Columns

What, No Outrage over Draconian Democratic Rule Change?

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: June 13, 2013 1:30 PM
I Beg to Differ

Three days and hardly a peep from the capital press on a proposed Florida Democratic caucus gag rule.

Wouldn't these scribes be busy little bees if it were the Republicans trying to abridge freedom of speech, something from Civics 101, something all of us were taught is sacrosanct when exercised by members of legislative or decision-making bodies?

It may yet be that Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek will think better of tweaking his caucus rules to intimidate the party's free spirits. But right now it looks as if he wants to require Democratic members to vote in accordance with official caucus positions, and impose penalties if they go against them without permission from House Democratic leadership.

Waldman's rules say this: “Failure to abide by a Caucus position without prior approval shall subject such member to sanctions imposed by the majority vote of the officers, including but not limited to expulsion from the Caucus.”

The only press "peep" I've heard so far is a commentary this morning from Tallahassee.com's Bill Cotterell. Mostly, Cotterell defends the rule because it copies a questionable practice the Republicans do better.


Only thing is, Cotterell is a little off the mark. True, the GOP leadership wants consensus, but they don't send their dissenters to Siberia. Maverick Mike Fasano is a good example. If ever there was a contentious red teamster reaching for bipartisanship, it's the New Port Richey moderate -- yet he still chairs the House's Joint Administrative Procedures Committee. And just last Monday Speaker Will Weatherford appointed him to the Housing Development Corporation of Florida's board of directors.

Bipartisanship apparently has no place in Waldman World. If this rule is accepted, Democratic legistators might just as well fail to show and give their proxies to the caucus boss.

Brave legislators vote their conscience and shouldn't have to worry Waldman or anybody else is taking names and fitting them for knuckle screws.

I've always had a sneaking admiration for Republican outlaw legislators like Fasano and former Sen. Paula Dockery. I have the same respect now for freshman Democrats Jared Moskowitz from Coral Springs, Dwight Dudley from St. Petersburg, Katie Edwards from Plantation and Mark Danish from Tampa. All four had the guts to decry the caucus rules boss and speak up for free speech and a diversity of ideas.

I sincerely hope after this weekend's annual Jefferson-Jackson gala that these four brave souls won't be punished for pushing back.




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


Comments (5)

RepublicanConscience
6:58AM JUN 14TH 2013
Just a Civic lesson. The legislator answers to the people in his district. The legislator owes the Party nothing. The dirty little secret is that this rule is being written because the people don't want any more Democrat crap that is destroying our country. Their policies are immoral, unconstitutional, and destructive to our safety, freedom, rights, and our possessions.
Frank
7:31PM JUN 14TH 2013
You once again fail Logic 101 (and I don't engage in far right Tea Party civic lies nor teaching creationism as science) . . . . yes, you must be right . . . the Democratic Party is writing a rule because it doesn't want any more (big D) Democratic whatever . . . . . what have you been drinking! . . . Tod Atkins GOP lager? . . . . totally delusional . . . . about as logical as Julien's previous comments that his own race was engaging in genocide against themselves . . . . headshaking incredible . . . and once again . . .

Pathetic . . .
Frank
6:34PM JUN 13TH 2013
Gee . . . wonder why . . . . wouldn't be because Democrats would require a 2/3 VOTE, whereas Republican leaders act as Our Glorious Leader, do-it-my-way-or-the-highway, now would it (think past several House and Senate leaders, plus Budget Chairman J.D. Alexander - give me my separate unneeded university or I'm cutting your university funding by 70% - even you thought that one was stupid, Nancy) . . . talk about Republican red-herring hypocrisy (and let's see what DID HAPPEN to Senator Dockery for taking other positions) . . . . maybe, like SSN's campaign against Florida's Supreme Court Justices, you should just stop and contemplate why there's no outcry and support for your position . . . except among a few partisan right wingers . . . .

Pathetic . . .
The UnFrank
9:55AM JUN 14TH 2013
I think they probably HAVE contemplated it, Frank, and concluded "no outcry" is because the rest of the Tallahassee media are in bed with the left. Simple but true. Has been for the 15 years I've been around here.
Frank
7:24PM JUN 14TH 2013
Oh look, the right wing fan club is back . . . . bemoaning the fact that they haven't been able to spin the press or have it engage in partisan "Big Lie" truthiness. . .

Pathetic . . .

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