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Friday, August 31, 2012

Opting Against Inspiration

Maybe this is the best strategy Mitt Romney has at this point, but it is hardly inspiring.

Romney spent his time in Tampa refusing to offer a decent reason to vote for him and instead trying to convince people who voted for Obama last go to switch their vote this time. Some will, of course, but I don't know if anybody will do so based on Romney's speech last night.

The line I think sums up the speech? Via*:

 President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY to help you and your family.

This reminds me of the Internet meme of Odin promising to get rid of the ice giants, then noting you don't see any ice giants. It's a fine point, I suppose, but for a man whose greatest attribute is his ability to make billions in the private sector, it is a jarring for Romney to promise he will exhibit no ambition and pursue no lofty goals.

But Republicans this year have opted against inspiration, and instead choose destruction and obstruction. Even that strategy, though, isn't well advanced by the themes of Mitt Romney's message at the RNC.

The chief message from Romney, and in many ways Paul Ryan the night before, has been that Barack Obama has been a disappointment. Pardon me, but on behalf of the 69.5 million voters who supprted Obama in 2008, No Shit! Pointing that out, and turning Obama's predisposition for letting people down into the central theme of the GOP ticket's coming out party, does beg the natural question of why.

See, voters already punished Obama for failing to accomplish much in his first years in office. That was largely what the midterms were about as GOP voters woke up to fact a liberal was in the White House and Democratic voters realized Obama wasn't that serious about changing how Washington does business. The Tea Party convinced their people to go to the polls and the Obama for America crowd failed to do the same. Thus, a Republican landslide.

But why should people who supported Obama in 2008 switch their votes? Some people are fickle, but anybody who supported Obama's genuine vision for the country knows they will be worse off with Romney in the White House. To date, Romney has offered no viable alternative vision for anything, but the positions he adopted in the primary this year show where he is headed. So does the selection of an Ayn Rand devotee as his running mate.

And what riveting vision did Romney offer during the biggest speech of his career? He promises not to try to do too much.

The RNC was Mitt Romney's greatest chance to capture the enthusiasm and imagination of those voters who will decide this election. I just don't think he delivered. I am anxious to see snap polling to see if, in fact, Romney will be the first major nominee in decades to leave their own convention behind in the polls. But whether that's true of not, Obama will have his moment next week.

Despite losing some luster for failing to live up to lofty expectations, there is no doubt Obama will put out an inspiring speech from Charlotte. Once the dust settles from that, we'll know where this race stands, but right now, I don't think Republicans have much to be excited about, and this should be their moment of celebration.

*I know, but they have his actual transcript, not just the prepared remarks released in advance of the speech and which don't reflect exactly what he said

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Authentic Zealotry

Is it just me or does Paul Ryan sound like he's recruiting people to a cult right now?

I'm sorry but I really don;t understand how someone can preach about how man will be judged on how it treats the least fortunate among us, then promote the most aggressive social program cuts of anyone on a major presidential ticket in the past half century.

I respect Paul Ryan in many ways. I really do. But he is without doubt an extremist, not a candidate for which a broad base of voters across the country can rally around. His religious zealotry seemed an odd mix with his cold, passionless political agenda. I honestly have never seen Ryan in more bizarre form than in those last several minutes on stage in Tampa.

It just verified to me that this isn't a ticket as interested in winning the White House as it is spouting a strident conservative agenda. I'm not saying there isn't some value to that, but it seems strange watching the GOP say with such sincerity that they can win this race and then opt against a political strategy with any hope of winning.

Worse, the Ryan speech started to border toward its end on genuine personal offensiveness. Suggesting he was willing to bridge that huge bridge between Ryan's Catholicism and Romney's Mormonism made me wonder how religious people of virtually any other faith would feel. Sanctimoniousness and self-righteousness are attributes certain to turn off more voters than it draws in. Ryan is obviously a selection intended to rally the base, and a better choice than a Sarah Palin or Dan Quayle for sure, but sending this baby-faced ideologue on stage to deliver such a divisive message was misguided and insane.

Ryan's speech makes me feel better about the vice presidential debate than I have since the moment he was first announced. This guy just isn't ready for prime time.

I am starting to wonder if the Romney-Ryan ticket will be the first in decades to leave its own convention with underwater poll ratings. My wife kicks kicking me and telling me I am getting ahead of myself. Probably so. But no doubt any bump from this convention will be weak and be ground that President Obama can erase in a short period of time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

So Who Exactly Built That?

As thousands of Republicans chant "We Built It" in the middle of a taxpayer-subsidized arena, I just can't help but laugh.

Are you confused what the heck these people talking about in the first place? Of course, because I am sure tons of non-politically aware people have wondered onto this blog. If you really don't know, President Obama said during a speech that private sector leaders didn't build the American infrastructure that allows capitalism to flourish here. Here's a clip. If you are still confused why this is a big deal, hey, I don't know what makes these guys tick that well either.

Now I'll let the national blogs mock these people for missing the whole "we built that" message that Obama was conveying. I would like to pick something else apart.

The Republican National Convention right now is happening in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. That's right, a venue named for the evil liberal media giant known as the Times. This paper happens to be the largest circulation publication in Florida and the only major newspaper in Florida that is not corporate-owned, so it either represents the best of small business or the worst of corporate independence, but I assure Republicans in the Sunshine State hate the Pulitzer Prize-winning rag. I, for one, feel blessed the paper is here, but then I am a liberal pinko.

But the truth is that this newspaper didn't build the Forum. Indeed, many of those of us who lived our whole lived in the state still bristle when this venue is called anything but the Ice Palace. It was built to house the Tampa Bay Lightning, a franchise in that beautiful representation of private sector success and machismo which is professional sports. But they didn't build it alone.

Turns out some $86 million in taxpayer subsidies went to raising this stadium from the ground, much more than the $53 million contributed by the Lightning. Corporate sponsorship from the wicked liberal media came much later when naming rights were put up for sale.

Like so many sports venues, the use of public funds was justified because the venue serves a public good. Such subsidies are hugely controversial across the political spectrum, of course, but business leaders typically line up behind such efforts to lend political support. Why? Because having a pro sports team raises a region's profile in enormous ways. In addition to bringing a Stanley Cup to a region known for its beaches, the venue puts Tampa on national television with some regularity as the Lightning play their sport for an audience reaching for beyond the Bay area.

And, of course, the venue allows us to host other major events, i.e. the Republican National Convention.

You see, there is no doubt the Tampa Bay area is benefitting economically from the convention being in town. If the most Democratic of business owners has enjoyed a boost is business as hotels fill up, restaurants serve food out and strip clubs bring folks in. All of that wouldn't be possible without a venue in town that could host such an event as the RNC. No city in America can host this type of event without major venues like this, and that is why the public expense is justified. It will take a lot of rent money for that $86 million to get paid back, but the public benefit is enormous and the businesses who pay taxes in the area will feel a return in their cash registers just this week that more than makes up for their share of the initial expense.

Now most of the people at the RNC are not from Florida, much less from Tampa Bay. So while they may be renting the venue this week, spending their dollars at local malls and to stuff the corsets of area strippers, they didn't build any of this. The taxpayers did.

Your welcome.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Making Sense of Charlie Crist

So often, politicians put on a good face when voters speak loudly, toss some platitudes and then go about just ignoring the people. For much of his political life, former Gov. Charlie Crist has been a master at this. But I take notice that the man who threw such a cog in the 2010 elections nationwide is going about things a different way as he braces for an inevitable run in 2014.

The first major step came earlier this month when he threw his support behind Bill Nelson in the Senate race. This is the sort of race where if Crist was still a sitting Republican governor, he would have had the choice either of backing Connie Mack's losing Senate bid or simply staying out of the race completely, tacitly endorsing Nelson as he did so. Now that Crist is out of politics, he could still go ahead and endorse Nelson because he worked closely with the senator, and not risk much with his Republican supporters of yore.

But the stakes went up significantly this weekend when Crist wrote an Op-Ed in the Tampa Bay Times backing President Obama. Everyone interested in Florida politics really needs to read the whole thing on the link, but here is an excerpt:

As Republicans gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, Americans can expect to hear tales of how President Obama has failed to work with their party or turn the economy around.
But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.
The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.
In the short term, of course, the hope is that this will help Obama win over swing voters as Mitt Romney tries to paint Obama as some type of socialist extremist. But the obvious question on the minds of most political observers is what this truly means for Crist's future.
The broad speculation for months has been that Crist will attempt a return to the governor's mansion in 2014, challenging the utterly unlikable and eminently unpopular Rick Scott, and doing so as a Democrat. He could beat Scott, of course, but based on polls from pretty much the day Scott took office up until now, most any Democrat would have a good shot. That is the ultimate upswing to having a disaster in Republican politics hold the governorship.
The question becomes then, why should Democrats nominate Crist? As a constant and vocal critic of Crist and his craven history of political gamesmanship, that certainly is an important question for me.
But as I blogged in May, there is always room for rethinking one's own position on a candidate. Let me excerpt my own post just to hold myself accountable to what I said:
We would do our own ranks a severe disservice by dismissing their candidacies based solely on Crist's celebrity status. But if Crist made the switch to Democrat now, if he spent the next two years fighting for Barack Obama to win Florida, for Democrats to take more seats in the state Legislature, to rebuild a party which has been in tatters for a decade and a half, then Democrats should consider forgiving Crist of his past sins. But he shouldn't get a pass to the big race. He needs to prove he cares more about a set of public principles than his own ambitions. The good news is there is still time to do it.
I don't pretend this blog is highly influential, but I do know that post I wrote was emailed hundreds of times, more often than anything ever written on these pages. If this short checklist of things to do ever made it in front on Charlie Crist, I must acknowledge that in just a few weeks, he has made some significant progress.
If Bill Nelson stays in the Senate and if Barack Obama wins Florida, Charlie Crist will be able to claim some credit. I want to see him do some real work on the trail, but writing this enormous Op-Ed just as the GOP convention gets underway definitely counts. It also sounds like he will be the most high-profile ex-Republican official to speak in Charlotte at the Democratic National Convention this year. Frankly, it sounds like Charlie Crist is well on his way to achieving those accomplishments which I said he must before he deserved the accolades of anyone on the left?
Can he help us win back some legislative seats? Can he get us a couple Congressional seats this year? I at least would like him to try. Has he yet shown a commitment to a set of principles important to the left? I guess that's what got him in trouble with the Marco Rubio crowd to begin with. 
I recommend he change his registration to Democrat sooner than later if he really plans to run in 2014. My guess is he may do this in high-profile fashion at the DNC this year.
Of course, there will be a primary for governor, and I would like to see who really throws their hat in the ring before hinting a handicap on this race, much less considering an endorsement. Proving he is a good Democrat still doesn't mean Alex Sink or Nan Rich should set their own ambitions aside. It is also noteworthy that other offices, including every Congressional seat in Tampa Bay, will be up in 2014 and Crist may see greater appeal in a different job than governor. He did forgo a run at re-election two years ago in favor of seeking a Senate seat.
But is Charlie Crist in fact worthy of consideration for a Democratic nomination for high office? Based on his invaluable contributions of personality to our cause this year, I have to say, inevitably and undeniably, that the answer is yes.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Welcome to Florida! (enjoy the weather)

Welcome to Florida, Republicans except for Todd Akin. We hope you have all the Sunshine State has to offer.

We know many of you are concerned about the hurricane. I thought I would put this little primer for the visitors, the sort of thing than can ease your worst fears and let you know your worst nightmares are not simply imagined.

You may have noticed I just called Isaac a hurricane. Some of the weather reports you are watching simply call it a tropical storm, but don't believe the liberal media. It will be a hurricane soon and you may as well just accept it. This storm is going to be a monster hurricane ready to destroy your festivities this weekend. I hope you kissed your loved ones goodbye before getting on that plane to Florida.

The first thing to explain is that "cone of uncertainty," which of course means that the only thing certain for you is death. Why else would they call it that? The thing is, once that line includes the city where you are, it's pretty much a guarantee you will die. Trust us. We've lived through quite a few hurricanes so we know.

But don't panic. If there is one thing Florida knows how to do, it is to properly bury people. We set aside enormous amounts of land as cemetery space in anticipation of just this type of thing.

So what can you do? I recommend breathless tuning in to news reports every other hour so you can get NOAA updates as soon as they come out. It won't save you, but at least you know how much time you have left. The thing to keep an eye on is the Category grade for the storm. Sadly for all of us, this storm is graded as a Cat 1 right now. As you know, there is no higher place than first, so we are pretty much doomed. To put things in perspective, Katrina was merely a Cat 5, so blow up those swim floaties and get ready for some looting (for the one-percenters, read 'to be looted').

But take some comfort in the fact that as attendees at the convention, you will be in the convention center. Now the locals will flee to the designated shelters in local schools, but you have even better digs. You are in an arena, and we know from those glorious Bush administration hey days that such arenas are the safest place to be in a situation like this.

Once the storm passes, though, recovery will be a smooth process—for the survivors. Florida has a pretty good track record for responding to disasters. We put the sort of business regulations in place that conservatives love so much, we bring to term the large number of embryos suddenly conceived in the storm blackouts, and we rely on the federal government to FEMA out way back to prosperity.

Sure, there have occasionally been times when hurricane recovery went poorly (I'm sure I can think of an example if I try hard enough), but that really depends on what administration is in the White House. We have Democrats there right now, and I am sure they will rescue you with the same enthusiasm with which a Republican administration would restore quality of life in a flooded metropolis full of left-leaning minorities.

So have fun with that.

Oh, by the way, you may want to get a living will in order. You wouldn't want to be caught in a vegetative state in Florida without your intentions written out. Crazy things have happened. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Campaign Lessons from Gangster Movies

There are many politicians in this state who disgust me. Allen West's hyperbolic rhetoric is grating. Rick Scott's abrasive disregard for opponents thoughts or rights is demoralizing. But there is simply no greater embarrassment to Florida voters than U.S. Rep David Rivera, R-Miami.

The most recent dumbass move from a man who should long ago have been thrown in jail is a tail of such brazen law-breaking and attempted bribery it sounds more like an old gangster movie than a genuine political campaign by an incumbent Congressman. From the Miami Herald:


Interviews with campaign sources, invoices, campaign records and other documents show that Rivera personally and frequently called Rapid Mail about Sternad’s mailers. During one call, Rivera directed an employee to walk outside, check the office mailbox for an envelope containing payment for one mailer., the sources said.
The envelope was stuffed with cash — $7,800.
The Sternard referenced was "Democrat" Justin Lamar Sternad, who was running against Joe Garcia for the Democratic nomination. Thankfully, Garcia won the primary. Long-time readers of this blog know I was a big fan of his two years ago, and I remain so today.
Sternad was an obvious plant using Republican money sent to Republican campaign firms with a message based on Republican attacks. Rivera clearly wanted Sternad to be his opponent. While unseemly, this tactic isn't new in politics, and trying to choose his own Democratic opponent is hardly a law bar for a man who once ran a truck full of his opponent's campaign literature off the road in the middle of the night.
But the tactics Rivera used here are in many ways the most brazen and filthy politics he has employed yet. The Herald investigation shows he was delivering envelopes filled with thousands of dollars to help find Sternard's campaign off the books. In a state so proud of government in the Sunshine, it should be no surprise this is not legal.
Rivera is a thus and he is running his campaign like a thug. And there is a place for thugs. Last March, I boldly predicted Rivera's legal troubles would get him out of the House and into the big house.
Truth is, it seems unlikely right now that Rivera will make it through his first term without being forced to resign.
Things haven't panned out quite as I hoped in that regard, but they may yet. The man under federal investigation before he could even be sworn in remains an embarrassment to his party and Congress in general. But regardless of whether the law can finally get to him based on these most recent accusations, it is critical voters take care of the man this November and vote him out of public office.

Read more here:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cliff Notes On Cliff Stearns

The news that Cliff Stearns could be unseated in a Republican primary is something difficult to fathom for those who have watched Central Florida politics in the last few decades, but that indeed happened this week when an unknown tossed the incumbent by less than 1,000 votes.

A lot of national media has jumped on the race to discern what cost Stearns his seat. I feel since I lives in Stearns' district through most of his time in Congress, and covered Stearns for five years while I was at the Daily Commercial, I ought to say something, and I have to say the conventional wisdom is a bit off. It is so easy to say this was a Tea Party candidate picking off a Washington establishment candidate, but I don't think you can batter Stearns on ideological grounds.

Stearns was always a reliable congressman for the district when it came to standard far like getting us proper road funding, keeping us abreast of international affairs and all of those other duties which are basic to being a good Congressman. I have always had a soft spot for the man in part because when I got Stearns on the phone on 9/11, I impressed my grandfather more than at any point in my professional career. Partisanship aside, I always thought Stearns was a good representative on balance.

But he also had a penchant for red meat, and it would come out every time there was a headline issue in Washington that had the attention of the base. Impach Clinton? Of course. Investigate Clinton after he was out of office for the Marc Rich pardon? We can toy with that to keep the haters pleased. Attack Planned Parenthood? Get Cliff a front-row seat. Even birtherism. That, I must say, was the saddest chapter of all.

Knowing Rep. Stearns, I can't imagine he actually bought into all of this crap, but any shot at a Democratic president seemed a fair one. People right now are suggesting he was becoming a star for taking on issues like Solyndra, but I don't buy that. Like so many issues, this was a chance to feed the base by taking cheap shots at Obama that meant nothing. Nobody but the most foolish of tea party voters thinks Solyndra will result in any serious matter or a justifiable punishment of anyone in the administration. But that foolish group is who Stearns always worked to keep happy.

The funny part to me is that the tea party has always contended keeping them happy is all they asked of congressmen.

Tea Party activists are ready to claim another scalp, even though Stearns was more likely just a victim of random violence. The Ocala Star-Banner, which is closer to the ground in this district than I am nowadays, suggests other opponents besides Ted Yoho were doing damage against Stearns on their own. From their editorial:
He (Stearns) had what was seen as viable opposition from state Sen. Steve Oelrich and Clay County Clerk of Court Jim Jett, both seasoned officeholders who had held multiple offices...Low-road campaigning by Oelrich, Jett and Stearns, who spent much of the campaign sparring … and ignoring Yoho.

I will take the paper's word that the negative campaigning hurt Stearns. But I don't buy the notion he stopped listening to constituents. That doesn't seem like the Cliff Stearns I watched for years. Rather, I suspect redistricting left him trying to reach new voters, something I can attest made him nervous 10 years ago. My guess is he was paying extra-close attention to the desires of constituents expressed at forums and elsewhere.

I would suggest his problem was that he listened to these voters too much.

Stearns always paid too much attention to the knuckle-draggers in his party. My guess is the rise of the tea party in the past two years has made his follow that strategy to a greater degree than ever before. But the full make-up of a constituency, even in a Republican primary, is not just the base. It is the rest of the rank-and-file who had grown disillusioned with Stearns.

Even 10 years ago, I knew party regular voters on the Republican side then who felt Stearns lacked leadership. They saw him as a follower, someone who would never be more than a generic, do-nothing congressman. In the day, nobody wanted to challenge that in a primary. It's different now.

While the tea party would have people believe following their every command is the way for Republicans to win elections, most voters don't just want a congressman that leaps only when a single populist special interest says jump. Don't get distracted by the fact Ted Yoho brands himself the tea party guy in the race. Stearns was the perfect tea party candidate. And that's exactly why he lost.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stupidity at an Olympic level

Marco Rubio is embarrassing our state right now with this ridiculous grandstanding on the "Olympic tax" and I am a little angry that so many national news outlets are giving this story such attention without offering the obvious counter to his argument.

It turns out that when athletes earn money, they have to pay taxes on it. Shocking, I know.

Here is part of what Yahoo Sports! considers a news story on this item:

The United States Olympic Committee rewards Olympic medalists with honorariums. A gold medal brings $25,000. Silver medals get you $15,000. And a bronze is worth $10,000.
The Weekly Standard, a conservative news magazine, ran the numbers and tabulated that the tax bill on a gold is $8,986, silver is $5,385 and bronze is $3,500.
They note that Missy Franklin, an amateur who has yet to cash in on her fame with endorsements, already owes $14,000 in taxes from her gold and silver medal. By the time the Games are finished, Franklin's tax bill could reach $30,000.
Well of course she does! I would note that this 17-year-old just earned $40,000 for two swims! Do you know anybody earning that much money who doesn't pay at least $14,000 in taxes on that? There is no special tax rate on the winnings. It is the same as if you earned a bonus at work. You would then have to pay out funding.
Understand, I feel wonderful for Missy Franklin's successes at the Olympics so far and hope she has more. I also feel great she has earned this much money, and also will congratulate her on any endorsements she gets after the Olympics or whenever she gives up her amateur status.
To suggest, though, that she hasn't cashed in on her fame is ludicrous. It took me years in my chosen profession to earn that much money each year. She could cash in more, for sure. But this more than pays the rent (especially considering she doesn't pay any rent). A 17-year-old who pulls in a professional salary should be commended, but she should also be taxed. It's that simple.
Consider the extreme of this philosophy. Since I took a probably unwarranted shot at LeBron James yesterday, let me today praise the Miamian's efforts both in the Olympic games and in his day job. The man is, after all, quite likely to bring back to Florida both an NBA Championship ring and an Olympic gold medal in a single year.
In addition to his salary, that means LeBron will earn $25,000 for his medal and get a cut of some $1.7 million the Heat will get for winning the championship this year. And I say good for him. But should he get a break in his taxes? No, that's nuts. And if there is one thing I think liberals and conservatives can agree on in this country, it's that basketball stars make too much money as is.
Maybe Rubio, as a Miami man, feels differently. But if so, that's ridiculous. This is cheap political points. Income is income. Taxes are taxes. And if we are to take Rubio seriously on his interest in reducing the deficit, giving tax breaks to professional athletes makes that task tougher than completing a 400-meter medley.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

GOP Won't Speak His Name

Stories like this just make me chuckle. It seems even Republicans have embraced the Voldemort comparison, and dare not speak the name of a Governor Rick Scott, even as the campaign in primary season.

Who can blame them? Every poll is the political world shows this man is less popular in Florida than a kid cutting across a lawn. He is less popular than Charlie Crist, the nearly anonymous Nan Rich and the  arguably despicable LeBron James, according to the last PPP poll. He is less popular than gay marriage, which sadly is still a losing issue in Florida. Heck, Dwight Howard is almost competitive with this guy.

It really is no wonder that a law enforcement officer, even one appointed by this governor like Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, would run from Scott's mention like a outed Death Eater in the Hogwarts faculty lounge.

But I would suggest today that the Harry Potter books have provided us not just with a similarly frocked villain with which to mock Scott. The protagonist of this series has in fact offered up a strategy for rolling back Scott's destructive agenda and plans for world domination. Readers of the books may recall that even years after Voldemort's initial plans to control the Wizarding World went awry, neither the dark wizard's supporters or opponents could comfortably utter his name.

The Death Eaters would refer to Voldemort as the "Dark Lord." Those fearful of the wizard called him "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." It was inferred that when Voldemort was at the height of his power, he demanded this type of identification as a form of deference. Of course, anyone who has followed politics awhile would find it quite plausible that Scott today may be telling Republican lawmakers not to speak his own unpopular name so that they could get into positions of power, then reveal their fielty to their Dark Lord and push his wicked agenda into the realm of real-world law.

But when Potter learned that many in the Wizarding World still feared Voldemort so much that they refused to utter his name because of a literal taboo, the young wizard scoffed. The way to defeat Voldemort was not to quake at his name, nor was it to deny his existence altogether. No, the way to defeat evil was to stare in the face and shout it down! The Order of the Phoenix eventually is unified in its willingness to speak Voldemort's name out loud, and that courage leads to Voldemort's ultimate and permanent downfall.

The lesson for Democrats, long trapped in an Azkabhan-like political exile within Florida's halls of power, is to speak Scott's name when Republicans will not. The lawmaker to afraid to be publicly associated with this terrible leader of their party should not be allowed back in the halls of power just so he can enact his Dark Lord's will in secret. Republicans won't own their association with Scott. We must make them. We must not allow these people to occupy seats of prestige, the way the fictional wizards of London allowed the Lucius Malfoys of the world to cling to their reputation by publicly denying Voldemort while they secretly awaited his return.

Rick Scott is not up for election this year, but his Death Eaters most certainly are, and that means his agenda and vision for Florida is on the ballot even if the paper does not bear his name. Speak his name. Remind people that a vote for a Republican lawmaker is a vote for the continuation of Rick Scott's reign of destruction. Turn their cowardice into a chance for victory this year.