Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rick Scott's Best Running Mate Choice

I saw one of the conservative blogs recently with an entry speculating that Rick Scott’s choice of running mate could win him the 2014 election. I think they’re right, and I know exactly which running mate would win the race for Scott.

You probably know this candidate already, especially from past elections. He’s a candidate who has won many elections, and in fact, he helped Rick Scott win in 2010. Any time he runs as a candidate, he gets a lot of support from voters, and he’s a hard opponent to defeat.

Joe Apathy.

As we get closer to the 2014 election, one of the biggest dangers to Florida is that those of us who oppose Rick Scott will become complacent. Yes, he’s been the most unpopular governor in the country (or second most unpopular) for most of his term. Yes, he still trails Charlie Crist in the polls, and has trailed him for a while. He’ll also probably trail Nan Rich, once she gets rolling, and would certainly trail Bill Nelson, if he jumped into the race

Yes, his approval ratings are still in the 40s, and yes, as of last check, more than 50 percent of voters here think he doesn’t deserve a second term. And yes – he keeps doing foolish things that any voter can see are antics unworthy of any candidate.

There are plenty of reasons to keep up the pressure, and make it so that Scott not only loses, he loses big. Mainly, it will send a message to the Tea Party that their heavy-handed tactics are DOA, and will not be tolerated. But it will also reinforce the message that elections can’t be bought by the candidate who raises the most funds.

That last message was telegraphed nationwide in the 2010 California election once already. In a situation with some parallels to the one here in Florida, billionaire Meg Whitman spent $160 million – most of it her own money – to buy herself a loss to former California governor Jerry Brown, who spent hardly a sixth of what Whitman did. Keep that example in mind if it ever discourages you to think that Scott’s re-election chest has too many digits.

In light of the circumstances, Scott can only win re-election if we sit back on our haunches and think there’s nothing more to do, and decide we don’t care anymore. Yes, there’s a lot out there to combat apathy in the 2014 election, right now. But as we’re saturated by the inevitable advertising from Scott’s campaign, it will probably need to be brought up again, and again, to remind voters of why Scott was so unpopular and why he doesn’t deserve a second term.

Every Floridian will remember standing in long lines to vote in 2014. Scott is doing more things to suppress voter turnout next time, so we’ll likely retain a memory of it when we stand in line in 2014, and probably also live through it again to some extent. But by all means – keep that in front of the people you know. Those who stood in line will have a good reason to vote against Scott in 2014.

Every Floridian who was unemployed during Scott’s term will remember the cuts in their benefits period, the ridiculous test they had to take to get benefits, and more recently, the hassles of the CONNECT website.

Those who were unemployed during his term for any extended period will have a good reason to vote against Scott in 2014. If you’re not one of those people, maybe you know someone who is. If they don’t mind, use their story to persuade anyone you know that it’s a good reason to vote against Scott in 2014

Every state worker and every teacher will remember that Scott sliced 3% off of their salaries to supposedly shore up the pension fund. For many of those workers, that 3% pay cut was a house payment, or a month’s worth of food for a family of 4, or two car payments. They will have a good reason to vote against Scott in 2014. Use their stories too, if they are willing, being sure to remind others that the 3% actually went back into the state budget, not into the pension fund, which was, and still is, perfectly healthy . Many state workers will also remember being laid off, at a time when a new job would be so hard to find.

I could go on, and I’m sure every reader could make their own list of reasons to kick Scott out of office. But those reasons won’t make much of a difference if we’re not sharing them with others and offering real life examples of how Scott’s policies have destroyed the lives of Florida’s citizens.

Do you need any more to show that Joe Apathy is a dangerous running mate? Let’s look at some figures.

2008 Presidential election:

Obama: 4,143,957

McCain: 3,939,380

Difference: 204,577

Total Votes: 8,083,337 (excluding third party candidates)

2010 Gubenatorial election:

Scott: 2,619,335

Sink: 2,557,785

Difference: 61,550

Total Votes: 5,177,120

2012 Presidential election:

Obama: 4,237,756

Romney: 4,163,447

Difference: 74,309

Total Votes: 8,401,203

If it seems mystifying that Florida would, on alternate years, vote in Obama, then someone like Scott, and then Obama again, the numbers tell the story. Scott won in a year when about 3 million fewer people voted. Imagine if all of those who stayed home for Scott-Sink had come to the polls instead.

I’m sure some of those 3 million had something else urgent to do on voting day. Some may have been sick, or caring for someone, or moved out of state. But most of them apparently voted for Joe Apathy that day – and that’s who really became Scott’s running mate.

Let’s not allow Joe Apathy to become Rick Scott’s slam-dunk running mate again.


  1. fool us once, shame on us. fool us twice, i'm outta here...

  2. A first major test of how a candidate might govern: choosing a running mate.
    Rick Scott flunked that one. I hear he's thinking Allen West, but dumba$$ couldn't win a conservative, podunk district with 19 million in the bank.

  3. West would be a choice that would reinforce Scott's cluelessness. In March, West criticized Scott for standing for the Medicaid expansion, and asked where Scott's backbone was. Then, two months later, Scott said West would make a great Lt. Gov.

    But then again, as we know, when Scott says you're great, it's the kiss of death.