Tag Archives: Charlie Crist

Rush Limbaugh is really a Democrat

Rush Limbaugh is brilliant.  He is an entertainer.  And after 8 years of Bush is clearly . . . a Democrat.

There is no other way to explain it. 

What Limbaugh does as well as anyone is create division.  He motivates his lemmings dittoheads by using buzzwords like ‘socialist’.  

He has led the Republicans in a charge of obstructionism never before seen in politics.  Being the opposition party is not about saying ‘no’ to everything.  It is about working with the other party in order to reach a workable compromise.  But after years of forcing right wing legislation down Americans throats, the Republicans have evidently decided to reject anything that comes from the Democratic Party.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Rush Limbaugh has also made it his mission to go after any Republican who is willing to work with the Democrats in order to reach a compromise.  He is attacking any Republican for not being ‘conservative enough’.

Look at the debacle in the NY-23.  The Republican candidate withdrew from the election after a Conservative candidate entered the race and said the Republican was not conservative enough.  The Republican ended up endorsing the Democrat and the Conservative candidate lost.

Limbaugh is now targeting popular Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist in his U.S. Senate quest instead going with rightwing Marco Rubio. 

Crist would most likely win big in the General Election but because Limbaugh says he isn’t conservative enough is opting for the polarizing Rubio – who potentially could push moderates and independents to the Democratic candidate.

Limbaugh has even taken to criticizing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for not outright rejecting the Healthcare Reform Bill.  Limbaugh acknowledges that McConnell is against the bill but is adding amendments to the existing bill instead of rejecting it. 

“They just need to say no; there’s nothing wrong with saying no to this!”

The Democrats do enough to shoot themselves in the foot.  They introduced a poor healthcare reform bill that didn’t allow for compromise as it eliminated the liberal preferred single-payer option and are now negotiating the removal of the public option.  The bill smells of corporate interests and does nothing to improve healthcare coverage for Americans.

If Republicans work toward this ‘compromise’, they will come out huge winners.  This bill will push many moderates and independents toward the Republicans and will discourage liberals and progressives from voting next year.

Progressives and liberals are thinking that with an overwhelming majority in Congress and the White House behind healthcare reform legislation, a decent bill that provides quality healthcare coverage to all Americans and doesn’t cater to insurance and pharmaceutical companies should have been easy to pass.

Instead, what we see is a thousand plus page embarrassment of a bill that does nothing to change the mess we’re in.

All Limbaugh and company had to do was sit back and point to the garbage legislation that is coming from the Democrats.  ‘Look, the Republicans are working to try to improve that rubbish by introducing amendments to the bill …”

But Limbaugh criticizes the more moderate in his party trying to take the Republicans even further to the right.  In a year (2010) that was expected to see an incredible swing back towards the Republicans, is Limbaugh supporting candidates that are generally unelectable in state-wide elections. 

Rubio is strong in his Republican district but if the Democrats put up a viable option, the Republicans could lose the state that they have controlled in the Governor’s mansion for 12 years.  Moderates and Independents most likely would wind up voting for the Democrat over a far rightwing Republican especially when their preferred candidate – Crist – was thrown under the bus by his own party.

Where Limbaugh is intelligent, he certainly has to know that by supporting far-right candidates he will push the moderates and independents to the left – allowing for Democrats to have a successful 2010 campaign.  As long as he keeps this up, I’m glad to have him part of the Democratic Party.

On a personal note:  I am a fan of Charlie Crist – except when he is running for office.  If the Republicans don’t want him and choose Rubio in their primary, I hope Crist pulls a ‘Joe Lieberman’ – either running as an Independent or as a Democrat. 

My 2 Buck$

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Jindal’s GOP response – Failed to hit the mark

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Before last night, I definitely knew about Bobby Jindal. I knew the Republicans looked at Jindal as a future star in the party. He was expected to compete for the 2012 presidential nomination against Sarah Palin.

Much of America got to see him for the first time last night and America was not impressed. Governor Jindal was lucky that many Americans turned off President Obama’s speech before Congress (not the State of the Union) once POTUS completed his speech.

I found Jindal to be painfully dull. He was amateurish in his speaking; sounding as if he was reading and his writing skills were elementary.

I hoped his speech had more pizzazz as I planned on writing that Jindal was a better solution than the Republican frontrunner – Palin. (Personally, I am a Charlie Crist supporter because I believe he looks beyond partisan politics (except when he was running for governor and vying for the VP nomination with John McCain.)

After yesterday, I have to say that the Republicans have a much greater shot in 2012 with Palin than with Jindal.

Here are some excerpts:

Tonight, we witnessed a great moment in the history of our republic. In the very chamber where Congress once voted to abolish slavery, our first African American president stepped forward to address the state of our union. With his speech tonight, the president completed a redemptive journey that took our nation from Independence Hall to Gettysburg to the lunch counter and now, finally, the Oval Office.

Regardless of party, all Americans are moved by the president’s personal story — the son of an American mother and a Kenyan father, who grew up to become leader of the free world.  Like the president’s father, my parents came to this country from a distant land. When they arrived in Baton Rouge, my mother was already 4½ months pregnant. I was what folks in the insurance industry now call a “preexisting condition.”

I found it odd that Jindal began the response by mentioning that POTUS was the first African American president. By now, that should have been obvious to everyone and in these tough times, I doubt the majority of American care what race, creed, religion, or gender POTUS is. Though I guess he used it, however, to segue into his ancestry.

As the president made clear this evening, we are now in a time of challenge.  Many of you listening tonight have lost jobs. Others have seen your college and retirement savings dwindle. Many of you are worried about losing your healthcare and your homes. And you are looking to your elected leaders in Washington for solutions.

Republicans are ready to work with the new president to provide those solutions. Here in my state of Louisiana, we don’t care what party you belong to if you have good ideas to make life better for our people. We need more of that attitude from both Democrats and Republicans in our nation’s capital.

Is that why they refused to work with the Democrats on this stimulus package? Is this why Jindal is refusing to accept stimulus money (not all the money, of course) even though his state is struggling with the rest of ours? Is this why Republican Senator Judd Gregg withdrew his nomination as POTUS’s commerce secretary because he didn’t want to play in the sandbox even though he previously accepted the nomination? Is that why Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity relentlessly attack Obama every step of the way?

All of us want our economy to recover and our nation to prosper. So where we agree, Republicans must be the president’s strongest partners. And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.

Instead, these Republicans continue to offer the same tired old ideas that have helped deliver us to the state we find ourselves in now. But I agree that it is critical for Republicans to offer better ideas – but make sure they are new and creative.

To solve our current problems, Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes and put more money and power in hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you – the American people. Because we believe that Americans can do anything.

Is Jindal paying attention? Did he watch President Obama’s speech? I realize he wrote this prior to Obama’s speech, but, dude, you have to adjust.

POTUS told us that if we make less than $250,000 – our taxes would decrease! POTUS has already empowered us – from the beginnings of his presidential campaign. During the transition, Obama’s Change.gov website kept Americans abreast of what they were doing and they reached out to us with questions and asked for feedback.

I guess Jindal missed that too.

That is why Republicans put forward plans to create jobs by lowering income tax rates for working families, cutting taxes for small businesses, strengthening incentives for businesses to invest in new equipment and hire new workers, and stabilizing home values by creating a new tax credit for home-buyers.

These plans would cost less and create more jobs.

How does lowering income tax rates create jobs? Of course, with no income, we don’t have to worry about paying taxes.

The point Jindal seems to be missing is that these projects in the stimulus package will be completed with American companies and American workers.

But Democratic leaders in Congress rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history — with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest.

Here is why I believe that Jindal is completely out of touch. In January, 2005, former President Bush stood before Americans and said that he had a mandate. He wanted to privatize Social Security. He believed that Americans could do a better job investing their own money than the government could

Has Jindal taken a look at the Dow Jones lately?

If I had been investing my own money over the past few years, I’d be in much worse shape than I am in.

I can’t believe that in a recession, Jindal still believes that we would be comfortable making our own money decisions.

Who among us would ask our children for a loan so we could spend money we do not have, on things we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It’s irresponsible. And it’s no way to strengthen our economy, create jobs or build a prosperous future for our children.

This is kind of how the Republican Party ran things during Bush’s years. Did Jindal look at the National Debt clock on January 19th?

He also took the time to mention the classics: 9/11, Katrina and $4 gas prices.

To strengthen our economy, we also need to address the crisis in healthcare. Republicans believe in a simple principle: No American should have to worry about losing their health coverage — period.

We stand for universal access to affordable healthcare coverage. We oppose universal government-run healthcare. Healthcare decisions should be made by doctors and patients — not by government bureaucrats. We believe Americans can do anything — and if we put aside partisan politics and work together, we can make our system of private medicine affordable and accessible for every one of our citizens.

Right now, our health care decisions are being made by executives in corporations who have to consider what is best for the shareholders.

To strengthen our economy, we must promote confidence in America by ensuring ours is the most ethical and transparent system in the world.  In my home state, there used to be saying: At any given time, half of Louisiana is underwater — and the other half is under indictment.

No one says that anymore. Last year, we passed some of the strongest ethics laws in the nation — and today, Louisiana has turned her back on the corruption of the past. We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C. — so we can rid our Capitol of corruption and ensure we never see the passage of another trillion-dollar spending bill that Congress has not even read and the American people haven’t even seen.

Is Jindal aware of the websites that are now available to us? He may wish to take a gander at Recovery.gov.

And a quick word to Jindal, I did see the bill and even had the ability to see the initial draft that passed the house the first time.

Here are a few reactions from conservative pundits:

“The speech read a lot better than it sounded. This was not Bobby Jindal’s greatest oratorical moment.” – Brit Hume,

“Jindal didn’t have a chance. He follows Obama, who in making speeches, is in a league of his own. He’s in a Reagan-esque league. … [Jindal] tried the best he could.” – Charles Krauthammer

A wonderful human being, I like him very much, but he is a horrible speaker. You can’t go on TV and counter Obama with that.” Laura Ingraham

“It came off as amateurish, and even the tempo in which he spoke was sing-songy. He was telling stories that seemed very simplistic and almost childish.” Juan Williams

Most of the comments I read dealt with Jindal’s horrible oratory skills. Columnist David Brooks was put off by Jindal’s content.

“You know, I think Bobby Jindal is a very promising politician, and I opposed the stimulus package – I thought it was poorly drafted – but to come up at this moment in history with a stale, ‘government is the problem…we can’t trust the government’…it’s just a disaster for the Republican Party.

“The country is in a panic, now. They may not like the way the Congress passed the stimulus bill. The idea that government is going to have no role in this…in a moment where only the Federal government is big enough to do stuff…to just ignore all that and say government’s the problem…corruption, earmarks, wasteful spending – it’s just a form of nihilism.

“It’s just not where the country is, it’s not where the future of the country is. There’s an intra-Republican debate: some people say the Republican Party lost its way because it got too moderate, some people say they got too weird or too conservative. He thinks they got too moderate, and he’s making that case. I think it’s insane. I think it’s a disaster for the party. I just think it’s unfortunate right now.” – David Brooks

{h/t: Huffington Post and the Washington Post for the quotes}

Rush and the Obstructionist Party

President Barack Obama needs to learn a lesson. Just because he wants to work with Republicans doesn’t mean that they want to work with him.

Rushpublicans, led by the Obstructionist Windbag himself, Rush Limbaugh are going by the mantra: “We want Obama to fail.” Limbaugh has used his daily radio program as a bully pulpit (with emphasis on bully) to shepherd in the Senate and House Republicans who dare to stray from the message – “whatever the Democrats want, go for the opposite and then whine about it.”

limbaughThe latest failed attempt to reach across the aisle by Obama is the nomination of Senator Judd Gregg as Commerce Secretary. The Rushpublican from New Hampshire first agreed to accept the nomination if the Democratic Governor would choose a Republican to replace Gregg.

This particular selection was awkward because Gregg seemed almost put off by it from the get-go and Democrats were bothered by the Rushpublican selection.

Gregg basically told President Obama to shove the job up his ass. (h/t CQ Politics)

“It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the census there are irresolvable conflicts for me,” Gregg, R-N.H., said. “Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.”

What happened to ‘serve at the pleasure of the president?’

President Obama had some key Rushpublicans over to the White House to watch the Super Bowl. This was an attempt to sway a few Rushpublicans to vote for the Stimulus package. He got exactly ‘a few’ if by a few you mean 3 – in both Houses!

Then we have Georgia Rushpublican Phil Gingrey who had this to say about the right-wing punditry as compared with his party’s leadership:

“I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach,” Gingrey said.

“I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders, they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell,” Gingrey said.

Rush is not one to take things lying down. He sent an email to Politico:

“I’m sure he is doing his best but it does not appear to be good enough. He may not have noticed that the number of Republican colleagues he has in the House has dwindled. And they will dwindle more if he and his friends don’t show more leadership and effectiveness in battling the most left-wing agenda in modern history. And they won’t continue to lose because of me, but because of their relationship with the grass roots, which is hurting.Conservatives want leadership from those who claim to represent them. And we’ll know it when we see it.”

So Gingrey immediately placed his tail between his legs and went begging for forgiveness on Limbaugh’s program. He also had this to say (h/t to Politico):

“. . . Let me assure you, I am one of you. I believe I was sent to Washington to fight for and defend our traditional values of smaller government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, and the lives of the unborn.”

“As long as I am in the Congress, I will continue to fight for and defend our sacred values. I have actively opposed every bailout, every rebate check, every so called “stimulus.” And on so many of these things, I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh.”

Granted, Florida Governor Charlie Crist did reach across the aisle and introduce President Obama in a Florida town hall on Tuesday. Just remember that Rush Limbaugh also lives in Florida and I will not be surprised if Crist faces a tough challenge for his re-election – even though key Rushpublicans will by vying for the Senate seat that is being vacated by Rushpublican Mel Martinez – who has already spoken out against Crist.

We are in for at least 4 years of obstructionist government by the Rushpublicans. It’s time we get used to it and forge ahead with the plan that will rebound this country from the mess left by the Bush administration and the Rushpublicans. Clearly, they do not give a damn about their constituents or this country.

And to those Rushpublicans who get their talking points and marching orders from a radio talk show host – How Pathetic.

Crist and Obama in Ft. Myers, Florida

This past Tuesday, President Barack Obama was in Ft. Myers, Florida to push the stimulus package. Democrats and Republicans need to work together in order for us to rebound from this downward spiral.

President Obama was introduced to a town hall by Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

Watch Governor Crist introduce President Obama.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Crist Introduces Obama Video“, posted with vodpod

President Obama’s initial remarks addressing Governor Crist.

I want to start by thanking your governor, Charlie Crist, for joining us today. Governors understand our economic crisis as well as anyone; they’re on the front lines dealing with it every day. And Governor Crist shares my conviction that creating jobs and turning this economy around is a mission that transcends party. When the town is burning, we don’t check party labels. Everyone needs to grab a hose!

Governor Crist and governors across the country understand that. Mayors across the country understand that. And I think you understand that, too. Which is what I want to talk about today.

 

OT_301553_ALLE_Obama_14

Hotline TV offered some interesting analysis on the Republican governor’s introduction of the Democratic president.

 

 

I think it is funny that anytime bipartisanship occurs or if a Republican does something ‘right’ for a change, people think there is something suspicious going on.

Crist has demonstrated (except when he was vying to become John McCain’s running mate) to be a moderate Republican looking to do what is best for the state of Florida.

He extended early voting hours so more people could vote – to the dismay of his party. He instituted a health insurance program in Florida that covers people who previously lacked coverage. He used his line item veto to remove harsh budget cuts against education and the environment. Florida’s House and Senate are about 67% Republican and they are not happy with many of the decisions Crist has made in the 2 plus years he has been governor.

I, for one, am not surprised that he reached across the aisle to President Obama who has already shown that he wants to reach across the aisle as well.

 

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crist-obama-2

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Obama and Crist to appear together in support of the stimulus

Florida was the laughing stock of the 2000 General Election and we’ve had to live with that tag for 8 long years. In 2008, Florida went for President Obama yet the state House and Senate remained overwhelmingly Republican.

Finally, we have something to be proud of. In the true definition of bipartisanship, Florida’s Republican Governor Charlie Crist will appear with Democratic President Barack Obama in a Tuesday event in Ft. Myers to support the stimulus package.

Governor Crist will introduce President Obama at the town hall meeting.

The Rush Limbaugh Republican Senators and Representatives are against the stimulus package because they believe that with economic failure the Republican Party could once again rise and as Rush Limbaugh proclaimed “I want Obama to fail.”

But Florida needs a stimulus package now. They need jobs.

With the 61-36 cloture vote, the Republican filibuster was avoided. Now the Senate can get down to the vote.

MEMORANDUM: GOVERNOR CRIST TO JOIN PRESIDENT AT FORT MYERS TOWN HALL MEETING TOMORROW

February 9, 2009

Contact:

GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE
(850) 488-5394

MEMORANDUM

TO: Interested Media
FROM: Erin Isaac, Governor’s Communications Director
RE: GOVERNOR CRIST TO JOIN PRESIDENT AT FORT MYERS TOWN HALL MEETING TOMORROW

The White House announced today that Florida Governor Charlie Crist will introduce President Barack Obama at a town hall meeting in Fort Myers to discuss the urgent need for a plan to help American families cope with the severe economic downturn and lay the foundation for our long term recovery. Statements from the President and Gov. Crist about tomorrow’s event are included below.

“I look forward to traveling to Ft. Myers tomorrow to talk to Floridians about how we get our nation’s economy back on track. Gov. Crist and I have seen firsthand the toll that this economic crisis has taken on the American people, and we agree that we can’t allow politics to get in the way of urgent relief for the millions of families and small businesses that need it,” said President Barack Obama.

“Florida has taken prudent steps to cut taxes for our people and balance our budget in these increasingly difficult times. Any attempts at federal stimulus must prioritize job creation and targeted tax relief for small business owners. I am eager to welcome President Obama to the Sunshine State as he continues to work hard to reignite the US economy,” said Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

Sources:

Stimulus filibuster shut down in Senate

Crist to introduce Obama at event

MEMORANDUM: GOVERNOR CRIST TO JOIN PRESIDENT AT FORT MYERS TOWN HALL MEETING TOMORROW


State Farm announces pull-out from Florida – sends me letter that they’ll still take my money for auto

I am not certain how much national attention this story received but State Farm announced last week that they will be pulling their Homeowner’s Insurance coverage from Florida because their request of a 47% rate increase was rejected.

Actually, they said they planned to request the 67% rate hike but only requested a 47% hike because they figured they had a better chance of getting the 47% increase approved.

Let’s think about that a second. A 47% rate hike?

Let’s say that you just paid $2,000 for homeowners insurance, you would have to pay $2,940 the next year.

If you planned on buying a television for $2,000 would you be okay paying almost $3,000 for the same TV later? Then again, at least you could shop for a different brand of TV. We don’t have that luxury in Florida with homeowner’s insurance as most companies either bailed out of Florida already or no longer write new policies to home owners.

That means if your homeowner’s insurance policy is cancelled, most likely you will have to seek coverage from Citizens Property Insurance Company – a nonprofit company established in 2002 to offer Floridians coverage where private insurers will not write policies.  

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty had rejected the State Farm bid for the huge increase.  

kevin-mccarty

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty

“I will do everything within my power to protect Florida consumers from unnecessary destabilization of the insurance market that this might cause and to ensure that Florida consumers are protected and have access to insurance at rates that are not excessive or unfairly discriminatory,” McCarty said.

We’re very disappointed with (the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s) decision not to grant rate relief,” State Farm spokesman Chris Neal said. “We believe the facts we presented should have led to a different outcome.”

A 47% increase isn’t rate relief? What about the 9% increase in 2007? I would say that this is relief – but a 47% increase? That’s rate rape.

“The courts have backed up the insurance commissioner and the result is lower rates,” said Bill Newton, director of Florida Consumers Action Network. “State Farm ought to play it a little straighter and ask for a realistic rate backed up by the numbers, not a speculative shoot-for-the-moon number.”

As a result of the rejection, State Farm has announced that they will pull out of Florida – no longer renewing the policies for the 1.2 million customers. The excuse, of course, is due to the losses they have suffered since the 2004 hurricane season.

I admit that they had big losses in 2004 and 2005 but the last 3 years have been particularly light and should have been profitable. And what about all the other years before 2004 when hurricane seasons had been light?

State Farm claims that since 2000 they have paid out $1.21 in claims for every dollar they have collected in premiums. They said that they have suffered billions of dollars in losses due to the 4 major hurricanes hit Florida.

In 1998, State Farm Florida was created as a separate entity “to address what the company called the ‘unique risks’ of doing business in Florida. Do they have the same types of entities to deal with earthquakes and mudslides in California, tornados in Kansas, or hurricanes in the other Gulf Coast states?

Since they didn’t get their massive rate increase, State Farm is planning on taking their toys and going home.

Well not all their toys. Just the ones that may not make money.

I received a letter from State Farm that read:

Dear State Farm Policyholder,

You may have seen or heard the recent announcement that State Farm Florida Insurance Company (State Farm Florida) has submitted a plan to discontinue its property insurance lines in Florida. I want to clarify for you that this plan involves insurance coverage only for homeowners, renters, condominium unit owners, personal liability, boats, personal watercraft, personal articles and business property and liability policies.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm Mutual) and its affiliated companies will continue to provide – as they have for decades – automobile insurance, life insurance, health insurance and other financial products and services in Florida.

State Farm has kindly informed me that my homeowners, flood insurance, wind (hurricane), mold and personal articles and property will no longer be covered in the future. But they will gladly continue to accept my money for my automobile insurance.

Uh, I think not.

state-farm-logoWhat State Farm doesn’t get is that I’ve stayed with their insurance company all these years because of the multi-line discount they offered. I also suspected that if they reduced the coverage to some customers, the likelihood diminished the more lines of coverage you had.

Since they no longer want my business for the riskier investments, I’ll have to look around to see if there are any companies out there willing to provide me these lost policies. Of course, I will not keep my automobile coverage with them either.

I suspect that this is the general feeling by all of the 1.2 million of us who are about to lose our coverage. I know Governor Charlie Crist agrees and has told State Farm that if they are going to drop the homeowner’s coverage that they should pick up their agents and get out of Florida.

State Farm has been charging some of the highest rates in our state for a long time. They haven’t been very friendly to our people and if they want to leave the state goodbye,” Crist says.

“I don’t think we need them,” Crist says. “I don’t want to work with them to give them a rate increase hell no.”

I agree with the governor. My rates are very high across the board but as I was fearful they would drop my coverage, I paid for the extra lines of coverage since my options for homeowners insurance was so limited.

 

Sources:

Regulators reject State Farm rate hike

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sfl-statefarm0112,0,1433397.story

State Farm to stop insuring Florida

Governor Crist sounds off on State Farm

State of Florida case: – State Farm Florida Insurance Company, Petitioner, vs. Office of Insurance Regulation, Respondent


With Jeb out – Florida 2010 Senate race wide open

Last week former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced that he would not seek the US Senate seat in 2010.  Mel Martinez announced December 2, 2008 that he would not seek a second term. 

The seat was Jeb’s for the taking.  He was a very popular Governor (even though I found him to be extremely stubborn and highly partisan).  I’m sure he has the larger prize in mind – the presidency.  In the meantime, I expect that he’ll take the precautions necessary for either a 2012 or 2016 run at the White House.  (The arduous work of repairing the Bush name)

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, both parties look to field a large group of candidates. 

After Jeb, the most popular political figure in Florida is current Governor Charlie Crist.  He is quite popular and would coast to re-election in 2010.  If he opts to run for the Senate, he should coast to victory there as well.  Like Jeb, Crist has his eyes set on the White House.  He spent a couple of very painful months working to become John McCain’s running mate.  He changed some key positions pandering to the team that would eventually make that selection. 

Crist would be best served staying in the governor’s mansion if he has plans on a future White House run.  It should be interesting how it would play out if Jeb and Crist run in the same primary.  Though on a side note, both have problems:  Jeb carries the tarnished Bush name and Crist is a moderate Republican which would alienate the religious base more than McCain.

So who does this leave?

The leading Republican candidate is former Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio.  Very popular within his party he had been publicly at odds with Crist on issues when Crist worked across party lines.  Rubio had indicated that he could run for governor against Crist in 2010. 

Rubio would be a shoo-in for the Senate as he is one of the most well-known candidates (after Bush and Crist – unless 72-year old Bob Graham elects to return to the Senate.  It was, after all his seat that Martinez is now vacating.)

Rubio was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000 and recently served 2 years as Speaker of the House.  Though he hasn’t formerly announced, it is widely expected that he will.  He has set up a website and begun a fundraising campaign.

I’ve previously addressed the Republican candidates and will update my list shortly but wanted to address the Democrats here.  The winner will most likely lose to whoever the Republicans put up in the election.  I do find it hard to imagine Marco Rubio not coming out on top.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is the other main Republican candidate.  He has previously had unsuccessful runs at the US Senate (most recently in 2004 primaries where he was smeared and lost to Martinez).  He may run for the Senate this time, though I see him running for re-election as AG followed by a run for governor. 

Democrats

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Robert Wexler have already announced that neither would pursue this seat.  It is a smart decision for each as both have bright futures in the House.  Wexler was an early supporter of President-elect Barack Obama and a strong vocal voice into the impeachment of Dick Cheney.  The latter didn’t fly with Congress but was popular with many liberals.

Wasserman Schultz is considered to be a future leader within the party in Washington. 

Potentially both would lose their House seats if they try and fail at the Senate.  Both are very strong candidates in the southern part of Florida but would not do well in the more conservative section of Florida to the north. 

My supporting argument as to why Wasserman Schultz and Wexler would remain in the House is best exemplified by Peter Deutsch.  My former Congressman served in the House from 1993 – 2005.  In 2004, he took a shot at the Senate seat vacated by Bob Graham.   He ended up losing the primary to Betty Castor and as a result finds himself out of politics.  Since he ran for the Senate, he couldn’t run for re-election in the House opening the door for Wasserman Schultz.

I see Deutsch considering another run, if he can gather the funds.  The problem for Deutsch is that he in enormously popular in South Florida and a virtual unknown elsewhere in the state – which explains why he only won the 3 South Florida counties and no other. 

Deutsch’s main primary opponent in the 2004 Senate race was Betty Castor.  She is well-known in the state but lost the 2004 Senate General Election to Martinez.  She chose not to run for governor in 2006.  As a result, I will be surprised to see her give the Senate another shot.  She would have an outside chance of beating Rubio in the General Election as she currently does have more name recognition.

With strong Republicans in the race, I would also doubt that Representatives Allen Boyd, Ron Klein and Kathy Castor (daughter of Betty Castor) would jump in.

Jim Davis began his political career in the Florida House serving from 1989-1996 and was House Majority Leader his last 2 years.  In 1997, he moved to the House of Representatives in the seat now occupied by Kathy Castor.  Davis did not run for re-election in 2006 opting to run for Governor where he lost the General Election to Charlie Crist.  I can definitely see Davis running for the open Senate seat and would have to be a favorite to win the Democratic primary.  I do believe that he would give Rubio his best run for the money.

A Davis / Betty Castor race would be very interesting. 

2 other strong Democratic names are current Florida CFO Alex Sink.  She will be up for re-election in 2010 so it will be interesting to see which direction she goes.  I could also see her running for governor in 2014.

Lastly, there is Daryl Jones.  I am a huge fan of Jones.  He failed in the Democratic primary in 2002 which saw Bill McBride (Alex Sink’s husband) defeat Jones and Janet Reno for the honor of getting thrashed by Jeb Bush in his re-election campaign.  Jones was chosen to be the running mate of Jim Davis against Charlie Crist in 2006. 

Though Jones is not currently in politics, his name isn’t that far removed.  I can see him jumping into the race, though I see him as a second tier candidate.

How do I rank the Democrats?

Top tier candidates:  Betty Castor, Jim Davis, Alex Sink

Second tier:  Peter Deutsch, Daryl Jones

I doubt they’ll run:  Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Robert Wexler, Allen Boyd, Ron Klein, Kathy Castor

Ranking the Republicans.

Top tier:  Marco Rubio, Bill McCollum

Second tier:  Connie Mack IV, Jeff Kottkamp, John Mica, Joe Scarborough

I doubt they’ll run (or announced they won’t):  Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist, Toni Jennings, Katherine Harris (please let her not run.  I don’t want to see her again)

If the election were held today:

I see Marco Rubio defeating Jim Davis 53 – 46. 

More to come . . .