Sunday, May 10, 2015

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

Rubio's "remarkable and unusual patron"

The New York Times: "As Rubio has ascended in the ranks of Republican politics, [car dealer Norm] Braman has emerged as a remarkable and unusual patron: simultaneously bankrolling Rubio's campaigns and legislative agendas, even while subsidizing his personal finances, long strained by heavy debt and big swings in income."

Now, with Rubio vaulting ahead of much of the Republican presidential field, Braman is poised to play an even larger part and become Rubio's single biggest campaign donor, with an expected outlay of about $10 million for the senator's pursuit of the White House. A detailed review of their relationship shows that Braman, 82, has left few corners of Rubio's world untouched. He hired Rubio, then a Senate candidate, as a lawyer; employed his wife to advise the Braman family's philanthropic foundation; helped cover the cost of Rubio's salary as an instructor at a Miami college; and gave Rubio access to his private plane.
"Billionaire Norman Braman lifts Marco Rubio, politically and personally."

Jeb continues to dance around "marriage equality" issue

Jeb Bush recently declared:"'I believe in traditional marriage,' said Bush when Hannity asked him whether he's changing his position on the issue." "Jeb Bush Reaffirms He Does Not Support Marriage Equality."

Jeb is now going sideways on the issue - "Jeb Bush courts evangelicals, defends religion in public life in Liberty University speech". See generally: "Marriage equality: The headache Jeb Bush can’t avoid."

Health Care Blew Up the Session

FlaglerLive: "A review of the events of the regular session — including interviews with some key players in the House-Senate row — show how negotiations broke down: Dramatic miscalculations of each other’s motives and willingness to force a showdown conspired with the tight deadline of a 60-day session to derail lawmakers’ plans."

"And it gives indications of the pitfalls the Legislature must avoid if it hopes to end the month of June with a budget and avoid a shutdown that could further sap Floridians’ faith in the ability of their elected officials to lead." "How Health Care Blew Up the 2015 Session."

"Preening arrogance" of the Legislature

The Tampa Tribune editors: "Years from now, history will cruelly judge this colossally dysfunctional Florida Legislature — but not primarily because of the Senate and House conflict over Medicaid, which caused Speaker Steve Crisafulli to abruptly adjourn early in a fit of pique."

Granted, the action made the House leadership look ridiculous. But childish antics are not novel in the political world. Neither are bitter standoffs over difficult issues.

What will distinguish and disgrace this Legislature is the preening arrogance with which lawmakers dismissed a clear directive from voters.

Last November, 75 percent of voters passed Amendment 1, a constitutional ballot initiative that requires the state to spend more on land conservation. It won the support of Democrats and Republicans alike.

But lawmakers have, so far, shown they don’t care what the people of Florida want. They will do as they — or the special interests that call most of the shots in Tallahassee — please.

"Historic contempt for voters."

Grubbing for wingnuts

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Saturday condemned the Obama administration’s use of 'coercive federal power' to limit religious freedom as he courted Christian conservatives at a Liberty University commencement ahead of a likely presidential run." "Jeb Bush: Stronger 'Christian voice' needed in world."

"A well-worn political adage"

"A well-worn political adage is that you can’t win the White House without Florida, and you can’t win Florida without the Interstate 4 corridor."

Between 2008, when President Barack Obama was first elected, and 2013, the most recent reliable census figures, the population of the I-4 corridor increased by about 7 percent. The Hispanic population increase in the same swath was 20 percent.

“Any time you have a demographic like that, it’s significant. It’s a big deal,” said Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist who successfully directed the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign in Florida.

And in the past, it has been a Democratic big deal.

Obama carried Florida’s Hispanic vote in 2012 by 60 percent to 39 percent, an improvement over his 57 percent to 42 percent showing in 2008, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Gov. Rick Scott won re-election last year despite opponent Charlie Crist’s 58 percent to 38 percent advantage among Hispanics.

Much more here: "I-4 corridor Hispanics seen as road to political wins."

"The emptiest of empty suits . . . Coming soon to a Wawa near you"

Carl Hiaasen points out that Tally Republicans are "ripping at each other like addled meerkats." Hiassen asks, "where was the newly reelected Republican governor, leader of the party?"

Gone is where he was — jetting to crucial functions such as the grand opening of a Wawa gas-and-convenience store in Fort Myers and the debut of a humongous Ferris wheel in Orlando.
"But Scott isn’t a functioning governor. He is the emptiest of empty suits — no talent for leadership, no muscle for compromise, no sense whatsoever of the big picture."
When the going gets tough, Scott heads straight for the airport. This is what happens when you elect a guy with his own private jet. . . .

In fact, he has been laser-focused on the future — not Florida’s future, but his own. He’s looking ahead to a possible bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018. (We’ll pause here while you choke on your cornflakes.)

"Rick Scott no help in time of crisis."