Thursday, June 05, 2014

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

Columnist: Pam Bondi a hypocritical "serial bride"

"In another set of circumstances [Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago] "wouldn't bring up Attorney General Pam Bondi's two marriages and divorces – and her current relationship with a Tampa ophthalmologist, this time sealed, not with legal ribbon but in a well-publicized “non-binding” celebration in the Cayman Islands in 2012."

Her marriages, divorces, and out-of-wedlock relationships are her business – not state business.

But it’s hypocritical of this serial bride to use sanctimonious arguments to try to convince a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and SAVE on behalf of gay and lesbian couples seeking to have their out-of-state marriages recognized in Florida.

The Republican attorney general could only wish to be as blessed with as strong a union as many gay couples enjoy – marriage-like relationships that have lasted longer than all of Bondi’s marriages put together. Many of these are couples raising children who are thriving in families composed of two moms or two dads. So why shouldn’t their unions be legalized and afforded the law’s protections?

They’re demanding nothing less and nothing more than the rights heterosexuals enjoy.

But in recently filed court documents, Bondi demonizes gay marriage with conservative rhetoric ironically similar to that with which she has been attacked for her lifestyle by ultra conservatives. . . .

The least Bondi could do is follow the lead of other attorneys general and get out of the way.

Her response falls in the same two-faced category as the Republican state legislator who voted in favor of drug-testing state employees – exempting elected officials like himself – all the while he was developing a nasty drug habit for which he was forced to resign.

"Fabiola Santiago: Bondi should get out of the way when it comes to same sex marriages."

Nan Rich picks up another endorsement

"Nan Rich Wins National Women's Political Caucus Endorsement."

Scott crowd wants Dem debate

Raoul Lowery Contreras, a political consultant who contributes to Fox News Latino, trumpets: "In Florida today, recent polling has concluded that 89 percent of Florida Democrats want to see a debate among Democratic candidates for governor." "Florida Hispanics Especially Need to See a Charlie Crist-Nan Rich Debate."

Scott Appointee Indicted

"Suspended Orlando expressway-authority board member Scott Batterson [who was originally appointed by Rick Scott], former state Rep. Chris Dorworth and his girlfriend were indicted Wednesday by a grand jury, charged with violating state public-records laws." "Grand jury indicts Batterson, Dorworth on violating public-records law." Earlier in the week another Scott appointee agreed to plea: "Scott appointee to plead guilty to sunshine violations."

Lawsuit could lead to "unraveling the state legislative political geography"

"The two-week trial over Florida's new rules of the road for drawing political boundaries concluded Wednesday with the fate of the first-of-their-kind “non-political” congressional maps in the hands of a Tallahassee judge."

The case has generated a treasure trove of insider political intrigue. But if Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis decides this month to order a reboot of the 2012 map-drawing process, the stakes for voters could be felt for decades.

If Lewis decides the congressional maps were intentionally drawn to help Republicans, he could order the Legislature to re-draw the maps or require a court-overseen process.

Any decision will be quickly shuttled to the Florida Supreme Court, which has repeatedly ruled against parts of the Legislature’s 2012 map-drawing handiwork. . . .

And invalidating the lines could cause “chaos” for candidates – even if new maps won’t have to be in place until 2016 – because it could lead to unraveling the state legislative political geography, the defeats of more longtime incumbents, and shake up the calculus of which seats candidates seek.

“It would put everybody into a tremendous scramble,” said University of Central Florida political scientist Aubrey Jewett, who called such a scenario “a difficult process to undertake this close to an election.”

Long-term, even GOP control of the Legislature could be eroded.

Both sides say the trial will help decide how Florida’s “Fair Districts” amendments passed by voters in 2010 will be enforced for decades to come.

"Redistricting trial wraps up with no decision for weeks". See also "Landmark Florida redistricting trial wraps up" and "Redistricting trial ends but conclusion is far from certain."

"Rubio’s Walmart Mentality"

Stephen L. Goldstein: "Republicans have just discovered poverty and income inequality — a remarkable revelation, considering they have caused so much of it."

The Tea Party GOP has declared Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” a failure. And with the 2014 elections looming, following the advice of their pollsters and word-testers, Republicans are trying to remake themselves as sympathetic and empathetic, instead of apathetic, to the plight of the poor and the middle class.

So in January, just a day after he voted not to allow the Senate to vote on extending unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had the chutzpah to say he was proposing “the most fundamental change to how the federal government fights poverty and encourages income mobility” in 50 years. In “Reclaiming the Land of Opportunity: Conservative Reforms for Combating Poverty,” he rattled off a compendium of political kitsch, a Walmart of social solutions with the impact of anesthesia.

"With Marco Rubio’s Walmart Mentality, Republicans ‘Discover’ How to End the Poverty They Created."

"Mountains out of a Molehills"

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill, Jeff Henderson breathlessly reprts that the, as he would have it,

liberal media are breathlessly reporting that Leslie Dougher only getting more than 60 percent of the vote to become chairwoman of the RPOF this weekend shows that Rick Scott is in trouble -- and, as usual, they are barking up the wrong tree.
"Liberal Media Make a Mountain out of a Molehill in RPOF Vote."