Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city


Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson has 30 articles published.

Recovering sports columnist and former Tampa Tribune columnist Tom Jackson argues on behalf of thoughtful conservative principles as our best path forward. Fan of the Beach Boys, pulled-pork barbecue and days misspent at golf, Tom lives in New Tampa with his wife, two children and two yappy middle-aged dogs.

Will Weatherford’s timing off, but only for the moment

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Like comedy, politics is most often all about timing. No one knows this better than Will Weatherford, who at the age of 26 rocketed from obscure legislative aide to Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives because of unanticipated, but perfectly placed, events (more about which in a moment). Now, arguably, this once-rising star of the Republican Party has fallen victim to his breathtaking start. In short, two years after he surrendered the gavel as America’s youngest state House speaker,…

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Tom Jackson: Topsy-turvy election seen from bottom of the world

in 2017/Top Headlines by

A ritualistic subplot of virtually every election organizes around announcements by those who threaten to leave the country if the vote doesn’t go their way. They shouldn’t be taken seriously. Interestingly, politicians with far more at stake than your garden-variety celebrity almost never declare their intention to abandon the nation for distant parts. The phenomenon is, in fact, so unusual that history records with a mixture of awe and heartache Davy Crockett’s declaration of departure when he lost his re-election…

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Tom Jackson: Blindsided by a phenomenon in orange

in 2017/Top Headlines by

And now, President-elect Donald J. Trump. Wow. Wow. Wow. So much for that 0.1 percent chance of victory. So much for blue tsunamis and Republican humiliation. So much for the first woman president and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. So much for experts. It turns out, the hotshots knew nothing. Not a damn thing. Pre-election pollsters. Exit pollsters. Coastal pundits. Cable news talking heads. Every last one of them was Sgt. Schultz. They knew nothing They were blindsided. The…

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Tom Jackson: At our time of choosing, will we guess wrong?

in Statewide by

And so, at last, it is upon us. Election Day. Time, fence-sitters, to decide. We’ve been counting down so long, all the way back to the spring of last year; it sometimes seemed we’d never get here. Great nation that we (still) are, however, propelled by momentum and time-honored systems that guide truer than any GPS, we’ve navigated the distance: From the GOP’s scrum-debates of last fall through the frigid caucuses and first primaries, through the snooze-fest conventions and the…

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Tom Jackson: Torched church inspires conclusion-leapers

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

A century-old historically black church in Greenville, Mississippi, was torched Tuesday night, leaving the insides a sad mass of crumbling ashes. Only a vanishing fraction of us wouldn’t agree this is a terrible thing. Awful as it was, however, what made this apparent act of arson newsworthy outside Washington County is this: The apparent perpetrator paused to scrawl “Vote Trump” in silver paint on the outside. Because of that, the FBI has initiated a civil rights investigation. Accordingly, if by…

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Tom Jackson: Banker’s pay-it-forward tale is essence of America

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Hjalma Johnson, small-town banker, international mensch and most devoted of Bull Gators, is never without a story pertinent to the moment. But he knows his listener’s time is precious, and so, even as he dives in, as if there were a pull-string in the middle of his back, he inevitably tenders this offer: “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.” Because, at 82, he is a notorious recycler, seven times out of 10 the listener has, in fact, heard…

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Tom Jackson: This year, especially, resist the early voting urge

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Early voting has arrived in Florida, and with it the inevitable rush to the polls. Sigh. I can’t say I fault anyone who exercises the early option, particularly this year, when the choices at the top are so unrelentingly dismal. In 2016, voting early is sort of like ripping off a bandage. You know it’s going to hurt, but it is better to do it quickly and with conviction. And then you can get on with life, knowing that no…

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