Sunday, June 22, 2014

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

Ah Democracy . . . 43 percent of the Florida Legislature is already decided

"Millions of voters in Florida will get no vote in choosing who represents them in the Florida House and Senate next year. That’s because the deadline for candidates expired at noon Friday with no challengers qualifying to run against a third of the state Legislature." "One-third of Florida Legislature faces no opposition at polls."

. . . Which might explain why so few candidates walk their districts

"A new study says Orlando is the least walkable of major metro areas in the United States." "Orlando ranked least walkable city."

"She remains in the shadows"

"Nan Rich has been running for governor for more than two years. But she remains in the shadows of her primary opponent: former Gov. Charlie Crist." "Underdog Nan Rich runs determined grassroots gubernatorial campaign."

Joe Henderson: "Nan Rich figures if Cantor lost, Crist can too."

The best they can do?

"Voters in a heavily Republican southwest Florida district are selecting a replacement for U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. Republican Curt Clawson, a former CEO of an aluminum wheel company [a former Purdue basketball player and was the senior captain of the 1984 team, which won the Big Ten Conference championship], is a heavy favorite to defeat Democrat April Freeman and Libertarian Ray Netherwood in Tuesday's vote. Republicans make up about 45 percent of the registered voters in the district, with Democrats accounting for 27 percent." "3 fight to fill open congressional seat in Florida."

"A blisteringly effective strategy"

Aaron Deslatte: "It's a blisteringly effective strategy for both Rick Scott and Charlie Crist: burn down the opponent's education credentials."

And as the summer and the ad wars heat up, both gubernatorial candidates have facts on their side.
"Dueling education records define gubernatorial campaigns."

Try the facts next time

Tampa Trib columnist Tom Jackson believes the media is being unfair to Wisconsin hater Scott Walker. But Mr. Jackson might want to source his columns with something less hysterical than the crazies at Power Line, say Politifact-Wisconsin (June 20, 2014): "Scott Walker says probe into his campaign finances is 'resolved'" . . . 'We [Politifact] rate Walker’s statement False.'."

Jeb, "Republicans’ pathetic last resort"

Fox News - via Lanny Davis - digs up "Two reasons why Democrats should fear a Jeb Bush 2016 presidential run." Davis' silly piece reflects how little the beltway pols, Republicans and Democrats alike, really know about Jeb Bush.

More on point is Joan Walsh's "Republicans’ pathetic last resort: When Jeb and Mitt are your 2016 saviors", although she seems unaware that Jeb - with a few exceptions (e.g., immigration, common core and possibly fluoridated water) - is a full on Teabagger.

Here's a common false assumption:

“Jeb Bush would deliver Florida for Republicans . . .” [Alfonso Aguilar of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles] said. “If the choice is made by the top of the ticket and he is a conservative candidate, I think the conservative base would go along with it.”
Actually, Bush would not deliver Florida, at least according to recent polling in a state where Bush has basked in glowing media coverage for more than a decade: In Real Clear Politics' compendum of polls, all seven polls have Clinton beating Bush in Florida, six of them with a margin of from 9 to 14 points), although there is a recent outlier having Bush within a point.

More bad news for Jebbie from a new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll

Asked about Jeb Bush, the brother of former president George W. Bush and the son of George H.W. Bush, 48 percent of respondents said his potential presidency would be a throwback, versus 30 percent who said he would “provide the new ideas and vision the country will need.”

Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and secretary of state, fared just slightly better. Forty-nine percent said a Clinton presidency would represent a return to the past, but 42 percent suggested she has the right “new ideas.”

"Voters Say Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush Represent 'Policies of the Past'."

Killing them timely

The Tampa Trib editors wonder what the fuss is about, because the "Timely Justice Act simply instructs the Supreme Court clerk to notify the governor when appeals are exhausted and orders the governor to sign a death warrant within 30 days of that notification, provided the clemency process is completed. Additionally, the law requires the Supreme Court to produce an annual report to the Legislature on cases pending more than three years, and establishes an office in North Florida to represent death row inmates." "Death penalty law legal but falls short".

"Like living in Tombstone, Arizona, circa 1881"

Fred Grimm: "Florida has remained one of six states that prohibits knuckleheads from traipsing around with their pistols on display like they were living in Tombstone, Arizona, circa 1881."

That, of course, has driven gun rights absolutists crazy. (Perhaps the proper description is “crazier.”) Every year, they spit and sputter and lobby the state legislature to pass an “open carry” bill. And while Florida legislators regularly capitulate to the whims and wishes of the NRA, an law permitting the open display of firearms has remained elusive.

Opponents, led by the Florida Sheriffs Association, have managed to beat down the notion, though, in my wistful moments, I like to think that common sense also played a part in keeping our state legislators from tossing the state's concealed firearm law. Because, they surely understand that most of their constituents are profoundly disturbed by the sight of some non-law enforcement yokel flaunting his shooter in a public place. . . .

Florida law also forbids going about in public places wielding long guns. The advantages of that statute have been become evident over the last few months with the news out of Texas, where long gun displays aren’t prohibited, and where Texas Open Carry members have been showing up at fast food restaurants and department stores with military assault weapons strapped to their backs. The tactic seems designed to intimidate anyone who’d like to regulate the kind of firearms employed in massacres like Sandy Hook and Aurora. Or anyone who just doesn’t want to be sitting down with their kids at a burger joint, like at that Jack In The Box in Fort Worth last month, when five guys walk in with assault rifles slung on their backs.

The gunmen claimed they were just exercising their overblown notion of Second Amendment rights. Fort Worth police reported that their demonstration prompted Jack In The Box employees to lock themselves in the restaurant’s walk-in freezer.

Apparently some folks, even in Texas, are not thrilled to see gunslingers in their midst.

"Fred Grimm: Gun lobby pushing ‘open carry’ law for Florida."

"Rubio warns of attack on Christian values"

"Leading Republicans on Thursday insisted that America's leaders must do more to defend Christian values at home and abroad, blaming President Barack Obama for attacks on religious freedom as they courted social conservatives expected to play a critical role in the next presidential contest."

"Those of us inspired by Judeo-Christian values...have an obligation to our country and to our fellow man to use our positions of influence to highlight those values," Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio said at a conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by long-time Christian political activist Ralph Reed.

Rubio, the first of several prospective Republican presidential candidates scheduled to speak, charged that Obama's policies "completely ignore the importance of families and values on our society, thinking that instead those things can be replaced by laws and government programs."

"Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio warn of attack on Christian values."