workers around the nation" in an editorial about the low wage economy; the role of unions in rectifying the problem is of course nowhere mentioned. "Not much to cheer about".

And, a guest piece about immigration reform in the Herald by the Catholic Archbishop does mention the "labor movement" and "right to organize" in passing. "Immigration is a moral issue".

The only thing we could find in the Sarasota Herald Tribune about Labor Day was this: "67th Annual Labor Day Regatta". I'm sure that would make Matthew Maguire proud.

Many online editorials are are available only with paid subscriptions. However, the headlines to these paywall protected editorials are available, and suggest that these editors are likewise uninterested in acknowledging the labor movement this Labor Day. Consider: "Jobs remain critical issue as Labor Day arrives" (the Sun Sentinel); "A day to salute labors of love" (Naples Daily News); and "Labor Day: Americans are No. 1 as hard workers" (Florida Times Union).

The Tallahassee Democrat goes a step further, and has the gall to publish an article attacking the union movement: the Democrat actually published this doggerel by the President of the union hating National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation: "It's 'Labor' Day, not 'Union' Day". There is of course no response piece, although the Democrat does publish the aforementioned article about immigration by Archbishop Wenski that mentions the "labor movement" and "right to organize" in passing.

And that's that, Labor Day in the Sunshine State's newspapers.

Scott doles out the goodies

"Gov. Rick Scott may be in no rush to pick a lieutenant governor, but he’ll soon decide on two people to sit on Florida’s utility-regulating board."

Commission chair Ronald Brisé and Commissioner Art Graham, whose terms expire in January, are seeking to return to the Public Service Commission.

Four other candidates, including a former state representative from Pasco County who also served on the PSC, are vying for their seats. The position pays around $130,000 a year.

"Gov. Scott to name two to public utilities commission".

"Half True"

"Education commissioner boasts about state's graduation rate improvements".

Another Scott flop

"Standing before a crowd at an Orange County middle school last January, Gov. Rick Scott announced his plan to give every classroom teacher in Florida a $2,500 raise."

But seven months later, that sunny proposal now seems clouded as school districts devise pay plans that often veer from the governor's original idea.

Educators have long since abandoned the simple notion of an across-the-board pay bump that Scott once promoted in news conferences across the state. . . .

While Scott originally touted raises for teachers, House and Senate leaders made them available for guidance counselors, social workers, psychologists, librarians, principals and assistant principals as well. The money also covers charter schools.

"Gov. Scott's idea for $2,500 teacher raise proves elusive".

Florida's "low wages"

"If it seems like you have to work harder these days for less money, it's because you live in a state stuck with a lasting decline in its standard of living, according to a Labor Day report on Florida's job picture." "Floridians finding jobs, but often at low wages". More: "Survey: Floridians remain more gloomy about the economy" and "Consumer confidence in Florida drops in July".