Friday, November 21, 2014

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

Cloud of Uncertainty Lifted for Many Floridians

The Tampa Tribune's Jerome R. Stockfisch writes that, Millions of immigrants in this country illegally could "be able to get a work permit, driver’s license and Social Security card under the executive action on immigration that President Barack Obama outlined Thursday."

Thousands of undocumented immigrants in West Central Florida "could feel the direct impact of Obama’s decision. Many of them watched the president’s nationally televised, prime-time speech, eager to hear the details of who would be affected and how the process would work." "Obama lifts cloud of uncertainty for Tampa-area migrants."

Cue the wingnuts

"Florida Republicans Steam over Obama's 'Unconstitutional' Immigration Action." See also "Pam Bondi Well-Positioned to Lead Florida Conservatives Against Obama Amnesty."

Failure as immigration reformer, Rubio nevertheless lashes out at Obama

"Marco Rubio Takes Aim at Obama's Immigration Plan."

Jeb Blasts Teachers’ Unions; as usual "he's wrong"

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush blasted public school districts and teachers’ unions on Thursday while promoting education reforms [sic]."

Bush, a prospective presidential candidate in 2016, urged a crowd of hundreds to take bold action to disrupt school systems that work for some students but not for many.

An ideal system, he said, “wouldn’t start with more than 13,000 government-run, unionized, politicized monopolies, who trap good teachers, administrators and struggling students in a system that nobody can escape.”

Bush pitched his reform [sic] ideas while kicking off a two-day reform "summit" in Washington held by a group he founded, The Foundation for Excellence in Education. Bush's stance has angered many educators, who say his reforms would siphon off funding from public schools, stigmatize teachers and rely excessively on standardized tests.

Bush did not back off on Thursday.

He boasted that his reforms in Florida had helped large numbers of low-achieving students raise their performance.

"Jeb Bush blasts public school "monopolies""

Jeb is quite the one-trick-pony: "Jeb Bush’s disdain for public education."

Here's the problem, as put by the Washington Post: "The way Bush tells it, charter and voucher schools are doing things traditional public schools 'haven’t achieved in decades.' His comparisons aren’t valid. He’s wrong." "Jeb Bush bashes traditional public schools (again)."

Musical chairs

"Members of the Florida congressional delegation are starting to move up the leadership ladder as the new Congress reconvenes in January." "Florida Delegation Members Move Up the Congressional Ladder." See also "Despite Opposition, Corrine Brown Back as Ranking Democrat on House VA Committee."

"Republicans can do pretty much what they want"

"As they organized this week for the 2015 legislative session, both parties began facing the new realities in the Florida House: With a two-thirds majority in place, Republicans can do pretty much what they want for the next two years." "Backroom Briefing: Balance of Power."

"Beyond personal"

"Florida State University President John Thrasher, who started the job only earlier this month, was in New York at the time of the shootings and immediately returned to Tallahassee. As a state senator three years ago, Thrasher was instrumental in blocking legislation that would have allowed guns on campus in some cases. He called it 'beyond personal.'" "FSU president John Thrasher played key role in 2011 defeat of NRA guns-on-campus bill."

"Charge of the Ultra Light Charade"

Daniel Ruth describes "Florida Democratic Party's plans for self-reflection, meditation and thinking deep thoughts as its rendition of 'Yawnberry Fields Forever.'"

After coming off an election debacle best described as the Charge of the Ultra Light Charade, as Florida's Democrats pretended to be a political party, state Chairwoman Allison Tant, the Gen. Halftrack of the Hustings, created a blue-ribbon panel of prominent Democrats (all 14 of them) to study the election's outcomes and recommend ideas to transform the party in time for the 2016 campaign. Forget the pig. This is going to be like putting lipstick on Lenin's corpse.
"You don't need to be some well-paid consultant to figure out this is a faux political party with all the bench strength of the Little Rascals when it comes to cultivating future candidates who have a chance to win a statewide election."
No doubt the Tant Consortium of Hand-Wringing will spare no amount of cogitation on how to attract a new generation of candidates and win elections. Let's start with a pulse.

This may come as a revelation to the elite assemblage of mourners, but how about creating a slate of candidates who aren't afraid to stand up for party principles instead of turning themselves into the red badge of porridge every time a Republican sneers in their general direction?

It might be argued voter turnout could improve if voters were given candidates worth voting for. And while we're at it, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is a co-chair of the Tant Convocation of Alibis, might explain why he was a virtual no-show during the 2014 gubernatorial campaign when his presence alongside Democratic nominee Charlie Crist might have helped to convey a sense of party unity in an election decided by a 1.2 percentage-point margin for Gov. Rick Scott. It's not as if Nelson was all that busy in Washington.

It's not entirely clear how much money the Tant Privy Council On What, Me Worry? has to do its work. But it might not be a bad idea to scrape up a few dollars to hire a medium to conduct a seance with the late Republican Party of Florida Chairman Tom Slade.

It was Slade who was one of the key architects of the GOP's rise — from just about where the Democrats are now (irrelevant) to political dominance in the Florida Legislature and around the state.

After Slade died recently at 78, his political skills were recalled and admired by both his fellow Republicans and by Democrats.

Slade played hardball. Democrats play canasta. Slade was an adept strategist, a cunning marketer, a relentless fundraiser and a skilled kneecapper when the occasion arose. He was able to bring factions together, recruit talent and stay relentlessly on message.

In 1993, when Slade assumed the chairmanship of the state GOP, Democrats held the Governor's Mansion, controlled the Florida House and shared the Florida Senate. Five years later Republicans had seized control of … everything.

Why? Perhaps Slade said it best when he mused: "We must be careful not to be our own worst enemy." And that pretty much sums up the challenge for the Tant Round Table of Concession Speeches.

"Democrats navel-gaze, Republicans win."

"Why Charlie Crist, Why Florida?"

A Rick Scott cheerleader wonders "Why would a Houston multimillionaire with no current business in the Sunshine State out-donate billionaire George Soros, giving it to Democrat Charlie Crist's Florida gubernatorial campaign and the Florida Democratic Party?" "The Mystery of Millionaire Donor Steve Mostyn: Why Charlie Crist, Why Florida?"

Will "Politicians in Robes" Help Out GOPer Operative?

"Florida's Supreme Court today gave a Republican political consultant 10 days to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court the Florida court's earlier ruling ordering the release of certain redistricting records." "GOP operative gets 10-day delay on release of redistricting records." For the "politicians in robes" remark, see Linda Greenhouse's "Law in the Raw."