Saturday, June 28, 2014

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

"Ads have the air of payback"

Aaron Deslatte: "We all knew Charlie Crist's journey to the Democratic side of the Force wouldn't be a shock-free joyride. But racially themed radio ads cropping up statewide last week from a phantom organization with unclear motives are reinforcing the inevitable downside of Crist's decision to trade political teams."

"Scott has been beyond awkward when discussing race. He once told the black legislative caucus he understood their issues because he had grown up in "public housing."

Just months ago, Crist accused his former party of being racists for opposing President Barack Obama's policies. The new ads have the air of payback.
"But, despite the race-baiting, over-the-top tone, they are largely founded on facts. Crist did sponsor a bill in 1995 to bring back chain gangs in Florida's prison system, which then-House Speaker Peter Wallace, D-St. Petersburg, said brought back images of slavery. The maneuver earned Crist the nickname "Chain-Gang Charlie," which he repeated with pride during his 2006 gubernatorial primary."
He supported legislation requiring convicts to serve 85 percent of their sentences. As governor, he signed bills toughening penalties for marijuana grow houses, and allowing guns in the workplace. Blaming Crist for decades of urban policy failures and a "lost generation" of blacks is rhetorical overkill. But the attack was a political inevitability.

Crist's campaign has lashed out at the ad's sponsors, calling it a "disgusting" attempt by Scott allies to ostracize Crist from black Democrats. "Rick Scott and his groups are running the most disgusting, repulsive campaign in modern history," Crist spokesman Kevin Cate said in an email.

"Florida's fight for governor takes a turn toward race." Related "Mystery group compares 'Chain Gang Charlie' to slavery."

"Bits and Pieces"

Kevin Derby: "Political Bits and Pieces." See also "Weekly Roundup: All In The Family."

Scott calls his administration's $250,000 settlement a Crist "campaign stunt"

William March: "Gov. Rick Scott said Friday that a successful whistleblower lawsuit against his administration concerning thousands of unemployed people improperly referred to collections agencies is 'nothing but Charlie Crist trying to come up with a way to complain.'"

Scott was dismissive of the lawsuit, in which the state paid a former state employee $250,000, as “all basically Charlie Crist. It’s run by his campaign to bring up lawsuits because he doesn’t have a record.”

Scott’s comments, during an interview with the Tampa Tribune editorial board, were the first time he has publicly addressed the matter.

After the whistleblower outlined her charges against the state earlier this week, administration officials referred reporters’ questions to Scott’s re-election campaign, calling the charges a campaign stunt.

"Scott blames whistleblower case on Crist."

"Philanthropic laggards"

"Tax records suggest that Rick Scott and Charlie Crist are philanthropic laggards in comparison with their well-heeled peers." "Tax records suggest Charlie Crist and Rick Scott lag in charitable giving."

"Primary’s been a yawner"

Jeff Henderson would have you believe that "despite how close it could be, the attorney general primary’s been a yawner so far. That reflects how much of an uphill climb it will be for either Sheldon or Thurston to beat Bondi in the fall." "Despite Competitive Primary, George Sheldon and Perry Thurston Aren't Catching Fire."

Upon reflection . . .

"Although he opposed same-sex marriage as a Republican governor and attorney general, Charlie Crist on Friday filed a 'friend of the court' brief backing a legal challenge to Florida's gay-marriage ban headed to court next week." "Crist files brief in support of legal challenge to Florida's same-sex marriage ban." See also "Crist files brief seeking to overturn Florida’s ban on gay marriage."