Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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

"Democrats Clear the Decks for Murphy"

"On Monday, Charlie Crist said he wasn’t going to run for the Senate in 2016. Tuesday saw Debbie Wasserman Schultz on CNN with Wolf Blitzer where she bowed out of the Senate race."

Patrick Murphy’s people are saying he will run for the Senate next year no matter what Marco Rubio does.

If Rubio foregoes a second term to run for the presidency, Murphy offers Democrats a decent shot at picking up a Senate seat. Even if Rubio decides to stay in the Senate, Murphy at least gives Democrats a credible candidate, though he would certainly be an underdog.

"Democrats Clear the Decks for Patrick Murphy's 2016 Senate Run."

See also "Charlie Crist not seeking Senate seat eyed by friend Patrick Murphy."

"Lawmakers seem to care not a whit"

The Tampa Trib editorial board: "The disconnect between Florida lawmakers and voters is strikingly displayed in legislators’ response to Amendment 1."

The constitutional amendment mandating more state spending on conservation was the biggest vote-getter last November, backed by 75 percent of voters....

So the public’s will here is crystal clear — and lawmakers seem to care not a whit.

Many legislators are dismissing the need for more land purchases. Some even want to spend the money on drainage and other government infrastructure projects, which would be a complete corruption of the amendment.

Indeed, lawmakers seem more inclined to listen to industry groups that had nothing to do with the Amendment 1 campaign, such as Associated Industries of Florida, than to its backers, who won the public’s endorsement.

It’s outrageous. But, sadly, lawmakers can get away with such arrogance. Most are in safely drawn districts that rarely expose them to a broad section of voters.

"Stunning disregard for voters’ will." See also "Amendment 1 Spending Plan Lands Mixed Reviews."

You got a problem with that?

"Inspectors said a new confidentiality agreement was intended to quiet their complaints about the agency, but a judge said it didn’t violate the law." "Judge upholds prison ‘gag order,’ dismisses lawsuit."

Good luck with that

"House moves on budget while Senate waits on Medicaid talks."

Daddy's boy

"Old Bush Hand James Baker Gets on the 2016 Jeb Bandwagon."

Privatization madness

"The private Broward agency that provides foster care, adoption and other services was awash in problems, according to a series of inspector general reports." "Misconduct found at privately run child-welfare agency."

Heaven help us

"Over the last five years, former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has grown into one of the most prominent political leaders in the Sunshine State and his star could go even higher in the years to come." "Will Weatherford, Young Star Shines Out of the Shadows."

"Bailey has met with federal prosecutors"

"Former Commissioner Gerald Bailey’s abrupt and unexplained dismissal from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has triggered a lawsuit by dozens of news outlets that are now seeking Bailey’s sworn testimony." "Ousted FDLE chief Gerald Bailey met with federal prosecutors over firing by Gov. Rick Scott, cabinet."

Tom Nickens: "Why the Times joined the lawsuit against the governor and Cabinet."

"Reckless gun bill"

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Senate should reject reckless gun bill."

This from a man who was born with his father's silver foot in his mouth

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday that minimum wage increases should be left to businesses and state governments, opposing a hike in the federal pay floor as an impediment to individuals trying to escape from poverty." "Jeb Bush rejects idea of raising federal minimum wage."

He's gone

"After losing a bid to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November, Democrat Charlie Crist ended speculation Monday that he would run for the U.S. Senate in 2016."

Last week, Crist said some Democratic operatives had been encouraging him to consider a run for the Senate again.
"The 2016 Senate race is drawing heavy speculation, as Rubio weighs whether to run for the presidency or to seek re-election. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., has emerged as a potential Democratic candidate, but questions swirled around Crist, who was elected governor as a Republican in 2006 and later became an independent before running last year as a Democrat." "Crist says he won't run for anything in 2016." See also "Crist Says He Won’t Run For Office In 2016."

Rubio strides world stage, trips

"Eying the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday that he would 'absolutely' defy stalwart European allies if necessary to revoke any Iranian nuclear deal he might inherit from President Barack Obama." "Sen. Marco Rubio says he's 'absolutely' willing to defy European allies on Iran."