Mother Jones 'Mad Libs' ... No Pun Intended
Around the State
Only a far-left publication could come up with a Mad Lib that drops in Rick Scott's name where Charlie Crist's should go -- making Scott out to be Mel Sembler's great pal.
Trust Mother Jones.
In case you haven't seen it, the liberal San Francisco-based hatcheteers have a story this week that comes straight from the Democrats' playbook -- Rule No. 3: Demonize a conservative by association with a "public enemy," real or perceived.
Go ahead. Read the Mother Jones story, "GOP Gov. Rick Scott Raising Big Bucks With Founder of Abusive Teen Boot Camps." It cites a $1,000-a-head fundraiser for Scott's re-election campaign.
What's so absurd about the story isn't what it says about Sembler. The founder of Straight Inc., the abusive drug treatment program that left hundreds of teens scarred for life, is every bit as retired Gen. Henry Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once called him -- "one scary dude." For 16 years Sembler and his wife Betty directed the business, then saw it dismantled in mid-1993 thanks to a breathtaking array of institutional abuse claims.
The truly absurd part is this: Mother Jones -- with the playbook as its guide -- picked the wrong governor to connect with scary Mel.
Charlie Crist was always the guber in Sembler's heart and in his pocket. Until the day Crist quit the party -- the very day -- he and Sembler were closer than a butterfly on a bluebell.
I'm not exaggerating when I tell you, Mel Sembler would have to throw 20 more Miami Beach fundraisers for Rick Scott to come anywhere near the cash he raised and bundled and outright-donated to Charlie Crist over the years.
Sembler was involved in the money-lugging and money-hugging of every one of Crist's campaigns for public office. Here's a rundown of his positions in various Crist election camps:
• Finance chairman - Charlie Crist for Governor
• Finance co-chairman for the campaign of Florida State Senator Charlie Crist
• Committee chairman for the election of Florida Education Commissioner Charlie Crist
• Finance chairman for the campaign of Charlie Crist for Florida Attorney General
Oh, yes -- and Brent Sembler, Mel's son, was finance chairman of Charlie Crist for U.S. Senator. Brent and Charlie, good friends since high school, have much shared history.
So does Crist's father, Charles J. Crist, M.D. The elder Crist had his own history with Mel Sembler, and it goes back before Straight Inc. to Straight's predecessor program, called the SEED. Dr. Crist was vice chairman and later chairman of the Pinellas County School Board when he served on the SEED Advisory Board -- right up until the time the U.S. Senate accused the program of brainwashing kids, and the Semblers rushed to morph it into Straight Inc.
However you cut it, the Semblers' participation in Florida politics is very much a Crist family affair. Or, maybe Charie Crist is very much a Sembler family affair. Who knows? This point is, neither politics nor the Florida governor's office -- nor maybe even Florida -- was a glint in Rick Scott's eye when Sembler and Crist first began their dance across the Sunshine State's ballroom floor.
Trust me, any attempt to make it otherwise is no more than a Mad Lib.
More on Mel Sembler soon. Don't go away.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423.