Monday, March 03, 2014

Rick Scott of the Jet Set

The recent story about how Rick Scott uses travel in his private jet to evade accountability as Governor raises a question. Back when he started as Governor, Rick Scott sold Florida’s state jets, with the promise that he would use his personal jet for state business. It’s the sort of move that was guaranteed to make his Tea Party base continue to regard him in messianic terms, and make shallower minds think that he was actually in some way a “people’s”  governor who didn’t engage in showy travel at taxpayer expense.

For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume that the Governor of Florida does actually need a jet for state travel. I think a good case can be made for that. It’s a large state, with many complex problems that may require quick attention. Maybe someone else might argue that some other mode of travel (like chartering planes) would be less expensive and more efficient. And they may be right. And of course, this is not the same thing as, “the Governor needs a state jet with a wet bar and gold plated faucets.” 

But for the sake of argument, I’ll make the assumption here that yes, our state Governor does need a state jet at hand, because it’s clear that Rick Scott really believes this to be true. Otherwise, he wouldn’t use his own jet for state business.

Now this raises a question, one that gives us an example of how Scott thinks – or rather, doesn’t think: What did he think Florida’s next governor was supposed to do about this?

No matter how much campaign cash he raises from his fat cat friends, Rick Scott can never be Governor for more than 8 years. Once he’s gone, his jet is gone too. The next Governor of Florida, whoever it may be, won’t have that jet to use. So what’s their alternative?

Do they buy a new jet? If so, then Rick Scott just sold the earlier state jet for no reason. In fact, he may have cost the state more, if the price of jets has gone up in the intervening years.

Do they come up with a different way to travel? Again, maybe someone could show that some other way of travelling is cheaper and more efficient. But maybe it isn’t. And if there is a cheaper and better way, it’s obvious that Scott isn’t using it. He still uses his jet.

In the end, some say, Scott has set it up so that the next Governor will look like someone who wastes taxpayer money on a state jet. But I don’t know if he has the capacity to think that far ahead. I think instead that he is addicted to showy gestures which hide a notable lack of serious accomplishment. Scott gives the illusion of accomplishment even as he does nothing of any value.

I think that whoever wants to be Governor after Scott should put him on the spot and ask him to donate his personal jet to the state of Florida. Crist or Rich (or even Wyllie, for that matter) should make a public point of this even now, and suggest that Scott donate his plane once he’s out of office.

Scott is far too greedy to give up his personal possessions so easily. It took a load of arm twisting to get him to give up his interest in Solantic even after it became obvious it would be a conflict of interest. 

That’s why I think this would be a good thing for his election opponents to do. It will once again reveal the corrupt nature of Scott’s character, and expose greed and selfishness as his only heartfelt motivations.

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