More Intimidation Afoot to Squeeeeze Florida Democratic Party Dissenters
Around the State
Suddenly The Florida Squeeze, progressive blog site since its inception, is an enemy of the party.
Maybe not the people, but certainly the ruling class in the Florida Democratic Party.
It seems mischief makers who insist they're not state party leadership (even if they really are) have announced they will launch today -- Monday -- a counter, party-line website called Not Getting Squeezed, claiming to show "why Florida Democrats are excelling under this leadership."
The announcement was made on Twitter Friday. It continued, "You won't read that in @Fl_Political_Sq."
Not Getting Squeezed started out on Twitter May 3 with this message: "Welcome to our twitter feed where we will parody the writers @Fl_Political_Sq and set straight the record about @FlaDems." It has, since then, chided The Florida Squeeze and TFS's founder/editor Kartik Krishnaiyer for failing to promote the party choice for governor. That would be Charlie Crist. Instead, says Not Getting Squeezed, Krishnaiyer has defended, even supported a debate between Crist and the other Democrat in the primary, former Sen. Nan Rich. And, of course, his blogs and reader poll have attracted free-thinking Democrats to join the comment threads on the site.
Last week Not Getting Squeezed had tweeted a party disclaimer: "We want to remind we have no affiliation with any local or the state Democratic Party."
Sorry, guys. I don't believe you.
My guess is, the Not Getting Squeezed staff comes from the ranks of lower-tier staff at party HQ, party consultants and/or party vendors. In fact, it's not really a good guess, it was the hottest rumor in Tallahassee over the weekend. One knowledgeable lobbyist in the state capital told me Sunday night the party wants Krishnaiyer on board or it's going to sink him.
"If there's a war of ideas," said the lobbyist, a Democrat all of his voting life, "they want to bully any members they believe are not following party leadership. They don't want Charlie to have to be bothered with a primary. Putting it simply, they think it's time to play hardball."
Meanwhile, Krishnaiyer is unlikely to bow to intimidation. He told me Sunday night he would not comment on Not Getting Squeezed's website until Monday, when and if it appears and he can see it for himself. "All I can tell you is, we won't be doing anything differently than we ever do. We encourage an exchange of ideas and believe the whole democratic process is healthy for the party."
It's safe to assume party leadership, in love with social media as it is, would have stamped its seal of approval on a Not Getting Squeezed agenda of intimidation.
It just seems so crazy. The Florida Democratic Party has so many systemic issues to fix, so many good candidates it's left behind, denigrating or just plain failing to support; virtually every Cabinet office standing without a viable Democratic challenger; and no clear plan for the future, with or without new redistricting maps.
Instead of working on the larger issues that could breathe new life into the party, the Democrats at the top, who should know better, are staying down in the weeds, encouraging mean-spirited blog wars and cheap shots between their own loyal members.
It will be interesting to watch as the day goes by, to see if Not Getting Squeezed does what it announced and gives birth to a new blog site.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423.