Ex-Congressman Dishes on Scott -- Media Eat It Up
Lou Frey says he built Florida's Republican Party; what's his agenda now?
Around the State
Remember Lou Frey? Maybe not. After a 10-year stint in Congress that ended back in 1978, the Floridian ran for Senate and lost. Ran for governor and lost. Ran for Senate again and lost again.
Now Frey is running his mouth, advising the Florida media to "work around" Gov. Rick Scott.
Despite his string of losses in Republican primaries -- or perhaps because of them -- Frey has a receptive audience in reporters who feel jilted by the governor.
But let's be clear here: Frey has no love for Scott, and his RINO tendencies are showing. Frey supported Bill McCollum in the 2010 GOP primary and later said he would vote for Democrat Alex Sink. (He now says he voted for "someone else.")
"No further proof needed that this career politician is an 'establishment' guy all the way, preferring a fellow career politician from the other side of the aisle over an 'outsider,'" said Tom Tillison of the Central Florida Tea Party Council.
"Personally, he reminds me of the classic 'institutionalized politician' who long ago lost touch with the folks, having been in the game so long he's forgotten what he stands for."
Whatever Frey stands for today, he seems intent on undermining Florida's Republican governor by pandering to the press' oh-so-delicate sensibilities.
Speaking on the WMFE show, “Intersection,” Frey recommended that reporters work other Cabinet members for stories, suggesting they may say things that oppose Scott’s positions.
Mainstream media bloggers seized on this counsel as evidence of division within the Republican Party -- and an indication that Scott is out of step politically. Indeed, that seems to be the Tallahassee press corps' emerging narrative. Frey is just helping to move it along.
The Orlando attorney, whose name adorns the Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida, is unabashed.
"Lou Frey built the Republican Party in Florida," he told me, speaking in the third person. Frey said he performed that deed back in 1965, "when there weren't any Republicans in the state."
Yet his definition of Republican seems a bit off. In 1976, Frey, as state GOP chairman, supported Gerald Ford over Ronald Reagan. Today, he opines that Barack Obama has coattails and Rick Scott does not.
And he's proud of working with Democrat Bob Graham to reintroduce civics education to Florida's elementary schools. Imagine the syllabus.
"Congressman Frey," as he's still listed on the website of his eponymously named institute, believes that Gov. Scott is "embarrassing" fellow Republicans with imperious CEO-like decisions.
In reality, Frey's critique comes off as self-serving. His candidate (McCollum) lost, but like other self-styled "maverick" Republicans (John McCain and Lindsey Graham come quickly to mind), Frey keeps stirring the pot.
Is he concerned that his public pronouncements benefit those who wish the GOP ill and would take down the party's top elected official?
"I didn't take an oath to the Republican Party," Frey says.
Which makes him exactly the kind of Republican the press adores.
Contact Kenric Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 801-5341.