Tag Archives: US Senate

Examining Charlie Crist’s record – what we don’t see in the media

Regardless of which side of the political aisle you reside we can all agree on one thing – the media has gotten lazy and have failed in their jobs. 

In an effort to reduce costs and be the first to publish or air a story, they have accepted a single source as fact without verifying the source or seeking a second validating source.  They also use Twitter to get quotes. 

We see the laziness in the media with the coverage of the 2010 Florida Senate race.  They publish attacks from Kendrick Meek against Charlie Crist on positions dating back to his recent stand against offshore drilling.  Marco Rubio’s attacks date back to Crist’s infamous hug with President Obama after Governor Crist introduced Obama to a Florida crowd where the president spoke of the stimulus package.

Rubio cites that Crist is really a Democrat while Meek argues that Crist is really Conservative.  Both agree that it is a show designed for November.

There are numerous areas where the media fails here.

First and foremost, they ignore Crist’s record as governor for the full 3½ years he has been in office.  They also ignore his time as Florida Attorney General.  His record speaks for itself and we will delve into it shortly.

They also let Meek and Rubio’s comments lay there unchallenged.  For example, they stop with the attack on Crist’s support of the stimulus package ignoring the benefits that have come from it.  Many people drive every day, as I do, through highway construction sites that have received stimulus dollars but it goes generally ignored by the media.

Read more about Florida Recovery.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist

The media also allows Meek and Rubio to spew their rhetoric with regards to Crist’s changing position for campaigning.  Of course, all candidates alter their position to put themselves in the best political light with the voters.  That’s why you need to look at the way candidates work while in office.

Of course Rubio does not want the light to shine on him as his record is horrible.  This will be further addressed in a later article.

Examining Crist’s record:

Home Foreclosures:

In March 2008 – while George W Bush was still president (in other words: pre-hug), Crist created and accepted the recommendations of a HOPE (Home Ownership Promotes the Economy) Task Force which addressed specific strategies to address foreclosures affecting Florida’s families.  [Read the recommendations]

Health Care:

Even before the Healthcare debate took to the Federal Government during the Obama administration, Florida, under Governor Crist, had already established the Cover Florida Health Care Access Program to help those without health insurance get quality affordable healthcare coverage. 

Early Voting:

Seeing the state-wide long lines, Governor Crist extended the hours for early voting in Florida ensuring that everyone who wanted to vote in the 2008 November General Election got to vote.  This was in direct opposition to the Republican Party who wanted to minimize the hours as the speculation is that the more people that can vote, the more that Obama would have benefited.  – Obama went on to win Florida.

Environment:

Crist was against off-shore oil drilling both before his failed attempt to become John McCain’s Republican running mate in 2008 and now.  He called for a July 2010 special session of the Florida Congress to address getting a Constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would permanently ban offshore oil drilling off the coast of Florida.  The Republican led Congress, in a fit of immaturity, adjourned both houses in less than two hours.

Crist also supports the Everglades restoration. 

Gambling:

Crist struck a deal with the Seminole Indians on a casino deal that so angered Rubio and Conservatives that they took him to court over the decision. 

More background:  There was a timeframe established by the federal government, with which Florida was able to negotiate with the Seminoles for revenue on casino earnings.  Once the deadline passed, the state of Florida would have wound up with zero.  The Florida legislature clearly had no intention of striking a deal and once Crist took the initiative by signing a deal that would generate billions of dollars for Florida over a 25-year period Rubio and the Republican legislature became offended and went on to file a lawsuit which the legislature won. 

Though Crist lost that case, he invariably won the war because this bought the legislature time and pressured them to work out a deal with the Seminoles.

Education:

Crist vetoed the GOP supported teacher pay and tenure bill known as SB-6 in April.  This garnered Crist much needed teacher and union support at the same time solidifying his fate with the far right.  This is another example of Crist doing what is best for Floridians.

Corporate rate hikes:

Crist stood up to State Farm after they requested a 47% rate hike. 

“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.” – Charlie Crist

He also called the Florida Power & Light’s proposed $1.3 billion rate hike ‘excessive.’  As Florida Attorney General, Crist got FPL to freeze its electricity rate.

As Florida Attorney General:

America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh publicly had filed the paperwork for Crist’s gubernatorial candidacy as a result of his work with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

Crist stood against the Republican Party’s position with regards to the Terri Schiavo case.  If you remember that case, Fox News turned her life support battle into a public circus and the far right fringe used Schiavo as a political football.  Even President Bush ended his vacation early to sign a bill attempting to extend her life support.  Crist’s position was that government should not get involved in these types of cases.

As Governor he vetoed a measure that would have required women to pay for an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion.

Obviously, a little research will bring back even more cases where Crist has legislated in the best interests of Floridians not necessarily in the best interests of Charlie Crist’s political career. 

Much of what you read here is no longer being covered by the media. 

How long ago was it when Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek was being identified as ‘the likely Democratic nominee’?  Out of the blue came ‘billionaire’ Jeff Greene.  How many people can name another candidate? 

Unfortunately, the media will not provide us with enough information to make a smart choice in November.  In fact, they may try to steer us in a direction that will inevitably be bad for Florida.  That is why we owe it to ourselves to research and read as much as we can about the candidates. 

Study their actual records, not just how they campaign.  Once you examine Crist’s political career and compare it to Rubio’s – it becomes a no-brainer.  And the Meek – Greene primary should be nowhere near this close.  Just examine how Greene made his billions.  Same with Rick ‘Medicare Fraud Champion’ Scott in the Republican primary for Florida Governor.  That should eliminate both from contention.

November is 4 months away.  We have plenty of time to educate Floridians.

Gene

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What’s next for Charlie Crist?

Florida Governor Charlie Crist sealed his fate with the Republican Party when he vetoed the GOP supported teacher pay and tenure bill (SB6) earlier this month losing what was left of his Teabagger support. 

Vetoing that bill was the right thing to do – regardless of political party.  And that is the real Charlie Crist.

Crist was the guy who sought a deal with the Seminole Indians in order for Florida to receive taxes from their casinos while state Republicans were letting the clock run out.  (Rubio was the Speaker of the House at the time and challenged Crist’s deal in court – and won.)  Crist still looked good in the state because that deal would have given the state millions in taxes generated from the Indian reservation casinos whereas before the state got nothing.  The court case actually bought the state more time allowing Florida and the Seminoles to finally work out a deal.

Crist was the guy who extended the early voting hours in 2008 allowing more people the ability to vote.  His party vocally challenged Crist’s decision.  Democrat Barack Obama ended up taking the state.

[Read full story]

Massachusetts: What were you thinking? Or were you thinking?

Open call to anyone in Massachusetts:

Did you vote for Scott Brown over Martha Coakley because of any of the following reasons?

  • The Curt Schilling remark (from Coakley)
  • Coakley’s dullness
  • Browns’ daughter’s appearance on American Idol
  • Brown’s wife being a journalist
  • Brown’s truck
  • Brown’s nude spread in a 27 year old magazine
  • Coakley’s finger conducting of Happy Birthday.

If you answered yes to any of the above list, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Did you want to punish Coakley because it seemed as though the Democrats took this race for granted?

This is a major election. 

You don’t vote for the person who says that they’ll put TV’s in the school cafeteria. 

You don’t vote for the popular kid who makes us laugh. 

You vote for the geek with the pocket protector who knows the US Constitution backwards and forwards, understands the needs of Americans and has the will and determination to make sure that We The People are provided with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Any research would have easily shown that Brown does not support equality and does not believe that all Americans have that unalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Marco Rubio – Shut Congress for 2 years to Fix Economy

Marco Rubio’s preaching to his far right base with his latest comments:

“Well the problem is the people in Washington don’t understand what’s causing [unemployment and the economic recession]. They think that Presidents and Senators are job creators and they’re not. The job creators are people who have access to money, whether it’s their own or borrowed, who use that money to open up a new business or expand an existing one. And they’re not doing that right now because of the tax chaos and all the regulatory chaos and all of this uncertainty created in Washington DC. Perhaps the most stimulative thing they can do right now is take a two year recess or something.”

One thing to note:  Marco Rubio is running for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida that was vacated by Mel Martinez.  Rubio is a far right-wing conservative Republican who is challenging moderate Republican and current Florida governor Charlie Crist for the Senate seat.  Crist also supported President Obama’s stimulus plan.

Michael Steele previously stated that the government doesn’t create jobs and never did.

Steele and Rubio obviously forgot about all of the government employees who work for the politicians and the politicians themselves.  And he forgot about police, fire and rescue workers.  And teachers.  And postal workers.  And the military. 

How did the U.S. Interstate Highway System get made? 

Maybe we should get away from direct deposit so Rubio could look at his paycheck. 

If it wasn’t for government, lobbyists would not have jobs. 

If government shut down for 2 years, what would Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and scores of others talk about?

If government was shut down for 2 years, how could the Republicans bitch and moan, lie and obstruct all the way into the 2010 and 2012 election cycles?

Now let’s look briefly at what effect the stimulus program had on America.  The one President Obama said would help create jobs and the Republicans said would bankrupt our children and grandchildren.

According to the Obama  administration, the $787 billion stimulus program saved or created “1.5 million to 2 million jobs last year.”

These numbers do coincide with the estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office but get ready for the Republican backlash.

The “regulatory chaos” that Rubio mentioned is the lack of any regulations, of course.  (sarcasm intended).  And let’s not get started on the tax benefits already established for corporations.

What would be nice is that with a government shutdown, I won’t have to hear the crap spewing from the Republicans. 

Sources:

Stimulus:  1.5 million jobs created, saved – Swamp Politics – Chicago Tribune

Stimulus saved or created up to 2 million jobs in 2009, White House says – LA Times

GOP Senate Candidate Marco Rubio Calls For Suspending Congress for Two Years to Fix the Economy – Think Progress

Crist – Rubio tied in Florida Senate GOP Primary poll

The race is on for the battle to fill the United States Senate seat in Florida recently vacated by Republican Mel Martinez.  Florida Governor Charlie Crist entered the race with a commanding lead in the polling for the Republican primary.  The seat is currently being kept warm by George LeMieux.

As recently as mid-October 2009, Crist easily led main competitor Marco Rubio 52.8% to 29.4%.  Rubio was closer to the remainder of the pack – 17.8%.

A Rasmussen survey of 471 likely Republican voters finished in a dead heat – 43% to 43%.

“Stunning is a good word for it,” said Scott Rasmussen, the pollster. “I’ll be honest, when we first polled on this primary matchup, I didn’t expect it to be very competitive. What’s happened is the political mood around the country has evolved in a way that’s very bad for Charlie Crist.”

This is not stunning in the least bit.  The Republican Party is seeking their identity and apparently it is with the more Conservative candidates.  Talking heads like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are promoting these far right wing candidates.

Just look at what happened last month in NY-23 as a great example.

Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava was rejected by a portion of her party for not being conservative enough.  As a result, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman (a favorite of Glenn Beck’s) joined the General Election.  Scozzafava withdrew from the race endorsing Democratic candidate and victor Bill Owens. 

Yes, the Republican endorsed the Democrat over the Conservative. 

If Rasmussen truly was stunned, then he is not familiar with the landscape (which I find difficult to believe as he is a pollster) or he doesn’t understand Florida politics.

Florida is a relatively balanced state with more registered Democrats than Republicans.  In statewide elections, we generally go with the incumbent, the most popular candidate or with the national political trend and is not a guaranteed win for either party.

Florida’s Congress is heavily slanted toward the Republicans (about 67%-33%) courtesy of gerrymandered districts. 

If Crist and Rubio battled in the November General Election, Crist would win in a cakewalk but this battle is for the Republican primary.

Daily Kos noted that “there’s no way [Crist] can out teabag Rubio.”

True words, indeed.

Here is what I said about Marco Rubio in a post on December 4, 2008.

“Former Florida Speaker of the House, he is a strong conservative and has been at odds with Republican Governor Charlie Crist because Crist is too moderate.”

In a My 2 Buck$ post on January 13, 2009 where I offered my opinion on the Democratic field to replace Martinez.  I spoke more on Rubio concluding with:

“The winner [of the Democratic Party primary] 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.”

In replying to a comment mocking me on my Rubio projection, I responded with:

“He’s Republican.  He was Speaker of the House.  He’ll have the Rove machine behind him.  Who do you think could beat him?”

I admit I fully expected Crist to run for re-election as governor however a Rubio primary victory cannot be a shocker. 

Crist has tried to be a People’s governor – when he isn’t running for election.

  • He is against off-shore drilling (as long as he isn’t trying to become a Republican VP nominee)
  • He extended early voting hours for the November 2008 General Election which favored Democratic voters as Florida does have more registered Democrats.
  • He struck a deal with the Seminole Indians on a casino deal that so angered Rubio and Conservatives that they took him to court over the decision.
  • He backed President Obama’s stimulus plan even introducing him before a speech.
  • He drove the Florida Congress to pass the Cover Florida Heath Care Access Program which makes ‘affordable health coverage available to 3.8 million uninsured Floridians’.

With the Fox News machine behind Rubio, there is no way Crist can win the Republican Party.

Kos offered a few suggestions for Crist.

  1. Drop out of the Senate race and run for re-election as governor.
  2. Change parties and run as a Democrat
  3. Run for the Senate as an Independent – like Joe Lieberman.

I have thought about each of these options for a number of weeks.  I doubt that Crist drops out of the race as it would be a sign of weakness and the Conservative wing will introduce some other hard line person to beat Crist for governor – they may even dig up Katherine Harris.  It does seem that the Conservative wing would prefer to lose than support a more moderate candidate.

Crist would probably do well as a Democratic candidate for the Senate.  There is no one with the state-wide name recognition of Crist nor will any candidate rise as high as Crist before the primaries. 

Crist will repeatedly air the picture of him introducing President Obama and I’d be surprised if Obama didn’t come to Florida to return the support.

The third option is Crist riding this primary out and losing to Rubio.  Crist then runs in the General Election as an Independent like Joe Lieberman.  Crist easily gets the support of moderate Republicans and Democrats and Republicans who feel betrayed by their more right wing base and Democrats who feel betrayed by their party’s inability to pass any real Progressive legislation during the first two years of Obama’s term.

If you liked Jeb Bush’s conservative positions and how he stuck to his guns, you will love Marco Rubio.   I’m sure Sarah Palin will be here campaiging for Rubio and he’ll get plenty of air time on Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh.

If you prefer a politician who repeatedly puts people before party, then Charlie Crist is your candidate. 

 My 2 Buck$

The Senate Healthcare Reform bill gets worse every day

I admit it.  I think the single payer government run option is the best option and anyone who thinks that it will be more expensive really isn’t paying attention.

It really should be a topic of a different post but I will add the following:  think of how much money will be saved alone if we eliminate CEO salaries and bonuses, corporate profits, senior staff salaries, corporate lobbyists (who are cleaning up today) and advertising (for the company and against health care reform).

Okay – to my next point.

All we are really left with is a very detailed, very expensive plan introduced by Max Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee and what they did to bend over backward to get Olympia Snowe’s vote.

Now the debate is hinging on a so-called public option. 

The problem with this is Healthcare reform is really quite simple.  You have to resolve the following questions.

  • Cover 100 percent of Americans. 
  • For Americans 65 and older, cover the portion not currently covered by Medicare. 

If we’re going to allow the insurance companies to continue servicing Americans, the following needs to be solved:

  • No restrictions for pre-existing conditions.
  • Allow for an opt out for employees unhappy with their employer offered plan but enforce the employer contribution.
  • Ensure that coverage is available to all who need access.

We all agree that whatever the plan is, it should lower costs.

*  *  *  *  *

So let’s examine what we have:

Cover 100 percent of Americans.  Can we all agree that if we’re reforming healthcare ALL Americans should have affordable access to coverage?

According to the Baucus bill, 94 percent of Americans will be covered by this plan.  So 6 percent of Americans will not.  That is despicable and completely unacceptable.  Every single article printed discussing this bill should address this horrendous oversight.

Employer mandates:  Believe it or not, the Senate is considering doing away with employer mandates so your employer can let you fend for yourself when it comes to getting healthcare coverage.

Pre-existing conditions:  Last I read, there was a stipulation that pre-existing conditions would be limited to 6 months.  So if you have a heart attack in October and your insurance carrier drops you at the end of the year – you can sign on with another company that will not cover you for any heart ailment for 6 months – so no heart attacks until July.

Employee opt-out:  This one is personal for me.  I have a lousy healthcare plan and it is not cheap.  My premiums and initial annual out of pocket costs are quite high.  And my insurance company can deny treatment that I have had for years because for them there is a cheaper option – without taking into regard that the treatment I am currently on works – without side effects – without any adverse reactions with my other medications. 

So, if I had a cost effective option I can say that I’d be gone.

Today, I read that there will be an opt out plan for the public option – so I got very excited.  That was until I realized that the opt out was for states who didn’t want to participate in the public option.  So in Florida where Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Florida House and Senate by 2 to 1, you can pretty much rest assured that the public option will be shot down here.

By the way – ever wonder why Florida Republicans hold 67% of the seats in Congress in a state where registered Democrats comfortably outnumber Republicans?   Can you say gerrymandering?

Lower costs:  The Finance Committee has thrown around numbers in the $800 billion range over 10 years.  That’s  ‘B’ for billion.  How does a plan that is as close to keeping the status quo as possible actually increasing the costs to the neighborhood of one trillion dollars?

Obviously, there are a large number of issues I didn’t address in this post – just some key ones.

Let me also say that I have 2 healthcare plan ideas that will cover 100 percent of all Americans and lower costs.  One is my take on the single-payer option and the other is a public option type plan that involves the insurance companies and keeps Washington small.  One plan is liberal the other is conservative. 

Both options can be designed to cover all Americans and lower costs but they both start to fail when you throw in compromises. 

To get real reform, Congress should meet with financial experts to review the requirements, options and costs and determine which one will be most cost effective, easiest to implement and maintain and provides the best coverage for Americans.  

All I know is this Finance Committee Bill that we’re seeing now isn’t it and each day it only gets worse.

 hcr3

hcr1

hcr2

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 . . .