Here we are, it’s Friday, hopefully we have some energy leftover, rolling into what looks to be a beautiful weekend. I’ve enjoyed this series of the Top Ten Political Rivalries in Central Florida. Part 2 and Part 3 can be found at those links and I’m sure you guys are wondering what other rivalries had me shouting at the TV. Here is the final part of the 3 part series.
4. Florida Politicians vs. British Petrol aka Beyond Petroleum or as we all know them BP: Finally a rival that Republicans, Democrats and Independents can all rally against!. The worst environmental disaster in the history of the country provided the opportunity for all of the politicians here in the Sunshine State, to flock to the Gulf Coast in their Ralph Lauren wear for a photo op, to heroically stare out at the surf. The hardliners took the chance to attack the President on his leadership throughout the disaster ala W. during Hurricane Katrina.
It destroyed any plans for drilling off the coast of Florida in the near future but, I still see the possibilities slowly creeping back to life. A statement in the paper here, a blurb during a press conference there. It’s not over and we have short memories.
Who Won?:Well, no one really..
3. Florida Democrats vs. The President:Alex Sink basically blamed him for her loss, Suzanne Kosmas was almost completely absent from any rally for her party. Alan Grayson who stood completely by the administration’s policies was handily beaten last week. All of the Democrats running statewide races for the cabinet were all linked to the President and were easily beaten.
Is it fair? Especially, for Alex Sink who did everything short of slamming the President. No, and a lot of Florida Democrats spent almost as much time defending their parties decisions as they did attacking their opponents.
Who won?: Republicans and the Tea Party. They turned it into a referendum on the Obama administration and it worked.
2. Bill McCullom vs. Rick Scott:It was suppose to be Bill McCullom vs Alex Sink in one of the most boring races, I could think of but, then came the former Health Care CEO with the 1.7 Billion….yeah, yeah, you probably already know all of that. He turned everything over, with his massive ad buys and the catchiest tag line of the year “Let’s get to work”. The powers that be from the GOP came to the longtime legislator’s aid, but in the end it wasn’t enough and to add insult to injury there were poll numbers that showed a McCullom surge, after he pushed the immigration issue.
Those polls didn’t take into account early voting and absentee ballots and in the end?
Who won?:“Lets get to work” and Billy Mac had to watch all of his longtime allies unite behind a guy, they tried to destroy 72 hours earlier. He would go on to endorse Scott in a statement that had about as much enthusiasm, as a trip to the dentist.
Finally, the #1 political rivalry, I saw in Florida this year.
1. Charlie Crist vs. The Republican Party of Florida:They cut off his cable?!Charlie Crist couldn’t even go home and watch coverage of is own press conference, declaring his departure from the Republican Party. RPOF made sure of that.
I suppose, what made it so remarkable, was how gradual the shift was. Crist by 15, Crist by 12…..10..7…3..Uh oh…1. What the heck is this!? Charlie Crist on a FOX news debate, promising that he won’t leave the Republican party. Charlie Crist being asked to drop out. “Hey Charlie, you know we’ll take a look at taking on Bill Nelson in 2012″ “We’ll find something for you Governor, were not going to let you disappear”.
Then he went Independent and his world turned against him.
I remember recalling with a Rubio supporter how everyone flocked from his table to the Governor, during an RPOF quarterly meeting. Those days were gone. All of the Governor’s men that stood by his side, were now intent on destroying him. Lawmakers withdrew their endorsements, donors started demanding their money back. Senator George Lemieux, the man he put in that seat, endorsed his opponent!!! How exactly did the Jim Greer spending scandal become his problem when he didn’t even have a credit card? It felt like the middle of “Minority Report” When Tom Cruises team tries to take him down after he goes rouge.
Who Won?: Marco Rubio went on to win easily, and I’ve brought up this point a dozen times, that Governor Crist would have lost by the same margin in a Republican primary and he would’ve had a lot more friend at him Christmas party this year too. The whole thing had a mafia feel to it and the message was, you’d better think twice before going Independent in this state.
Summary: I look through this list and the constant theme, I see here are surprises. No one knew 8 months ago that Rick Scott would shock the state and defeat two of the favorites for Governor or that a life long conservative like Charlie Crist would go from being a “Jeb Bush” Republican to an Independent, for the purpose of political survival. A few months back, Dan Webster said he wasn’t going to run for Congress, now he’s on his way to Capitol Hill.
I see another theme, and that’s a win at any cost mentality. If it means abandoning your political party or a slow jog away from the press corp, you’ve got to win right? Your donor’s investment is at stake and you can’t let a text message during a debate or the decisions your party’s leader throw you off the path to victory. The American people will see through the massive ad buys, and “spin and push” facts of your opponent, because in the end, the candidate that is most qualified with the best ideas always win…