Good morning once again from the Motel 6 ($50 a night) in Tallahassee, where this reporter spent his Wednesday hearing from Florida state leaders and U.S. Senate candidates (and had our slumber disturbed by a man shouting obscenities to someone on his cellphone in the motel’s parking lot at midnight!).
What we learned: Rick Scott wants a sh*tload more tax cuts — like possibly more than the $673 million he proposed last year that was whittled down to $400 million — and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli says there’s the “potential’ for that to happen.
Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner, unlike the tag teams of Haridopolous/Cannon and Weatherford/Gaetz, did not appear as a couple at the AP Legislative Session Day in Tally yesterday, but both men expressed their respect for each other, blah, blah, blah. One can only hope that the deep divisions between the two legislative bodies will act more in harmony in 2016.
Twenty-five weeks. That, according to House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, is how many weeks total the Florida Legislature will have spent in Tallahassee in 2015 after the next special session on Senate redistricting concludes early next month.
Pafford was on a veritable roll yesterday, denouncing the GOP Republicans all over the place for some of their actions, or in the case of Medicaid expansion, inaction(s). He also tore them apart for the insatiable desire for more liberalized gun use, calling the recently proposed bill allowing for “open-carry” in Florida too “wacky”and “outrageous.”
“Why even have concealed permits?” he asked with exasperation.
On public education he said, “We are seeing a catastrophe,” and decried lack of leadership in the state on such a crucial issue.
In the end, he also placed blame on Florida voters, saying that they need to do a better job of electing — or dethroning — current incumbents.
Speaking of guns, Rick Scott, Crisafulli and Gardiner couldn’t have acted more nonplussed about that pending legislation that their Republican brothers are attempting to pass in the next session. Gardiner says he leaves such matters to his committee chairmen, which is probably appropriate, but one would have liked to have known what they really thought about whether it was actually good legislation or not.
Ron DeSantis, the Ponte Vedra Beach GOP congressman who is running for the U.S. Senate, made some news when he said that it would be healthy for Republicans to get out and meet some black people. He said that the difference in getting between 5 percent of the African-American vote and 10 percent could be the difference in winning an election.
“You can get elected to Congress without ever talking to black voters at all, and I think that’s bad for the party,” he said.
All in all it was a good day, though, as Ice Cube sang a couple of decades ago.
In other news..
Well, actually it’s mostly all related to being in the state Capitol on Wednesday.
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (who we learned is a big fan of New Order), who said that there’s such a wide gap between what the members of the Florida House and Florida Senate believe in it’s amazing anything gets done, failed to mention that the leaders in both houses all belong to the Republican party.
David Jolly is running hard as an anti-Washington Republican, and certainly his lone votes on some issues give him some backup on why he votes on occasion against his party (and not because he’s not as conservative as his GOP colleagues).
In their race for the Democratic U.S. Senate campaign, it’s the usual Alan Grayson talking trash about his main opponent, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy. Not yesterday, however, when Murphy slammed Grayson as acting like a hypocrite for allegedly being a progressive hero while also maintaining hedge funds in the Cayman Islands.
Jeb Bush got a nice endorsement in New Hampshire yesterday. He also said if he’s lucky enough to run against Hillary Clinton next year he won’t do a Bernie Sanders when it comes to discussing the former secretary of state’s private email server.