As the Florida House officially installs state Rep. Richard Corcoran as speaker, the Land O’Lakes Republican certainly faces a daunting quest.
Through the pen of Bill Day, Corcoran’s mission – against special interests, which is seen as a blight on Florida politics – is positively quixotic.
Day casts the new speaker as Don Quixote de la Mancha, the iconic literary hero depicted in Pablo Picasso’s famous 1950s-era sketch. Alongside Don Quixote, pictured on his horse Rocinante, is his squire Sancho Panza on a donkey.
However, amidst the dramatic landscape sits Florida’s Capitol, as mythical an adversary as any windmill imagined by Miguel de Cervantes. Obsessed with gallant ideals taken from books, Don Quixote decides to take up a lance and sword to destroy the wicked and defend the helpless – as does Corcoran, who braces for an ideological battle with special interests in Tallahassee.
Don Quixote, proud and idealistic, fights injustice; Richard Corcoran, with no less principle, told the Miami Herald he was “ready to declare war” on special interests … “to dismantle the lobbyist-influenced hierarchy of legislative leadership by delegating and sharing power with members in a way that ‘gives all legislators equal footing’ … ”
A noble quest indeed — except for one fact, which any first-year literature student can tell you: Don Quixote was quite insane.
Moreover, as his fictional equivalent depicted in Picasso’s (and Day’s) abstract imagery, our legislative hero possesses a few flaws of his own, pointed out in POLITICO:
“Charter airplanes. Expensive dinners. Cigars and wine and fancy hotels. The big Republican Party of Florida spending by the House GOP caucus stands out for its size — $238,000 in five months — and also because of whom the bills ultimately trace back to Rep. Richard Corcoran …”
Legislator, heal thyself.
Of course, Corcoran might not be nearly as preposterous as Don Quixote – who sought in vain to bring order to a chaotic world, but never quite saw the world as it really is.