January 22, 2008

Thompson Exit May Define Florida Primary

Word on the street is that after reading here at PEER Review that his candidacy was all but over, Fred Thompson saw the writing on the wall and dropped out of the race for the Presidency today.  This will have some rather strong effects on the race nationally, but particularly in Florida.

Thompson's campaign has, in my opinion, been the defining campaign of the race.  Virtually drafted by Conservative's unhappy with the then standing options, many anticipated that Thompson would bring an energy and boldness that would excited the Republican base.  Unfortunately, that energy never really came.  When Conservatives observed that Thompson was not necessarily going to be a candidate they could get excited about, they began looking elsewhere... enter the Huckabee surge.

At first glance, it may not appear that Thompson's exit will have any huge effect on the race in Florida; he has been polling at about 8% over the last few weeks.  But that 8% could make a huge difference when there is only a combined difference of 4% between Giuliani, McCain and Romney.

The logical landing point for Thompson supporters are with the other two Conservatives in the race, Romney and Huckabee; but there are two caveats.

(1) Since Thompson entered the race long after Romney, Thompson supporters have inherently decided that there was something they didn't like about Romney.  Many will be hesitant to go back to a candidate they weren't happy with in the first place.  As a result, many will likely lean towards Huckabee.  However (2), Huckabee's strong stance on domestic issues such as the economy was a tremendous selling point.  It is here that Huckabee has, as of yet, succeeded in completely winning over Conservatives.  Add to that the fact that Huckabee is far behind the other three top candidates in campaigning in Florida and you have Romney picking up some votes. 

The key here is that Romney needs less votes than Huckabee.  With Huckabee polling at about 16% and Romney at 19.3% a split with less than half of Thompson's support going to Romney keeps Romney in the lead over Huckabee and may hand the Florida primary as a whole to Romney on a silver platter.  Especially with the hint of a Romney surge that we see in the latest Rasmussen Poll showing Romney at 25% in Florida followed by Giuliani at 20%.

All in all, Thompson's exit may (and if I had to guess, will) give Romney the push he needs to win Florida and give him the momentum required to succeed beyond Florida.  Thompson's exit will also be great for Huckabee, but likely won't be enough to solidify Florida, or any other state.

Now, this could all totally change, of course, if Thompson pulls a Sam Brownback and endorses his fellow Senator, John McCain.  I anticipate that a Thompson endorsement of Romney or Huckabee will have the impact as no Thompson endorsement at all, at least in Florida.

July 23, 2007

Count on it...

I expect this is just the sort of thing Bloomberg wants to hear. If he could cause the defeat of Rudy anywhere he would be happy to do it, damn the consequences.

The man has a billion dollars he wants to spend and an ego to match. Combine with disgruntled voters and heavy media in an early primary, and moderate voters will be bored and frustrated with just two candidates long before any viable independents jump in the race. Lots of confusions, undecideds and last minute what-the-hell voting for a witless billionaire. It's such a mess it's practically guaranteed Bloomberg will jump in.

July 20, 2007

Some thoughts on the Florida Goracle's Green orders

My friends, details are sketchy. They (meaning the Governors office and staff) have no idea how this will impact Florida's economy. This whole venture is a power grab pure and simple.

Yesterday, I briefly read through some of the orders. It's shocking. I first summarize some of what the orders do, then offer an opinion as to it's impact.

Yesterday's executive order seeks to reduce reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state with target dates of 2017 (10years), 2025 and 2050. To accomplish this DEP is directed to develop rules for maximum emissions levels for electric utilities in Florida and to adopt California emissions standards.
   - Higher monthly electricity, higher price at the pump and higher purchase price with less options on new cars. Will likely lead to inspections compliant registrations and retrofitting all cars on the road to meet new standards.

DCA is directed to revise the Florida Energy Code for Building construction, and to implement rulemaking authority with the Florida Energy Conservation Standards to increase by 15% the energy efficiency of consumer products.
    - Higher costs for new home and business construction directly impacted through increased material costs, inspection and licensing fees. Higher costs mean higher prices which will mean higher insurance premiums too.

Requires
the PSC (with it's newest member Nancy Argenziano) to develop rules by September of this year requiring utilities to obtain at least 20% of their electricity from so called renewable sources (think wind farms and solar panel farms), reduce the cost of connecting renewable sources to the power grid and allow customers to generate their own electricity.
     - Direct and immediate impact on residential utility bills as price for construction and implementation of plan will be shared by all customers. These things don't happen for free you know! The likelihood that more than a couple percent of all residential units in Florida can afford the material necessary and the construction cost required in to install the necessary electricity generating equipment is nearly zero. I ask you, how many retirees will be retrofitting their homes with solar panels and windmills.?

Directs all state agencies to reduce emissions 10% in five years, 25% in ten years and 40% in 18 years,requiring fiscal analysis and impact tracking using a "Florida Governmental Carbon Scorecard";directs all governors agencies to assess current energy usage and "quantify" greenhouse gas emissions;requires DMS to adopt US Green Building Councils Leadership (USGBCLEED) in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction standards for all new building, to implement the USGBCLEED plan for existing buildings currently owned and operated by the state, and prohibit governors agencies from entering any new contracts unless the space meets the USGBCLEED standards, to develop energy conservation measures and guidelines for new and existing office space, requires implementation of a "model solar project"; starting Jan 1 2008 agencies can not contract a meeting or conference space at hotels without a "green lodging" certification; requires every state agency to immediately assess transportation related energy uses and emissions which must be posted on the "FL Governmental Carbon Scorecard" by Oct 1, 2007; DMA may only approve vehicles with the greatest fuel efficiency (expect for law enforcement); all state agencies must use ethanol or biodiesel when available as determined by DMS who will assess demand by metro area, and agencies must procure biodiesel if needed
    - Wow. Breathtaking. More licensing, inspection, red tape. Construction of a state run "model solar project" and a new "green lodging" certification? Who's going to pay for all this? When possible, hotels will pass this additional cost on to visitor in the form of a green fee, but what about this use of ethanol, biodiesel and vehicles with only the greatest fuel efficiency? It's well noted ethanol is not only less efficient than oil based gas, but actually produces more harmful chemicals than gasoline, and can corrode engines from the inside out, destroy rubber seals and gaskets, clog fuel injectors and void some warranties if the mixture is too high. Besides, who's going to pay for this new line item for fuel purchase, replacing all state cars with more expensive and higher maintenance cost ethanol based vehicles. We don't know the answer to that question for any new policy change, because it hasn't been considered. Staff are working on that as we speak. Will the governor allow them to come to honest conclusions?

Creates the "Florida Governor's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change" which will develop a plan including policy recommendations and changes to existing law to successfully implement the aforementioned goals and changes; some of these recommendations must be issued by Nov of this year and the remainder by Oct of next year.
    - Think of this as the Governors private farm team onto which he will appoint what he hopes will be his next crop of agency heads and political hanger-ons eager to please and pull the GOP toward the "moderate" middle. This is the first step (a huge leap?) in dismantling Jeb's political infrastructure
.


This isn't merely a "call to action" as some have portrayed. This produces some of the largest increases of administrative growth ever implemented in Florida, creations of new regulatory measures, and directives to assess and implement state operations immediately. These things cost money, take time, and clog up the system with more red tape. Explain to me how that's remotely conservative or Republican?

July 13, 2007

Florida's newest environmentalist is a GOP!

Unlike the leader that many in the media are portraying Gov. Crist to be, I'm starting to think of him as more of a Goracle. His ego fattens as his gumption grows with every new poll that confirms it's hard to dislike a Governor that get's out of the way. Crist was elected on assurances of "Jeb like" leadership, strong conservative fiscal policies and discipline, with promises of maintaining low taxes and opposition to tax increases, opposition to invasive regulatory policies and action, opposition to red tape and growth of bureaucracy. His actions today are in direct contradiction to those positions. There was nothing conservative, nothing Republican, nothing even remotely helpful about today's initiatives.

Press coverage of his environmental plans has been summarized to a few talking points - reduction of gas emissions, energy goals, new standards - but the scope and details of the executive order he signed is truly breathtaking, and thus far ignored or glossed over by the bleeding heart liberals who are cheering him on.

All conservatives, but especially the House and Senate leadership who will be dealing with Cristened benchmarks for the next ten years, should take pause to consider the appropriate reaction, and the appropriate tone in which it should be done. This is not a time for meek response and repercussions. Crist has laid down the gauntlet and if someone does not rise to accept it, then power will be perceived to have swung back to the Governors mansion. Today's actions show what a dangerous turn of events that would be for the state of Florida.

Today, Florida conservatives met Gov. Hyde. For a man who should be leading our economy and state in a responsible manner these sweeping, unexpected and unplanned changes to our budget, economy and culture should be rebuked swiftly. They are at once irresponsible and reprehensible. I should think that conservatives and responsible Republican politicians would expect slower, moderate and compromised movement.

His actions today, if fully implemented, will undoubtedly undermine the short term foundations of Florida's economy, and ratchet up by exponential amounts state spending... with no clear revenue source. If fully implemented, it's not overly gloomy to predict continued reductions in revenue and tourism, coupled with increased mandatory state spending and no line item as of yet for some of these dictates. The money has to come from somewhere, and the responsibility will fall to the Legislature to move cautiously, not to commit dwindling state resources to unproven (and sometimes disproved) claims of wild exaggeration.

Why would a state facing insurance crisis take actions that will only serve to drive up the cost of coverage? Why would a state that depends on tourism take an action that ensures the price of a nights stay in a Florida hotel will increase? Why would a state that prides itself in personal responsibility, low taxes and few invasive policies take such a breathtaking step towards doing away with all three? Governor Crist, Florida is not California, and for good reason. This is a big mistake. Every conservative elected Representative and Senator should consider it as such and respond appropriately.

My Forecast - monumental tax increases and a slowing economy, which will only get worse, are on the horizon. Stormy regulatory seas and unprecedented power grab opportunities at agency levels across the entire state will allow Gov. Crist and his new environmental regulation into your homes, your cars, your businesses and your checkbook. The only way he could have done more damage would have been to invite ELF - whose dictates include "to inflict maximum economic damage... " - for the weekend with a get out of jail free card.

How will the new environmental standards impact Florida, state agencies, business and industries? I plan to have more tomorrow.

June 03, 2007

Senate District 3 - Mr. C picks Baxley

I haven't been reading much about the Senate 3 race to replace Nancy Argenziano... except for the near daily emails from the Baxley campaign (somebody's doing their homework). But I did get an email from somebody who started a site called "CharlieDeanisaRINO.com"  and a link to this You tube video in my inbox this morning. I looked around briefly this morning and didn't see anybody on it so there you go. Enjoy.

Even if I had never seen the video I can tell you here in Tallahassee all I hear on the radio is about Dennis Baxley, and knowing Dean is Argenziano's endorsed candidate (the only thing I've heard from the Dean camp) is not something that encourages me to vote for the guy.

And if I had never heard of Dennis Baxley, knowing that he passed the "Stand Your Ground" bill last year is all I need to know to vote for him.

But, he did other things too.

If appearances mean anything, and they mean everything in politics, then Baxley has the grassroots support, organization, fund raising, advertising, experience and credentials to win the Senate 3 seat this week. If he doesn't, I'll have to investigate why.

May 21, 2007

Rethinking Romney, Huckabee and Brownback

This weekend Mrs. G and I attended the Florida Family Policy Council Annual Awards Banquet in Orlando, Florida.  It was a great event that featured two presidential hopefuls; Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and Sam Brownback, Senator from Kansas.  Mel Martinez, Bill McCullom, Ken Conner and a number of others added to the star power at the event, but what was most exciting for me was the hundreds of grassroots leaders in attendance.   While I was excited to get to hear from Governor Huckabee and Senator Brownback, I didn't expect to be swayed by them.  I've heard them both speak before and even though I admire them I wasn't anticipating anything that would make me jump on their 1% of the polls band-wagon.  I was wrong.

Continue reading "Rethinking Romney, Huckabee and Brownback" »

May 04, 2007

What Florida's New Primary Date Means for Newt and Fred

Yesterday the Florida Legislature has passed a bill to move the Florida primary to the last Tuesday in January; this much you probably already know.

What you have not heard, or heard much about, is the huge implications this bill has for two men; Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson.

We know an average of 10% to 15% of of Republicans polled, whatever that means, are holding out waiting for Fred Thompson to jump into the race and about 8%to 9% are waiting for Gingrich.  Should either of them declare, many more supporting other campaigns would likely jump on board.  After last night's Republican debate many are claiming the winner was Fred Thompson as it only proved he needs to get into the race.  It seems like they could enter the race and quickly gather the support needed for a successful campaign.  However, campaigns, especially national campaigns take time to develop, and time just became a bigger issue than before.  I've been one of the few arguing that time is running out for these two, and that if they are going to get into the race, they need to get in now.  My case just got stronger because as soon as Governor Crist signs the bill their time table is getting much shorter. 

Campaigning in Florida is expensive.  While running a nickel and dime campaign operation in Iowa and New Hampshire for the primaries might work, it won't in Florida.  Moving the primary is going to require campaigns to spend much more money up front and have state campaigns in place much sooner than normal, obviously.  But raising money and developing campaign networks take time.  Florida's primary, once the bill is signed, will be nine months away.  Nine months is a lot of time, except for a guy who has, to date, no campaign staff, no campaign structure, raised no money and wants to run a successful primary in one of the most populous states in the Union. 

Many seem to think that Gingrich or Thompson entering the race is inevitable, but unless we have a declaration from them by the end of the month, I would be surprised to see them jump in.  Volunteers, staff and money are already being quickly dedicated to other candidates and Gingrich and Thompson, should they decide to run now have less time to pick up the scraps than they had before.

On a side note, on other individual who may be dramatically impacted by this bill is Governor Crist.  The bill would allow him to run as a VP candidate without leaving office, which makes him a much more plausible option for the front-runners.  Maybe we'll see Charlie in D.C. sooner than we thought?

March 14, 2007

Argenziano/Corcoran deal

I heard it this morning from a friend, but just realized I haven't seen anybody talking about it....

Except Florida Insider,

Argenziano-Corcoran deal struck (03/14/07)
It goes all the way to the top.

and I don't subscribe, so maybe somebody can tell me what happened at "the top?" From what I understand Argenziano either has been, or is assured, of a spot on the PSC and it was made possible by Corcoran  "assisting" something through for Governor Crist himself with assurances of support for the vacated Argenziano seat.

I'd like a little sunshine on that please.

Why don't I know already you may ask? Well, I'm busy working on an experiment. Maybe I'll tell you about it later.

March 06, 2007

Sound Familiar?

From the American Spectator, Jeb in 2008? posted on 2/27/07

Somebody with major name ID, with access to large amounts of money and organizational might at a moment's notice, and with a solid reputation across the Republican philosophical spectrum.

Of course, Jeb Bush qualifies on all counts.

BUT WHY WOULD HE RUN when the name Bush is so unpopular these days?

From PEER Review FL, The Case for Jeb Part I, and Part II, both written way back in June 2005.

Governor Jeb Bush is the only Republican with the requisite name ID, governing experience, conservative credentials, political ties and fund raising ability to even compete with the Clintons. He is term limited out of office in 2006 giving him two years without obligation to elected office.

Read both pieces. There are some differences, namely they don't go into as much detail as PEER Review FL, but I'll let you decide where they got the main idea.

March 05, 2007

The Missing Links in the Sales Tax Proposal

As I've said before, what I have seen so far of the sales tax, I like, though I am not completely sold.  Most of the arguments against the sales tax are sheer rhetoric and lack any real analysis of the effect of the plan.  But the plan is certainly not without flaws.  The result is that both the democrat and Republican advocates on either side of this issue are missing a key element in their support or opposition to the sales tax concept:

What the democrats are Missing: The Numbers
While the democrats stepped up their whining this week about how apartment dwellers will not enjoy the fruits of the sales tax proposal, I've not heard a single one acknowledge the fact that apartment complexes pay property taxes and a cut can be passed on to renters resulting in lower rent.  Still think that renters will get hurt despite this fact?  Fine, show us the numbers.  Show us the average a renter pays towards the property taxes of their complex.  Show us how that number is lower than what those people would pay under the sales tax increase.  From the numbers I've seen, it looks like renters (except those spending so much they could not possibly be considered "poor") will ultimately be able to keep more of their money as well.  But the numbers I've seen may be wrong.  If that is the case, show us.

In the meantime, the accusations that the tax will hurt renters doesn't hold water as the numbers Republicans have published show that renters stand to benefit just like everyone else. 

As a renter myself, I appreciate the sentiment that you are trying to look out for me, but the sheer speculation on your side of this issue is not helping anyone.  And if you are able to shoot down a proposal that could have allowed me to keep more of my money it will be you that is hurting renters like me.

What Republicans are Missing:  Guarantee of Lower Rent
I believe in the market just as much as the next guy.  I believe that if property taxes are reduced and apartment complexes are able to offer rent at a lower rate they will do so to remain competitive.  However, I also understand that this will likely take time.  The result is that some landlords might not cut rent at all at first, or might cut at a lower rate than they could.  This means that there could be a period where the democrats are right, renters would get hit hard.  You know how much I hate democrats being right (though it is so infrequent I rarely have to worry about it) so we need a strategy.  We need a way to guarantee that under the sales tax plan the savings on property taxes enjoyed by landlords would be passed down to renters.  This could be done through a system which requires landlords, in order to receive the tax break, must demonstrate that they are reducing their rent at a rate equivalent to the reduction in property taxes.  Apartment complexes will necessarily follow through with this because it will allow lower rent, keeping them competitive, while not affecting their profit margin.

The Republican leadership needs a mechanism like this in their plan to neutralize the argument that renters will suffer under the sales tax.  So far, this is the one hole I've seen in the plan.  Fortunately, it is one which can be easily plugged.

There are many people out there, like me, who still have not made up their mind about the sales tax idea.  Either side has the opportunity to win us over by providing the missing link in their argument, but I have a feeling that if the Republican leadership is able to fix their side of the issue, the democrat opposition will be left without a leg to stand on.

February 23, 2007

The Sales Tax is Coming! We're Doomed! DOOMED!

I've rather enjoyed the debate over replacing the state property tax with the sales tax.  On the one hand, it has been refreshing to hear some new ideas on taxes in Florida.  On the other hand it has been amusing to watch the reaction by those opposing the sales tax; from timid objection to doomsday style calls for repentance.  The fact of the matter is, the sales tax idea has a long way to go, and in order for it to go through just about everybody is going to have to agree with the idea.  As has been pointed out in the comments on this site, in order for the sales tax to go through it will require a two-thirds majority vote of support.  That is going to be a tall order to fill and for that to happen, Republicans and democrats, business groups, consumer advocacy groups, state and local government advocates are going to have to be united on the idea to a certain degree.  That is going to be next to impossible unless... well... unless the sales tax turns out to be a really good idea.

So for all of you out there preaching that the end of government as we know it is coming unless we stop this sales tax idea, calm down.  We have much more time to discuss the idea and work out any of the kinks.

Thus far, however, I have been unimpressed by the arguments against it.

The strongest argument against the sales tax has been that it will hurt the poor.  The problem with this argument is that we really don't have the numbers to prove the point either way right now.  I understand the argument that renters will be asked to shoulder the sales tax that were not previously asked to pay property taxes.  Believe me, as a renter myself this was my first question.  However, what many are missing is that apartment renters already pay property taxes, just indirectly.  Those big complexes we live in, guess what they have to pay?  Property taxes.  Guess how they pay for those taxes?  It is part of our monthly rent. 

The Speaker's office is anticipating an average $767 annual difference for tenants.  Regardless, that would require $30,000 in annual spending on taxable goods for it to result in higher taxes for renters.  Does anyone who fits that description qualify as poor?

Furthermore, I had a friend send me a 2005 review of the national differential between property taxes levied on apartment complexes and single family residences from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard.  The paper reviews the data from the 2001 Residential Finance Survey by the Census Bureau and found that apartments are actually taxed at a higher rate than single family residences.  In fact, Florida is in the top three states with the largest disparity in the tax rate between private residences and apartment complexes.

Thus, those advocating that the sales tax will unfairly burden renters must acknowledge that our current system already unfairly burdens renters and the changes won't burden those classified as "poop."

Few would argue that we do not have a tax crisis in our state and we need a solution.  I certainly do not want a system that would unfairly burden the poor.  But unfairly burdening others doesn't seem to be a reasonable solution either.  From what I have seen thus far, the sales tax seems to by a solid solution.  But again, we will certainly have reports and reviews by numerous consulting and polling firms paid tens of thousands of dollars to analyze the numbers before we have to make a decision.

The second argument against the sales tax has been that the resulting 5 billion dollar total cut to county budgets is a bad thing.  While certainly don't want crucial county services cut, I'd be shocked if there were not at 5 billion dollars in non-necessary government programs throughout or state.  Again, I'm sure we'll hear about all of it soon.

From where I stand now, I like the sales tax idea.  But if it turns out to be a bad plan, I'll be the first to switch sides.  I hope you will join me, even those opposed to the tax, in hearing out the arguments of both sides before making a concrete decision. After all, for this solution, or any solution to pass, just about all of us are going to have to agree.  There is no need to feel like the sky is falling with the debate over a sales tax, we have plenty of time to think this one through.

*Updated with correct numbers from the Speaker's office.

February 18, 2007

Mr. G on Ric Keller on Iraq Surge

The House passed it's resolution against the surge in Iraq this passed week and 17 House Republicans joined in sliding the knife into the backs of our troops; including our own Ric Keller.  He gave a speech prior to the vote, the text of which can be found here.  His suggestion for the war is essentially that we follow the Iraq Study Group's report and get everyone else to do everything.  If I thought that would work, I would support it, too.

I have to say, this one completely baffles me.  Consider me baffled.  I can understand the frustration with the war.  I can understand that many Republicans oppose the surge, even my friend over at Blog-Stew.  I can understand Keller wanting to send a message to the administration on the issue.  But he could have expressed all of those things outside of the resolution.  His vote almost certainly guarantees that he will have a well supported opponent in the next primary for his seat (Blog-Stew has already brought up Daniel Webster, good choice).

The fact is the surge is happening and the resolution will not change anything.  All Keller's vote has done is given democrats a new talking point, and I hate democrat talking points.

On a side note, the vote has now officially pigeon-holed the democrats on the surge.  Any success that comes from the surge democrats can receive no credit for.  As a result, despite democrat promises not to try to undermine the military effort, expect them to come.  Politically, democrats need the surge to fail and will begin making efforts to ensure that this happens.

I don't doubt Keller's sincerity, but if he had really thought about it, there were much more effective ways to voice his position to the administration without damaging his party, troop morale, and his own political career.  Central Florida needs a Representative that is going to make better decisions than this.  Oh, his vote in favor of the minimum wage increase didn't help my opinion of him either.

Mr. G supports the administration, supports the troops, supports the surge and now, doesn't support Ric Keller.  I'm with Blog-Stew, let's get Webster into the ring.

February 16, 2007

I'm not comfortable with this Romney fellow...

And this is just one reason why.

"Romney confirmed he voted for former U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas in the state's 1992 Democratic presidential primary, saying he did so both because Tsongas was from Massachusetts and because he favored his ideas over those of Bill Clinton," the Boston Globe's Scot Lehigh and Frank Phillips wrote on Feb. 3, 1994. "He added he had been sure the G.O.P. would renominate George Bush, for whom he voted in the fall election."

Romney's contention that his vote for Tsongas was a vote for the weakest opponent for Bush - a phenomenon that political scientists refer to as "raiding" - surprised Professor William Mayer of Northeastern University in Boston.

"That would have been a strange election to have done that in, in the sense that Paul Tsongas was obviously going to carry his home state" of Massachusetts, said Mayer. Tsongas won the Massachusetts primary with 66 percent of the vote.

I recently wrote a game theory paper trying to project when voters should "Raid" and when they shouldn't. My focus was on Congressional and state level races, primarily b/c my research led me to believe it's not possible to effectively "Raid" in races larger than that. Raiding is first a numbers problem that requires a large enough spread of voters to win a primary and allow "Raiding" to have an effect in an opponents primary. Then it becomes a cooperation problem where voters need to organize and plan strategically before they ever think about defecting. Imagine the difficulty of convincing a truly Independent or conservative voter to consider voting for someone he doesn't believe in, and when you eventually consider that's not possible to do on a large enough scale, then tell me how wise it would be do it anyway, as a single voter. Seriously, I'm not comfortable with this guy.

I have no doubt that Romney was trying to vote strategically, but his strategy was trying to ensure favor and support from his home state liberals for a successful political career; he wanted to look like one of them. I've got to tell you this poor decision making and attempts at revisionist history has me thinking he is one of them.

In any event, he most certainly was not trying to ensure a weaker opponent in the 92 General Election. He's intelligent enough to know Tsongas would win Mass. and then promptly lose everywhere else. "Raiding" in Mass in 92 would have been ludicrous.

Now, my current problem with Romney isn't really that he voted for a Democrat, but that he gives us this cock and bull story about how he was voting for a well known liberal democrat trying to ensure a weaker opponent, when the truth - he was trying to win favor among liberals in a liberal state - is an acceptable explanation for a professional career politician in a very liberal state. He just doesn't want to tell us the truth. Why not? I wonder what else he doesn't want to tell us.

We will find out in due time.

UPDATED: Is Marriage a Fringe Issue?

As we get closer to the 2008 election one issue that is going to take the spotlight in Florida is same-sex marriage.  The Florida Marriage Amendment is almost guaranteed to be on the ballot and the debate over the issue will be heated. 

In anticipation of this fight liberals on the blogosphere and in the mainstream media in our state are already gearing up.  The tactic thus far has been to paint the issue as a fringe issue.  Examples abounded this week with numerous articles on Governor Crist's statement that the state GOP should put its priorities elsewhere.  The tone of the articles and blog posts covering Crist's statements was that the marriage amendment was an issue that only appealed to the right of the Republican party.

Even today the Miami Herald released an editorial comparing those in our party that support the amendment to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, asserting that same-sex marriage would have no ill effect on our state, and arguing that involvement in this edge issue would hurt Governor Crist's poll ratings and eliminate any hopes he might have of running for Vice President in 2008.

Reading this garbage gives you the impression that only a handful on the far right support the Florida Marriage Amendment.  I only wish that sentiment were true, because if it was it would mean that the majority of Floridians belong to the right wing of the Republican party. 

I'm sure that some of you reading this very post don't consider yourself Conservatives, but would vote for a marriage amendment.  Guess what, you're not alone.

Every poll I've seen on the concept of a marriage amendment in our state has shown a majority of the state supports the idea.  I can give you Strategic Vision polls but liberals in our state just blow those off.  I can also give you Equality Florida's (our own homegrown homosexual lobby) own poll from just over a year ago showing that 55% of Floridians  support the idea of a marriage amendment, with an anticipated additional margin of 5 to 8% who would support the amendment over what the poll indicated.

The truth is that marriage is not a fringe issue.  It is an issue that voters all across the spectrum are passionate about and poll after poll confirms that the majority of Floridians support traditional marriage and want to protect it with an amendment to our state constitution.

The strategy over the next year and a half by liberals and the media will be to be to make supporters of traditional marriage feel as though they are on the fringe, that they are extremists with outdated views.  Don't let the rhetoric get to you because your support of traditional marriage is the majority view, both nationally and in our own state.

UPDATE: Over at Pushing Rope Mr. Hussey takes his shot at me.  A few thoughts...

"The amendment would do what is already on the Florida law books. Make marriage between same sex couples illegal."

Wrong.  The amendment will protect marriage in our state from activist judges.  We've seen all to often that judges across the country are far to willing to throw state statutes in the trash to advance a political agenda.  Marriage is under attack and the homosexual lobby has learned that the easiest place for them to push their agenda is in the Courts.  We've seen this in our own state as they have fought vigorously to repeal the state's homosexual adoption ban.  It is only a matter of time until they take aim at marriage in Florida, as they have already done in other states.  The Florida Marriage Amendment puts marriage completely outside of the reach of the judiciary, thereby preserving traditional marriage in Florida.

"Just because the polls are tipped to a certain side doesn't make it legal or morally right."

Correct, and I've not argued that the polls make anything right.  But on this issue, it just so happens that most people are right.

"Eventually, gay marriage will be legal in America."

Wrong.  As long as we are willing to stand for our convictions we will prevail and preserve marriage in our state, and nationwide.

"The harder the Christian Right pushes the issue the more the American public will get used to the idea of same sex marriages."

Wrong.  As I noted above, Mr. Hussey, like the media, presents the issue as though the Christian Right is in the fringe on this issue.  The Christian Right need not push the issue because most people agree with us on this issue.  It is the left that is pushing their agenda upon the majority.

In conclusion, I always find these situations entertaining.  The left constantly berates the right for pushing its morality on the majority.  But Mr. Hussey, like the rest of the left, has no qualms pushing arguing that the majority is wrong when the majority disagrees with them. 

Over the next year as the left berates you for your values, attempts to marginalize you, and compares your views to racism as Mr. Hussey does I encourage you to stand by your convictions and what is right.

 

February 14, 2007

Crist to Prevent Funding of Florida Marriage Amendment?

Most of the big Florida papers had an article today about Governor Crist's statements yesterday about the idea of the state Republican Party continuing to give funding to the effort to pass the Florida Marriage Amendment.  Most of the articles made it seem as if Crist was ready to single-handedly pull the plug on the amendment. Of course, the statements Crist made and the portrayal of the statements don't match up.  I'd give you the analysis, but someone beat me to it.

Now, pay attention, because I rarely, if ever say this... Florida Politics got this one right.  Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day  (I smirk as I type this because Florida Politics is one of the sharpest democrat bloggers in Florida).

In his daily review of the news today he explains that Crist has not said he would not allow the state GOP to fund the marriage amendment this year and, based on his past statements and actions, it seems unlikely that he would prevent such funding.  And he's right.

It is yet another example of a prediction on Crist that I made during the campaigns, that while Crist would not be an advocate for the causes of Conservatives, he would not stand in our way.  We saw this on embryonic stem cell research recently, and we will see it again here.  Crist might not be excited about the marriage amendment, but he is certainly not going to try and impede the efforts of Conservatives in

Florida.  Especially on this issue because Crist realizes this amendment will bring out Conservatives to vote and get them active in the election and campaigns.

Regardless, my prediction on the amendment is that it will pass with or without GOP money.  The amendment is just 28,000 signatures short of the 611,000 needed to get on the ballot.  We have about a year to get those remaining signatures.  The amendment has made it this far with less than a fourth of the funding that most successful ballot measures require ($400k as compared to $2+ million).  The polling data I've seen has shown support around 61 and 65% for the amendment in

Florida, with suggestion that these percentages might actually be low.  This is going to be very difficult for the anti-marriage lobby to stop.

Of course, it is far from a done deal.  One major problem might be that Conservatives may have shot themselves in the foot by pushing the amendment requiring all future amendments to pass by 60% rather than a simply majority.

But for the time being, Conservatives have little to worry about.  Crist is not going to prevent funding for the effort, and even if he directs that funding should be decreased the Conservative leadership in this state will see the effort through with your help.

February 12, 2007

Karen Thurman Tries to Mislead Floridians, Again.

When Karen Thurman says anything my gag reflex usually starts to act up.  Her podcast and press release today on the Florida democrat website had its usual effect.

On the stalled resolutions on the war in Congress:

"It is the troops and their families that truly have to pay the price for failed policies, but George W. Bush and a stubborn Republican minority in Congress don't even want to talk about it."

Nothing could be father from the truth.  The strongest Republican opposition arose only after the democrat leadership rescinded its promise to allow a comparable Republican resolution supporting the war to be debated.  Further, during debate on the democrat bill this week, no Republican amendments will be permitted.  Sure, democrats are willing to discuss the war, just on their terms with major limits on debate by the opposition.  Heaven forbid anything interrupt their grandstanding.

That said, I understand the motivation.  Disapproval of the war was a big selling point for democrats in 2006 and they want to demonstrate resolve on the issue now that they are in power.  Disgusting as it is the resolution in and of itself is not surprising.  What is surprising is the complete lock-down of debate on the subject by the party which promised the most open and ethical Congress ever followed by accusations that Republicans are the ones limiting debate... wait... we're talking about democrats, so even that is not surprising at all.

"Worse yet, our Republican Senator, Mel Martinez, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, was apparently too busy to even show up to the procedural vote.  "This war is the most important issue facing our country, and Mel Martinez can't even show up? The Republican Party of Florida slammed Jim Davis again and again for missing votes on inconsequential things such as naming post offices. What do they have to say now about their Senator missing these crucial votes?"

Please, Republicans slammed Davis for having the second worst voting record in Congress.  I'm not excusing Martinez for missing any votes, but I understand that it happens.  When Mel misses 300 more votes to match Davis' 301 missed votes you will have a valid talking point comparison between the two.  Last year Martinez missed 3.4% of all votes.  Davis missed 24.8%.

In fact, every single democrat from Florida in the House of Representatives missed more votes than Senator Martinez and had a higher percentage of missed votes in the 109th Congress.  Only seven Florida Congressmen had better voting attendance percentages than Martinez; all of them were Republicans.  The only democrat in Congress with a better voting attendance record than Martinez last year was Senator Nelson with 1.6% of votes missed (12 less than Martinez).

Thurman closes by urging democrats to call Senator Martinez and "tell him to stop missing votes and most importantly ignoring the people of Florida."  While I won't discourage you from making that call, if missing votes is your concern, you should call every Florida democrat in the House first.

As for "ignoring the people of Florida," democrats only cry about the people being "ignored" when the polls go their way.  On issues such as the federal and state marriage amendments which polls show the national majority and state majority both favor they certainly don't call it "ignoring the people" when they oppose the amendments.  When Senator Graham and Senator Nelson voted against the federal marriage amendment in 2004 despite the fact that the Senate offices on Capitol Hill received one of the largest, if not the largest, totals of constituent contacts within a single week (with the vast majority in favor of the amendment) democrats certainly didn't categorize it as "ignoring the people."  When democrats go against the polls we get a lecture about Congressmen being elected to "exercise their judgment."  When Republicans go against the polls they call it "ignoring the people."

Thurman's message today was typical of democrat attacks; filled with half-truths and ultimately lacking any real substance.  No wonder most Florida voters aren't willing to trust the democrat leadership in positions of power.

2008 Presidential Primary Polls

One of the most interesting political blogs out there is Political Arithmetik by Charles Franklin, a professor of polling data at the University Wisconsin.  At Political Arithmetik he gatherings data from numerous polls and puts them into easy to read graphs and breaks down the data.  How reliable is is?  I don't know, you'll have to ask Mr. C, but for the common folk like me it is at least interesting enough to spend a few minutes pondering.

He's keeping running tabs on the presidential primary polls.  Here's how the top contenders play out:

Topreps_2

Topdems_1

Again, don't hold me to the accuracy, but I think this probably gives a fair assessment of where everyone stands in the recent polls and also shows how erratic the results from those polls can be.

There are also summaries of the candidate vs. candidate polls.

February 06, 2007

Hey democrats, Stop Whining!

I'm always a little torn when I see  liberals and democrats squandering political opportunities.  Part of me wants to point out the chance they are missing because this part still somehow believes that there is some good that comes from a political system with two strong parties.  The other part of me just wants  to keep my mouth shut and enjoy the show as the left continues to alienate itself more and more from the mainstream public.

In the end, however, I know anything I say will likely have no effect as it will either be ignored by democrats and I doubt many democrat party executives are regular readers of PEER Review.  Regardless, I submit the following for your consideration:

Hey democrats, stop whining, Governor Crist gives you a tremendous opportunity to build political capital.

Continue reading "Hey democrats, Stop Whining!" »

January 29, 2007

Jeb Bush Rallies Conservatives

That goes without saying. Jeb Bush's second inauguration address contained a line that went something like this,

"There would be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we can make these buildings around us empty of workers - silent monuments to the time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill."

That line encouraged me to make a decision that included moving to Florida. The rest is history.

Yesterday, Jeb was making inspirational speech again, and it doesn't sound like retirement speech...

It's important for us to realize we lost, and there are significant reasons that happened, but it isn't because conservatives were rejected. But it's because we rejected the conservative philosophy in this country."

He added, "If the promise of pork and more programs is the way Republicans think they'll regain the majority, then they've got a problem."

If he could be elected Jeb Bush would become, hands down, the defining GOP president. But, we aren't at a place yet when Jeb could enter the race, or even consider running, for President. Besides him saying, repeatedly, that he is not running, solid conservatives like myself wish he were.

Running or not his words will be remembered in the early election season as the field of potential GOP candidates ply their worth in early primary states, one of which is possibly going to be Florida.

Are they solid conservatives? Do they understand what they are saying, or is it just a long string of sound bites? Do they talk the talk? Have they walked the walk? Do they have the "special sauce" needed to find success and popular support in a difficult media environment?

What's a scenario in which Jeb gets the nomination? A complete collapse of the current field and a sufficient surge of support for Hillary that pushes conservatives to find a candidate who can confront the Hillary myth (Rick Lazio need not apply)... or, IHMO a potential McCain-Clinton race which is to say it's not a race - you lose no matter what you do.

Basically, Jeb Bush doesn't need to enter the race when he can be begged into it.

Likely? No. Possible? Yes.

So stay tuned, and watch for more "pork busting" speeches from Jeb in the next year. I I'll be watching for the subtle signs.

January 22, 2007

Hey Conservatives, Hold Your Horses

Brownback, Obama, Clinton... it has been a busy week and the presidential candidates list continues to grow.  All the candidates are quickly moving to secure all the support they can from other local and national leaders.  In the wake of all of the excitement that the week has brought I received an email from a Conservative leader here in our own state with what is probably the best advice on the 2008 election that I've seen so far; wait.

Continue reading "Hey Conservatives, Hold Your Horses" »

January 05, 2007

Republicans Can Win by Losing

What is a Republican minority that will be unable to advance any real reforms against a democrat majority supposed to do for the next 2 years?  Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform says there is only one thing they can do; lose.  But don't fret, because losing is a winning strategy.  From NRO:

For the next two years conservatives will not be able to pass any useful legislation through the House of Representatives. Memorize that sentence. Place it on your PC screensaver. Use it as your message on your answering machine. A discreet but easily accessed tattoo would be helpful.

All temptations to actually pass something lead to a conversation where the hard left of the Democrat party — the old bulls who are the Democrat leadership and committee chairmen — has a veto over anything. You can label the bottle. They will fill it.

Republicans in Congress need to use the first 100 days and the next two years to lose. Propose House rules that keep the present GOP requirement for a 3/5 vote to raise taxes. And lose. Propose House rules that term limit committee chairmen — the old GOP rule only applied to Republicans. And lose. Propose a tax cut. And lose. Heck, get denied an actual vote. Have a procedural vote. And lose. Propose an end to earmarks. And lose. Write welfare reform part three. And lose.

In November 2006 not enough voters saw a Republican congressional leadership they wanted to vote for and too few saw Democrat party leadership that scared them. The next two years is about changing both of those perceptions.

January 02, 2007

Did Romney Create Same-Sex Marriage?

A WorldNetDaily article today has drawn attention to a group of Massachusetts activists that have claimed that Massachusetts Governor and 2008 presidential candidate (as of tomorrow), Mitt Romney, actually created same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

The argument is essentially that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health which held that restricting marriage to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts Constitution is, in fact, unconstitutional.  Supporters of this view have taken the Court's recent decision in Doyle v. Secretary of the Commonwealth holding that it does not have the power to force the state legislature to take a constitutionally required vote on the state's marriage amendment confirms this view that the Court cannot impose same-sex marriage on the state.  As a result, they claim, Romney effectuated an unconstitutional order of the court and Romney in fact created same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

I begin by saying that technically, I agree.  But the reality of our current system of jurisprudence prevents the application of such a textualist view and binds those with executive authority to carry out the will of the court.   

Continue reading "Did Romney Create Same-Sex Marriage?" »

December 29, 2006

Does Brownback Have What It Takes to Win the White House?

In the past week the has been a buzz over Senator Sam Brownback's decision to begin his presidential bid by spending a night in a prison in Louisiana to draw attention to the need for prison reform. Over at Red State there is a front page article on the subject where the author concludes that he must support Brownback because of his strong ideals. He ends with the statement that "politics divorced from ideals is just a really expensive game." (Note: I can't give you the link becuase I'm typing this from my phone in the Atlanta airport.)

With Brownback's entrance into the race for president I've seen a rise in this type of talk; that Brownback should be the Conservative candidate of choice becuase of his ideals. I think it is mostly a bunch of bunk.

I hate to break it to you if you feel the same as the Red State writer, but politics is a game. Yes, an expensive game. Those who suceed are the ones who learn how to play the game well. I know many really bright folks who would make great elected officials but will never be elected because they can't or won't play the game; they are not electable.

Don't get me wrong, I almost always vote for the idealist, and there is a good chance I'll vote for Brownback. After all, I was the lone ranger here pushing for Gallagher in the gubernatorial race becuase of his Conservative platform. But all of this idealist talk is a distraction from the fact that Brownback needs a major spike of charisma before he has a shot at the White House.

Brownback supporters are going to rave over his Conservative ideology. That is all well and good, but don't forget the all important electability factor. If ideology is the sole determining factor Alan Keyes would have been the Republican nominee six times by now.

Facts is facts, and Brownback just isn't the most exciting political figure. He can be right all day long, but if he can't inspire people to join his cause, he loses.

We've talked about Romney's flaws and the concerns with him. This is Brownback's biggest short-coming. Fix this and you have a stellar candidate.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Brownback. In fact, on my old blog I used to dream about having him in the White House. It would be fantastic. The problem is getting him there. I'm just not sure it can happen, especially with the characters running on the other side. But we have a long way to go, maybe we can spice him up over the next year.

We know Brownback is Conservative. We know he takes a stand on issues many others never recognize. Now we need to see if he has what it takes to win a national election over some of the toughest democrat competition we've seen in a long time at a point where many Americans are disenfranchised with Republican leadership. Right now, I'm not sure he does.

December 28, 2006

Romney's Response to Questions on His Past Positions

Last week I observed that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney needed a strong response to the many questions about his past positions on abortion and same-sex marriage or he would already begin to lose Conservative support.  Not that I had anything to do with it, but the Romney camp appears to have crafted just such a response, which is essentially, "Look at my record."

In a Human Events Online interview released today, Romney is questioned on these two issues.  He of course explained his change of heart on abortion, but ultimately said his record speaks for itself.

On abortion:

"As governor, I’ve had several pieces of legislation reach my desk, which would have expanded abortion rights in Massachusetts. Each of those I vetoed. Every action I’ve taken as the governor that relates to the sanctity of human life, I have stood on the side of life.

  So talk is cheap, but action is real. And people can now look at my record."

On same-sex marriage:

"...I am adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage.

I’ve been to Washington to testify in favor of traditional marriage. I’ve written a letter to every U.S. senator on the topic. I’ve fought same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in every way I could within the bounds of the law."

It is an effective response and I predict it will be enough to sway many Conservatives who are typically impressed by action rather than talk.  We've learned the hard way that too many supposed Conservatives will give lip service to the issues and then do nothing to advance the cause of Conservatism once in office...  I won't name names.

The interview also addresses Romney's view of Ronald Reagan, his position on the flat tax and Fair Tax, and his thoughts on the possibility of expanding the Massachusetts health care system nation-wide.  What the interview reveals, more than anything, is Romney's sensitivity to the political pulse of the country, and his desire to fully analyze the nations problems before prescribing ill-conceived solutions.  It is this combination of political aptitude and  business-like evaluation of the issues that allowed him to achieve such success as a Conservative Republican in one of the most liberal states in the country.  Those same qualities will provide the basis for his appeal to moderates while standing firm on Conservative principles.

But there remain questions.  The most complete collection of allegations against Romney's Conservatism have been collected by Mass Resistance in The Mitt Romney Deception.  It is enough to keep Conservatives, including myself wary of Romney's past, but when you look at his record, it is tough not to like him as a candidate.

 

December 21, 2006

Romney v. Brownback

All the action in speculating who will be the 2008 Republican candidate for president seems to be swirling around Governor Mitt Romney.  I hope you, the reader, won't interpret the attention I've given him as some sort of endorsement, though I believe he is probably the best hope for Conservatives, and as I've said before, I like him as a candidate.  I like to go where the action is, and the action right now in the 2008 guessing game is on Romney's doorstep.

While the Boston Globe and others in the drive-by media have taken some weak and ineffective shots at Romney, there is a ton of substantive criticism already lining up against Romney in Conservative circles.  Over at Redstate and eyeon08.com there has been much discussion of Romney's past positions on Conservative issues; abortion in particular.  Today eyeon08.com presents that Romney was opposed to the Contract With AmericaHuman Events has an article today on Romney's criticisms of Jesse Helms in 1994.  The conclusion by many is simply that Romney is a liar and will do whatever it takes to get elected.  On top of that, the Human Events guide to the 2008 candidates explains that Romney has appointed liberals to the judiciary in his state.  That scares me.

If Romney wants to be the Conservative candidate of choice, he is going to have to do alot of explaining.  That could simply involve an "I was really wrong, but look at my recent record," but whatever it is, he needs an official statement about these issues, and fast.  These issues wouldn't be so pressing if Brownback hadn't already announced his exploratory committee, but since he has Conservatives are already choosing sides.  And we Conservatives are incredibly loyal.

Romney's past positions are going to haunt him throughout the primary, and candidates like Brownback are going to take full advantage of it.  But Romney has a perfect opportunity to address the quandary with his anticipated January announcement of his exploratory committee.  He has the chance to come out of the gates by confronting those concerns, admitting he was on the wrong side of the issues in the past, and committing himself to the core principles of Conservatives.

On the other side, Brownback needs to demonstrate that he has the energy and the passion to inspire the Republican base.  I really like Brownback, and I'm with him on most issues, but I'm just not sure he has the personality to win even the primary.  Further, put him up against Hillary and/or Obama and you've got a major problem.  His support of campaign finance reform and McCain's immigration bill will also be points of contention.

My guess at this point is that Conservatives are going to have to pick between Brownback and Romney as far as serious, legitimate candidates.  And many Conservatives are likely to make that choice in the next several months and stick to it.

As a side note, to those readers wondering about potential candidates like Tancredo and Huckabee, they have much to prove before they even have a prayer, and I just don't see them as legitimate possibilities.  Gingrich is waiting in the wings, and should he decide to run, he has the potential to give everyone a run for their money.

UPDATE:  Romney has picked up Conservative hot shot George Marx who will be a tremendous asset in selling Romney to Conservatives.

November 21, 2006

First Thoughts on the 2008 Presidential Election - Updated

This past week on FOX News I caught the end of a brief interview with Representative "Bring Back the Draft" Rangel.  The last question he was asked concerned whether he thought Senator Hillary Clinton is definitely going to run for President in 2008.  He responded how everyone, including Senator Clinton has responded to the question; with some half hearted line about being focused on the present rather than the next presidential election.  This is, of course, disingenuous at best and a bold faced lie at worst.  I don't care which side of the isle you hear it from, if a politician on the national level tells you that he's not thinking about 2008 yet, I'd be willing to bet they are lying.  I refuse to believe that our political leadership is that short-sighted.

With that said, I'm not going to lie to you.  I've been doing some serious thinking about the 2008 presidential election.  I know it is premature, and I know the field of potential candidates could change drastically within the next year.  But I can't help thinking about it, and I'll bet neither can you.  And I can practically guarantee that even though he says he is not, Representative Rangel is as well.

Read on to find out more...

Continue reading "First Thoughts on the 2008 Presidential Election - Updated" »

November 14, 2006

Advice to Conservatives on Mel Martinez RNC Chairmanship: Chill Out

In the wake of the news that Mel Martinez will likely become the general chair of the Republican National Committee the Conservative blogosphere has exploded.  Conservatives are angry that Michael Steele or just about anyone else was not chosen.  I have to admit, that even I was frustrated at first by the choice.  But let's all calm down, take a breath and look at the facts before we make any decisions about abandoning the party, as many Conservative bloggers are threatening to do. 

Read the rest...

Continue reading "Advice to Conservatives on Mel Martinez RNC Chairmanship: Chill Out" »

November 13, 2006

Jeb would be better

As either Chairman or Senator. I'd be happier either way.

Ditto for this job.

powered by performancing firefox

The End of Conservatism?

In the aftermath of the loss of both Houses of Congress, Republicans are busy trying to understand what went wrong.  Most of the conclusions I have read have centered on the idea of Conservatism; that these losses were due to either too much or too little Conservatism.  Many fiscal Republicans have alleged that the losses were due to the failure of a platform based on Conservative principles and have called for the party to move towards the center.  Most of the Republican analysis on the losses, however, has concluded that it was the failure of Republican politicos to live and govern by those principles that caused the loss.  It seems to me that the most plausible explanation is the latter for reasons I've stated numerous times before; Americans are by far a traditional people who support traditional notions of family and government and country and when Republicans advocate for those values they win.  Republicans failed, not Conservatism.  With that in mind I've looked past the fiscal Republican and liberal and drive-by-media claims of the failure of Conservatism.

However, there is a new line of criticism against Conservatism which has many Republicans questioning whether Conservative ideology is what loses elections.  An example is seen in the scathing attack on Conservatism as an ideology that was published today by Joseph Farah of Worldnetdaily.com.  In his article "Conservatism's Death Throes?" Farah argues that Conservatism as an ideology is doomed.  I've heard more and more discussion of this idea in recent days, but allow me to assure you, as long as the heart of the American people continue to defend traditional values Conservatism will continue to hold massive influence over American politics.

Read on...

Continue reading "The End of Conservatism?" »

November 09, 2006

What Liberals Don't Want You To Know About the South Dakota Abortion Ban Vote

(Note:  This post began as a comment to a posting by Mr. Hussey over at Pushing Rope.  As an aside, I think Mr. Hussey is probably the sharpest democrat on the Florida blogosphere.)

If you have been paying attention to the MSM and liberal blogs on the rejection of the South Dakota abortion ban by voters you've probably been left with the impression that this was a huge, shocking defeat for the Pro-Life movement.  After all, if the measure failed in such a staunch Conservative state as South Dakota, a state that any liberal will tell you is the toughest place in the country to get an abortion (they have one abortion clinic), how could they expect the rest of the country to support banning abortion?

As usual, the MSM and liberal gloss over the issue doesn't paint a fair picture of reality.  I submit for your consideration three factors which you likely won't hear many other places:

You know you want to read more...

Continue reading "What Liberals Don't Want You To Know About the South Dakota Abortion Ban Vote" »

October 06, 2006

Illegal Immigration - Still a Problem, and Growing

Most of us have experienced both the nightmare and the reality that is a late night in a jammed emergency room.  But with the growing number of illegal immigrants emergency rooms are becoming more than just a single night’s bad experience.  In a report last year by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) it was estimated that illegal immigrants in the state of Florida are resulting in more than $165 MILLION a year in unpaid hospital care.  As a result of unpaid emergency care bills, many hospitals are creating free clinics in order to lower the cost of providing this GOVERNMENT MANDATED SERVICE. Yes, in case you are unfamiliar, most hospitals are required to provide emergency care regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.  The result is the $25 aspirin that your insurance is charged.  Guess who those costs are passed down to?  That's right, you and me.

It comes down to us through insurance rates and through taxes.  About $910 MILLION in taxes used each year by the state to offset the annual $4.3 BILLION cost of providing education, health care, and incarceration for illegal immigrants in our state.  FAIR estimated that the cost to the average Floridian household per year for providing these services is $315.  That does not include the share passed down by illegal immigration on a national level.

But the problem is growing and will continue to get worse.  What will the solution be for the ever aging population of illegal immigrants as they reach an age of not being able to care for themselves?  With no Social Security/Medicare number they will they have no “safety net?”  Will they simply die in the street without aid?  Of course not.  The government will have to rush in to the rescue once again.  FAIR estimates that the current $4.3 BILLION dollar cost of illegal immigrants will balloon to over $8 BILLION within the next ten years.  Guess gets to pay that tab?

But FAIR’s numbers don’t take into account the cost of other government services.  As illegal’s are hired and employed we have no tax contribution.  That means the roads they use, the government services of fire, police and others all have greater burden but no contribution by these users. Guess who pays?

But we also have to consider the loss by Americans in wages.  We’ve all heard the argument that illegal aliens do the jobs that no one else will do.  So what happens if they are not there to do them?  Will we be left with no one to perform those jobs?  Will no one perform the labor and services currently performed by illegal aliens?  No.  The result will be that employers will simply have to pay more for these jobs to attract workers!  The jobs will still get done and good old US citizens will GET A RAISE!  That means more tax revenue and less whining about unlivable wages. Why aren’t the Democrats and the Unions screaming about this? Cheap scab labor from south of the border is keeping US workers from better wages!

The bottom line…good old Joe middle class gets to pay extra for all the government give away’s and illegal alien employers get a free subsidy from all of us!

Everyone benefits when we do it right. Will the costs for goods and services go up with higher wages? Absolutely, but not near as high as when we instead hire the government workers and health care providers to give BILLIONS of dollars away.  If we do it legally we might even get enough of a tax cut to cover the increase in costs for goods and services. (Forgive my moments of fantasy…government becoming so efficient as to cut taxes …what am I thinking?)

The rallies have died down, the issue isn't the hot topic it was a few months ago, but we must be diligent in demanding that our representatives and leaders:

1.  Close the border.
2.  Create a legal guest worker program.
3.  Require everyone to pay their fair share.

The madness must end and reason must be returned. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of delaying and playing politics rather than quickly moving to solve this problem.  Meanwhile, you and I get to pick up the several billion dollar bill.

October 04, 2006

The Scandal Double Standard

Many commentators on the Foley scandal have observed the sharp difference between the impact of personal scandals on Republicans as opposed to democrats.  It has been noted that it seems Republicans often meet the end of their political careers over scandals, while democrats often live to govern another day.  Even the Washington Post noted this difference in the article The Redder They Are, the Harder They Fall.  The story of Representatives Studds from Massachusetts and Crane from Illinois has been the most pertinent example.  As the Post explains:

"The clearest illustration may be in the divergent outcomes of the cases against Crane (R) and Studds (D) in 1983. Both men were censured by the House for having sex with underage congressional pages -- Crane with a 17-year-old girl in 1980, Studds with a 17-year-old boy in 1973. Crane, of Illinois, apologized for his actions, while Studds, who declared he was gay, refused. Crane lost his reelection bid the next year; Studds, of Massachusetts, kept winning his seat until he retired in 1996."

Here Foley is caught in a similar scandal, though there has been no evidence of any actual sexual acts, and his political career is at an end.

The double standard has been criticized by many Republicans and Conservatives over the last few days, but honestly, I'm not disturbed by it one bit.

Fact is, as Republicans, we center our message on Family Values.  As Conservatives where derive our positions from strong moral convictions.  So when there is a violation of those values and convictions by one of our own leaders we should be the first in line to correct.  I'm not saying there is no room for forgiveness or that we shouldn't allow a leader who has stumbled the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and make amends.  However, we should expect our leaders to be held to a higher standard than the party of moral-relativity holds theirs.

Certainly, democrats and liberals take advantage.  When a Conservative or Republican stumbles they are labeled and hypocrite and democrats demand that they, the leadership above them, the staffers below them, and everyone they have ever encountered should apologize and pay for the mistake.  Of course, we should point out the double standard they apply, but we should not seek to lower our own standards or excuse bad behavior by our leadership simply because they do it, too.  We expect such behavior from their side.  And we should expect our leaders to strive for excellence and a political life that is above reproach. 

When we apply a stricter standard of conduct to our own leadership than the liberals apply to theirs, it tells me we are doing something right.

UPDATE:  As always, fantastic analysis and sarcasm from our beloved Ann.

"The Democrats say the Republicans should have done all the things Democrats won't let us do to al Qaida — solely because Foley was rumored to be gay. Maybe we could get Democrats to support the NSA wiretapping program if we tell them the terrorists are gay."

October 03, 2006

Conservatives in the Foley Aftermath

I the wake of the Foley scandal we've seen just about every possible reaction.  Everyone is trying to determine whether this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back for Republicans in the next election and liberals and democrats are trying their hardest to turn the issue into an indictment for the whole Republican Party.

But the harshest criticism, in my opinion, is coming not from liberals, but from Conservatives.  Yesterday, Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily.com released an article titled GOP Unworthy of Governing.   In the article Farah concludes that the handling of Foley by Republican leadership has demonstrated that they are unfit to lead the country.  But even before the Foley story broke, others Conservatives were considering the idea that Republicans losing might not be such a bad idea after all.  Jonah Goldberg wrote an article several weeks back hinting at the idea that maybe, just maybe, Republicans need to lose so that they can get their act together.  Farah and Goldberg are not alone.  Honestly, I've found myself seriously considering their position.

 

But, let me be clear.  At this point I don't agree with Farah and the liberals screaming that the Republican leadership positively knew what was going on with Foley and were just holding out until after the election.  I haven't seen anything that damning just yet, but I'll be just as upset as everyone else if it comes out that they did actually know.  I think there was definitely break down of communication and probably some staff knew more than they disclosed, but I don't know that this rises to the level of indicting the actual party leadership.

I also predict that this issue is not going to have much effect on a nation-wide scale.  It is going to hurt the chances of Republicans keeping Foley's seat, but keeping the seat is not out of the question depending on how the leadership handles itself over the next few months.

The biggest fall-out, I think is, and will continue to be, with Conservatives.  Conservatives who feel the opportunities our party has had over the last few years has been squandered.  Conservatives who have found themselves consistently questioning and at odds with party leadership.  Conservatives who are tired of seeing our party, and us along with them, dragged through the mud over a string of scandals.  Goldberg thinks change might not be so bad.  Farah thinks they've shown their inability to lead.  I was ready to sign on myself.

But yesterday I caught a portion of the Values Voters Summit on C-SPAN.  The segment I watched was a briefing on the national political scene led by Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and my man Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund.  At one point Dr. Dobson talked about the short comings of our party leadership.  About how even though "Value Voters" won the day in 2000 and 2004, the party has failed to adopt a Conservative agenda.  Despite all of the effort put in by Conservatives in the 2004 election, the party hadn't supported our mission.  He explained that because of these failures he didn't think he was going to make supporting Republicans a priority in upcoming elections.

But he then described a 2 week period he recently spent in Washington D.C. meeting with party and government leaders that changed his mind.  After meeting with these leaders he realized that even though our own party is in desperate need of some changes, the alternative to our party is so terrible that we have to fight for Republicans.

And he's right.

I know many of us Conservatives are unhappy with the state of our party, and we should work to improve it and put true Conservatives into positions of influence.  But in the meantime, we must realize that even thought our party has its flaws the alternative that the democrats present is far worse than our party on its worst day.

Don't lose heart.  There are some tough days ahead and it is tempting to just sit back and let the election take its course, but there is a real need, now more than ever, for Conservatives to stand by those who support us, and the party that presents the opportunity for the only opportunity for the defense and spread of Conservative ideals.  It may not be deserved, but the Republican party needs the renewed vigor of a Conservative base and I'll be the first to say that I stand with my party, the GOP.

September 25, 2006

Battle in the Marketplace of Ideas

My favorite liberal blogger in Florida is Kenneth Quinnel.  He's a liberal, he is unashamed about it, and it shows in just about everything he writes.  He's so far to the left that I don't know that we will ever agree on anything except FSU Football.  But, I enjoy his posts because he epitomizes the liberal world view and normally gets a "I can't believe he actually wrote that" reaction from me.

On Friday, Mr. Quinnel put up a post, part of a continuing series of posts on democrat strategy for Florida, which gives a wish list of new strategy initiatives for Florida democrats.  There's alot to address here, but for now I'd like to touch on one point he makes which perfectly illustrates a major problem with democrat strategy and a strength of the Republican party. 

Mr. Quinnel begins his list with the idea of a "Progressive Think Tank" for Florida.  One of the reasons he wants this is:

"We need to counter the right-wing idea machine.  Their ideas aren't very good, but they do a great job of selling them to the voters and that's why they win. "

This is exactly where democrats so often go wrong; trying to sell their ideas. 

Now, I agree that there needs to be debate on the issues, and the parties need to communicate a message and a vision and how they intend to achieve their goals.  But, in my humble opinion, the strength of the Republican party is that it builds itself from commonly held standards of the electorate.  While democrats busy themselves trying to tell people what to think, the core of the Republican party is based on the values voters already hold.  Tax reform, national security, family values, etc.  These are the areas Republicans have drawn their strength from and success has come not from "selling" these principles to the nation, but because the Republican party has sided with the nation on the values we hold dear.

Granted, this is not always the case and there are many areas of policy where there are no commonly held values.  But those issues don't win elections.

What the democrat party really needs is not a better machine to sell ideas.  They need a change in leadership and platform that demonstrates to the American people and to Floridians that they side with the values we hold rather than asking us to side with theirs.

I understand the thought that "if we can just tell them they will understand."  And I've told people how to think in any number of posts.  But I doubt I've changed many minds other than helped some better understand a position they already held to be true. 

Republicans win not because we are more effective at getting people to agree with us.  We win because those people that vote already agree with us on the issues most important to them.

September 13, 2006

Crist Picks Kottkamp

Soon-to-be Governor Crist just announced his running mate; State Representative Jeff Kottkamp from Cape Coral.  The choice honestly surprised me because I'm not sure that it adds much to Crist's campaign.  Sure, Kottkamp is a Conservative and this will help shore up the Conservative base, but Conservatives would have voted for Crist anyways.  He adds little name recognition and he comes from an area Crist would likely win anyways.  Politically, I think there were better choices, but I'm just one man and Crist has had a whole team analyzing this for months.  But realistically, the LG pick, regardless of who it was, probably was not going to be determinative of the overall race anyways.

That said, I'm glad to see another Conservative in the mix.  Personally, the Kottkamp addition gets me a little more excited about the Crist campaign, so maybe there is something to this pick after all?

September 10, 2006

Ron Klein is still a lobbyist, and still losing

I was reading up on the Shaw v Klein race over at Real Clear Politics and I found this polling data from the Majority Watch at Constituent Dynamics. It shows, as of two weeks ago, Clay Shaw was leading the lobbyist Ron Klein by 8 (MOE 3.1).

Analytically this looks like a very strong poll (large N and strong sampling methodology).

Strategically this looks to reflect reality; Clay Shaw has won this seat in 13 consecutive elections (26+ years) and is in line to take control of the powerful Ways and Means Committee when he wins. Ron Klein is a lobbyist/lawyer who skirts registration and accountability expectations and is running in a year of low voter turnout, with a guaranteed democrat victory in the US Senate race, a guaranteed democrat loss in the FL Governors race, and an emotional deep seated dissain for lobbyist and lawyers.

Voters are not motivated or needed to affect the outcome of any major race in Florida this year, less so for someone who appears to be made up of questionable ethical positions. Combined with the realization that registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in US 22, and Ron Kleins State Senate Districts overlaps the US 22nd District by roughly 25%, I predict Clay Shaw will hold this seat.

September 09, 2006

Democrats big problem with Davis

Race. Articles appearing in the media as early as Thursday began to reinforce a suspicion I had that the democrats weren't all on-board with the same agenda, and I don't think the problem lies entirely with Davis. Let me explain...

Continue reading "Democrats big problem with Davis" »

September 05, 2006

Post Election first thoughts

Congratulations to all the winners out there.

First thoughts? The margin on the Crist/Gallagher race is much larger than any polls I remember projecting. Maybe it's worth taking a look to figure out what the pollsters were smoking.

I'm thinking if Gallagher had better polling data from the beginning he would have never gone so far with this thing. I still think, as do many others, he would have killed Nelson in a Senate race. But losing by 30+ will end any fanciful notions of switching to the US Senate.

I'm not convinced Jim Davis has walked away with the Dem. nomination, but it does look like he will eventually pull out the victory. He'll appear very weak against an opponent that beat down a right wing challenger by 30+. There will be no chance of the dems framing Charlie as an out of control right wing extremist in the General Election; not that they have the money to do it anyway.

I'm excited to see Will McBride will do so well. We should see more of him in the future.

If Tom Lee had trounced Randy Johnson vis a vis Crist did Gallagher, I would predict a victory for him in November. But he didn't. And I won't. He'll get my vote, but if the GOP loses any seats this November it's the CFO seat.

That's all for now. I've already started wondering about who will be LG and I'm thinking the front runners now have to be Allen Bense and Jennifer Carroll.

Sorry, Tom. Primary Day is not turning out.

This lame attempt by someone who supports you, be they official or not, is another perfect example of why your campaign never took hold. A little over the top, a little too late, and a little too hypocritical.

Gallagher really can't criticize Charlie Crist on his "personal" issues without the whole thing coming back around to Gallagher, and since Gallagher has never been particularly believable on the political issues because of his own "personal" issues, it seems to be quite a quandry.

Today is Primary Day, and turnout is low. The Gallagher Campaign has already blasted an email (1:30pm) claiming "record low turnout" which is either -

1) True and could be either good news (organization is a big plus in low turnout elections)

2) True and bad news (he's never been ahead in the polls so what are the odds on a low turnout primary only Gallagher supporters show up?)

3) Not True and the early numbers are not looking good for the Gallagher campaign and they are trying to motivate their organization.

There's really no way of knowing until about 5pm, at which point internal exit polls should be getting leaked, but at this point I'd say there is a 2/3 chance it's bad news for the Gallagher camp.

In the meantime, I want to encourage all PRFL readers to vote. Vote for the man you think can best lead the state of Florida and don't let last minute smear tactics influence you. And be sure to vote for your local candidates too!

If you want to read about an interesting idea check this out. Now, start making your plans for the victory party you want to attend, it looks like there will be plenty of beer to go around. If you need a list of good candidates here are a few endorsement lists -

Mr. C

Mr. G

O'Blog

Florida Masochist

Statewide results should be available here after polls close.

UPDATE: To be fair, the Crist Campaign just sent their email (4:05pm) urging everyone to get out and vote claiming,

"we are hearing reports that turnout is low and it is imperitive that Charlie Crist Republicans cast their ballots."

Analysis: Either they are slower in getting their reports, or the reports are that turnout is low but most people are voting for Crist. Thus, less urgency. Stay tuned to find out which it is.

UPDATE 2: A second email (4:52pm) from the Gallagher Campaign urging voters to vote in the final two hours.

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September 01, 2006

Campaign Reform was a mistake

Remember McCain - Feingold? This must read editorial asserts it was a mistake. I agree.

You should spend the next 60 days thinking about it and wonder about it's implications in 2008. No doubt Republicans will use M-F this year to help stem off a "perceived" D take over (one I am yet to be convinced will materialize), but all bets are off in 2008 when the White House is up for grabs.

It frightens me to think of the amount of information hidden from voters (by law!) in a Clinton v. McCain race. It could be the first time in history two candidates with more negatives than positives vie for the most powerful position in the world.

Mr. C

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August 25, 2006

Mr. C's Primary Picks (State and Local)

Mr. C's picks:

US Senator
Will McBride

US House
Dist. 8:  Ric Keller

Dist. 9:  Gus Bilirakis

Dist 13:  Mark Flanagan

Governor
Charlie Crist

Chief Financial Officer
Randy Johnson

Florida Senate
Dist. 8:  Randall Terry

Dist. 10:  Sandra Murman

Dist. 38: Frank Bolanos

Florida House
Dist. 34:  David Mealor

Dist. 41: Steve Precourt

Dist. 48: Peter Nehr

Dist. 49:  John Quinones

Dist. 54: Rod Jones

Dist. 107: Robert Fernandez

Leon County 

County Judge Group 3: Lisa Raleigh

County Commission At Large: John Griffin

County Commission District 4: Will Messer

County Commission District 5: Frank Mayernick

Superintendent of Schools: Jackie Pons

Tallahassee

City Commission Seat 3: Anthony "Dr. V" Viegbesie

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August 23, 2006

Special Session in October?

This will help GOP candidates, with the exception of Tom Lee.

Supposing Lee wins the Primary, he can't afford to be in Tallahassee meting out solutions for something as controversial as insurance while Alex Sink is spending her vast fundraising to highlight his daily mishaps to voters during early voting. It's possible Speaker Bense may try to thwart this effort to help his friend Lee by claiming there isn't a consensus on a solution, and therefor no need for a special session.

And besides, why give dem's an opportunity to grandstand right before elections?

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August 22, 2006

Common Sense on Will McBride

As I watch the Senate race I get the same feeling as the rest of you, that we have just resigned ourselves to the idea that Katherine Harris will win the primary and then go on to lose the election.  But today I recieved an email from one of the smartest guys I know, I'll call him Mr. T with a common sense perspective on the matter:

I sat with Will McBride and I was skeptical.  From what I have heard he doesn't stand a chance... but that was before I was able to talk with the man face to face.  Now, I find myself saying, “this just has to be.”  With everyone just waiting for Katherine Harris to spontaneously ignite and go away, why not just vote for the better candidate? I watch as all the candidates tell me how “conservative” they are, but then their history proves anything but. McBride is the real deal.  On the headline issues of the borders, immigration, the war, abortion, stem cell, national debt and others I found McBride to be thoughtful, and thoroughly a compassionate conservative.  No clichés to get votes, but well thought out responses.  Being a Christian (not the media's equivalent of the Taliban, but the Jesus loving, Nation Founding, hospital building, starving child feeding good neighbor kind) I am glad that he attends a local congregation and actually believes it helps him be a good leader.  In fact, he was once a youth group leader so he will be familiar with the adolescent behavior in the Senate!  Perhaps this experience is his best qualifier.  It sure helped JC Watts!

No, I am not a consultant, and I am not a paid politico. I am just a good old conservative Christian who wants to support a good man who believes like I do that our society is on the slide and good men need to do something so that evil does not prevail.

Mr.T

Wow.  Why not just vote for the better candidate?  A week ago the Orlando Sentinel ran an article explaining how the Republican "Base" of Christians was just not motivated about this upcoming election.  I was mildly irritated by the article, but honestly, there was some truth to it.  With two gubernatorial candidates that we're not too sure of, and the front runner in the Senate primary can't even keep a staff, it seems like a mediocre cycle for believers. 

But Will McBride gives us something we can and should be excited about, and not just Christians, but true Conservatives of any stripe.  So why don't we just vote for the better candidate?  And why don't we encourage our friends and family to do the same?  Consider this my call for all of our Republican and Conservative readers to join the Will McBride campaign.  I also echo Bob's sentiment that Collins and Monroe should drop out and endorse McBride  Yes, it is an uphill battle, but shame on us if we don't even try.  There is far too much at stake.

Will McBride for Senate

 

Mr. G

August 18, 2006

Leon County Bandwagon

Leon County voters are no doubt familiar with the Bandwagon, but for those of you who are not,

Since 1986, WFSU and The Florida Channel have hosted this fun and informational program with help from the Leon County League of Women Voters. The format is what makes this program so special. Bandwagon provides each candidate 2 minutes and 30 seconds to talk about the issues they feel are important. To insure that no one gets more time than anyone else, a music group interrupts anyone going longer than the scheduled time.

Bandwagon 2006 airs live on Monday Aug 21 channel 4fsu,  and will re-air nightly until election day. The broadcast can be seen online beginning Aug 22.

If you don't have time for everybody then focus on these races still in contention - County Judges and County District 3, 4, and 5. The rest of the races will go to the front runner, or expected winner, however you want to look at it.

If you only watch for one reason, make it for the Judges.

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August 04, 2006

I believe I can fly

I was going to link to this story - Harris predicts Senate victory against the odds - by saying she can predict all she wants, but she isn't going to get it done. But as I read deeper into the study I read this,

People who study political psychology say there could be other reasons.

This is what fascinates me about liberals. They can't accept the world as it is, they can't leave people to their own devices. They can't trust the public, the average voter, the everyday shop owner to make their own decisions about candidates or policies. They must analyze them and define them and destroy them, so as not to take a chance that the voter may choose wrongly.

"If she thinks she's beyond the force of gravity, she'll keep trying to fly," [University of Wisconsin political psychologist Virginia] Sapiro said. "The question is when does it become dysfunctional, where you can't read the tea leaves."

Say what? When does wanting to win and overcome adversity become dysfunctional? Isn't the answer to that question never?

Maybe Stanley Renshon of the City University of New York Graduate Center can help.

...her persistence is unusual, given the circumstances, but explainable.

"She must read the polls and she must know she's a controversial person and she must know that her party is unenthusiastic about her and that the opposition party for the most part despises her," he said "What kind of person plunges ahead despite all that? It's a person who puts their opportunity and ambition in the forefront."

And what's wrong with that? I'm thinking if I have a choice between two candidates to represent me in the halls of Congress and one is milksop and the other never, never, never, ever gives up, then I think the one I want to trust my tax dollars with, the one I want defending my liberty and my freedom, I want that person to be the latter. We may be witnessing just the type of Senator you're likely to get with Katherine Harris, and it has more to do with her personality than her policy.

You know, average people respect those of us who never give up. The market rewards entreprenuers who never give up. And, sometimes, voters do too.

Liberals have a deep need to understand her ethos, and because they don't, they need to psychoanalyze her and say she's sick. That she is mentally unstable and she really needs help. Why aren't they doing the same for/to Cynthia McKinney?

I'm telling you, I can see where this is all going. In October during the run up to the General Election there will be an article somehwere that will say something along the lines of, "Clinical psychologist who have been studying Katherine Harris's statements and actions over the past 6 months agree that she shows signs of mental and emotional fatigue." The implication being she's sick in the head. Don't vote for her.

And the craziest part of all? When it comes to ambition, belief in ones abilities and successes at overcoming great adversities, KH is no different from Hillary Clinton. I mean, Hillary is definitely the front runner for the democratic nomination for 08, but can she win America? No. She never has and she   never will, so why should she even try? In my professional opinion I think Hillary thinks she can fly. I mean, who's Isaac Newton when your last name is Clinton? He's nobody that's who.

Shave off the mustache and the stretch her stubby legs and Hillary could pass for Katherine when it comes to raw political ambition.

Well, KH in drag maybe.

There's a difference between some of us in the blogsphere and political punditry saying KH is crazy for continuing in this race. We can read between the lines, we can see the polls and the targeting and make our own prognostications about the outcome.

It's another thing completely when the MSM starts hiring psychologist to study and analyze her behavior, to diagnose her. It's a little over the top.

August 03, 2006

This should tell you something about the upcoming elections

There is an unreported sentiment brewing jsut under the surface of main stream reporting. You may not read about it in the papers, but 66 Senators, SENATORS!, have been hearing it first hand. Voting 94-3 to fund the construction of a fence along the US-Mexico border it was reported many, "heard from their constituents after they voted to authorize the fence in May and then voted against funding it a couple of weeks ago," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL.

They must have got an ear full when they went home.

Anybody still think the dems are going sweep this fall?

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August 02, 2006

PEER Review of the Crist-Gallagher debate coverage

Judging from the lack of commentary in the blogosphere this morning I'm going to wager that not many people 1) knew, or 2) watched the debate last night. Furthermore, my opinion on the matter is - Why bother? Does anybody seriously think this race is within reach for Gallagher? I, like most, did not see the debate, but my hunch is Gallagher attacked often, or tried to, and talked about his family as much as possible. More after the jump...

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Continue reading "PEER Review of the Crist-Gallagher debate coverage" »

August 01, 2006

It has begun...

The end of Castro? The celebration.

The real Castro socialist?

The battle for US 22 gets louder.

The dirty laundry of the FL GOP.

Too little, too late?

The only man in America with a valid complaint of Crist.

Is it too early to call Jim Davis a Flip-Flopper?

July 12, 2006

Just about finished?

This steak was done a long time ago... (HT The Hedghog Report). I agree with Bob, it's a landslide.

Poll after poll, fundraising quarter after fundraising quarter, Crist leads. This week, Survey USA unloads the results of a July 8-10 poll,

61% Crist
23% Gallagher
3% Other
12% Undecided

and

8% Collins
51% Harris
14% McBride
3% Monroe
16% Other
7% Undecided

The only question now is; with numbers this low, how did Gallagher manage to raise another million dollars last quarter? That being said, read my local politics post. It has nothing to do with the Governors race, but if you're a Tallahassee local you may find it interesting.

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Tallahassee and Leon County local political races

Political strategist wait until the last minute to make definite propositions about races because anything can happen. And often, it does.

For instance, two weeks ago I was all set to write the following -

An apparent shift of ideological power could be in the offing and a reallingment of sorts may spell the end of democratic control in Florida's capitol city. Young politicos are showing impressive fundraising and organizational skills in Leon County this year, and to this astute observer of political phenomenon it looks like a groundbreaking of the road to the future.

Then, yesterday, one of my young politicos through a monkey wrench in the wheels of change.

Continue reading "Tallahassee and Leon County local political races" »

June 28, 2006

Next Florida LG?

I agree with O'Blog. It makes for good electoral strategy, and smart politics for a party that dominates a diverse state and will be seeking to hold onto power through the redistricting years of 2010-2014.

Now if we could only get TG to drop out of the race and donate his fundraising to the FL GOP to help defeat Alex Sink...

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June 19, 2006

Florida Gov. race is over

Charlie Crist has won. Or should I say, Tom Gallagher lost it. Maybe Laura should have been the one running after all? Here are some extracts form the Tampa Tribune story,

He’d been caught in an affair and kicked out of the house.

Tom Gallagher didn’t react well when his wife Ann Louise filed for divorce in 1979. He admits breaking into their house to take their dog. She claims he broke in other times, too, and tried to take her car one day when she was at work.

.....

On one trip to Tallahassee, Louise said her father-in-law told her Gallagher was having an affair. She said she was very close to Charles Gallagher, Jr. He told her Gallagher was sailing. Then he told her about Tom’s relationship with a woman who worked at the capitol, adding that he, Gallagher’s dad, was to pick her up at the airport later that afternoon. Louise said she was going with him.

“I invited her for coffee and she said OK. I told her she could have him and she said OK. I felt I had been a real patsy. Enough was enough.”

......

According to the Associated Press, Gallagher also admitted to having used marijuana “many, many years ago.”

I can't tell you how unbelievebly bad this is. This isn't some fun time stroll down memory lane. This is a first time revelation of information that was intentionally covered up by a judge 25 years ago for the purposes of aiding a "budding political career." And what a career it's been.

Furthermore, this is information in direct contradiction to all of the priorities and morality held in high esteem by the very people Gallagher is asking to help him win. I'll come back to this.

Was there not somebody on the campaign who asked about this? It's not exaclty a secret around the halls of the legislature. Surely the Gallagher camp knew this was going to come out?! Please don't tell me they discussed this possiblitiy and had a preset press conference in place. Please don't tell me this caught them off guard.

Actaully, it doesn't matter now.

TG has no chance - zero, nada, zilch, zip - no chance at all of coming from behind to win the nomination. And to put the icing on the cake, Jim Davis is the lesser of the two Democratic candidates and he is still likely to win his nomination. Even if he doesn't, Rod Smith will be so beaten and broke from trying to come from behind he will have absolutely no chance to compete with Crist.

What am I even thinking about it for? This race is over. Charlie Crist will be the next Governor of Florida. Now all we have to look forward to is the LG lottery. ugh. LG. I just thought about it. Who is TG going to ask to be his LG? Who would say yes after this? I'm glad I haven't sent him any money yet.

And I want to make one point, and it's a personal point, I am not upset about the information so much as I am about the way it was revealed. I can forgive a man who's made mistakes and asked for forgiveness. I can support a man who lives his life on the up and up and seeks no quarter. I can defend a man who has had a tough past but has come through it, challenged, tempered and fearless. But this revelation is none of that.

This is so unprofessional of a major campaign. For starters, they let a major newspaper paint them into the corner with no way out. They had no answer for this, no defense, and no way to fight it. And there's only one reason for it; nobody on the campaign knew about it except the top people and they hoped to  make it through the enitre campaign without anybody saying anything.

Are. You. Serious.?

But why not? He's made it this far without it coming up. And now that it has they decide to call a press conference? So he could confess his sins now? He wanted to get it out there so it wasn't a reaction to bad news, but a revelation. That's not leadership. Its worse.

Consider that TG knew this was out there. He knew it might pop up. He's always known. So what does a pot smoking, adulterous man who has changed his ways and become born again do? He slides it under th rug because the very people he thinks he needs to win the nomination - and he knows he has no chance at victory without the right wing - those people will never vote for him if he reveals this information. So, he stuffs it under his hat and he starts selling the snake oil from the trunk. His campaing plan from the very beginning was to decieve and manipulate the very people who would be most disturbed by this information into voting for him.

I can not believe he went into this campaign asking for money, asking for support, and trying to make himself out ot be a stand up guy who is worthy of our vote. I won't vote for him now if for no other reason than because this is a sloppy underhanded way to run a campaign.

No matter. It's all too little, too late. TG knew this was out there. He knew it was coming. If he were the honorable leader he wants to be he would hang it up and work to ensure GOP victory in the fall. Instead he's going to hope this blows over in a couple days and that somehow he can miraculously weather the storm. Which he won't.

Oh, and a big thanks for the heads up to the Florida Masochist, who surely has a knucklehead award waiting? Bob is probably thinking right now, the biggest PR debacle in any political race, in THE political race, and he's on vacation. Jen, how can you be unemployed at a time like this? We need your PR insights! Curiously, FLA Politics is all quite now. They will surely be all-a-flutter with the news in the morning.

Ok, the good news for Republicans, and Crist, is they now get to focus all of their time and energy on crushing whichever democrat comes out ahead. Which won't be too hard. It won't even be sporting. So, why not focus our attention on defeating on the only real chance Democrats have at picking up a seat?

So who do we talk about now? Will McBride for LG?

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June 17, 2006

Rudy Giuliani is important in Florida

And his endorsement is second only to Jeb Bush. You could argue in some areas - Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Miami Dade, Ft. Lauderdale - he may have more influence than our own Governor. And voters in Florida are looking to him with an eye o the future. Rudy Giuliani regularly takes top prize for Florida's choice for 08.

7. Who is your first choice for the Republican nomination in 2008? (Republicans only)
                Rudy Giuliani 40%
                John McCain 31%
                George Allen 7%
                Newt Gingrich 4%

People in this state like him, and care what he thinks. Probably because so many people in this state remember what it was like in NY and Times Square before he was elected Mayor.

Well, Rudy is making the rounds and supporting candidates in races all across America. And in Florida Rudy is throwing his support behind Clay Shaw.

PEER Review does too.

Maybe later well talk about how Rudy could actually win the White House. For now lets just say that he's setting up a lot of chits for future use.

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June 13, 2006

How's November Looking Now?

The events of the last seven days just go to show you how quickly political winds can change. The GWBush poll numbers have hit their low point and will be coming up slowly but surely over the next few weeks to a point that democrats will finally stop talking about taking over the House or Senate and focus on protecting their weak seats.

So what has transpired to give me such optimism? Well let's start with last Tuesday's election to replace former Republican Rep. Duke Cunningham, the poster boy for the democrats campaign assertion that the republicans are the sole party of corruption (despite Rep. Jefferson, democrat from New Orleans, being caught with bribe money to the tune of 90,000 marked FBI dollars in his home's freezer). The democrat running for Cunningham's seat was running against the "culture of corruption" that only Duke Cunningham supposedly represents, and she lost that seat to a republican lobbyist - the supposed dirtiest, filthiest creatures in Washington.

Then later in the week, on Friday, the Iraqi Prime Minister finished forming his government the same time that al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (if you ask a progressive/liberal/socialist Al-Qaeda and Iraq don't belong in the same sentence - they should tell that to the terrorists so they can correct their stationery), was killed by a US military air strike.

Here we are today, a week later, and we've got Bush flying to Iraq for a surprise visit to personally meet with the new Iraqi PM al-Maliki. Oh, and a little news story came out around the same time Bush was flying out there - the democrat target dummy Karl Rove, as anyone with a brain has known since day one of the leak-that-wasn't-a-leak investigation, will not be indicted.

Drudge has a funny story about Homer (D'OH!) Dean:

DNC Chair Howard Dean on NBC's 'TODAY': 'If Karl Rove had been indicted it would have been for perjury. That does not excuse his real sin which is leaking the name of an intelligence operative during the time of war.'

If Rove's sin was leaking the name of the intel operative during a time of war (that's a phrase democrats use sparingly because they only pull it out when it suits their political purpose - they don't actually use it in relation to national security) as Dean asserts, then Rove would have been indicted for it - not just the perjury that obviously didn't occur. Of course, everyone with a brain also knows that the intel operative was not an operative. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, had been riding a desk for about 5 or 6 years in Langley and hadn't been covert during that time, so no law was broken by "revealing" her identity.

But let's allow Dean his little tantrum, along with all his little Deaniancs and progressive socialists. Wouldn't you be angry too if everything politically that you had been working for over the last two years went up in smoke within one week?

I predict that within a month the punditry will begin talking about republicans gaining seats in the US House and maintaining their position in the US Senate, and all this nonsense about Speaker Pelosi and President Reid will finally evaporate into thin air, like the hot air coming out of Homer Dean's trap.

maninblack

Crist and Harris big winners in recent poll, but...

I have doubts about this SurveyUSA Election Poll.

By in large the spread is so big, so unbelievable, there is no doubt Crist and Harris are leading in their respective primaries,

Crist 52%, Gallagher 21%
Harris 50%, McBride 12%, Collins 7%, Monroe 4%

But crosstab analysis that shows, "Gallagher does relatively best among young voters, liberals, and those who disapprove of President Bush," are the result of either a really poor sampling or a disasterous campaign that was designed to target exactly the opposite group of people. I know Brett Doster is too good at targeting and organization for that to be the case, so I am going to assume the former is true.

Which is exactly why I don't believe in polling registered voters for anything but issue ID.

For the record -

2,500 Florida adults were interviewed 6/9/06 - 6/11/06. Of them, 2,164 were registered to vote. Of them, 825 were Republicans. Of them, 410 were judged to be "likely voters". Crosstabs reflect Likely Republican Primary Voters.

FrontPageFlorida also has a post.

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June 09, 2006

Tom Gallagher and tax cuts, a second look

I didn't want to leave this morning's post, I wonder why, without more investigation. I went back and took a look at TG's campaign site, specifically his policy brief - Expanding Prosperity in Florida. I also took a look through TG's "In the News" section and I tried to go through his "Press Release" archives but I couldn't get it to load for some reason. The only thing I found of note was this March 1 piece from the Miami Herald that basically said the two candidates economic plans were the same, and proceeded to talk about TG's Cuba transition coordinator proposal,

The two Republicans vying to succeed Gov. Jeb Bush offered startingly similar economic proposals on Tuesday: A call for tax cuts, a call to let homeowners hold onto a property tax break even if they move, and legislation to make it harder to sue businesses.

But Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher went further than his rival, Attorney General Charlie Crist: Gallagher also wants the state to cap how much counties can increase their budgets and proposed hiring the state's first ''Cuba transition coordinator,'' a person working for the governor whose job would be to prepare Florida for the aftermath of the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

I'm going to leave the Cuba thing alone for now since that's not really the focus of this post.

My first question is, if the two plans were essentially the same three months ago, what has changed so dramatically that would lead Gallagher's people to say today,

Gallagher spokesman Albert Martinez said the plan was lacking "in both details and leadership."

My second question would be about the one of the few differences: local autonomy in budgeting. Gallagher wants to pass legislation restricting the ability of local governments to dramatically raise spending (and, presumably, taxes) while Crist wants to leave those decisions to be made by local governments. This contrast prompted another of the Gallagher campaign's comments,

Gallagher's campaign squad ripped Crist for not guaranteeing property tax relief and instead leaving it up to counties as an option.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if the two plans are essentially the same, then isn't Gallagher's plan also lacking in details and leadership? And secondly, as conservatives, isn't one of our central tenets to be in favor of home rule and local authority instead of central planning? Especially when it comes to local spending and taxing authority.

Now, in light of that observation I want to specifically point out some discrepancies in TG's policy brief. The centerpiece of his "Economic Prosperity" plan is this,

Right now, because of Florida’s rapidly increasing property values, Florida families that have lived in their home for a period of time and want to move to another residence in their community will see their property tax bills skyrocket if they move.  This Moving Tax makes many families and retirees stay in homes that no longer meet their needs simply because they can’t afford the tax hike that moving would entail.

Homestead property owners should be allowed portability of their assessed property values between residences when they move within the same county.  Growing families and retirees should not be financially penalized if they want to move within their communities.  Under the Gallagher Plan, new homes would be assessed at a value comparable to the previous assessed value of the home they sold, or if the home they are purchasing is worth more than the home they sold, at a value set in the difference between the two.

In the face of the rising property prices in the state, government should not burden families who need more space or retirees who are looking to downsize.  This meaningful tax cut for Florida families and retirees would save them $57 million in its first year. 

I'm sorry, but I completely disagree with this idea. This "moving tax" is exactly what keeps families from over-extending themselves into debt in order to purchase homes they really can't afford, regardless of their need. If you only have two bedrooms, then don't have 5 kids. Proper consideration and planning, tax research and financial preparation are exactly what families should be doing. If they find they can't afford the bills, then they shouldn't be moving or they should be reducing debt first. (I recognize that for some taxes rise and bills increase regardless of their level of planning, but TG is talking specifically about people who are seeking to move and increase their tax liability on purpose, not through no fault of their own.) Reducing debt is a time-honored conservative principle to sound fiscal management and there is more than one way to do it. As CFO I should suspect TG would know this.

*To be fair, Charlie Crist supports something similar.

And what's this talk of tax cuts for retirees that are downsizing their needs? If they are downsizing then how are their property taxes increasing?

Something just doesn't seem right about trying to cut property taxes by giving property owners a carry-over from a devalued property to a higher valued property.

If your goal is to reduce the property tax burden on homeowners, then why not simply cut their property tax? This can be done easily at the state level by increasing the homestead exemption. Furthermore, removing the local authority on spending issues could also affect local abilities to offer additional homestead exemptions to those over 65, or as I like to call them, retirees.

Charlie Crist proposes doubling the exemption and Stan Mayfield calls it

..."shallow" and "the mark of someone not ready to be governor."

I like Stan Mayfield, but he's wrong. There's nothing tricky or "shallow" about cutting taxes. You just cut them.

The plan goes on,

Under the Gallagher plan, county spending growth would be contained to a level of growth- the percentage of population increase in that county plus the rate of price inflation in Florida. Any revenues that accrued to the county above that amount would be refunded to the property taxpayers.

...If local governments decide that they require more money than these reasonable limits encourage, they may petition the voters to allow that increased spending.  By asking voters to approve any exorbitant spending increases, local governments will have to justify their increased spending requests to the people who pay the bills.  Trusting the people and giving them more say over their tax dollars is simply good policy.

Then why not just do it at the state level? Why usurp power from local authorities? If limiting spending growth is really important to you then take a leadership position and call for limits to state spending growth (which is an issue for a completely different post) based on inflation and population growth, return all surpluses to property tax payers, and require by law the state to ask voters for permission on all tax increases; include justification and explanation for it's purpose, use, and term.

It goes on,

Returning tax surpluses to the taxpayers and limiting the growth of county governments’ spending to reasonable levels are the fiscally responsible approach to Florida’s future.  In times of record revenues, there is no reason that some of those surpluses should not be returned to the taxpayers.  If this Gallagher policy had been in place since 1999, it is estimated that over $8 billion in surplus tax dollars would have been returned to Florida taxpayers.

You mean like this year?

The first step to providing real rate relief to Florida families is a commonsense approach to dealing with Florida’s current insurance assessments on policyholders.  Florida’s Legislature should use the record state budget surplus, much of it generated by storm recovery spending, to deal with hurricane recovery costs.  To refuse to use part of the state budget surplus is charging Florida’s policyholders for a bill they shouldn’t have to pay.  With the record budget surplus, there is no reason that state leaders cannot offset any assessments and provide tax relief to Florida’s families.

I guess not.

It's hard to be principled when you don't really understand the principles you are supporting. If your policy is

Returning tax surpluses to the taxpayers and limiting the growth of county governments’ spending to reasonable levels are the fiscally responsible approach to Florida’s future.  In times of record revenues, there is no reason that some of those surpluses should not be returned to the taxpayers.

then you can't find exceptions to the rule when those criteria are met, unless you really have no intention of giving back the money.

Under Hurricane preparedness and Catastrophe planning it reads,

There must also be efforts to prepare older homes for storms.  A portion of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund should be reallocated to retrofit older homes that are currently forced into coverage by Citizens Property Insurance.  By strengthening these older homes and making them more attractive to the private insurance market, more insurance options should become available to those homeowners.

No, no, no. It is not the role of the state to upgrade, improve or otherwise contribute other citizens' tax dollars to the value of another private citizen's home. I cannot stress this enough. If policy holders shouldn't be paying for premiums and losses above and beyond their insured property, then who should be paying it? Personally, I'm tired of paying for it. This is wealth distribution at its finest and it is not a conservative principle.

Understanding that Florida’s homeowners are best served when rates are affordable and coverage options are available, reducing rates and bringing more insurance options into the marketplace will be a top priority for a Gallagher administration.  This is one of the most pressing issues facing Florida’s economic future.

The long-term health of Florida's economy is destined to subsidize homeowners who have overextended their purchasing power and have been devastated by natural disaster because the state of Florida has created a mirage of safety and support in state mandated insurance coverage. Insurers of last resort are not for millionaires. If you have that much money then you should be able to rebuild on your own. For the rest of us, I suggest the parable about building your home on the rock.

The remainder of Gallagher's proposals are typical campaign fluff. They've either been accomplished already (Tort Reform, Intangibles Tax repeal), or are nondescript statements like, "Florida needs to become a leader in trade."

Upon further review I am even more turned off by what I see when it comes to our current CFO and his "economic" policies for prosperity. Most of it is more correctly described as populist, not conservative.

So, for reference, consider that I am principally an economic conservative first, because I believe economic freedom and prosperity allow citizens to make the decision for themselves about how best to spend there money, invest, save or contribute to charity; and I believe those decisions create responsible conservative citizens who will likely be socially conservative as well. Socially conservative positions are typically deal breakers for me when I must choose between two fiscally conservative candidates.

In the Florida Primary for GOP Governor, It doesn't look like I will have to make that choice.

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I wonder why

There's nothing more Republican than cutting taxes, so when I posted yesterday on Crist's economic policy plan and then read this piece this morning, I really starting wondering about Gallagher - Why didn't Gallagher do this already?

He has, from the begininning, tried to position himself as "the Repulican" in the Republican Primary by running to the social right, but (and this may just be my bad memory here) I can't remember Gallagher making any serious policy statements regarding taxes. Certainly none that lead to major news outlets posting stories about promises for "massive" tax cuts.

Why not?

Furthermore, how does Gallagher's team respond to a tax cutting proposal?

Gallagher's campaign squad ripped Crist for not guaranteeing property tax relief and instead leaving it up to counties as an option.

Gallagher spokesman Albert Martinez said the plan was lacking "in both details and leadership."

And Gallagher himself? Well, he doesn't actually say anything, but Stan Mayfield, you know, a state Rep supporting Tom but not actually the candidate, Stan said,

The harshest criticism came from Gallagher supporter Rep. Stan Mayfield, R-Vero Beach. In a prepared statement distributed by Gallagher's campaign, Mayfield called the plan "shallow" and "the mark of someone not ready to be governor."

Let's recap. Crist unveils massive tax cutting proposals, the Gallagher campaign criticizes them for being what exactly? Not detailed? Are leaders supposed to be detailed or are they supposed to propose big ideas and then lead?

It's important, because I don't think the Gallagher campaign is really getting what's wrong with their campaign.

Tell me again who the "real Republican" is in this race?

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June 08, 2006

Well, that puts a wrinkle in things

The FL Chamber of Commerce released poll results for the d side of the Gov. race today and they are mildly interesting. The poll sample size (600) is smaller than yesterday's but the results are not surprising.

Jim Davis - 22.5%
Rod Smith - 21.5%
Undecided - 56%
MOE +/-4

It's not surprising because, 1. Davis has been making one error after another lately, 2. Smith is an excellent campaigner and his recent coups with the education and labor establishments show his backroom political muscle, and 3.  More than half of the dem's polled would prefer someone else. Like who you ask?

A Republican maybe?

Some Rhino's will tell you if Crist and Smith win then something interesting could happen, some GOP may vote for Smith. PEER Review will tell you, not a chance.

If those two do win the primaries then Crist immediately starts talking about taxes and education. Under Smith taxes go up and under Crist they go down. In fact, Crist has already started on that campaign theme with today's press release -

Crist Announces Economic, Tax Cut Proposal

~ Keeping Florida's Economy Vibrant and Supporting Florida's Workforce ~ 

Charlie Crist, Attorney General and candidate for Governor, today announced his tax cut and economic development plan, Keeping Florida’s Economy Vibrant and Supporting Florida's Workforce, aimed to continue the commitment to help Florida’s taxpayers and job creators.  Crist unveiled his plan at a stop in Naples on his Fighting for Florida Bus Tour.

 “I believe Florida’s next Governor must continue to build upon what Governor Bush has started,” said Crist.  “We must work with local communities and businesses to create a vibrant economic environment through tax cuts; education initiatives to increase high wage jobs; and various other incentives to attract specialized companies and the skilled workers they need.”

With regards to education, Crist will piggyback on Jeb!'s tremendous popularity and push the  continuation of Bush's policies noting the tremendous success and progress made over the past 8 years, while contrasting that with Smith's education positions and political supporters that appear to put him in the hip pocket of teacher unions. And, ultimately, that will put Smith squarely blocking what matters most - educating children how to read, write and add.

I like seeing the democratic primary all even. I would love to see a rough dem primary with Smith pulling out the victory, but if your looking for an overall d victory this fall then you need to start looking somewhere else, the Crist juggernaut has left the station.

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June 07, 2006

Two better than average polls and race predictions

Two recenlty released polls give clearer pictures on the Florida Governor's race than any to date.

The first was conducted by GOP communications taken from a sample described as (emphasis mine),

The polling model:  We have a computer model of the 2004 electorate in FL that created a pool of 46,990 voters who always vote (each primary and general cycle)... This overall pool was compared to 2000 census #s and 2004 census estimates and broken down into county by county voting results in 11/2004 to give us a core group of 1332 extremely likely voters that is an exact computer model replica of those who voted statewide in 2004.

That's a solid polling sample if I've ever seen one. If I start running polls this will be the ideal set up. The results - Crist 46.1%, Davis 37.7%, 15.5% Undecided and 0.7% Other (+/- 2.85)

The second is the Chamber of Commerce poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates of 800 likely GOP primary voters which showed  Crist leading Gallagher 42-23 (+/- 3.5). Solid sample size, solid results, consistent results.

Your first question may be, why didn't GOP Communications poll on Gallagher or Smith?

It's not cost effective. Take a look at the Chamber poll. It has Crist leading Gallagher by 19 points, and that hasn't changed since December when the Chamber ran the same poll. After six months, a time period that included a legislative session, Gallagher has made zero progress among likley GOP voters. Most polls show the same results, and those that don't are questionable in their design, so it's not unlikely GOP Communications took this well established information into consideration.

Simply put, polling 1332 respondents is expensive. It takes massive amounts of manpower to complete in a decent amount of time and that requires more money than an 800 sample poll. It's not economical to poll 1332 people on cadidates who don't seriously have a shot at winning their respective primaries.

The next question you may ask is, I've heard you disregard polls that poll likely voters before, why is the Chamber poll so great now? (Actually, I disregard polls of registerd voters nearly all the time, as they are the least dependable, but I typically am skeptical of any small sample poll of likely voters too.)

The answer is simple: Sample size. Most polls will poll around 800 total respondents then break the results into GOP and democrat subsets of around 400. At that size your margin of error is tremendous and the likelihood of your "likely voters" being actual voters is even smaller. Trying to disaggregate the returns for multiple candidates further dilutes the likelihood of respondents being actual voters who will have an affect on the actual election.

However, with a sub sample (which is what I consider a poll of just one party) size of 800 or more much of the error can be accounted for, especially when your results show a 19% consistent spread between the candidates.

Suppose for a moment that the results are completely on the edges of the results, Crist is actually 3.5% lower and Gallagher is actually 3.5% higher, or a complete seven point swing. It's highly unlikely to be the case, but if it is Crist still wins by 12 and my confidence in the original numbers is much higher as a result. By any account, 12% is a considerable margin to overcome, but a consistent 19% among GOP primary voters is insurmountable  3 months out.

Lastly, you may be asking if this means I will stop following poll results because it appears Crist has wrapped it up? The answer is no. I will keep bringing you analysis and opinion until it's over.

And BTW, here's my projections at this point -

US Senate - Harris v. Nelson, Nelson wins. It is apparent McBride (Will) is showing some real life, and he will get some boost from his name likeness to another McBride. I think he's one to watch and if he can gain some traction, create some solid positions and establish a strong conservative credential before the primary he may be able to do the unthinkable, defeat Harris. But he won't be able to turn that into a victory over Nelson, unfortunately.

US House District 22 - Shaw wins. I know this is the focus of party elites and supposedly a toss up seat, but when you consider Klein is covering up his lobbying, gambling and lawyer backgrounds; consider that his current district overlaps the House district by less than 20%; consider that Shaw has been reelected 12 times - I think this won't really be as close as people think it will. But here's to keeping up appearances.

Governor - Crist v. Davis, Crist wins. Davis is a joke. A simple backhand from Bush last week put him into a tail spin for several days (apparently he's still trying to recover). What's he going to do when Crist focuses his attention and money on him?

CFO - Lee v. Sink, Sink wins. I'm least sure about this one, namely, who wins the GOP nomination. A lot of rank and file are excited about Johnson (including myself) and Tom Lee has angered plenty of big donors. But ultimatley, I think Sink is strong enough to beat either. If Johnson wins he may not have the experience, or money, he needs to take Sink down during the short General Election time frame.

AG - McCullom wins. I know a lot of people like Joe Negron, and they're called legislators. Outside of Tallahassee he is less well known. I like him, but with down-ballot campaigns Name ID can be everything if you've got it, and McCollum has it. Plus, he's got gobs of money raising potential.

Ag Commish - Bronson wins. Despite Derek Newtons best efforts, this will be a cake walk against Skip Campbell *Eric Copeland despite his personal contact information fishing excercises he's been engaged in lately.

Among the other US House seats I could mention I think Vern Buchanan will likely win the Harris' 13th District seat, three otherwise good democrat candidates are going to eat each other up trying to fill Davis' 11th District seat, and while the d's think Busanky has a good shot at the retireing Mike Bilirakis District 9 seat, I find it hard to imagine they will take it from current State Rep, and Mike's son, Gus Bilirakis.

That's the big ones. Maybe later I'll talk about some local races here in Tallahassee.

*see comments

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June 06, 2006

"I have not gotten more support ... because they don't believe I can be controlled," Harris said

Memo to Harris campaign:

You've identified the problem, now do something about it. These are your options -

1. Bend over backwards and start being controllable.
2. Keep doing what you're doing, which is running a losing campaign and complaining about option number 1.
3. Quit wasting money on fundraising, hire some professional media firms, put somebody in control of your message and spend the ten million dollars you do have. If you can get the spread to within ten then I think you may get a second look from the "big donors" and the establishment again.

Your message? Talk about Bill Nelson "the liberal," about your experience and leadership, and about immigration and education. I think we all know you are conservative and Christian so lets stick to issues that are going to motivate Floridians on Election Day.

My advice? Move to number 3. If it's not showing significant results by late August then start your farewell tour and personally thank the few hundred people who did donate to your campaign.

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June 05, 2006

The funny thing about politics

Politics is convoluted and upside down, so it's not the path of least resistance that leads to victories in partisan elections, it's often the opposite.

My theory is, if you don't have enemies, then you don't have friends either. You can't win a political office without friends.

See here.

Now, guess what happens if the liberal Bill Nelson takes a stand in support of gay marriage. Is it smart that he won't say what he truly wants to say, or sad that he's not secure enough to say what he believes?

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June 01, 2006

From the Charlie-Crist-is-our-guy file

Florida Masochist notes a recent article in the PB Post titled, "South Florida may be decisive in Democratic primary for governor," and leads with  this,

Jim Davis and Rod Smith each has a little fib he tells on the campaign trail.

There's a lot of voters in South Florida. Between the PB Post and the Miami Herald and the St. Pete Times (not S. Florida, I know, but it's below Orlando!) I wonder what they will be thinking about come election day?

Charlie Crist, crime fighter who refuses to raise taxes.
Laura Gallagher, married to that guy running for office who used to run the insurance business and now day trades unsuccessfully.
Jim Davis, Liar.
Rod Smith, Liar.

How to choose...?

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May 27, 2006

Charlie Crist's biggest competition - Laura Gallagher?

I hope the Gallagher campaign did not encourage this article. Behind in polls and fundraising, Gallagher gets a 1500 word expose on his wife in the largest newpaper in the state. It is a complete waste of earned media and I don't see how it helps Gallagher in any way. If it does anything it introduces doubt into the minds of the voters.

The accomplished Laura Gallagher helps define her husband's campaign, and, perhaps, him as well.

I understand that his marriage is an asset; a fabulous wife and precocious son who provide a strong God fearing Christian influence in his life. But they aren't running for office. They aren't Gallagher's promise to the people. When voters ask, "Why do you want to be Governor of Florida?" his response can't be, "Have you met my wife and son?"

It's no secret I believe the FL media has chosen Crist. It's no secret that I think this race is Crist's to lose. But, to be fair, TG is trying to run a race here. He has put out several good press releases in recent days trying to talk about education reform and continuing Jeb's policies of accountability and choice. He has been making some clear strategic moves by signing the 11th commandment pledge, swearing off 527's and agreeing to debates. And in light of those recent campaign moves FL  media thinks this type of piece is interesting or appropriate? It isn't.

Knowing he's married with children is enough for voters. Detailed information about his family life, religious practices, courting and dating history, or more importantly his wife's involvement in his decision making process, that information is a waste of precious media and time that Tom has available to communicate with voters about himself, his plans and his vision. Information like this puff piece starts begging for detailed questions and answers about subjects that aren't, nor should be, relevant to his challenge for Governor.

Gallagher should be talking about his vision for Florida, his education plans, his opposition to abortion and his support in the Terri Schiavo case. From what I can tell he's trying.

Once Crist starts spending his millions (this weekend) on TV and radio spots Gallaghers job only gets harder. Florida MSM should actually try to make this race interesting and quit trying to hand it off to Crist. A nasty race is better than no race at all, and right now, I don't see a credible race developing.

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May 26, 2006

Media trying to taint already meaningless Q-poll findings

Yesterday I asked, Why don't they report these numbers?

Today, they do (here, here and here). But, of course, they try to taint the information. For instance the Miami Herald wrote,

a majority of Floridians -- mostly Republicans -- now back a Bush administration proposal that would allow oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico 100 miles off the state's coastline

As if the Republicans supported it because Bush proposed it. Here's how the question was read to respondents by Q-poll,

The federal government is considering a proposal to allow oil and natural gas drilling in large sections of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico 100 miles from the Florida coast that are currently off limits. - Do you support or oppose this proposal?

When asked a question about a nonpartisan Federal government program with nondescript support, 76% of Republicans, 37% of Dems, and 45% of Ind's (61% men, 46 % women) said yes. They affirmed sensible energy alternatives not only for Florida, but the United States at large. Respondents didn't say yes because it was a Bush proposal, or a GOP proposal, or an oil company proposal; they said yes because it makes sense.

Q-poll may not be able to poll actual voters accurately, but they know enough about polls to know if you ask a question about a Bush proposal in Florida - where a Bush is governor and enormously popular - the results would naturally be skewed. Unfortunately, our friends in the media take advantage of the situation knowing that most readers will never look up the poll results, and they immediately try to disqualify the findings by tying it to Bush and the Republicans.

When asked about a Federal Government plan to drill more than 100 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, the majority of respondents said yes.

That being said, there are plenty of reason to doubt the Q-poll findings from recent days. I've mentioned a few already.

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May 25, 2006

Q-Poll still means nothing

Again, another meaningless poll on the FL governors race (see here for my problems with the last Q-poll). Let me re-sort the highlights for some clarity -

Crist a 34 -9 percent favorability rating, with 14 percent mixed and 43 percent who don't know enough to form an opinion..
Gallagher gets a 28 - 9 percent favorability, with 16 percent mixed and 46 percent who don't know enough to form an opinion...
Crist tops Gallagher 43 - 26 percent, with 28 percent undecided...

For Davis and Smith, at least 78 percent don't know enough to form an opinion...
Davis leads State Sen. Rod Smith 38 - 17 percent with 41 percent undecided...

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Davis has a razor-thin edge over two Republican contenders in the Florida Governor's race, squeaking by State Attorney General Charlie Crist 40 - 37 percent, with 19 percent undecided, and inching ahead of State Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher 40 - 37 percent, with 20 percent undecided...

"The race for Governor remains wide open. One in five Florida voters are undecided, including almost one in three independents - the group that will decide the election," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Well, that's true. Except the Q-poll asks registered voters, not actual voters.

"The candidates, especially the Democrats, are not well known, so it's reasonable to conclude that President Bush's slide in the polls has hurt GOP candidates in Florida," Brown added.

It's also reasonable to assume that candidates who are unknown in their own party could not possibly be leading overall.

"Although little has changed in the general election matchups, the leading candidates for the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial nominations each have widened their leads."

I want to say this is could be inferred, as they suggest, but in reality the majority of "registered" voters simply do not vote. So, no, we can't know this either. At least not from this poll.

And, does it seem likely to you that 78% can't form an opinion of Davis or Smith, but nearly 60% are still willing to pick one? That's frightening. Or consider that the undecideds in both the dem and gop selects are higher than the undecideds in the General Election head to head. Am I to understand that voters who can't make up their mind in their own primary (likely swing and moderate voters) are more sure about their selection in the General Election?

And, on a side note, if the press is going to report that a democrat who is winning a majority of voters who don't know anything about him (78% can't even form an opinion of him) can somehow win the Governors mansion, then why don't they report these numbers?

By a narrow 51 - 42 percent margin, with 7 percent undecided, Florida voters support lifting the ban on oil drilling in the Gulf Coast 100 miles from the Florida shore, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. 

Political logic should tell you a state that is in favor of a democratic governor would not be in favor of offshore drilling. Actually, common sense would do just fine.

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May 23, 2006

Presbyterian or Methodist in 2008?

While waiting for the 2044 Republican front runner for President of the USA to be born, I've spent a lot of time on the Internet lately.  I began looking at the personal bios of past Presidents and became interested in the religions that had been represented in the White House.  One thing that I found quite interesting is the fact that JFK is the only Catholic to ever sit in the seat. (The Mormons Jehovah's Witnesses have also had just one - Ike).   A large amount of the population is (was) Catholic.  It got me to wondering, does anyone REALLY care about the religious affiliations of those seeking the most powerful position in the world?

In looking at front runners for 2008, I've tried to take into account several polls, but they vary depending on MANY different factors, so I chose Malkin and Kos for obvious reasons.  These only poll on the respective parties, not against each party.  The results were slightly unexpected.

The GOP prefer Frist and the dems Clark.  I can understand Frist (maybe I'm biased) but Clark?  For the record, Clinton came in FOURTH, behind the aforementioned, as well as Feingold and Edwards.  When the parties face off, votes were 46% for McCain and 37% for Clinton

Does the religion matter?  In the democratic primary, you have Baptist (Clark) and Jewish (Feingold) facing off.  Historically, Feingold wouldn't stand a chance.  There have been four Baptists presidents to none for the Jews.  Before you jump all over the Southern Baptist Association and the Bible Belt, the Baptists come in fourth place overall.  In the Republican primary, you would have Presbyterian (Frist) versus Mormon (Romney).  Romney is in the same boat as Feingold.  There have been 10 and 1 Presidents, respectively.  Following the same logic and think-pattern, the election would come down to Presbyterian vs. Baptist (First vs. Clark).  The result would be Frist by a landslide (10 to 4). 

Of course, we know many events, besides religion, come in to play in determining who the next President will be (or even who will make it past the primaries).  If it did come down to McCain and Clinton, you have Episcopalian against Methodist.  Hillary would lose based on our little game here but it is also interesting to note, Bill ran as a Baptist.  He beat the last Episcopalian to run (H.W. Bush).  I wonder if the Clinton's have ever heard "a house divided cannot stand" or "don't be unequally yoked"?  I know, I butchered both sayings, but you know what I mean.

There are HUGE differences in many religions and I suppose that most people think that a sitting President would not push his (or her) religion on the people hence, maybe, the topic isn't discussed much during elections.  I admit that I believe in prayer (as any good Southern Baptist would) and I like that President Bush admits that he spends time in prayer.  However, would I be comfortable with some less popular religion doing the same in the White House?  I just don't know...would you?

Mr. H

May 22, 2006

The 2006 Election - The Democrat Death Knell

Townhall features a great article today by Dustin Hawkins which wonders what it will mean for democrats when they still lose overall in the 2006 election despite the fact that Republicans are at such a weak and vulnerable point.

The Democrats are acting like it is going to be their version of 1994: Then, Republicans made a 54-seat gain in the House and netted 8-seats in the Senate to take control of Congress. But their confidence is also their error. If the Democrats fail to recapture either chamber, which is the most likely scenario, then what does that say about the future of a party that cannot win when its opponent is at its worst? If Democrats manage to stay in minority status after November it says far more about Democrats than it does about Republicans. If they manage to take control it’s no big deal; after all, they are supposed to win, right?

Hawkins hits it right on the head when he explains that even though Republicans have made a number of critical errors in the last few years democrats offer no real alternatives, so they will continue to lose, and they will lose in the next election.  So what does this mean for democrats?  I'll answer, it means the beginning of the end.  At the end of this year's elections, democrat leadership will be faced with some hard decisions.  In the face of a loss where they had every advantage they could hope for, they will be forced to reexamine the very foundations of their party and the party will either have to divide or die.

The same is true of Florida democrats.  I noticed today at Florida Moonbat Central, FLA Politics, that one reader has added Election day as "Death Blow to Republican Nomination Day" to the site calendar.  But it is almost considered a given that Republicans will win every state wide seat with one possible exception on that day.   We keep hearing from the dems about how horrible the Jeb Bush administration has been, but polls continue to show strong support for Jeb Bush.  I submit that the elections later this year will signal the tolling of the death knell for the democrat party.  If they can't win this year, they just can't win.  And when they lose, it will be time for some major changes that will fundamentally alter the democrat party.

- Mr. G

Not-so-Sorry Charlie Crist not worried and neither is the MSM

In this Saturday News-Press piece about Charlie Crist's release of his 'Hurricane Plan' the journalist got a little off topic. I suppose she wanted to gently remind people who Charlie Crist is when he took a detour from the story subject,

He [Charlie Crist] also made a brief tour, stopping to talk with elderly residents and ask for their vote.

"You're Chain-Gang Charlie," said patient Bob McClure the minute Crist walked up.

Crist was obviously surprised at the recalling of a nickname he had while serving in the Florida Senate.

His sponsorship of a bill creating roadside-working chain-gangs led to the moniker, which Crist has not touted in recent years.

It has nothing to do with Hurricane preparedness, and it has everything to do with letting voters know who the media supports.

The money quote from this piece?

"Who are you running against?" McClure asked.

"Nobody," Crist laughed.

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May 18, 2006

Tom Gallagher - goal setter

Ok, so the primary objective of any campaign, especially a Primary, is to clearly establish a difference between you and the other guy(s). Yesterday, Tom Gallagher sent out his education policy paper saying he'd reinvent Florida's High Schools, and for the most part, he is just like Charlie Crist - Continue with Jeb's policies, support for vouchers, increase graduation rates, get back to basics, increase discipline and responsibility.

But Gallagher goes a step further, presumably to set himself apart, by pledging to raise the state high school graduation rate to 90% by 2020.

I respect that. I want that. I think we can and should do it. But, I also think making this policy goal a public statement is a mistake. Not because of the difficulty of it, nor because of the unlikely possibility of it actually occuring, but because most people are negative about the prospects of government being able to achieve such a thing.

Conservatives don't believe the answer lies with government to begin with, and Liberals secretely know that the likelihood of success of any of their policies - like full graduation, full employment, zero homelessness - is so unlikely that it continually gives them power to try harder, spend more, do more. Setting a goal like this leads most normal people to think you some sort of dreamer, trying to use government to fulfill some sort of pipedream that you were convinced of during college.

Most good leaders set high goals, work hard to achieve them, and recognize that failing only means succeeding at a higher level than their detractors. But most good leaders also don't set themsleves up for a fantastic crash.

I think there's a difference between actually being Governor and saying you want 90% graduation from your education commissioner, and saying you want to be Governor so you can achieve 90% graduation. The simple fact is 90% graduation is probably not possible. It's worth striving for, it's worth trying, but voters can tell a wild claim, fantastic, outrageous, unattainable, and they see it as a desperate plea. While your at it, why not strive for 100%?

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May 17, 2006

Marco Rubio, Speaker of the House

Today's Weekly Planet includes an article on the next Speaker of the House Marco Rubio by Wayne Garcia. Check it out.

He's the new face of the Republican Party post-Jeb, guiding the always-more-conservative-than-the-Senate House of Representatives over the next two years. He'll be the first Cuban American in that role and the second-youngest speaker.

"It never ceases to amaze me the complexity of the issues we face in the state of Florida," Rubio said by phone. "Florida is facing a property insurance crisis like no state has ever faced. That's had a dramatic impact on the insurance industry. So people turn to government for a solution. But government doesn't always have a solution."

Considering he's the only known political leader going into next year it's important to get an idea of where we might be heading. I think this article is a good introduction to the conservative that will lead FL government for the next year, maybe two, as others grasp to build and grow their power.

Oh yeah, PRFL is mentioned too.

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May 11, 2006

Second fiddle

Over at O'Blog my friend Bob is making some observations regarding Tom Gallagher,

This isn't the first time Florida's CFO has played second fiddle to better Republicans.  He was second fiddle to Jeb Bush (twice), he was second fiddle to Bill McCollum, and he so often mentions that he is a husband and father that he is playing second fiddle to his wife and son in his own campaign. 

Gallagher has played second fiddle to Charlie Crist in fundraising and polling, and come September he'll become the Buffalo Bills of Florida politics.  He should have run for Senate when he had the chance.

I've never thought of the wife and son angle in quite that way, but I think he's right.

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Eric Copeland - typical democrat, without a plan

Found something interesting, but not surprising, over at Eric Copeland's site today.

Go to the site, and click on the heading titled Mission Statement. You should get a page that says,

No input file specified.

How utterly and pathetically correct. When it comes to an actual mission - as in having a plan - democrats, and Eric Copeland in particular, have, "no input."

Go quick, I know Derek Newton checks my site everyday so it's unlikely the site will remain this way for too long.

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May 10, 2006

Another useless poll

Does this even need to be rebutted? Anybody who places stock in an internal poll of only 600 respondents gets exactly what they deserve.

In the AG's race, Campbell - though unknown to 75% of those surveyed - is statistically tied with Bill McCollum (unknown to 38%) 41%-37%. MOE was +/1 3.5.

You have got to be kidding me. What are they thinking over at the Times to report on internal polling with 13.5% MOE? They should get the Knucklehead of the Day award from The Florida Masochist.

Show of hands, how many people think Walter "Skip" Campbell is going to win the AG race? Raise them high. Come on people, I can't see you back in the back if you don't stand up.

Seeing none.

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Ron Klein, still just a lobbyist

Ron Klein doesn't get it,

"One might ask, `What are we doing under this bridge?' " Klein said to a crowd of supporters, including Broward Democratic Party Chairman Mitch Caesar and Caesar's ninth-grade daughter, whom he pulled from school early for the political event.

Klein, of Boca Raton, said when the Clay Shaw Bridge was dedicated to the longtime congressman in 2002, gas was $1.35 a gallon. Now prices are topping $3.

Education, less important than politics - check.
Politicizing monument to wildly popular and historic congressman in the name of liberal hypocricy - check.

The Shaw campaign office gets it,

Shaw's office called Klein's speech hypocritical, pointing out that Klein had benefited personally from America's dependence on oil. Klein's financial disclosure forms from last year show he held stock in oil-gas energy company Kerr McGee Corp. Klein also reported holding stock in World Fuel Services, which describes itself as "the major oil companies' marketer of choice in the aviation and shipping industries.''

Speaking truth to hypocricy - check.

The NRCC gets it,

The National Republican Congressional Committee also issued a news release pointing to Klein's 2004 vote against a gas tax holiday for Florida consumers.

And Shaw spokeswoman Gail Gitcho definitely gets it -

"The only thing Ron Klein has named after him is a lobbying firm,''

I love that quote. I imagine it was bantied around at a morning office meeting and somebody was just waiting for a good opportunity to use it. *Note to Harris camp - this is what good PR and communications looks like.

Also, I wanted to point this out -

Qualifying for the November election began this week in congressional races. Shaw qualified Tuesday to run, submitting over 6,000 signatures -- 4,458 were required -- rather than paying the fee. Klein plans to qualify today by paying the $9,500 fee.

Now that Klein is down $800,000 big ones he may want to think about saving every penny he's got.

I suppose when you decide to challenge a man who has been re-elected 12 times, in a district that overlaps your own by only 20%, then you better have some on-the-ground support before you start talking a big game. I think by not getting the signatures Klein has made it clear that this race may be one of the most talked about nationwide, but voters back home have already decided. Somebody should tell Klein if he really wants to start lobbying somebody for a new job he should start with the voters and not the liberals in DC.

Better yet, just tell Klein to go home.

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May 09, 2006

Good news for Smith

More good news for Smith.

After last week's endorsement from the Broward Teachers Union, Smith locks up the two largest teachers unions in the state. This is something of a minor coup for Smith because in all of my dealings with Davis supporters they all expected Davis to receive the support of educators in a big way. Whether Smith gets the FEA endorsment or not is now irrelevant.

Last week I made this comment with regard to Democrats inthis years elections,

If the more "electable" candidate [Davis] is not going to win anyway, then activist want to support the guy they like the most. That action, of course, has the effect of marginalizing the entire organization and closing the door on any late election gaffes by the front runner and/or the possibility of a come from behind victory by an otherwise strong candidate.

I'm guessing it's possible FEA may have actually set it up to happen this way. They can allow a functional majority of it's members to endorse their favorite candidate through the local organizations while the official position of FEA is noncommital. The FEA has thus provided itself a backdoor to the "marginalizaiton effect" I mentioned above.

Maybe the democrats should hire the FEA political staff to run their campaigns. It seems like they have some intelligent people working for them.

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May 05, 2006

The other Broward endorsement

The Broward Teachers Union endorsed Rod Smith yesterday. Davis should hope this is the exception and not the rule. If Smith picks up the Florida Education Association endorsement next week then the dems could have a real race on their hands. Apparently some dems want to fight, not just nominate the most electable candidate.

A couple of days ago I mentioned some side effects when the media signals it's preferred choice. Well, another side effect is what you are seeing with this democrat development - when democrats know they are going to lose, and the media has signaled as much, then the determination is made to go down swinging. If the more "electable" candidate is not going to win anyway, then activist want to support the guy they like the most. That action, of course, has the effect of marginalizing the entire organization and closing the door on any late election gaffes by the front runner and/or the possibility of a come from behind victory by an otherwise strong candidate.

So much for sitting and waiting for the GOP to damage each other allowing for the democrat to go head-to-head in the fall.

What liberal media?

None here. No. Nothing to see. Move along.

UPDATE: At least she gets a prize - Knucklehead of the Day Award Winner.

Tensions build in race for Gov.

Today's Miami Herald,

In a vote about as surprising as summer's arrival in Florida,
Broward Republican activists on Thursday overwhelmingly endorsed
Charlie Crist for governor -- again -- over rival Tom Gallagher.

The unexpected moment of the night was that Gallagher showed up,
knowing he didn't have the votes. So did Crist, though many supporters
assumed the two-time winner would come to bask in his victory.

The vote -- called after complaints that a Jan. 30 endorsement vote was unfairly conducted -- was 194 to 24.

''I'm humbled by your support,'' Crist said after the vote was announced. ``Tom, let's have a good race.''

Gallagher kept a smile on his face but said: ``I think every
individual should pick a candidate, but it's a mistake to have the
organization itself involved.''

I wasn't there, but just reading that passage I can feel the tension as Gallagher forces a tortured smile on his face not allowing for the possibility of a "good race" and not wanting to confirm that very private notion in public.

The tension is building, and this action in Broward will not go unpunished by the Gallagher "faithful" who feel wronged, again, and will eventually find themselves in positions of power. It's unfortunate we hold so many grudges in a process that is supposed to be raucous and civilized at all once.

My wife's words are often best - they're both Republicans. Get over it.

May 01, 2006

More thoughts on Sorry Charlie

There is no question the Florida media by-in-large does not support the conservative candidates of this state. However, there is a difference between supporting the opposition and knowing when to choose sides. And while there is still the Primary to get through, the race for Florida Governor is essentially over.

While Republicans hold virtually every office in Florida they wouldn't have been able to accomplish it if not for some right leaning democrats, Independents, NPA's and moderate Republicans voting comfortably for republicans they don't agree with on everything, but more so than the democrats on the other side. Those voters get their cue from print media and you can count the media among those groups who have learned to acknowledge when the gig is up, the GOP candidate is going to win, and it would be in their best interest to help the "lesser of two evils" take office.

Once the media has designated a candidate that will be best for Florida the cue has been given to moderate voters in Florida that the candidate most likely to win, but least likely to take extreme positions, is thus.

It appears that choice has been made. This week it's Daniel Ruth from the TBO. Who will it be next week? We should see more and more "objective pieces" from the media defending Crist from Gallagher's attacks and occasionally extolling the moderate policy positions offered by Jim Davis that they would like to see when Charlie Crist is elected.

It may be that Tom Gallagher will be able to look back to last week and thank the brainchild behind sorrycharlie.com for his ultimate defeat. He was facing an uphill battle already, and everyone expected some mudraking and dirty tactics to take a downward spiral - many were secretly looking forward to it - but the juvenile website is a hint at the types of strategies and activities a Gallagher administration is willing to allow. Whether they encouraged it or not, they certainly did not discredit it, and it was probably the beginning of the end of their campaign.

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April 27, 2006

April Strategic Vision poll: Harris, Gallagher, Smith still lose their respective races, Bense a big winner

Say what? Nelson, Crist and Davis still hold substantial leads according to SV. None of that is news to anybody paying attention (maybe the Gallagher people will be surprised it's not dead even), but there was some quirky bit of info to be found and I pulled it out.

This poll reminded me that I have always thought there was something wrong with this poll but I never really knew what. I think I figured it out this time around - oversampling southern Florida voters. Here's some interesting results with the appropriate information underlined,

29. If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support? (Republicans only)
                Tommy Franks 38%
                Katherine Harris 34%
                Mark Foley 5%
                Allan Bense 4%

                Tom Lee 3%
                Ginny Brown-Waite 3%
                Dave Weldon 2%
                Daniel Webster 1%
                Undecided 10%

             

30. If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support? (Republicans only; Franks Excluded)
                Katherine Harris 36%
                Tom Gallagher 34%
                Mark Foley 7%
                Allan Bense 5%

                Tom Lee 3%
                Ginny Brown-Waite 2%
                Dave Weldon 1%
                Daniel Webster 1%
                Undecided 11%

             

31. If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support? (Republicans only; Gallagher Excluded)
                Katherine Harris 35%
                Mark Foley 19%
                Allan Bense 12%
                Tom Lee 8%

                Ginny Brown-Waite 5%
                Dave Weldon 3%
                Daniel Webster 1%
                Undecided 17%

             

32. If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support Katherine Harris or Alan Bense?
                Katherine Harris 38%
                Allan Bense 21%

                Undecided 41%

             

33. If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support Katherine Harris or Mark Foley?
                Katherine Harris 39%
                Mark Foley 24%

                Undecided 37%

             

34. If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support? (Republicans only; Harris Excluded)
                Tommy Franks 42%
                Mark Foley 15%
                Allan Bense 7%

                Ginny Brown-Waite 4%
                Dave Weldon 3%
                Tom Lee 3%
                Daniel Webster 2%
                Undecided 24%

             

35. If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support? (Republicans only; Harris and Franks Excluded)
                Tom Gallagher 33%
                Mark Foley 21%
                Allan Bense 5%

                Ginny Brown-Waite 4%
                Dave Weldon 3%
                Tom Lee 2%
                Daniel Webster 1%
                Undecided 31%

             

36. If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support? (Republicans only; Harris, Franks, Gallagher Excluded)                
                Mark Foley 28%
                Allan Bense 12%

                Ginny Brown-Waite 7%
                Tom Lee 6%
                Dave Weldon 3%
                Daniel Webster 1%
                Undecided 43%

What does it say? When Franks, Harris and Gallagher are on the ballot, Foley and Bense are similar in results with Foley scoring slightly higher. Remove Franks and both Bense and Foley rise slightly, but of no consequence. Remove Gallagher (popular in S. Florida) and Foley's name rises twice as fast (not to mention Lee more than doubles)

Put Harris head-to-head with either Bense or Foley and they do relatively equal (within the MOE). Put Franks (a Tampa and S. Florida favorite) back in and the results drop to original numbers. And, the clencher for me is, when you put Gallagher head-to head with these guys then Foley's numbers rise dramatically but Bense's barely move, a clear indication of head to head competition between two well known S. Florida guys.

I think this poll samples heavily from Tampa and various points south. It would make sense statistically speaking to poll from that area since a majority of FL residents, and voters, live south of Tampa. But, I think it is clear that higher name ID for candidates in or from that part of the state ellicit higher responses, possibly so much so that voters aren't really picking one over the other so much as saying, "if I have to pick one (instead of Harris) then I've heard of this guy." It's not preferential, it's popular memory. The bad news is, unfortunately, blindly picking the name voters are most familiar with can, and often does, win elections too. This is also why the first name on the ballot gets a 2-4 point bump.

The good news (for Bense anyway) is Foley has come out and said he's not getting in. Ditto for Franks. (Which raises the question of why they are still in this poll? Jennings too. Why do they keep polling information about Jennings?)

Want more proof?

27. If the election for Chief Financial Officer were held today between State Senate President Tom Lee and State Representative Randy Johnson, whom would you support? (Republicans only)
                Tom Lee 28%
                Randy Johnson 23%
                Undecided 49%

45. If the election were held today for United States Senate, whom would you support, Bill Nelson, the Democrat or Tom Lee, the Republican?
                Bill Nelson 48%
                Tom Lee 37%
                Undecided 15%

Tom Lee only polls over 3% when the big names are off, and he's barely beating Randy Johnson in head-to-heads (not a good sign for Lee). But if he's the only pick, then his numbers skyrocket. Look at the undecideds. They're lower than the overalls. A sure sign that these voters, when given only two choices, know exactly what they want, and that tells me these samples are overly familiar with Tampa and south florida candidates.

Also, I think in the Strategic Vision polls we are seeing an indifference to candidate Harris. I think the numbers reflect the maximum she can get (around 40%), and I think that's generous if it turns out this poll truly does oversample the Tampa or south FL vote. There is no doubt in my mind if Bense hit the campaign trail he would start with 30% of the south FL vote, win most, if not all, of north FL, and eventually the undecided vote would swing his way. I honestly think he could ignore everything West of Gainesville, there's nothing Harris could do to swing it.

So, all he has to do is focus on Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Port Charlotte and the rural areas in between, Visit Orlando and Jacksonville on the weekends and voila! This is assuming, of course, substantial monetary and inkind support from the state and national party apparatus. When I first started talking about a possible Harris v. Bense matchup I suggested Bense would be foolish to challenge her, and he was wise enough not to. That was the old Harris. This new Harris is easily beatable by a great candidate. Ultimately, I would say Bense could beat her by something like 54-46.

I think this much is true; Bense has little more than two weeks to file and if he hasn't filed for the US Senate race by May 12, then he should be shortlisted for Lt. Gov. But of course, I've been saying that for a long time too...

P.S. I guess there is one other interesting bit of information, Question 41 -

41. If the election were held today for United States Senate, whom would you support, Bill Nelson, the Democrat or Tom Gallagher, the Republican?
                Bill Nelson 47%
                Tom Gallagher 45%
                Undecided 8%

TG has a little over two weeks too. If Gallagher jumps, then expect Crist and Bense to join forces.(I decided there are too many names from Orlando that make as much, if not better, electoral sense for Crist. Bense is a great candidate, but he doesn't really help Crist in a General Election.)

If Gallagher stays, expect him to beg Bense to join his ticket.

Oh, and I think we may have a democrat for CFO next year. Hard to tell at this point, but definitely possible.

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April 26, 2006

Sorry Charlie

Ok, I won't comment on it, I'll just post the link - sorrycharlie.com - and say that it's pretty obvious this is coordinated with the Gallagher campaign. I don't mean because it's anti Charlie, but because the message points blend nicely with the results of their "little" survey of GOP supervoters.

Here's the thing though, since it obviously is coordinated with the campaign, it comes off as childish and immature. Those aren't qualities synonomous with "come from behind."

And just to drive the point home, this is from the most recent Gallagher campaign email,

It isn’t about the person with the most money, or who is ahead in the polls who will win the election.  It is the campaign with the best grassroots organization that will win.

No, actually, it is about the person with the most money AND who is ahead in the polls AND who has the best grassroots organization. Right now Crist is winning on 2 out of 3. Gallagher can hope that his grassroots will turn the tide on the polls and help with the fundraising, but the best he can hope for is for people to stop giving to Crist and for Crist to start attacking him. And that scenario is a net minus for Gallagher because he will have to spend money to respond.

Do you see how it gets tricky when you get behind? It doesn't help when your efforts start coming across as sophmoric. Be a little more professional is my advice.

And if I'm wrong about it being coordinated with the Gallagher camp, so what? If I was Crist I would attack on it anyway and force the Gallagher campaign to prove they didn't have anything to do with it. It just makes them waste more time and gets them off message.

April 24, 2006

Marty Bowen, Commissioner of Agriculture

This far out, who knows? But she wants it, and I think she has a great chance to win.

But in 2010, two years after being term limited in 2008, Bowen plans to seek a permanent job headquartered in Tallahassee -Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

There's virtually no chance that Bronson will lose this year (Democrats have clearly not targeted him) and he is a great friend of Bowen. He could hire her as Deputy Commissioner during the run up to the election, and it would all be over but the cooking.

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April 21, 2006

Harris ups and downs

Just when it was starting to look like Harris was finally on the right track, she gets knocked back off.

This story is terrible PR -

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel  this week, Harris R-Longboat Key, said it was "news to me"...

In her interview Wednesday, Harris acknowledged for the first time that Wade had paid for the dinner at Citronelle, reversing a statement from her congressional spokeswoman earlier this year.

But in the interview, Harris also said her campaign had, at some point, "reimbursed" the restaurant.

When asked how she could have reimbursed a business that was owed no money -- Wade paid the bill that evening -- she abruptly ended the interview and walked off.

Her spokesman called back an hour later and asked a reporter not to publish anything Harris had said Wednesday night about the dinner.

On Thursday, Harris' campaign released a two-paragraph statement that differed from her explanation a day earlier. It stated that Harris thought her "campaign would be reimbursing" her share of the meal but later found out that hadn't happened.

To resolve any questions, the statement said, "I have donated to a local Florida charity $100 which will more than adequately compensate for the cost of my beverage and appetizer."

That series of statements doesn't resolve any questions that matter to reporters and liberals. And voters.

And, to compund the misery, this story which looks maverick and cutting edge in this take, is just plain silly in this one. From the first story,

Spokesman Chris Ingram said Thursday that the dollars came from the campaign but he didn't know how many were mailed out or how many were returned with checks.

''Believe it or not, it generates a response,'' Ingram said. ``It's a very common practice in political circles and consumer marketing circles.''

But some political insiders -- including her opponent's staff -- were unfamiliar with the tactic outside of the business world.

''We've never heard of this happening,'' said Nelson spokesman Chad Clanton, who has been working on campaigns for more than a decade. ``Obviously it's another bizarre chapter in the Katherine Harris campaign.''

And from the second story,

Two weeks after Harris said she would put millions of dollars of her own money into the race for the U.S. Senate, $1 bills starting pouring in from all over the nation.

In all, more than 220 donations of $1 each came into the campaign in the final week of March.

The $1 donations were prompted by a mass mailing Harris sent to supporters in which she included a crisp George Washington of her own and asked them to multiply the amount and send it back.

Many of those supporters did. Others simply returned the $1, which the Harris campaign counted as a donation and put on her campaign finance report.

Ok. Let's start with Ingram not knowing how many were mailed out or how many returned. Complete BS. If you are going to try a gimmicky stunt like this to raise money (and it does raise money) then you better be prepared for the inevitable questions that are going to come. If you don't have anwers for the obvious questions that are going to come from "I hate you" liberal reporters, then don't take the questions.

Second, I can't believe Clanton said they've never heard of it happening. He's running a campaign for Senate for goodness sakes. The least you should do is act as if you have heard of it, that KH is not breaking any new ground, and that Nelson is more responible with his donations than to send what was likely $10,000 or more in cash through US Postal Service. That's not a lot to a campaign, and it makes good sense from a direct mail point of view, but to the average voter $10,000 is a lot of money and it looks wasteful and fraught with poor judgement. But Clanton didn't spin it that way, instead he said she was different, cutting edge, willing to try new things. Only the Harris camp can't spin that angle because,

In the second story reporters are pointing out that the Harris people are reporting as actual donations the money they sent to donors and subsequently came back. I don't even know if that's legal, but it surely isn't accurate. And besides, only 220? Now, if they only sent a 1000 mailings and 220 came back, that would be phenomenal. I would be ordering up another round at ten times that amount. With all the press coverage of this fundraising effort you can guarantee donors receiving a letter from the Harris camp would open their next piece of mail. The first hurdle in direct mail is getting the recipient to open the letter. Odds are if they will do that then they will read the letter. If the will read it, then the odds go up they will respond. At 22% response rate on the first mailing it's guaranteed to do as well the next time.

But no, they didn't send 1000, they probably sent 10,000, or 100,000. And at those numbers 220 (or more) is pawltry, silly, and wasteful.

You see how easy it is? Why can't they get it together over there? Why can't they take control of the message? The Nelson camp is only good at staying quite and getting out of the way, and when the Harris camp does the right thing they fall all over themselves answering questions that detract them from their message.

I can't believe they aren't mopping up the Nelson camp.

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April 20, 2006

With polls, subsets will tell you everything

And I will tell you the recent Q. poll is misleading on it's face, the state of Florida is not a toss up state. But, with a little digging we can get some relevant information from this otherwise useless poll.

The Q. poll will tell you 951 registered voters (which is about the most unreliable group to poll) can't decide - statistically speaking - who they want for governor. When you take a closer look a the subgroups it's not surprising. A third of those polled were identified as non party, non affiliated, independent or some other party. These voters, by definition, are undecided. Why bother?

Of the 951 polled, 383 are democrat and 385 are republican, and that means the margin of error for the intra party head-to-heads subsets is approximately 5%, not the 3.2% used for the entire polling sample.

However, among the democrat subset sampled fully half were undecided. This means Davis was beating Smith 27 to 17 among 192 registered democrats, who may or may not vote, or have ever voted for that matter, with a margin of error that now stands at 7%. My professional opinion is the selection bias (registered voters) is further error prone because less than half of registered voters actually vote, but since this is outside the margin of error I would still say Davis is beating Smith. By how much I am unsure.

Among GOP, a full third were undecided, so among roughly 255 registered republicans who may or may not vote, or have ever voted, Crist was beating Gallagher by 4 points, with a margin of error for this subset at 6.2%. Assuming that a poll of 255 registered voters in a state with 15 million people can be accurate, this number is not outside the margin of error, and it means nothing. For all intents and purposes, they are tied.

And in light of this information nugget,

...the Gallagher campaign this month sent key supporters a summary of a massive internal survey it conducted of likely Republican voters. The 3,000-person statewide survey found Crist leading Gallagher by 2 percentage points, 33 to 31 percent.

I think if the Gallagher camp had raised money like it promised it would, then this information would look much better. As it is, being $2.5 million behind and spending money (not for communication I might add) much faster than Crist, it's going to be difficult, regardless of the poll numbers. It's amazing to say a candidate who has raised $7 million to date doesn't have enough money, but he doesn't. The dynamic created by the design of their campaign is flawed for two reasons. They underestimated Crist's ability to 1) raise money and 2) maintain a lean campaign structure.

But, like I've always said, the Gallagher campaign has possibly the greatest organizational structure ever created for a political campaign in the state of Florida, and if the people are truly behind him, he can pull it out. Unfortunatley, this poll doesn't shed light on that helpful piece of information and every poll up to this point shows Crist with a commanding lead.

When will somebody poll actual GOP voters who actually vote? I'd love to see that information the Gallagher camp is passing around. Feel free to send it to me if you've got it.

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April 10, 2006

Q: When is $1.39 million not enough?

A: When your name is Tom Gallagher and everyone expects you to raise $2.39 million, or more.
A: When your opponent's cash advantage exceeds the amount you have raised in every reporting quarter.
A: When the likelyhood you will close the gap no longer exists.
A: When you are fighting not only your intraparty opponent, but public perception too, and your losing already.

It's time for Tom Gallagher to think seriously about that race for US Senate. His organization will help him tremendously and his willingness to step aside will be rewarded by the GOP faithful. I haven't said it yet, but I have been thinking the only way another Republican can beat Harris in a primary (should it come to that) is in a situation where Harris had the opportunity to do a good thing for the party (again) and refused, and her opponent was put in a similar position, and accepted. Enter Tom Gallagher. Should he consider dropping the race for Governor?

If Charlie Crist wanted to sit on his double digit lead and play defense through the remainder of this campaign he has enough money - and then some - to counter every ad, every action, every strategy from Tom Gallagher all while holding enough money in reserve to outspend whichever democrat emerges from the primary. The only thing to worry about now is if Rod Smith drops out of the race for Governor and looks to the AG or Commisioner of Agriculture posts leaving a single candidate to begin his campaign 6 months ahead of schedule. But even that's not much to worry about.

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April 07, 2006

Gallagher camp - They like me, they really like me.

So, I printed the press release from the Crist campaign the other day, I'll go ahead and post today's press release from the Gallagher camp. After you read it, tell me if you are thinking the same thing I am. If you've already read it or you attended the event, then skip to the bottom.

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, April 07, 2006

Social Conservative Leaders Unite Behind Tom Gallagher

TALLAHASSEE
Florida Chief Financial Officer and candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor Tom Gallagher today announced more than 100 social conservative leaders who will comprise his Social Conservatives for Gallagher Coalition. The Social Conservatives for Gallagher Coalition will continue building grassroots support for Tom Gallagher’s campaign among values voters in the upcoming election.


“The next Governor must have a clear and concise vision, and the courage to stick to his convictions. I have laid out specific policy proposals, taken clear stands on the issues, and have stood on our values throughout my campaign,” said CFO Tom Gallagher. “I am excited by the outpouring of support we have received from Florida’s families and social conservatives, and I will continue to outline my proposals to expand on Jeb Bush’s conservative leadership of our state.”


Tom Gallagher is the only candidate for Governor of Florida who is running a campaign consistent with the core values of the Republican Party. Tom Gallagher is pro-life and will advocate for laws to limit the number of abortions in Florida. Tom Gallagher will work to encourage and increase the number of adoptions in our state through expanding the One Church One Child Program, and opposes efforts to allow homosexuals to adopt. Moreover, Tom Gallagher is the only candidate for governor with a 100% pro-life voting record and who has been consistent in his support for an amendment to Florida’s
constitution defending marriage as the union between a man and a woman.


John Stemberger, who most recently led the effort to have a ballot initiative defining and protecting traditional marriage in Florida was named as Statewide Coalition Chair for the Social Conservatives for Gallagher Coalition.


“There is no question where Tom Gallagher stands on the issues important to Florida’s conservative voters,” said Stemberger. “As a father and a family man, Tom has stood with us to defend innocent life, oppose redefinition of marriage, and promote the values that make our families stronger. Others may claim consistency when the cameras are on, but Tom lives his conservatism.”


“There is no doubt in Florida’s social conservative community that Tom Gallagher is the right candidate to defend our values,” said Pam Olsen, who served as National Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney Social Conservatives. “No other candidate has proven their commitment to defend our mainstream Florida values like Tom.”


Mrs. Olsen will serve as Statewide Co-Chair for the Social Conservatives for Gallagher Coalition.


The coalition announced today includes over 100 Social Conservative Leaders from across the state, including Bush-Cheney Social Conservatives, Christian Coalition Members, and Clergy.

###

I'm not going to print the one hundred names that went with it....

Now here's my thought -
Crist press release, "we raised buckets of cash from thousands of people."
Gallagher press release, "we have one hundred friends."

Now look, I doubt anybody will support conservative positions more than I will. In fact, I can say there is no question in my mind that I, Mr. C, am more conservative than Tom Gallagher. But, from a political strategy perspective, uhm, I don't think that press release is going to cut it when it comes to winning this election.

On Monday, Gallagher better be sporting a press release that says, "Tom won the powerball and has dedicated his winnings to his campaign for governor." If he's not, I think we'll look back on that Friday "big announcement" as the moment Tom jumped the shark. Either he's keeping up, or surpassing, Charlie in fundraising, or he isn't. And, if he isn't, then he should look to another office... again.

I don't think Florida has ever seen a better organized campaign than the Gallagher campaign, but the strategy is leaving much to be desired. I am starting to think there is a reason Charlie is raising so much money, and that reason may be larger than Tom's organization. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

100 friends. You gotta be kidding. This isn't another "yellow rose garden" campaign.

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March 16, 2006

Harris will stay in race for US Senate

I'm out of the office this morning, but as you suspect, have plenty to say on this subject. Good and bad.

come back after lunch.

I apologize for bad spelling/grammar. I'm in a bit of a hurry.

I am heartened to see her still willing to fight. I have long supported her and want her to win. I think she has made an outstanding Representative and will make a tremendous Senator. I am dissappointed in teh lack of support she has received from naitonal Republicans (including from the White House and from the NRSC) but que sera sera. Nothing you can do about that except drop $10 million of your own money to prove them wrong. Good luck Representative Harris. I support you.

First, here's the video of her announcement last night. Was it just me or did it seem as though she wanted to breakdown the whole time. She is really terrible on these shows and she should stop going on them. I think someone is telling her that the national shows create more exposure and more oportunity for fundraising. Normally, I would agree. But in this case, I think Harris would be better served if she would stay off the national shows, stick with Fl news outlets only, and let the rest of the nation use their imagination regarding her. Get her off national tv.

Second, I love that Harris is committing her full financial resources to this race. It is reminiscent of the entreprenurial spirit among business owners in this country. Risk everything, gain everything. I respect that she is not going to allow other people tell her how to liver her life or pursue her ambitions. Those days are behind her.

Third, she may not listen to GOP leadership, but she better start listening to campaign consultants. Get on the campaign trail, leave D.C. and don't come back except for the most important votes. If Sean Hannity wants to campaign for her, then fine, but no more appearances on the Hannity and Colmes show. Find your message (leadership, experience, conservative) and pump it. Label Nelson a liberal and spend at least half your money in direct mail, TV, and radio pushing that message.

Fourth, whoever told you you need 2.5 million a week for TV in Florida is trying to take all your money. What you need is targeting. Knowing who you are going to target with message, who you are going to target for votes, knowing how to, and where to, spend your money is just as important as having the money. Targeting will allow you to be effective, productive, efficient and results oriented with your fathers legacy. It doesn't sound or look like, to me, you have had any targeting. Email me. It's what I do.

After you target them, you need to blanket them with message. From this point forward you should be trying to contact every targeted voter once a week. That would be 30+ contacts per target. In order to do so your average per voter contact can only be around .50 cents. That will require a liberal mix of traditional, progressive and free communication efforts through various media outlets.

Fifth, come up with a good reason for the complete departure of staff from your campaign. I would suggest everybody you brought on for this race needs to go and everybody who helped you win your house seat, plus a few extra, should be brought in. Those people understand you, know how you work, understand your tendencies, and know how best to use them. That, BTW, is also a good reason for recent departures of everybody else.

Lastly, stop allowing the media to frame the issues and put you on the defensive all the time. Nelson hasn't spent a dime on you and he has been the beneficiary of all your negative media. You have to stop giving him a free lunch. The media isn't necessarily out to get you, but you aren't giving them anything else either.

And finally, you don't want this campaign to be about ethics. Make this campaign about your experience, leadership and credentials, and about Nelsons liberalism. Nothing more, nothing less.

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March 10, 2006

Local Politics - Leon County Commission District 5

Bob Rackleff, incumbent Leon County Commissioner from District 5, has already started with the yard signs. This comment, titled Friends don't let friends, popped up in the Tallahassee Democrat yesterday.

Having to look at Bob Rackleff's signs for eight to nine months is too much. Having political signs in your yard for that long is trashy.

Bob Rackleff - trashy. Harsh words for a historically popular candidate for local office with more than six months until election day.

It seems terriibly early for a candidate with no history of fundraising problems and who has never received less than 60% of the vote in any election. Scientifically speaking, yard signs have a debatable effect (other than building the psyche of the candidate and supporters) on election results anyway, and distributing them this far in advance is not considered an effective use of funds on local races like county commission, especially for a candidate who should have nothing to worry about. To some it may look like he's getting a head start, to others, like myself, it looks like he's scared and spending money too early. From the commentary above I would suggest it's possible he may actually turn more people away the longer his signs are out.

Plus, rumors of discontent among other Leon County Commissioners and the general tiresome malaise Rackleff puts everyone in has people asking questions about his ability to retain this seat.

And for good reason too. His primary (meaning strongest, not only) opponent is Frank Mayernick, a young professional consultant and lobbyist from Tallahassee. Word on the street is he's a fantastic personality, a real stand up guy known for building bridges and finding consensus, and oh yeah, awash with campaign funds. He has raised more money than Rackleff, over $50,000 since filing, and has spent very little to date. To my knowledge (which is limited at this point) he hasn't stopped.

In this nonpartisan race you have to ask yourself, if you are the type of voter who says, "why don't those guys do something instead of putting it off, and debating, and talking all the time - why don't they stand up for people like me?," then I encourage you to contact, contribute, and volunteer time to the Mayernick Campaign. Tell them we sent you.

PEER Review will be keeping an eye on this local race.

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March 08, 2006

Light posting

Light posting will be the order of the day.

I'm organizing and learning how to use a new media tracking service I'm Beta testing. Hopefuly everything will work fine and I won't miss any news. It's all just rhetoric for now anyway.

I did find the feeler article on Mark Foley interesting. I expected it a couple months ago, but, who's to say what they were thinking. He has been good about keeping his name in the media without actually doing anything publically. Campaign prep 101. You can find it in chapter 3 of my book.

Plus, he's set himself a very high threshold for entering the race and a very low threshhold for outcome - a good combination for a first time statewide candidate.

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March 06, 2006

Adam Smith's plan for democrats

Sounds similar. Today in the St. Pete Times -

But if they had any sense, Florida Democrats would stop obsessing about the governor's mansion and start paying more attention to Florida's least understood office: chief financial officer. That's the Democrats' best shot for statewide victory at this point and the most realistic path to rebuilding their cash-strapped, influence-strapped and prominent-candidate-strapped party.

July 15, 2005 in PEER Review -

So, if you were a Democrat and you don't have any chance of victory in any major political race then you have to consider how to build your party back into relevancy. The answer is to attack the remaining cabinet positions: Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Attorney General (AG) and Commissioner of Agriculture.

I admit, I went to say Tom Lee was a lock. But, in my own defense, that was long before I, or anybody else, knew about Alex Sink (it wouldn't be until August 29 we would learn of Sink entering the race). That notwithstanding, I also said,

So, if the Dems want to wield any power, influence any policy, raise any money, or have any relevancy before 2010 (redistricting) then they have to target one, or both, of the statewide offices they could theoretically have a chance to win. But the first caveat is they have to agree to do this as a party. They have to sit down and say, "Let's be honest, we can't win this, or this or this, but we do have a shot at these races." That means they may have to forego the obligatory support for a candidate for Governor to focus on other races. And it also means sacrificing otherwise decent and respectable candidates (from the Democrat's perspective) for the greater good.

I then went on to theorize why Rod Smith would make a great AG candidate (and still would BTW) and why Bronson was vulnerable to attack from the left. Some leading democratic consultants agreed with me (and would later go on to represent Eric Copeland to challenge Bronson), and I suspect my theory got a few reads among GOP circles. I've read or heard it repeated back to me in recent months. Although the scene has changed slightly - Rod Smith is not likely to switch with McCollum in the race (the likely winner) and Bronson is in no fear of losing to his challenger - the theory still holds true.

Later I wrote on Dec 13, 2005,

Alex Sink has a real shot at the CFO position and it looks like Karen Thurman is the real deal at the FDP. In the AG Bill McCollum is a two time loser in GOP primaries, which may actually make him a stronger General candidate, and I think his name ID is too much to overcome in either the Primary or the General Election. There is no chance Eric Copeland wins Ag. Commissioner.

If Democrats are serious about trying to rebuild then they must sacrifice support for some candidates in favor of those that can actually win. At this point, Smith is right, Alex Sink is their best, and likely only, shot.

Two caveats - One, I still believe if Rod Smith switched to the AG race it would disrupt everything. Jim Davis would be left alone to focus on fundraising and one single candidate (Crist) in the General. Smith would put a serious challenge to McCollum, Sink could upset Lee in the CFO race, and Bronson would instantly become the only safe Republican. With Nelson a strong incumbent for US Senate, the impact on the total democratic ticket, statewide organization, and fundraising capabilities would be ginourmous. It is still unlikely anyone could defeat Crist, but it would be a tremendous tectonic shift in FL politics if dems had the courage to consult a candidate for governor to step aside and possibly win two of four cabinet seats as a result.

Second, if Bush announces for US Senate and Harris steps aside it is unlikely any democrat wins regardless of the scenario and the dems best shot would still be Alex Sink.

That being said, why don't FL dems throw all their weight behind her?

UPDATE: I just noticed this piece, Run Jeb, Run!, from the weekend over at SPT. I have to start wondering how much they are using PEER Review for story prep? I mean, besides me, who has been talking about Jeb as a Senate candidate?

Feb 22, 2006 - Of course, if he submits his name for consideration to the US Senate and Katherine Harris steps aside, then the election is over for every statewide democrat on the ticket in November.

Jan 5, 2006 - If Jeb Bush does get into the Senate race, and many suspect he is planning a run for something, then every republican down the ticket wins in November.

Dec 13, 2005 - If Jeb Bush gets in the race then it’s over the day he announces. After repeated denials of any interest for post Governor positions, he is still leading Nelson by double digits in hypothetical polls. Hands down, Jeb Bush is the most popular and strongest GOP candidate in the state. If he jumped into the Senate race he would win, and he would practically guarantee victories for every GOP candidate down the ticket. The base would rally, the state would support him and everybody benefits (except dems). Jeb would continue to be the most powerful elected official in FL and continue to direct money to whomever he wishes … and FL dems would continue to be flecked and unimportant in state politics.

Nationally, Bush would have an opportunity with a 6 year Senate term to build alliances around the country and inside the beltway. (I personally think he would be much better at this than George, and he wouldn't lose the support of George's base.) He could increase the GOP margin in the Senate, and lead the support for Bush agenda’s in his final two years, historically the most ineffective.

If Jeb does have his eye on the White House this is perfect. His record as Governor of FL would protect him from the Senate Curse in a later run. If Hillary is the nominee he can watch how the electorate (GOP and dem) react to her, react to the vitriol that will surely follow, and react to the first serious female candidate. If she loses, so what? But if she wins, then it gets interesting.

He gets the benefit of learning from whoever loses to her - the mistakes and the successes. It won't take long for Americans to figure out they made a mistake by putting Hillary in the White House and the GOP will be practically begging him to run in 2012, when his Senate term will end. He would surely be the first candidate to raise half a billion dollars to run for President, and he could return the GOP to the economic policies of spending cuts, reducing the size of government and reducing taxes. He is the only possible candidate who has walked the walk when it comes to cutting spending and reducing the size of government.

The bottom line is nobody really knows if Hillary can win. Most don't think she can. Most don't even want to think about what would happen if she did. But Jeb Bush doesn't want to test the theory by being at the other end of the stick that beats the horse. It would be better to watch, from the inside, and learn. If he runs in 2008 and loses to her because of something other than her candidacy (e.g. Bush fatigue) then he's finished. If she wins then the Bush's can wipe the Clinton stain from American politics forever in 2012.

Seriously, somebody needs to put me on the payroll so I will quit writing this stuff in the public domain.

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March 03, 2006

More bad news for Tom Gallagher

The Gallagher campaign has got to do something about this right now or it will be over before it gets started. You can't be behind in the polls, fundraising and rumor circuit.

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Jeb Bush - He has no equal

In a state like Florida you need to seize the opportunity and deal with the problems and move on. This is not a static place. This is not a place for stasis thinking. This is a place for dynamic action.

Sieze it he did. Trendsetter. Policy wiz. Leader. Cost cutter. Most Floridians will not truly acknowledge or recognize the tremendous good Jeb Bush has brought to this state until he has been out of office for a couple years. Although, some may already be looking forward.

None of Bush’s likely successors at this point appears to have either the understanding of policy or the passion Bush marshaled to keep the educational boulder moving. And move it he did. While some continued to criticize the FCAT, Bush’s policies — grading schools, holding systems accountable — forced communities back into schools, narrowed achievement gaps between whites and minority groups, and stimulated significant achievement gains overall.

There's tons to read. If you admire what he has accomplished I recommend reading,not just because of the successes, but the failures and honest mistakes he accepts as the leader of this state. All in all, he was the first Governor to reverse the overall trend of growing government to solve our problems. It didn't always work, but overall, the state of Florida couldn't be in better shape and it's still moving foward.

What happens after Bush leaves will determine Florida politics for decades to come. A GOP candidate could solidify Florida as a conservative state, dedicated to accountability and prudent spending. A democrat could reverse nearly every policy initiative Bush fought for in a few short years. If you enjoy your job, the prosperity of this state, the rising standards in education and increased business opportunities Florida has to offer, then you should hope for the former. If you think Florida should be doing more to provide aid, comfort, assistance and public resources to failing schools, businesses, criminals, and illegal aliens then you should hope for the latter - and expect more of the like to join us.

However, future Governors, no matter which party they belong to, are almost certain to raise taxes. It's inevitable. Building favor in the halls of the capitol mean distributions, cash, and jobs. Some agencies reverse the decline in positions seen during the Bush tenure, some will grow again after many years of stagnation, some will receive the funding long denied by Bush (and for good reason), some privatization efforts will be returned to state oversight and some jobs left unfilled will be filled by supporters of the new administration.  Favors long ago promised to legislators for future support will be backed up. Funding for local districts and "turkeys" often vetoed will be approved. Kickbacks mean money. Higher taxes.

Let's hope nobody gets carried away.

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February 27, 2006

Charlie Justice policy wonk hype just that

The man known for policy and not entertainment flipped this weekend trying to impress the biggest crowd he'll ever see. Over at the Buzz blog they reprint quotes from State Rep. Charlie Justice from this weekend's Hillary visit. His speech writer shows good rhetoric but misunderstood policy -

My friends, isn’t it time we stopped talking about RIGHT and LEFT but simply talked about right and wrong?

I smell a campaign catchphrase.

You tell me: Is it right, left or just flat out wrong to campaign on education and chiden and give our children a one size fits none scheme with tests and a series of voucher programs?

Funny thing about vouchers, they do just the opposite by providing parents with more, not less, options and almost limitless opportunity - especially in an area as large and diverse as Tampa Bay.

Or how about an answer to health care that kicks children off insurance policies?

This is just flat out rhetoric. No child today is denied necessary medical or emergency care. Abortion on demand without parental notification is neither.

Is it right, left or just flat out wrong to campaign as a friend of the working man and consumers yet vote repeatedly to raise your phone rates and increase your property taxes by a quarter of billion dollars, just here in Tampa Bay?

I wish I made enough money to be paying a QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS in taxes. Just like statistics, aggregates can be interpreted however you wish. Regarding phone rates, any service that is held artificially low to provide political cover will create political problems when adjusted. Rates should never have been capped in the first place and rate setting should not be under the purview of the state government. Let the companies decide how much they need to operate with a profit and let the consumer decide which company is the best deal for them.

Is it right, left or just flat out wrong to campaign on less government and more freedom and yet repeatedly vote to have big government intervene in our most personal, painful and private medical decisions?

Freedom from government regulation and protection from abusive spouses are two completely different things. Spousal abuse is illegal - even when one spouse is in a coma - and the Florida justice system protects and prosecutes for it everyday. It was the right thing to do and most people feel a similar gut reaction.

You tell me, is it right, left or just flat out wrong that Rep. Justice covers up his liberal agenda with populist rhetoric that distorts the truth and frames issues in fatalist ways. Where's the positive candidate? Where's the positive policy positions? Ever wonder why voters continue to vote GOP? Then listen to this guy for an afternoon. Scary.

It's amazing how easy it is to pick this guy apart from one little blog reference.

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February 25, 2006

Nelson with a 22 point lead over Harris in recent Q poll?

This is not likely. I suspect something is wrong over at the the Q joint.

Notice the poll took five days? That's highly suspect. And since they started on this poll back in August of 2005  the differrence has been in the 20's and his is starting to look a little suspicious. I think this is also the only poll that Nelson has ever polled over 45% on.

I'll be the first to admit that many, many people loathe Harris. She has an uphill battle to win the US Senate race. And even if she was down more than 20 points initially, her support among Republicans has nearly doubled in recent months. This Q poll does not reflect that.

A candidate of her stature and name ID (and built in GOP support structure) regardless of what dem's think of her would never be down by 22-25 points. It's not possible.

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February 23, 2006

Harris Finance Director leaves

I won't pretend to know what's going on here but it's either one of two things -

1) Mike Miller is jumping ship.
2) Mike Miller wasn't getting the job done.

Well, you don't sign on to a campaign like Katherine Harris if you don't believe in what you are doing, believe in your candidate, and believe you can win. Especially this candidate, this year.

I don't want to say anything negative here, so, I have my doubts about the first option and I never understood why Harris wasn't raising more money. It never made sense to me.

Considering Mike's stellar past performance it could be a simple difference of opinion. In any event, this change must, must, bring about a large and positive change in fundraising efforts. We'll just have to wait and see.

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February 22, 2006

Strategic Vision poll

I bet you're waiting for my analysis of the SV poll released today. I still have questions about this regular poll (like why do they keep including Tony Jennings and what's with the polling on Condi Rice?) but all that aside, there is really nothing new; Harris is still behind, Crist is still ahead, and half of all democrats wish someone else was representing them in the governors race. So, this is the only question that matters -

42. If the election were held today for United States Senate, whom would you support, Bill Nelson, the Democrat or Jeb Bush, the Republican?
                Jeb Bush 52%
                Bill Nelson 38%
                Undecided 10%

If you are running against Jeb and his policies (a la Davis and Smith) then you're a loser. Considering the history this guy has and the extraordinary amount of political warfare that has taken place in Florida over the past 8 years it is astounding how high Jeb polls on a regular basis. The majority of people, and more importantly voters, of this state love Jeb Bush. If you think otherwise you are fooling yourself. Anybody who wants to to win office this year needs to do everything they can to be like Jeb.

Of course, if he submits his name for consideration to the US Senate and Katherine Harris steps aside, then the election is over for every statewide democrat on the ticket in November.

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February 16, 2006

Senator Harris?

You know I am a huge fan of Katherine Harris, but let me say I am shocked Mark Foley didn't get into the race. After Harris' pawltry fundraising last quarter I expected some fireworks in this race. And today, I see her campaign has finally decided to start campaigning. What's the strategy? Paint Nelson as the liberal he is, tout your own strong voting record and leadership, and show strong support for the military and the environment. If she keeps this up (coupled with strong voter targeting, GOTV and efficient use of funds) she may just pull it out.

"You can't be to the left of Charles Schumer and say you're a moderate," Harris says. "That's disingenuous."

GOP political activists have picked up the Clinton-Schumer refrain across the Panhandle.

"He (Nelson) tries to sell himself as a conservative, but he is more liberal than Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer," said Steve Czonstka, Republican state committeeman for Okaloosa County. "It takes more than defense posturing to win votes here. We're conservative here."

Harris points to Nelson's vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito as the most recent and glaring example of his liberal bent.

and,

Harris argues that she has been an effective member of Congress and points to the passage of her American Dream Down Payment Act to help low-income people buy their first home.

and,

On the drilling issue, Harris says she was instrumental in working out a deal that would have protected Florida's Gulf shores in some places out to 234 miles from the coast. It also would have given the last word on whether to allow drilling to the Florida Legislature.

The deal, though, was never voted on by a House committee or on the House floor, which Harris says was Nelson's fault because he refused to accept it as part of the Senate's budget reconciliation deal.

Instead, Nelson has "come up with a worse solution that keeps Congress in charge," she says.

Harris is on the right path now.

"We're confident that when folks across Florida know my background and what I've accomplished, and Bill Nelson's background and what he hasn't accomplished, we will prevail," she said, adding "we're always the underdog."

She's right. But she still needs money.

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February 09, 2006

Wow! A GOP coup. All I can say is, Wow.

That's what I was thinking when I read these two headlines over at Sayfie Review this morning -
Post:  Florida GOP senators change minds on '08 senate president
Herald:  Attempts to oust Villalobos as president of senate fails

Go read them and sit in shock for about 2 minutes.

Then remember, the next time you hear from FL legislators about how 8 years isn't enough and it forces freshman legislators to run for leadership posts in their first year, tell them, "so what." If they choose wrongly they are not afraid to fix it. That's how this system works. If you produce results, you lead. If your leadership fails, you get voted out regardless of committments made to you or of the time you have left to serve.

If you think the party is completely unified and Crist can win the Governors race in a cakewalk, think again. Crist may eventually win because of tremendous money advantages, but will he be able to govern with the authority that Jeb has these past 7 years? Imagine if Gallagher comes from behind to pull it out, how can he govern effectively a party that is willing to challenge itself? Can one of these two step up?

If not, then which organization will step in? AIF is over and to my knowledge is not taking steps to rebuild it's power in Florida. Is the Retail Federation up to it? I think we saw the Chamber willing to flex it's muscle this week, but are they strong enough? Are historically smaller organizations like League of Cities or Association of Counties going to be able to grow into a more effective role. Is that what they do? Meanwhile, the trial lawyers are quietly watching everything unfold. Don't think they don't have a plan... maybe they are even playing a hand in all of this now.

We are in the ebb of the tidal cycle of political power in Florida and everybody is trying to jump out in front. Nobody, as of yet, has the political will, muscle or organization to build the next consensus leadership organization that is willing to pull the reins and threaten the whip.

And also remember, this sort of thing didn't happen during the Bush years. Now that those days are over you can expect more of this sort of "shake things up" behaviors... I have said as much in past posts.

Look at recent events across the state: Rep. Arza suggest getting rid of 3 FL Supreme Court Justices. Broward county throws an endorsement in the Governors race before the primary. Senators attempt a coup of a predetermined Senate President. The NRA takes on the Chamber of Commerce (or vice versa).

Folks, I can't underscore how this just doesn't happen that often when you have strong leadership. The next two years are going to be rocky.

Leave a comment. I've got to take my child to school. He missed the bus. I'll be back later.

February 01, 2006

Superbowls are won with defense

But governor's races are lost by them. Defense. Defense. Defense. Defense.
When do we get to run slick commercials?

January 31, 2006

What he said

I agree completely... except, it aint over until election day. Anybody who has been reading my posts over the past 6 months knows I will criticize and support both candidates. Even today I came to a similar conclusion that this race could be over sooner than we think. But, the biggest problem here, and Stipanovich knows this, is GOP politics is more of a hierarchy then a coalition of like minded individuals.

GOP rank and file are more likely to vote with their leadership than any democratic organization or group. Where dem's pride themselves on individuality we like conformity. Promises made will be promises kept and I suspect many local leaders made commitments to the Gallagher campaign long before they realized how much money Crist could raise... or because of it.

I personally think the possibility exists for Crist to have every advantage in this race, which he clearly does, and still lose because of great  organization over at the Gallagher camp all the way down to the local level. Going in to this race everybody thought Gallagher would wipe the floor in fundraising and campaign manager Brett Doster was probably brought on board to out organize and thus take away Crist's only recourse in the event he was out fundraised. That scenario has clearly flipped, and the Gallagher campaign is now in a position to use it's organization to thwart seemingly insurmountable odds. They have to.

The only strategy that beats money is organization. Doster is a master at it, especially among the rank and file. Don't coun't them out. Yet.

Crist polling near 50% among GOP

I haven't seen anybody with this yet, and I didn't see it on Sayfie so I guess it's not news, but since I'm not the only person who receives emails from the Crist campaign - St. Pete Times The Buzz I'm talking to you - I suspect there is a reason they decided not to go with it. Maybe it's the failure of Gallagher to disclose his conflict of interests problems with his current position as CFO.

This was in my email inbox from the Crist Campaign yesterday,

Today, an independent poll of “1,332 extremely likely” Republican registered
voters revealed that 46.7 percent supported our campaign to become Florida's next Governor, compared to 39 percent for our closest Republican competitor. GOP Communications’ Florida conducted the poll from January 24-28, 2006 and it has a +/-2.85 margin of error.

This most recent poll reveals a widening gap between our campaign for governor and that of my opponent.  Dick Dawson of GOP Communications’ added, “We find the current polling to show a very significant trend in favor of Crist.”

While this is encouraging, there will be many polls between now and Election Day and it is important to remember that the only poll that really counts is the one taken at the ballot box on September 5th.

Citizens across the state believe in our record of consistent conservatism and this most recent poll shows that our record of fighting for the people and our message of hope, safety and opportunity is resonating with Republican primary voters.

A couple of things - First, I don't need a professional pollster to tell me this was an inside job, but I would think at least one news agency would be seeking some sort of confirmation on the numbers, questions, or sample data. Since I'm not trying to be a journalist here, I will tell you what I think of the numbers as provided.

I hate polls of registered voters. No matter how "extremely likely" they are to vote, the only way to know for sure is to poll actual voters. So why, if you are going to go through the motions of polling 1,332 respondents, would you possibly poll voters who may not vote? Because this poll was more likely a benchmark poll testing positions and messages, not support at the ballot box. Crist is probably about to start dumping some media cash and they want to know which message to push. It's that simple.

Secondly, this is a large gap with a small margin of error. Registered voters. Actual voters. Whatever. The entire sample  is GOP and this gap is significant because the thinking among many insiders is Crist is winning name ID among all people (good for the General Election), but among rank and file GOP Gallagher has the organization and the support (good for the Primary Election). If these numbers are accurate and Crist is about to start spending money, then the race is practically over.

If they were done raising money this is probably what would happen -
Gallagher can't spend as much, for as long, or spread the money as wide as Crist can. I expect the Gallagher campaign will start choosing some high value targets (Miami Dade, Broward, Palm Beach) where he can spend his money most efficiently, and a few medium value targets (Jacksonville and outlying counties, Space Coast) where he can use his organization. If Crist wins Tampa and Gallagher wins Orlando, then Gallagher will try to go even on the vote in the high value areas and win the medium value areas outright. He will rely on the religious conservativism of GOP in small counties to help him win, but I suspect the moderate GOP in the panhandle will put Crist over the top in the primary.

Of course, they aren't done raising money. If Crist continues at the same pace he will out-raise Gallagher by as much as 4 or 5 million. Crist can afford to out-spend Gallagher in areas that Gallagher is organized. Money is hard to beat.

Davis and Smith better hope Crist spends it all on the Primary, because he only needs about a million to finish either of them off. Maybe not that much.

January 29, 2006

Is Gallagher suggesting a tax increase?

I don't know, but this quote from a recent visit to the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is not very subtle,

Collect sales taxes on out-of-state Internet purchases to help
"sticks and mortar" businesses in Florida, which are potentially losing
billions of dollars in sales.

Gallagher pointed out that laws taxing mail-order purchases already
are on the books, but they are almost universally ignored. "I'm not
adding a tax," Gallagher said. "It's just a fairness factor."

Sounds like a tax increase to me. Feels like a tax increase. Looks like a tax increase.

I can't believe his campaign let Gallagher anywhere near a public speaking opportunity with those words planned. Either the campaign messed up, or Gallagher was speaking off the cuff and this is a window into his private, personal opinions.

Either way, not good.

January 26, 2006

Why Jim Davis can't win in Florida

Here's a self described Republican female explaining why she doesn't like Davis, and it's got to be one of the best explanations why Davis can't win.

Davis can spend all the money he can raise telling people he's moderate, experienced and the only guy who can win a General Election, and he no doubt will, but in the end he just can't hide his disgust for Jeb Bush. His entire campaign is the anti-Jeb campaign (as opposed to the anti-Crist or anti-Gallagher campaign) and that's a losing campaign strategy in Florida.

From an electoral strategy, the bottom line is Davis can't win without crossover voters. While left wing democrats don't like Jeb and will unquestionably be supporting Davis, Jeb's approval ratings are consistently in the mid 60's. Jeb appeals not only to Republicans (obviously), but also centrist, moderate and conservative democrats who genuinely like what he brings to the table and they respect his leadership. Davis needs more than just democrats, he needs some Republicans too, and here he stands running against Jeb at every turn. If that's his plan then he can't win and Irish Wake has shown us why. Davis is running against more than 60% of the state who approve of what Jeb's accomplished and what he's still trying to do. Maybe Davis should take a moment. Thanks.

January 24, 2006

All I need to know about the opposition...

Is in this article and can be summed up with this quote from top strategist and Florida democratic Party Executive Director Luis Navarro,

Navarro told the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee not to forget that "we've got a score to settle" from the disputed 2000 presidential election, when Bush won Florida by 537 votes.

The GOP is six years ahead and the democrats are six years behind. I can't believe the D's make it this easy.

January 19, 2006

Bad news for Charlie, both of them

The Charlies are shaken right now, but they will both be serving straight up versions of their personalities soon enough.

I predicted months ago that Charlie Bronson, Ag commissioner, would have a tough go of it this year. He is so far down the news ladder that the only news on his race will be bad news. That trend continued this week with actual bad news for the commish when he announced that the Feds had decided the Citrus Canker elimination plan was not working and they would not be paying for it anymore.

In my opinion Bronson still has a lock on the election, especially since this announcement gives him the opportunity to spend his legislative session begging demanding money to pay for trees and property already destroyed (especially for groves), approval to settle lawsuits already in the system, and funding for research (education) for FL's most famous industry. The only thing most politicians do well is ask for money, and in an election year they are particularly adept.

Besides, imagine if the citrus industry was heading for the toilet - if you are a citrus grove owner would you want a democrat representing you to the GOP controlled house, senate, federal and state governments? No. This may be Bronson's toughest political year as an elected official, but it won't be his last.

Charlie Crist doesn't know it yet, but his campaign is on the ropes, as much as a candidate for Governor with a $1.5 million fundraising advantage can be on the ropes, and I think I know why. Money. Money. Money.

When you have broken every fundraising record in FL and your last quarter doubled your primary opposition, and outpaced both General Election candidates combined, people start wondering why you don't poll higher in generic polls among rank and file voters. Part of the reason is the Crist campaign does not appear to be worried, publicly or privately. They aren't running like they are losing, or even worried about losing, and that can spell trouble for a young campaign awash with cash. They already think they have won. This almost always leads to a resurgence by the "challenger" and makes a race where one should not exist.

Rule number 1 - assume you are ten points down and you have one week to go.

It requires a little extra effort and a different mindset to decide to take out your opponent, whether it's 6 months out or 6 days out. But as long as these polls keep coming out saying Gallagher is in a dead heat, or generic democrats beat generic Republicans, it's only going to get harder for the Crist Campaign.

It's not hard, just be the conservative candidate you say you are. Make some campaign appearances, make some bold staements, challenge your opponent to define his conservative positions. Gallagher's not defining any positions that aren't already publicly supported by Jeb Bush, and in the meantime he's telling people you're not conservative, your not ready, and the race is not yours to lose. He sounds like he knows something you don't.

This race should not be within 5 points. Ever.

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December 13, 2005

Bush wins, Bush wins

News Sunday that Katherine Harris is raising a paltry $500,000 this quarter and fuels speculation she is going to drop out of the Senate race. Today, a denial from the Harris camp that she will be dropping the race (note, no denial of the fundraising predictions). Rampant speculation (here and here) at the liberal FLA Politics on who could jump in the Senate Race. (Plus more hyperventilating over the Dem convention this weekend in Orlando.)

On The Morning Show with Preston Scott at 1270 WPTF (have you listened through the new listen live link?) discussion on whether Jeb Bush would jump in the Presidential race and whether Hillary could win the dem nomination and the White House.

My take and some observations regarding the highlights from the Dem convention after the jump.

Continue reading "Bush wins, Bush wins" »

November 18, 2005

FL: Tallahassee voters approve coal plant in Perry, FL - two counties away!

Officially this referendum is nonbinding, so it means nothing, but the "give me more power to tax more people and spend more money" crowd of the Tallahassee City Commission won their vote yesterday.

This is a classic example of Politics 101.

Continue reading "FL: Tallahassee voters approve coal plant in Perry, FL - two counties away!" »

November 02, 2005

FL: Wilma good for GOP Gov. candidates?

This article from the AP in today's Democrat makes the case that Wilma is good for boosting the image of Gallagher and Crist in the upcoming Governors race. Being on TV, visiting neighborhoods, filing lawsuits and such.

That's all well and good, but if they don't DO anything then what does it matter?

Ultimately, if the only thing that happens is Crist files some lawsuits against price gougers and Gallagher ensures quick insurance payouts I think the edge will go to Gallagher. Plus, payouts will be taking place for the next year or longer. Nobody keeps track of price gouging lawsuits.

If I was Gallagher I would think about visiting South Florida every week to update locals on payouts and the process.

October 06, 2005

FL: Commissioner of Agriculture Race

Friends of mine will tell you I saw this coming. On the heels of this news how long do you think until Rod Smith jumps to the AG race? That is still a long shot, but when you sense an opportunity, then an opportunity exists and it's only so long before someone jumps in to take advantage of it. Copeland has jumped into the Ag Commish race. If Smith doesn't jump into the AG race soon Negron may run away with all the money. Take a look at the matchups.

Governor
Gallagher or Crist vs. Davis or Smith

Attorney General
UPDATE: Bill McCollum or Negron or Rice vs. Rod Smith (Still Candidate for Gov.)

CFO
Tom Lee vs. Alex Sink

Ag Commish
Bronson vs. Eric Copeland

When you see it laid out like that it seems to make so much sense. You can bet I will be following these races with interest. Now lets figure out the game plan. Anyone care to comment?

UPDATE: OK, now that McCollum has announced his intentions for AG, take out Rod Smith's name.

Does it seem strange to have one DEM candidate in each race except AG, which now has three GOP? Does it seem a little top heavy? The laws of physics require a DEM candidate in the AG race. Does it seem twice as strange when you think about how perfect a candidate Smith would be for AG?

How long until Rice drops out of the AG race? I will give him until Thanksgiving. By then he should realize he can't compete with Negron and McCollum in the fundraising dept. and for one of the other two to get his endorsment. Nice guy, but he is the victim of circumstance this year.

Drilling for oil in the gulf

If there is one thing you can expect from me it will be honesty. So let me begin by telling you I think Florida should allow oil production off the coast. Every thing I have read about the subject calls for  drilling 100 miles or more off the coast. 100 miles is a long way. Too far to see. Too far, I suspect, to impact the coastline. But not too far to impact job creation, economic growth, the Florida budget and revenue streams.

But honestly, if I were advising Jeb (and nobody really advises Jeb to do anything) I would advise him to fight drilling of the coast tooth and nail as long as he were in office. So if this angle is true, from a strategic point of view, I have no idea why Jeb would reverse his position to support drilling for oil in the Gulf. I suspect he hasn't, and liberals have just decided to go after him on something. But if he has, I don't know why. (Via Fl Politics)

Lots of stories over at Sayfie Review. Post, Times-Union and Herald cover all the details and bias.

Every elected official from Florida, past, present and future, opposes drilling off the Florida coastline. If drilling is allowed to proceed because of Jeb's direct approval and manuevers, then that will be Jeb's legacy. Not education, not reduction of government, not reduction of taxes. History will remember him as the Governor that allowed oil rigs to park off the Florida coastline.

And if he is considering running for Senate or President, he just gave the opposition a huge issue to run on.

October 04, 2005

Discontent with Harriet Miers, Transportation bill, Disaster payout plan, Education bill, Social security reform? Look to your Senators and Congressmen

Conservatives are dismayed. President Bush is the embodiment of their hopes for the fulfillment of conservative dreams built over the past 40 years. The balance of the scales has tipped with the Harriet Miers nomination and conservatives activists are having none of it.

Conservatives want the fight. They want the dagger in the heart of liberalism. But should conservatives be angry with Bush? His strategy and electoral success, unprecedented in political history, are undoubtedly proof of the intellect and insight the Bush/Rove team hold on the process. Maybe Bush is doing what he does because if he didn't he wouldn't be where he is. He isn't Emperor after all, he is President, and he must work with Congress.

Social Security reform
Transportation bill
Hurricane disaster relief
Energy policy reform
SC nomination process
Education bill
War on Terror

Tell me three of these seven issues any group of conservative Republicans can agree we are doing a good job on. Tell me two. All of these require congressional approval, research, support, politicizing, PR and so on. Maybe we should be looking elsewhere for the strategy behind this nomination. Maybe we should be looking to our other elected officials in the House and Senate.

If the President isn't enacting legislation, nominating conservative judges, taking a harder line with terrorist and terrorist nations, offering real choice in education or threatening to hold the spending line and cut budgets that are more conservative in nature, then maybe it's because he has to deal with elected GOP who act more like democrats than conservative Republicans. Remember, Bush and Rove have orchestrated the greatest string of electoral victories the GOP has ever had. I suspect they have a good reason for doing what they do now.

Conservative voters should take this as a sign - your work is not done. Get to work electing truly conservative Republicans and you will get a conservative President unafraid to challenge the minority party, GOP included. Even if you don't get the President you hoped you would, more conservative Congressmen would help put the pressure back on the White House.

And for all of you conservatives from Michelle Malkin and Red State (both sites I love) currently complaining, look at recent online polls. Who are you selecting to be our next President? Giuliani, Rice? Are you kidding? Even Allen is, well, how can you know? How can you as a conservative vote for any of those and complain now? How can you argue you need a moderate such those two to win the presidency and simultaneously complain about a President not coming through with his conservative credentials. It seems to me the President is receiving mixed signals and I think we should send him a clearly defined signal.

How do we figure out what that signal is? When is your next primary?

October 03, 2005

FL: Harris, Gallagher and Crist

This morning President Bush named Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day on the US Supreme Court. She is not a judge. A lawyer, sure. A judge, no. As far as I know her only political experience is Dallas, TX City Council. I tell you, America is truly an amazing place.

UPDATE: Reaction on the blogs is not good. See Michelle Malkin for a roundup.

For all of you political strategist and consultants out there, just think of how you consider city councils and county commissions as the minor leagues, single A ball. The candidate you turned down because the race wasn't big enough, could one day be nominated to the Supreme Court. That young, first time candidate who doesn't know yet what he's getting into, you turned him away for not being "serious" enough. It happens all the time.

This segues nicely into some thoughts on local candidates, the race for governor and future elections.

Continue reading "FL: Harris, Gallagher and Crist" »

September 23, 2005

FL: Gallagher needs some shock and awe

And in politics, you have to do something not expected. In the professional world of gubernatorial and presidential politics you raise money first, campaign second, and blitz voters with media at the end. Above all, you must stay on message and horde your cash until the very end.

But recent shenanigans at Citizens Insurance are the type of thing that can frame a campaign negatively from the beginning. Gallagher really needs to get out in front of this story and take the offensive before it's too late.

The fact is spending money is not typical at this stage, just look at Crist's Campaign site. Most of Gallagher's advisors are probably telling him to horde his millions jealously until the very end. I agree. The candidate with the last piece of mail and the last TV commercial seen by voters may be the eventual winner. But, if he doesn't address this insurance issue soon, and on his own terms, somebody else (Crist, Davis, Smith, the press) will do it for him. Then the rest of his campaign will be about insurance scandal and not about education, growth, transportation, security, etc. Then it won't matter how much money you have at the end, you're scandal plagued.

Gallagher doesn't want the press talking about insurance scandal while Crist can spend his money talking about Crist. Gallagher is already behind and he can't afford to fight a two pronged, actually three pronged, public relations battle - blunt this story, convert undecideds and fight Crist. No campaign can do that in a tight race with a well financed experienced opposition.

Something out of the ordinary would be to consider a statewide media blitz (TV, Radio) that gets him out in front of, and in charge of, investigations to root out corruption in the industry he has come to be linked with. He can take the opportunity now, before voters are fully aware of the story, to put his face and his family in front of voters. He needs to take control of this issue and either lead it, or muffle it and he can introduce himself to undecided voters before Crist will do it for him.

My recommendations - do something unexpected and be remembered for it. Spend some money now, take charge of the message and avert a looming disaster.

My prediction -  If Gallagher doesn't take charge of this slowly building story somehow, it will surely sink him. Even if he has done nothing wrong.

September 22, 2005

FL: Memo to Candidates

Education is important. Talk about it. Alot.

For example, today's coverage of FCAT being released online. (Via Sayfie Review)

AP AP Herald Post Tribune News-Press Today Ledger DBNJ Daily News Democrat Times-Union

Imagine how much they would write if you actually promoted a strong education agenda.

September 21, 2005

Economics of Gas prices

This is an excellent post by NC blogger G-man on the economics behind gasoline price fluctuations. It's not nearly as long or as academic as one might expect, and he offers salient suggestions on how to bring down the price of gas without command and control measures. Some excerpts,

Let's try to understand a bit more about this commodity called gasoline.... it does not belong to you, YET. You don't have a right to gasoline at the price YOU think is "fair". The price of gasoline, like any other product, is set in the marketplace by the interaction of two forces: the availability of a product and the desire to acquire the product by those who want or need it. Supply and demand. Let's look at each factor, shall we?

and,

Most politicians, in essence, are making the mistake of equating the current supply fluctuations in gasoline with an artificially manipulated supply -- such as is the case with diamonds. Understandibly, they're making an incorrect conclusion.

and,

BOTTOM LINE: There may be SOME "price gouging" going on in limited instances, but the reality is the marketplace works to match demand with the available supply through price. If a particular retailer is truly "gouging" his customers, chances are they'll soon find out the guy down the street is selling gas for much less, and go there.

and,

WHAT TO DO ABOUT THOSE HIGH PRICES: Not much, except conserve where you can and shop around for the best price available. In the long run, though, tell your politicians to put pressure on the EPA to limit the number of different summer blends they require. Also, push your legislators to make it less difficult to increase refining capacity. No new refineries have been built in the US in the past 25 years, due to government environmental restrictions and such.

Take 5 MARIA.

September 14, 2005

FL: Memo to Democrats - Katherine Harris is still rich

And she will be for a long time.

I am starting to see a Democrat talking point on Florida Congresswoman and US Senate Candidate Katherine Harris - She's rich, and you're not.

Please witness Exhibit A and Exhibit B, three weeks apart. Let's see if more start rolling out.

By the way, this is a perfect example of how the press will find something to print about you when you aren't saying anything yourself.

Control the message. Frame the issues. Do it, or somebody else will do it for you.

September 07, 2005

US: Thoughts on a Chief Justice nomination strategy under the circumstances

Lost in the Hurricane Katrina disaster coverage, the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and the Miami winning streak over FSU ending is the nomination battle discussion on John Roberts. Roberts, having been nominated to replace Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, is now nominated to replace Rehnquist as Chief Justice. Was this the plan all along? Can Bush get it done? Should democrats oppose Roberts? What are democrats to do?

Let me answer those questions first, and if you want to read more after that you still can.

Probably not.
Yes.
No.
Nothing. Unless you are Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer or, hiccup, Edward Kennedy, you support this nomination, ask few questions and vote yes.

Continue reading "US: Thoughts on a Chief Justice nomination strategy under the circumstances" »

August 31, 2005

US: This is what a nuclear terrorist attack looks like

This is what I am thinking today. Only the real thing will be much, much worse.

I doubt I am the first person to say this, but I haven't seen anybody else saying this. If a terrorist manages to get a nuclear device into America, and detonate in any city of moderate size, you can expect the carnage, the desperation, the lawlessness, the stranded and homeless, helpless sick and injured to be worse by a factor of ten. At least. The biggest difference, because of radiation and destruction, their will likely be little, if any, rescue and recovery effort.

For all the detractors from the war on terror, let this natural disaster be a warning sign of how bad things will get if terrorist accomplish their goals.

July 26, 2005

Crist, Schiavo and the Race for Governor

Will it matter? To a select, devoted and highly motivated group of Floridians yes it will. Much hubris is being spread about this, but I suspect it won't be quite the battle as some Florida liberals are hoping it will be.

For starters, knowing Charlie Crist is in league with trial lawyers is, or should be, common knowledge. As an attorney and Florida AG it should be no surprise Crist was either a) at the event or b) supporting judges he has to argue in front of.

Secondly, it is my opinion Crist stayed out of the Schiavo fiasco because he saw no apparent benefit from getting involved. This implies he does not (and has not for some time) intend to pursue the Christian right votes in Florida as part of a strategy to win the Primary or the Governor's mansion. Likewise, I suspect his consultants are telling him to keep quite and ignore the accusations of right wing voters they aren't courting anyway.

Furthermore, we should not be surprised to see right wing or Christian right groups attacking Crist for his inaction on Schiavo and his following ceremonial activities with the judges involved. In fact, I would expect more to come.

But what of Gallagher? What will he do? What should he do? His consultants should be telling him to say nothing regarding Schiavo unless directly asked by a third party, with Crist in the room, and given opportunity to respond, a la a debate. What does he have to gain?  He is already the "family" candidate by default which should ally his support with the Christian right by default. The electorate already has opinions formed on this issue, and apparently the more motivated of them is going to attack Crist on their own. Why should he use campaign dollars on such a divisive and dangerous topic?

He shouldn't. I suspect Schiavo will influence a portion of the electorate, and that portion is already written off by Crist, assumed to support Gallagher, and therefore settled. Why bring it up intentionally?

July 22, 2005

Strategic vision poll findings

*A quick note, this evening I intend to post a link-fest of PEER Review posts you may have missed this week and should read over the weekend. In the future regular posting will occur Monday thru Friday unless breaking news dictates a post over the weekend. Tell all your friends!

Daily visits in July saw the first two weeks surpass the entire month of June. Thank You for the regular visits and the growth over the past 6 weeks.

Poll Findings

By now most of you have read the latest Strategic Vision poll or had some thoughts regarding the results. These are mine -

  • The continued strength in FL of Guliani for president is an indication this poll probably favored urban voters, and probably does not represent rural voters or high growth areas well.
  • Why is Tommy Franks on the list for Senate? I thought this rumor died as fast as it started? Is someone trying to convince Harris that Bense may not be her only opponent in a primary?
  • At first I thought Rod Smith's numbers had gone up, but reviewing the last three polls (today, 6/15, 4/26) I see it is actually Maddox who has lost support (moving from a high of 20% back down to 11%). This has the appearance of Smith and Davis gaining support, when in fact their gains from the past three polls are within the margin of error. But, going back to 2/22 Smith has increased support from 5% to 15%. This fits nicely with my theory.  
  • I think it is safe to say if Maddox drops any further he should drop out.
  • In the preference for GOP primary Gallagher trails Crist by 11%, but the Jennings/Undecided vote totals 21% (with Jennings omitted it is still 17%). I am surprised to see so many still supporting Jennings, who is not running, and I know those voters have to go somewhere. Are they Crist people or Gallagher people? Is it possible Jennings could hold the key to victory in '06?
  • In head to heads with Nelson, Bense is outperformed by all potential candidates (Harris, Franks, Jennings, Foley, and Wheldon) except Webster. Yes, the polls show Harris will have a tough time with Nelson in the General Election, but they also show plenty of other potential candidates besides Bense. Why all the interest in Bense?

That's all for now. Questions? Comments? Email or leave a comment I will respond.

Mr. C

Mr. G Says...

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