Saturday, October 10, 2015

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

The real "Jeb!" emerges

"Politico has posted a fifty-one-second compilation video of what it calls “unfortunate comments” by Jeb Bush — “stuff happens,” “free stuff,” “anchor babies,” “I’m not sure we need to spend half a billion dollars for women’s-health issues,” and so on."

"The implication is that it’s a mystery why a sixty-two-year-old third-generation politician, the grandson of a senator and the son and brother of Presidents (his own son George P. Bush, an office-holder in Texas, is fourth-generation), would be capable of making stupid mistakes in a campaign that he has to have been thinking about for decades."

For a very long time, Presidential politics have been stuck in a dynamic in which Republicans attack “government” without getting too specific about which of the government’s activities they have in mind, and Democrats defend popular programs but not the over-all idea of the welfare state. Bill Clinton’s typically centrist attempt to address the larger issue was to say, in his second inaugural address, that government was not the problem but neither was it the solution. Who can argue with that?

Anyone who has found this situation frustrating ought to be happy with the way this campaign season is going. The legacy of the financial crisis and the rise of Bernie Sanders have pushed Hillary Clinton to be more open about offering government as a corrective to the excesses of the market than either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama has generally been. And Jeb Bush is one of several Republican candidates—one of whom isn’t Trump—to make specific, non-consensus proposals.

It seems possible that, in a year, we might have two candidates who openly disagree, both about the proper role of government in theory and about many specific programs in practice. That would be wonderful, because voters would have an unusually clear sense of the choice they are making. Let’s keep those unfortunate comments coming.

"The Real Value of Jeb’s 'Unfortunate Comments'." Prepare to cringe: "A look at some of Bush’s most ill-worded comments."

Related: "6 cringeworthy moments in Jeb Bush’s foreign policy speech."

Jeb has a long history of this, on and off (he thinks) the record, and Floridians are familiar with it: see, e.g., "'Devious plans' -- how Jeb Bush's words continue to haunt him" and "When Jeb Bush speaks, people cringe" ("The governor's lesbian joke . . . is the latest example of his mean sense of humor -- when he thinks the media isn't listening.")

Confederate Flag on Florida's Senate Seal

"Florida Might Remove Confederate Flag From State Senate Seal."

Tally Judge hands Legislature "a stinging defeat"

"A Tallahassee circuit judge handed the Legislature a stinging defeat Friday, recommending that the Florida Supreme Court adopt a congressional map drawn by plaintiffs challenging the state’s current political lines." "Judge sides with plaintiffs' maps, handing lawmakers stinging defeat." See also "Circuit Court Judge Recommends Plaintiffs' Congressional Maps" and "Judge wants Webster's district redrawn."

One supposes that any press is good press

Marc Caputo writes that out that, "If anything, these kinds of attacks helped Obama and could help Rubio, said Bill Burton, Obama’s spokesman who defended his candidate’s voting record in a November 2007 CNN story."

“It’s a massive mistake to attack him over something most people don’t care about. All it does is elevate Rubio into the discussion with Trump and Bush,” Burton told POLITICO. “The fact that we have President Barack Obama helps prove my point.”
"Rubio opponents criticize missed votes, to debatable effect."

Because he's Pierre Tristam

Pierre Tristam: "A Hillary Clinton Playground at Old Kings Elementary: What’s the School Board Smoking?"

For background, see "A Ben Carson Reading Room at Old Kings Elementary: What’s the School Board Smoking?"

Speaker Webster?

Kevin Derby: "Dan Webster Optimistic as Kevin McCarthy Drops Out of House Speaker Race."

"First Speaker of the House From Florida? Rep. Dan Webster Considered Dark-Horse Candidate." More: "While Jolly backs Webster’s bid, he nudges Ryan to run" and "Ted Yoho, David Jolly Go to Bat for Dan Webster."

Meanwhile, "Webster is rallying votes to become House speaker, but his chances of keeping his seat next year were dealt a severe blow Friday by a Leon circuit judge, who sided with plaintiffs in Florida's congressional-redistricting case . . . ." "Judge wants Webster's district redrawn."

What's wrong with Hillsborough?

"Sam Rashid, a conservative activist who last month called a Tampa businesswoman a “slut” on Facebook, has resigned his position on the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority." "Activist Rashid resigns from aviation board after ‘slut’ comment."

"What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State"

Marc Caputo: "POLITICO Florida Playbook."

Jeb opposes VRA "as is"

"Two leading Republican presidential candidates expressed divergent views on the Voting Rights Act on Thursday, setting up a split within a party that has been accused of seeking to suppress minority voter turnout in the name of combating fraud at the polls."

Asked about the law at a forum in Des Moines, Mr. Bush said he was uncomfortable placing “regulations on top of states as though we’re living in 1960.”

“There’s been dramatic improvement in access to voting,” he said, adding, “I don’t think there’s a role for the federal government in play in most places — there could be some — but in most places where they did have a constructive role in the ′60s.”

He did not detail any changes he might prefer at the state level, but concerning the 1965 federal act, he said he did not support “reauthorizing it as is.”

"Jeb Bush and Ben Carson Split on Voting Rights Act." See also "Exclusive: Jeb Bush Explains Why He Opposes Voting Rights Act Provision."

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: Firearms, Religious Freedom and the Rebel Flag."

Who owns Marco?

"Campaign finance reform advocate-turned-presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig has dropped his first campaign ad, which skips right over his Democratic primary opponents to jab Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio."

The 15-second spot opens with the question, “Who owns Marco Rubio?” before showing a picture of the Florida senator adorned with logos of big-money contributors including Wells Fargo, Honeywell, Goldman Sachs and other financial services companies.
"Who Owns Marco Rubio?"

Panther still needs protection

The Palm Beach Post editors: "Panther needs protection."

"Thank you, Bwana Jeb"

A well-known columnist let's Jeb! have it:

Nothing is more refreshing or endearing to African-Americans than when a rich, privileged, white politician born into a political dynasty who never had nor ever will have to worry about money for the rest of his life, lectures us on what we want and how we think. Thank you, Bwana Jeb. If only Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X had been so eloquent and insightful, we could have gotten off the “free stuff” cold turkey (unless the free stuff included a turkey).
Much more here: "Jeb Bush Just Doesn’t Get It."

"Tallahassee's trick on taxpayers"

The Sun Sentinel editors: "Tallahassee wants to provide 'historic' school spending next year by continuing to play Tallahassee's trick on taxpayers." "State prepares school tax trick — again."

Is Jeb! "Freaking Out Right Now?"

FiveThirtyEight’s political team asks "Should Jeb Bush Be Freaking Out Right Now?"

Arrest somebody

"Jeb Bush Mixes Up Campaign and ‘Super PAC’."

Except for the part that they were both born to wealth

"Donald Trump and Jeb Bush aren't on the same planet."