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Florida Republican Party Rotting From Top Down

By       Message Daniel Tilson       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Wondering just how callous and self-serving political ambition can get? Try asking Florida's part-time Republican governor-turned U.S. Senate candidate, Charlie Crist. Or quiz the state's occasional Attorney General-turned GOP gubernatorial candidate, Bill McCollum.

Make note that you may have trouble finding either one of them. Recent reports show that in recent years, Crist takes off the equivalent of about 10 weeks a year, while McCollum takes an average of more than 14 weeks off annually. To be fair, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, Florida's Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, is reported to have taken off an average of about 9 weeks a year over the same time frame as McCollum.

Yet the work schedules of the governor and cabinet of this vast, complex and problem-riddled state are not the real issue - just some modern, bipartisan political context worth consideration.

The real issue has to do with comportment, with how you handle yourself when you are in fact in the very public process of putting in your face time, doing your job, serving at the very highest levels of state government and theoretically representing the best overall interests of all of your constituents - even when you are consumed with running for that next office, as is now the case with Florida's governor, AG and CFO.

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The real issue has to do with the damaging, downright demagogic way that the two Republican "leaders" have been comporting themselves in recent months, regarding the tortuous efforts to enact meaningful national health reform, including a new public option health plan that can compete with private, for-profit insurance plans in the free market.

Mind you, these haven't just been the efforts of President Obama and most Democrats in Congress, but also the tireless, unpaid endeavors of countless thousands of concerned citizens in Florida, and all across America.

Since Crist's labeling a while back of these efforts as "cockamamie", it appears that he has logged a full workday recently enough to understand that those cockamamie efforts are finally coming to fruition. So instead of sounding smugly dismissive, Crist is now focusing his attack squarely on the public option part of the puzzle.

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Think this shameless attempt to appease the anti-government, tea-bagging base of his wounded but still dangerous animal of a political party might have something to do with right wing zealot Marco Rubio well on his way to turning what was supposed to be a Crist cakewalk to the Republican senatorial nomination into a dogfight?

From the governor, this week: "My view of it is, the public option, I think,may be sort of a Trojan horseto a government takeover of health care and I think our administration has demonstrated that that's not what we favor, nor is it what Floridians really want. I think they want good options in the private sector that offer good, affordable health care."

Right, "good options in the private sector", like Crist's embarrassing 2009 Cover Florida initiative, a bogus, ineffective attempt to help the 4 million-plus Floridians with no health insurance. This shameful pass on real reform has yet to sign up even 5,000 people in nearly a year of existence - and yet Charlie keeps publicly pointing to it as his version of "good affordable health care".

It would be laughable if it wasn't so disgraceful, a cavalier, gross and repeated misrepresentation of a phony solution to a genuine life-and-death problem - not only for the nearly 25% of Floridians who are already uninsured, but also for the millions more who are one major accident, illness, layoff or benefit cut away from joining them.

Governor Crist's disingenuous streak has been apparent for some time. But the reprehensible tone and tenor of the governor's recent remarks on arguably the single most important public policy matter of our time should help to finally deconstruct the oh-so-carefully constructed myth of him as a "moderate" Republican worthy of crossover support.

And it should also help get a man of character and integrity, Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek, elected as Florida's next United States Senator.

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And then there's the nauseating case of the top law enforcement official in Florida, AG Bill McCollum, the guy who as a congressman in the 1990s helped lead extremist Republican efforts to impeach President Bill Clinton, and was rated as having one of the worst voting records in Congress on little things like environmental protection and gun control. And that's just scratching the surface on the ridiculously inglorious career of this radical right wing lifer of a useless politician.

So, with that background in mind, here's what Wild Bill had to say about Democratic health reform efforts back in September: ''You're proposing that everyone have a socialized government plan that limits my choice of a patient and doctor, my choice of insurance, and limiting the care you're going to get"''

Of course, a proposed public option government health plan is in fact intended to stimulate, not stifle choice and competition. But as far as McCollum is concerned, truth is irrelevant. And without going into detail, the simple truth is, he's lying about every one of his claims. You can look it up. He obviously didn't.

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Daniel Tilson was born and raised in New York City, a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, and New York University's Film and Television School, with a double major in Film/TV Production & Broadcast Journalism. Tilson established his own first (more...)

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