24 August 2005

Is Chris Smith stupid? I don't think so.

Today, news reports have taken the Democratic Leader in the Florida House of Representatives to task for his move to force the override of Governor Jeb Bush's veto of a good government bill. While the Democrats' effort may have likely doomed the legislation in any future special session, it has initiated a discussion that only will benefit Florida Democrats. Newspaper reporters may criticize the Democrats for this political move, but they are not thinking of the long-term effects of this tactic.

Yesterday, Democratic Representative Chris Smith, leader of the minority caucus in the Florida House, petitioned the Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood to conduct a poll asking members whether they support a special session to override Governor Jeb Bush's veto [PDF - 14 KB] of Senate Bill 1146.

The legislation, sponsored by Republican Senator Nancy Argenziano (R-Crystal River), would have established a commission to approve state contracts of more than $10 million and to adopt accountability standards for contracting by state agencies. Reports have shown reckless procedures related to the privatizing of state services, resulting in unnecessary costs to Florida taxpayers. The governor, who pledges to leave no special interest behind, rejected this oversight of the state contracting system, opening the door to big government expenses passed along to taxpayers.

It was April 2003 when the St. Petersburg Times asked the important question, "Can Republicans Govern?" This effort by Representative Smith is an opportunity for Florida Democrats to point out that they can't.

SB 1146 received bi-partisan support last session and overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the Florida Legislature. Now, Republican leaders are flip-flopping on their position, allowing the governor's desire for big government and reckless spending to win.

Republican Leader Representative Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) is the latest in the GOP to abandon the principles of former President Ronald Reagan. SB 1146 would have resulted in less government spending and more efficient government. Gardiner voted for the bill last session, but now he opposes the bill. Why? Good question. Democrats would be smart to provide their own answers. For instance ...
  • Gardiner and the House GOP Caucus now realize that they support bigger government.
  • Gardiner and the House GOP Caucus now oppose accountability of government agencies.
  • Gardiner and the House GOP Caucus now believe that the government knows better than the voters.
These are all logical conclusions drawn from Gardiner and his caucus' recent flip-flop on SB 1146.

Senator Argenziano and Representative Gardiner are already turning on the Democrats. Now, it will be interesting to see how the Democrats respond. Will they stick together and fight? Or will they cut and run, leaving Representative Smith to fend for himself? Unfortunately taking past events into consideration, I would expect the latter.

But Democrats should change their spineless ways and choose to fight the Republicans on this matter. Define the issue.
  • Any Republican who votes against the Secretary of State's poll has flip-flopped on this issue. (Every Republican voted for the original bill.)
  • Any Republican who votes against the secretary's poll now supports bigger government.
  • Any Republican who votes against the secretary's poll now opposes government accountability.
  • Any Republican who votes against the secretary's poll now supports reckless government spending.

Let's hope the Democrats in the Legislature grow a pair and join Representative Smith in his fight on behalf of Florida's taxpayers.

9 Comments:

Anonymous gator78 said...

Good rallying cry! I was disgusted to read Sen. Miller's comments. He seems a little too eager to throw Smith under the bus on this one. I wish Dems would just fight for once.

2:51:00 PM  
Anonymous disgusted dem said...

OK. I'm compelled to get on a soap box here because I'm disgusted.

If the Republicans are smart, and I think they are, they will just ignore this, say no and move on to other big issues like Medicaid reform and enacting the slot machine amendment.

I bet the Republicans will let the issues of the day (and their big microphone on those issues) drown out the Democrats.

Once the Secretary of State takes the poll and it is defeated it will be game, set, match.

The press will eventually and quickly become bored with the whole issue and move on to the next story.

The only story left to tell in this whole ill-conceived mess is the one about the division among Democrats on this poll.

In the end what does this get Democrats? It only gets them another talking point to take to the people in 2006 to argue why Republicans don't do what they say they'll do. Democrats have been selling that same dog food since the R's took over Florida and (except for small pockets) people north of St. Lucie County aren't buying it.

What do the Democrats need to get out of this hole and regain respectability?

They actually have to get some testosterone and go out and compete. God bless the Democrats in Tallahassee. They try hard but, for the most part, they are a sideshow.

To regain respectability, Democrats need to run in legislative races across the state. That's how you send a message. Without candidiates to deliver a message, no message -- no matter how good -- will get through to the people.

Do the Democrats have candidates?

Here's the challenge.

Ask yourself if you want to run for the legislature. Do you have the guts it takes to go out and tell the people what you believe and what you want to do to make Florida better? Are you tired of just bitching on the blogs and not doing something to change your world?

If you are then call Dan Gelber and Steve Geller. Tell them you'll run against a Republican in a strong Republican district. Just like that brave soldier in Ohio.

When they tell you you have no chance and your race would be a waste of valuable resources tell them you'll do it on a shoe string budget. Tell them all you will need is some help getting your message and your delivery together. Go out and buy a couple of new suits and ties and tell your story, what you want to do and how you think it can be done. Don't forget to know how much it's going to cost. And don't make the McBride mistake: Get an answer when they say the only way to pay for your ideas is to raise taxes.

There's a smart way to answer that question if you can get people to listen.

The Democratic Party needs you on the ballot in some of these strong GOP areas to, at least, start the debate and offer Florida a choice.

I bet there are some areas of Florida where a Democrat hasn't run for a legislative seat in eight years.

Why not you? Why not now?

If Republicans are all you have to choose from, then why not choose a Republican?

I'll get off my soap box now.

8:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell are you talking about? The districts are so gerrymandered that it wouldn't do any good to run in most of these districts. All it would do is turnout Republican voters and hurt our candidates elsewhere on the ballot.

It is this kind of DFA-thinking that is killing the Democratic Party. The people in Democracy for America have a lot of passion, but they rarely have any political sense.

11:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They GOoPers know so well that the employees of the State of Florida will not be receiving the overtime pay that is due to them on August 29 as scheduled. There either was another computer "glitch" at People First, or the State of Florida doesn't have enough money in the bank to meet that part of payroll!
They can't even take care of the BASICS, never mind "outsourcing" them!

5:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the FDP comptroller Maddox hired got a state job.

7:13:00 PM  
Anonymous spencer said...

It is this kind of DFA-thinking that is killing the Democratic Party. The people in Democracy for America have a lot of passion, but they rarely have any political sense.

As opposed to the unprecedented string of successes and victories brought to us by the DLC wing of the party . . . not.

10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

DLC candidate candidate - Bill Clinton: two terms as president

DFA-type candidates - George McGovern: lost is 1972; Walter Mondale: lost in 1984; Michael Dukakis: lost in 1988; Al Gore: lost in 2000; John Kerry: lost in 2004

You were saying? :)

10:18:00 AM  
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1:19:00 PM  
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