Posts Tagged ‘Florida’
August 21st, 2010 at 2:51 pm
Florida Tea Party Needs to Go Local

As discussed in this week’s Liberty Update, the next great wave of Tea Party enthusiasm needs to wash over local political offices as soon as this year’s federal midterm elections conclude.  A column in the St. Petersburg Times notes that several of Florida’s highest profile Tea Party candidates are mounting what looks to be losing campaigns in the run-up to next Tuesday’s statewide primary elections.

The reason is simple: it’s just too hard to compete for votes and money when running against candidates from the two established parties.  Far better, the columnist suggests, to turn the Tea Party’s attention to city and county races where much of the real world of governing takes place.

Mike Alexander and the Pasadena (CA) Patriots couldn’t agree more.  Like Mike’s wife Patricia likes to say, “Starting at 6 a.m. on November 3rd, we are going to focus on all the municipal elections here in Los Angeles County: county supervisor, city council, school board, you name it.”  Tea Party enthusiasts would do well to check out Alexander’s TEA PAC organization for ideas on how to turn activist energy into winning elections.

July 16th, 2010 at 9:26 am
Podcast: Florida Legislator Discusses BP Oil Spill Issues

In an interview with CFIF’s Renee Giachino, Florida State Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) discusses the federal government’s slow response to the BP oil spill, the need for a special session of the Florida legislature and the spill’s implications for the country’s energy policy.

Listen to the interview here.

July 14th, 2010 at 6:28 pm
Will Marco Rubio be the Senate’s Next Ideas Man?
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It certainly looks that way. Back when he was Speaker of the Florida House, Rubio pioneered “idearaisers” — a format where he solicited the best public policy ideas from citizens of the Sunshine State. The result was a book entitled 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future. All of those 100 ideas were passed by the Florida House, and, by Rubio’s accounting, 57 are now Florida law.

Now on the hustings as a U.S. Senate candidate, Rubio has now unveiled “23 Simple Ways To Create Jobs, Grow Our Economy And Help The Gulf Coast Recover.” You can read the full list via the link, but here are a couple of the choicer items:

 Fundamentally Reform The U.S. Tax Code. The current tax code hinders economic growth. Too many years of special interest lobbying and class warfare politics have cemented it as anti-family, anti-jobs and anti-competitive. The U.S. should have a tax system that is simpler, fairer and promotes economic growth.  We should start moving toward being able to pay our taxes with a single rate on paper the size of a postcard.

Make Claims Checks Tax Exempt. The Gulf Oil Spill Relief Fund is designed to help those whose economic well-being and revenue has been impacted. Similar to legislation after September 11, the federal government should act immediately so that Floridians and the people of the Gulf Coast receive a full gross relief check. BP should cover any tax losses.

See Rubio talking about the linkage between ideas and action below:


July 8th, 2010 at 3:35 pm
LeBron James and the Tiebout Hypothesis
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The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Here it goes: my name is Troy and I geek out at the intersection of sports and economics.

Today’s example — catnip for conservatives — comes from NBA superstar LeBron James’s much-anticipated announcement of where he’ll be playing next season now that he’s a free agent.

Apart from the option of staying in Cleveland (which won’t be habitable until the folks at Reason are through with it), Lebron’s two most prominent options look to be the New York Knicks or the Miami Heat. But even if both teams offer him identical contracts, his take-home pay will look dramatically different. As a New York Post blog posting notes:

If LeBron James goes to the Miami Heat instead of the Knicks, blame our dysfunctional lawmakers in Albany, who have saddled top-earning New Yorkers with the highest state and city income taxes in the nation, soon to be 12.85 percent on top of the IRS bite. There is no state income tax in Florida.

Total state taxes on a 5-year, $96 million contract? $12.34 million in New York; $0 in Florida.

If LeBron ends up in Miami (and the influence of joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the Heat’s starting lineup shouldn’t be underemphasized), this blogger may be one of the only sports fans in America who traces the development to a rather obscure, short-lived economist from the Eisenhower era.

Charles Tiebout’s greatest contributions to economics was the “Tiebout Hypothesis” — which in essence stated that federalism matters because citizens vote with their feet. If a state wants productive people (and make no mistake, LeBron is an economic dynamo), they create the conditions that will bring them there. Thus, Florida has a recipe for fostering entrepreneurship, while New York has a recipe for disaster.

Of course, there are mitigating factors. Kobe Bryant stays in Los Angeles despite California’s confiscatory tax rates because of the prestige of playing with a successful legacy franchise like the Lakers. But for those of us with a more conventional cut to our jibs, the calculation is simpler.

If you have a business you can run from anywhere, would you rather do it at New York’ s 12.85% rate or for free in one of the nine states that don’t have income taxes (Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming — just in case you’re looking to flee blue state insanity).

By the way, take a look at the business climates in these states and you’ll notice which model works and which model doesn’t.


June 18th, 2010 at 12:19 pm
America’s Top Three Bizarro Candidates

Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a female wrestler!  It’s a “meltdown mogul!”  No, it’s…Alvin Greene?

Thank goodness for the East Coast and its bipartisan craziness when it comes to U.S. Senate candidates.  In Connecticut former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon is using her millions to batter her Republican primary opponents with the financial equivalent of a conveniently located folding chair.

Florida’s Democratic primary just got more intriguing with the unexpected candidacy of Jeff Greene, a “meltdown mogul” who made a killing betting on the housing market collapse who had Mike Tyson serve as his best man.  The possibility of his beating establishment favorite Rep. Kendrick Meek has some party officials thinking about backing newly Independent Charlie Crist in the general election.

And let’s not forget South Carolina where the still mysterious Alvin Greene (no relation to Florida’s Jeff), was recently allowed to continue as the Democratic Party’s popularly chosen nomineeCFIF readers may recall that Alvin raised no money, did no campaigning, and cruised to a 60% victory apparently because of being listed first on the primary ballot.

CFIF will keep an eye on these and other races for you as the election heats up.

June 15th, 2010 at 5:53 pm
Florida Tries “Federalism” at the County Level

Political science purists would quibble with using the term federalism to describe a county government’s ability to declare itself able to act against the wishes of federal and state government…but who cares?

Certainly not the take-the-bull-by-horns types running Florida’s Okaloosa County.  With the Gulf Oil Spill threatening to damage the county’s Choctawhatchee Bay, supervisors “voted unanimously to give their emergency management team the power to take whatever action it deems necessary to prevent” that from happening.

That means the team, led by Public Safety Director Dino Villani, can take whatever action it sees fit to protect the pass without having its plans approved by state or federal authorities.

Commission chairman Wayne Harris said he and his fellow commissioners made their unanimous decision knowing full well they could be prosecuted for it.

“We made the decision legislatively to break the laws if necessary. We will do whatever it takes to protect our county’s waterways and we’re prepared to go to jail to do it,” he said.

Isn’t it instructive to see the relationship between a politician’s decisiveness and his proximity to the people most affected by the spill?  Maybe there is something to the idea that any activity that can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be.  If anything, the Obama Administration’s hunger for more centralized power over health care, the financial sector, and even the oil spill is showing the limits of so-called “comprehensive” solutions.

June 4th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
Podcast: Florida State Senator Discusses BP Oil Spill

In an interview with CFIF, Florida State Senator Don Gaetz discusses the BP oil spill, the government’s response and the potential impact on the environment and economy of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Listen to the interview here.

June 2nd, 2010 at 6:39 pm
Charlie Crist is a Crying Shame

Florida’s most infamous party-switcher is realizing the pain of political divorce.  From an interview with The Hill:

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says it is “very lonely” running as an independent.

Since he quit his party, Crist says he has discovered that people he thought were friends turned out to be only Republican friends, who dropped Crist after he left the GOP.

Crist has lost so many campaign staffers that his sister is now running his third-party effort.

“When you’re not affiliated with a party, it can be very lonely, particularly initially,” Crist told The Hill in an hourlong phone interview.

He cannot be serious.  For a perpetual campaign machine like Crist who ran for and won statewide office in 2000, 2002, and 2006, to think that his fundraisers, staff, and get-out-the-vote activists supported him because he’s Charlie instead of because, as a Republican, he (supposedly) championed Republican causes, is comical.  If anything, Crist’s constant appeals to Democrats and Independents probably made Florida Republicans wonder why they worked so hard to advance his career.

Now that Crist has shown himself to be motivated by nothing more than his own ambition, his U.S. Senate race is the truest reflection of his political career: emptiness masquerading as conviction.

May 3rd, 2010 at 10:27 am
Crist in a Lifeboat Without a Paddle

Last week, the governor of Florida and candidate for Senate jumped the GOP ship and embraced all the rhetoric one expects from an independent. Having broken his partisan shackles, Crist no longer supports Republican ideas or Democratic ideas, just what he says are good ideas in the best interest of Floridians. He has even gone so far as to go on the record as being undecided as to whom he would support for leadership or with which party he would caucus, if any.

But whom does he think he is kidding? Had he entered this race throwing party affiliation to the wind, then perhaps many would have given him points for courage. The reality is he chose to run as a Republican. When continuously pressed by Fox’s Chris Wallace about the possibility of an independent run, he reasserted his Republican candidacy. Only in the waning hours before a filing deadline facing certain primary defeat at the hands of Marco Rubio did Crist rebuke his entire career as a Republican. As GOP strategist Brett Doster told Politico:

Charlie should get as much credit for his courage and boldness in making this move as the Titanic passengers did for boarding the lifeboats.”

This move represents what is really riling the public about politicians, a lack of integrity. With Obama and the Democrats promising the world and delivering little, Americans are tired of politicians saying one thing and then doing another. They are tired of leaders who look out for themselves first and the people second.

The GOP ship has sailed away from Charlie Crist. In the next few weeks Crist will begin to see just how hard it is to navigate a lifeboat to the shores of victory without his paddle (party organization), his wallet (party fundraising), but more importantly without his integrity.

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April 23rd, 2010 at 2:26 am
Perpetually Campaigning Yourself Out of a Career

It’s hard to believe that Florida Governor Charlie Crist is on the precipice of being a one term chief executive with only a new wife to show for it.  Haled as the difference maker for John McCain’s struggling presidential campaign, he single-handedly decided which Republican candidate would win the 2008 GOP Florida primary.  Yes, he was that popular in a state where he now trails his Republican challenger for the open Senate seat, Marco Rubio, by 20 points.

Aside from doing little more in office than unwind many of Jeb Bush’s conservative accomplishments, Crist is likely to leave office in November without having ever fully concentrated on being the most powerful politician in a crucial swing state.  In stark contrast to New Jersey’s recently elected governor, Chris Christie, whose budget balancing is a model for skillful public policy in action, Crist will be remembered as a politician who couldn’t be satisfied with his current job.  Very soon, Florida voters will relieve him of the burden.

February 26th, 2010 at 2:12 pm
Charlie Crist to Run as an Independent?

That’s the rumor coming out of Florida Republican circles and RedState’s Erick Erickson.  Not that such a move would be too much of a surprise since Crist is still the sitting governor of Florida and is losing by 18% to former state house speaker, Marco Rubio.  He needs something to spice up his campaign, and going rogue would certainly do it.  The question is, though, what kind of voter would Crist try to attract once he became un-tethered from a political party?

This isn’t the same scenario that faced Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) when he ran as an independent after losing the Connecticut Democratic primary to Ned Lamont in 2006.  There, netroots activists took over the election and alienated much of Lieberman’s comparatively moderate base.  Lieberman was also aided by some not so subtle help from the Bush Administration seeing the Iraq War supporter as an ally on foreign affairs.  Neither factor is present in this year’s Florida U.S. Senate race.  Not only is Rubio building the kind of following that could deliver a decisive victory among Republicans and Independents, there is no indication that the Obama Administration will coordinate with Crist to the detriment of the likely Democratic nominee, Kendrick Meek.

If Crist truly is considering leaving the GOP, he should instead “suspend” his campaign and concentrate on ending his one term as governor on as good a note as possible.  Otherwise, he’ll do further damage to his reputation while simultaneously wasting Floridians time and money on an ill-conceived vanity tour.

January 5th, 2010 at 3:21 pm
Ain’t No Sunshine When He’s Gone
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From the Sunshine State today comes news that Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer (one of the closest allies of moderate Governor — and U.S. Senate aspirant — Charlie Crist) is resigning from his post. The chairman came under fire from the right for his unsubtle support of Crist against the more conservative former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio in the Republican senate primary, as well as for being a bit of a spendthrift.

The delicious irony is that Greer — a man who had been justifying his every action on the basis of creating a “big tent” party — chose to leave office with a scorched earth message:

Greer said his opponents want to “burn the house down and destroy the Republican Party.”

“I am not a purist,” he said in describing his vision for the party. “I have never been a purist. I believe that our party stands for principles and values and that anyone who has an interest in our party should be able to participate.”

Greer’s beauty pageant eloquence aside, these statements are an intellectual schematic of political breakdown. If your party “stands for principles and values,” then you can’t strengthen it by attempting to marginalize those who take those principles and values most seriously. Too many GOP moderates seem to think that creating a big tent means pushing conservatives out of the back end. They’re going to have to learn how to be partners and not adversaries in the future. If they don’t, expect to see more centrists dethroned ala Jim Greer.

November 4th, 2009 at 5:17 pm
Conservatives Flying South for the Winter?

It looks like retired seniors aren’t the only New York-area residents making an impact in Florida this time of year. After upstate New Yorkers nearly pushed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over the finish line last night, Republican leaders are taking note. One Miami New Times blogger suggests that conservative insurgent Marco Rubio may have a new hurdle to overcome in his quest for establishment credibility and access to GOP moneymen. The argument goes that party big-wigs are likely to be even stingier with their support after watching a red district go blue.

On the other hand, ABC News’ Rick Klein reports that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) will not be giving money to any candidate in an open, contested primary. Sorry, Charlie (Crist)! NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) notes that in the aftermath of NY-23, “[t]here’s no incentive for us to weigh in.”

This is huge. Now there’s every incentive for the conservative grassroots to promote and resource Marco Rubio’s campaign, without the fear of being outspent and undercut by the national party. The big guys are saying ‘may the best man win’ in the Florida GOP primary. Game on!

October 23rd, 2009 at 1:43 pm
A Tree Grows in Daytona Beach
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One of the eternal irritations about mainstream media coverage of conservatives is how often unabashedly liberal journalists are tasked to write “objective” pieces about the political dynamics within the GOP. The results tend to be about as unpredictable as a Horatio Alger story.

The narrative usually goes something like this: Ideological zealots (read: conservatives), abandoning all pretense of pragmatism (apparently it isn’t practical to have principles) are threatening to drive the party of a cliff. Yet one enlightened moderate, free of all that ideological ballast, holds the potential to lead the party boldly into the future if only the flat-earthers would get out of his way.  The moderate is sensible, temperate, and judicious.  The conservative is either mentally unhinged or has sold his soul to Karl Rove.

That’s basically the tact that Time’s Joe Klein (whose consistent ability to be wrong in print deserves a Pulitzer) takes in his profile of the GOP primary contest for the open U.S. Senate seat in Florida.  Klein portrays Florida’s moderate governor, Charlie Crist, as a good-natured centrist being driven to the wall by wild-eyed right-wing activists.  Meanwhile, conservative former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio is shot down on the grounds that (a) the Florida GOP chairman doesn’t like purists (since all of us recognize the unalloyed majesty and power of state chairmen) and (b) Jeb Bush’s decision to create public hurricane insurance half a decade ago proves that limited government won’t work in the Sunshine State.

Of all the candidates aiming to leap onto the national stage in gubernatorial or senate races next year, Rubio is far and away the most impressive addition to the conservative movement.  An enterprising conservative or moderate journalist (or even an intellectually honest liberal) would have seen that the real story here is how a relatively unknown, underfunded conservative has started destroying the lead of a popular moderate govenor in one of the nation’s largest states. That’s not the story that Joe Klein wrote. Unfortunately, it’s probably not one he’s capable of writing.