Columns

Rick Scott May Have to Win in a Vacuum of Star-Moderate Republicans

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: January 11, 2014 3:55 AM
Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott

Rick Scott clawed his way to the highest office in the state alone. Nobody but the tea party had his back. To win re-election, he might have to do it alone again -- at least, without the support of moderates of star quality.

Let's say Chris Christie escapes a George Washington Bridge tarnish. Even if he's still good as gold, he's probably the only top-drawer moderate Republican who can throw an arm around Scott's neck and have it mean something in Florida. 

A one-man army to make conservative-poster-boy Scott palatable to moderates. Christie's  the guy. There just aren't many other moderate Repubs out there. At least, not ones Floridians have ever heard of.

Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith

And forget members of Congress. Think about it. How many out-of-state Congress men and women of either party would you want on your campaign team? As Jeff Henderson put it, Congress is polling lower than cockroaches.

New Jersey Gov. Christie is still a prize for Scott. He's the new head of the Republican Governors Association, he's one of the most popular governors in the country and he's leading a number of early polls among Republican presidential candidates. The National Journal claims Christie is going to head Rick Scott fundraisers in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando as early as next Saturday.

In the meantime, while Scott is short of moderates to appear on his behalf,  his probable opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, is up to his tan line in liberal Dems who want to help him and love him publicly -- true-blue Democrats; charismatic Democrats -- who can convince the doubting Thomases that their flip-flopper's ideology is what he says it is and it's worthy of their vote. 

In fact, if he wants, Crist can throw away Barack Obama -- which he is unlikely to do, even with Obamacare dragging the president down -- and he'll still have Vice President Joe Biden and Bill and Hillary Clinton hugging him. That's a powerful "A" team.

On the other hand, it's unlikely Scott will need as much help as Crist in redefining who he is. Democrats don't know Crist as one of theirs yet. His old record as a Republican doesn't count. It's going to take a Hall of Fame ensemble of Dems to make Charlie Crist look like a committed liberal Democrat voters can trust.

Sure, it would be nice if Scott had a larger stable of moderates to help him lure independents, just as political observers have noted. But while his first term in office might not have been perfect, he has a record of accomplishment during tough economic times he can comfortably run on. His low approval ratings are on the rise, and he hasn't even started campaigning. It might be, as it should -- that voters ultimately decide Florida is better in recovery now than it was under former Gov. Charlie Crist.

The bottom line is, Scott and the Republican Legislature cut spending in the state budget in bad times, restored it when times improved. That's pretty good governing, and -- like Scott personally or not -- Floridians know it. The governor's administration has built a business climate that's seen the state unemployment rate drop from 11.4 percent in 2011 to 6.4 percent in November, below the national average. New jobs are happening, argue all you like over how many. Scott is focused.

Think of it: In three years, unemployment in Florida has been cut almost in half

So, while it's good for Scott that moderate Chris Christie will be here to stump for him, ultimately it's the voters who will do the hard work. They're the ones who are going to think long and hard about their vote, who are going to look at the records of each governor, Crist and Scott, and decide for themselves which one had the state sputtering and which  had it flying. 


Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. 


Comments (10)

gregalday
11:32PM JAN 14TH 2014
to Riick Scott----my x wife lynn alday join national guard and she claiming me she left my son with her boy friend while she going active duty congress is paying her while we are seperate we not been together since she in arms i think this shoul dbe stop and my son transported to me and she need to pay for all the lies she told the arms to get mor emoney saying she still with her hubby we never been together whole time she been in tys hope this fall in right hands to get things done
RC
1:16PM JAN 11TH 2014
Ms. Smith,

Have you been hiding in a cave for the last three months? Especailly his week? If Scott has to depend on Christie for his re-election...he is doomed. The real story here is that the Republican leadership in this state, outside the RPOF is hoping Scott is defeated. They just do not have the guts to challenge him themselves. They (foolishly) do not fear a Democrat Governor because they control the House and Senate. A great many of them are tax and spend RINO's anyway, they would be more comfrotable with a Democrat governor they think they can toss around, versus a real conservative they cannot control. Start getting use to the phrase (as a conservative, the thought sickens me) ...Governor Nelson.
Frank
10:33AM JAN 11TH 2014
Yeah, especially right now, EVERYONE will listen and believe in Christie's words (and support) . . . . . too bad the increasingly isolated GOP has demonized its moderates, its women, its teachers, its union members, its minorities (both Hispanics and Blacks), its scientists, its firefighters, its state workers, its middle class . . . . but then that's today's modern further right GOP . . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
The UnFrank
5:59AM JAN 12TH 2014
Cut the BS about education and teachers, Frank. When the Florida economy improved, the governor included $1 billion more in education spending. It was supported by more than 80 percent of the Democrats in the Florida Legislature and that it got all kinds of kudos from teachers and FEA Prez Andy Ford.
Frank
4:26PM JAN 13TH 2014
Yeah, rightwing truthiness from a true SSN troll . . . the $1 billion was less than the more than $1 billion previously cut from education . . . teachers aren't fools . . . they understand who supports them . . . and who doesn't . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
RC
1:19PM JAN 11TH 2014
Frank, as a liberal Dem, you should be happy that yor peep's have taken over the Republican party. That is working out so weeeeelllll for everyone, isn't it (yes Obacare will destroy Union health care as well). ASk a Coal Miner who he thinks is better for his interests Liberal Democrats that want to tdestroy the earths carbon economy or Conservatives who want to improve the efficienct of using that resource while allowing the market to develop a VIABLE alternative?
LDouglas
7:21AM JAN 13TH 2014
"Conservatives who want to improve the efficienct of using that resource while allowing the market to develop a VIABLE alternative?"

If Conservatives want to allow the market to develop a viable alternative they must first make the market tell the truth. That means we factor in the externalities of the fossil fuels. For instance, the costs of heart disease, asthma, and lung diseases caused by air pollution from outdated dirty coal plants should be added to the price of a kilowatt. As well as the damage to fisheries, forests, and buildings from acid rain. Not to mention the cost of cleaning up spills or water pollution not paid directly by the coal company.

Then the hard part. We have to end the subsidies/tax incentives etc. the fossil fuels receive. After all, if the government shouldn't be investing in helping us develop alternatives under the reasoning of distorting the market, then they sure shouldn't be investing in the current winners like gas and oil.

On another note, taxpayers have invested billions in clean coal technology. I see ads all the time from the industry touting clean coal. (Current spill polluting the water of thousands notwithstanding- among other less publicized spills.) Anyway, time for them to put up or allow the market to let them go the way of other things from their century- like the horse and buggy as a means of transportation.
Witchdoctor
11:31AM JAN 12TH 2014
Witchdoctor say Frank the Racist is not "liberal" he's just a Democrat that will do anything for the "D", regardless of policy.

That's what is truly pathetic.
Bones Don't Lie
(But Frank the Racist Democrat does)
Frank
4:20PM JAN 13TH 2014
Childish and Pathetic . . .
Frank
4:40PM JAN 13TH 2014
One trick pony . . . showing his immaturity . . .

Pathetic . . .

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