Saturday, February 01, 2014

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

Scott’s campaign claims aren't convincing many Floridians

"The central message of Gov. Rick Scott’s reelection campaign — that he is the one best suited to keep improving Florida’s economy — so far isn’t convincing many Floridians, a new poll shows."

Despite Scott and the state GOP every day pounding home the message that his policies are revving up a state economy that tanked under his predecessor, Charlie Crist, a narrow plurality of Florida voters, 47 percent to 42 percent, say Crist, the likely Democratic nominee in this fall’s election, would do a better job of handling jobs and the economy than Scott.

Overall, 46 percent of those surveyed in the Quinnipiac University poll said they would vote for Crist today and 38 percent said Scott. Fifty-four percent — including almost one in four Republicans — said Scott does not deserve a second term while 38 percent said he deserves to be reelected.

The Jan. 22-27 survey of 1,565 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

"New poll on Florida governor's race: Charlie Crist 46%, Rick Scott 38%." Meanwhile, "Gubernatorial Runners Lash Out on Economy, Special Interests, Minimum Wage".

Pension deform

Aaron Deslatte: "Weatherford also is pushing again to reform Florida's public-employee pension system, which requires annual checks from taxpayers in excess of $500 million to remain fiscally sound." "Tallahassee warms up to big election-year plans".

Deslatte conveniently overlooks that Florida's state employees "have gone six years without raises." Another librul journalist at work.

"There is a distinct smell of failure in the air"

"Despite New Name, Critics Unhappy 'Florida Standards' Much Like Common Core". See also "Common Core: the standard that dares not speak its name". Ms. Ravitch weighs in: "States Finding New Names to Rebrand Common Core" ("There is a distinct smell of failure in the air.")

Q Poll: Hill beats Jebbie and Rubio in Florida

"In the 2016 White House race, New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie loses ground among Florida Republicans and in a matchup with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while former Gov. Jeb Bush remains the top Republican in the state, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released [Friday]."

Secretary Clinton tops Gov. Christie 51 - 35 percent in an early look at the presidential race, compared to a 45 - 41 percent Clinton edge in a November 22 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Clinton leads Jeb Bush 49 - 43 percent and tops other possible GOP contenders:

51 - 41 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio;

53 - 38 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky;

52 - 39 percent over U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin;

54 - 34 percent over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Bush leads a hypothetical Republican primary with 25 percent, followed by Rubio with 16 percent, Paul with 11 percent, Cruz with 9 percent, and Christie with 9 percent - down from 14 percent November 22, and Ryan with 5 percent.

"January 31, 2014 - Bridgegate Drives Christie To The Curb In Florida, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Jeb Bush Leads GOP, But Clinton Is Tops". See also "Obama's Baggage Not Sinking Hillary Clinton in Florida."

Dems criticize Gimenez for postponing plan to redraw precincts

"The Miami-Dade Democratic Party criticized Mayor Carlos Gimenez for postponing a plan to redraw precincts for the November elections." "Miami-Dade mayor will ask commissioners to weigh in on new precincts".

"County leaders say they don’t want to confuse voters by changing their precincts. But an uneven distribution of voters contributed to long lines in 2012." "Miami-Dade delays drawing new election precincts — again".

Some call it pusillanimity

"Charlie Crist ‘not even thinking’ about debating Nan Rich in Democratic primary for governor". See also "Charlie Crist won't debate Democratic rival Nan Rich".

Meanwhile, "Civic group hopes to land Charlie Crist-Nan Rich debate in Broward". Down the roard: "Governor debate planned for Davie".

"There's a Sucker Born ..."

Nancy Smith: "Like the famous American showman and entertainer of the 19th Century, Orlando lawyer-entrepreneur Morgan is big on self-aggrandizement and wealth-building and short on humility and inertia." "For John Morgan, There's a Sucker Born ...".

Run, "Jeb!", run!

"Why Jeb Bush is the single biggest question mark in the 2016 sweepstakes". More: "Jeb Bush on 2016 decision: 'Can I do it joyfully?'"

House Republicans stand in way of insuring 1.1 million Floridians

The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "State Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, has filed a bill that would allow Florida to offer health coverage to more than 1 million of its uninsured residents using $51 billion in federal Medicaid expansion dollars." "House Republicans should accept federal dollars to cover 1.1 million uninsured through Medicaid expansion".

Yee haw!

"Report: 1 Shot At Eastern Florida State College". Meanwhile, "Florida Man's Very Own Backyard Gun Range Is Perfectly Legal".

Fred Grimm: "Florida’s gun rights laws trump sanity."

Questions raised about Jolly's lobbying work for wingnuts who what to convert SS into a 401(k)

Curtis Krueger and Alex Leary report that, "as a lobbyist-turned-congressional candidate, David Jolly has repeatedly been attacked by Democrats who say he pushed for oil drilling off Florida's coast and represented a client who wanted to privatize Social Security — politically toxic issues in Florida."

Jolly says his opponents are flat wrong.

But a review of records and interviews show the truth is at least more nuanced and raises new questions about the Republican's role with a little-known conservative group that hired him to advance its interests in Washington.

The group, Free Enterprise Nation [the website is conveniently down], was founded by St. Petersburg businessman James MacDougald, who has quietly become a major campaign donor in Florida and is co-chairman of Jolly's finance team.

A few years ago, MacDougald hired Jolly to be his point man on Capitol Hill, and Jolly's work has come full circle as he runs against Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in a contest to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young in Pinellas County's Congressional District 13.

Lobbyists rarely run for elective office and when they do, their advocacy provides ammunition for opponents and exposes conflicts between what they were paid to do and what they may personally believe. For Jolly, those complications often lead to his work for MacDougald.

MacDougald is not well known but has big ideas. He wrote a book called Unsustainable: How Big Government, Taxes and Debt Are Wrecking America.

MacDougald argues for serious changes to Social Security and private pensions. Among his solutions: Turn Social Security into a "defined contribution" plan for anyone under 50, which would change the current system of a defined monthly paycheck.

"David Jolly's lobbying work has strong ties to little-known conservative millionaire".

More on the charming Mr. MacDougald: "Meet the CEO Behind the Attack on 'Privileged' Public Employees".

Meanwhile, "David Jolly and Alex Sink Evoke Obama, Scott, Pelosi in Attacks".

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: Gearing Up for Session, Campaigns".

Whine, baby, whine!

Although this is off topic, it is irresistible. It is always fun when wingnuts overlook that personal responsibility stuff: "Conservative author Dinesh D’Souza, charged last week with campaign fraud, insinuated Friday that he might have been targeted because of a film he directed that was unflattering to President Barack Obama." "D’Souza Suggests Fraud Charge Is Payback For Anti-Obama Film".

Scott's "election year transformation"

"Gov. Rick Scott seeded his budget announcement with attacks on his opponent and predecessor Charlie Crist, while the former governor used the event to bash Scott’s policies and ethics."

Speaking to reporters and editors at the annual legislative planning meeting sponsored by the Associated Press, Crist lashed into Scott’s past at a fraud-riddled hospital chain, blasted his previous budgets for cutting education spending and accused him of reversing course because an election is approaching.

“He’s trying to make up for it in an election year transformation, but the people of Florida are smart,” Crist said. “I don’t believe Florida is going to get fooled a second time.”

"Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist throw political punches as budget plan is unveiled".

"In a $100,000 Web ad buy, the Republican Party of Florida contends former Gov. Charlie Crist was responsible for the state's economic downturn. Meanwhile, Crist hires a campaign manager who was President Barack Obama's national associate political director during the 2012 re-election campaign. " "GOP attacks Crist on economy, seeking Senate seat".

As long as they hire locally . . .

"Sen. Alan Hays has filed SB 612, looking to give preference to Florida-based busineses in contracts awarded by local governments that use state funds." "Bill would impose local preference contract guidelines on cities, counties".

Let's hope this will cut back on the number of South Carolina license plates on cars parked at construction sites in Florida.

One trick pony

Andres Oppenheimer thought it "was pathetic to see Latin American presidents waiting in line to appear in smiling pictures with Raúl and Fidel Castro." "Summit in Cuba was mostly political tourism".