Don’t take the proverbial foot off of Gov. Rick Scott’s throat yet

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In light of today’s Quinnipiac poll indicating that Gov. Rick Scott’s approval ratings have gone from terrible to just bad, I thought it appropriate to reiterate an earlier argument.

With a shake-up to his staff and a couple of high-profile policy reversals, Governor Rick Scott may be turning over a new leaf.

“I think it’s good to constantly be thinking where are you going next,” Gov. Scott said. “We had a very successful first [legislative] session, but there are other things to accomplish to get the state back to work.”

As Kathleen Haughney wrote, call it Scott version 2.0.

The only problem with Haughney’s report is that Scott’s operating system just isn’t built for Florida’s government.

It should come as no surprise that I believe Gov. Scott does not even deserve credit for pulling the plug on a Department of Environmental Protection plan to put a privately run campground at one of the state’s most popular parks near Dunedin. Nor does he deserve credit for allowing SunRail to move forward.  Just as he does not deserve credit for mitigating his decision to gut the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

He deserves no credit because these crisis should have never developed in the first place.  The DEP should never have dreamed of putting a private campground in a public park.  The building of SunRail should have never been interrupted, as it was by Gov. Scott’s executive order.  Funding for the APD should never have been cut, nor should the cuts have been announced on the same day Gov. Scott attended a Special Olympics event.

The man simply does not get it.

He has said it countless times and will say it again and again while he is in office: Rick Scott wants to run government like a business, whatever the hell that means.  Except being Governor is about more than being the state’s human resources officer.  Yes, it is about creating an economic environment which creates jobs, but it is also about education and elections and the environment and health care and immigration and insurance and transportation and all of the other issues addressed in this must-read editorial in the St. Petersburg Times.

Bringing in Steve MacNamara is not going to change Rick Scott’s worldview.  (And I have to question the political intelligence of whoever thought it was smart to pay MacNamara 26% more than the previous chief-of-staff.  The state is laying off workers left and right and you give the guy at the top of the food chain a raise?).

No, re-arranging the deck chairs on Rick Scott’s ship-of-state is not going to change the fact that Florida is sinking with Scott at the helm.

Unfortunately, the only thing that can be done is to maintain the enormous pressure on Scott that is currently keeping a check on his worst impulses.

In practical terms that means keeping Scott at a 35% approval rate; that means protesting him at every public appearance; that means hundreds showing up at public forums to shout-down the ridiculous ideas originating from Scott’s administration.

In other words, it means not taking the foot off of Gov. Scott’s proverbial throat.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.