Editorial: Rick Scott Played The Tea Party Like A Fiddle

Political outsiders and those involved in reform movements almost universally become disillusioned and disappointed with those whom they helped get elected. Thus the Tea Party’s denunciation of Rick Scott’s recent move towards the conservative positions formerly held by Florida Republicans (as contrasted with the hard right reactionary positions of the 2008-2012 time period) is not unexpected.

After the 1994 Republican wave election, countless ambitious politicians masking themselves as outsiders and true believers were elected. In time most of these newly minted politicians were institutionalized becoming part of the establishment of a Republican Party whose true ideology is to win elections at all costs. Sure  the GOP has its side agenda, including ensuring that big business can maximize profits by scraping labor laws, polluting at will and not paying taxes but all of this is part and parcel of the larger agenda of controlling electoral politics.

Scott styled himself as a successful businessman and outsider in 2010. Yet today he is the consummate insider, cozying up to the most business-oriented lobbyists in Tallahassee, and operating the machinery of the Republican Party as if it was his personal playground. To believe Scott ever had any convictions other than to make himself money and to keep the powerful office of Governor no matter what it took is to fundamentally misread the man.

To a certain extent I sympathize with the Tea Party. Many conservative activists are true believers even if they are terribly misguided. Over the years they have been played by ruthless, self-promoters like Rick Scott. For some reason they thought he was different, even though his personal record as a businessman prior to his 2010 campaign should have indicated to everyone the character of the man. The more we learn about Governor Scott, the less redeeming qualities we see.

But what we have learned about Rick Scott is that he is not interested in anything but self-promotion and self-preservation. In 2014, Florida must do better.


  1. […] Krishnaiyer has an editorial this morning about Rick Scott and his Tea Party […]


  2. Angry Democrat · ·

    This is a brilliantly written and articulated piece Kartik. However are you not a wee bit worried your words here could just as easily be used in 2014 against “Democrat” Charlie Crist? Scott despite what you claim can never be seen as more of an opportunist than Crist, can he?


    1. The Republican Party moved away from Crist not vise versa. Get your facts straight. Scott just flipped on the biggest issue he ran on. Crist has been consistent on issues his entire career, just now the GOP is no longer positioned where he is.


  3. There is no way the Democrats or Obama’s men are helping Crist. The guy’s politics are all over the place, he was no trial but yet his BFF Sargeant aKA man making money off the war is going to continue to support Crist. If the Ds collect $ with Crist with this one…they will have blood on their hands. We watch the Rachel Maddow story of how they sold the Iraq war for greed.

    Watch yourself because Florida will be the worst it has ever been.
    But who would help Greer?

    Former Republican Party finance chairman Harry Sargeant III, a billionaire owner of an oil shipping business, has helped Greer in the past. While Greer was party chairman, Sargeant paid Greer $10,000 a month for 22 months, over his $130,000 party salary. Greer, in a deposition last year, said he earned the money as a “business consultant to Sargeant Oil.”

    Sargeant would not take telephone calls from a Tampa Bay Times reporter. A woman who answered the telephone at his South Florida office repeatedly hung up on a reporter Wednesday.

    Sargeant is a well-known Republican donor who has frequently provided airplanes to Crist and other public officials. Sargeant and Crist were fraternity brothers at Florida State University. If Crist decides to run for governor as a Democrat next year, he expects support from Sargeant.

    Tampa Bay News.


  4. Fla Dem Insider · ·

    Brilliantly written and argued. I’m normally glad you are on our side but you’ve just written the GOP attack against Crist so watch what you say in the future about this subject.


  5. Does Mr. Scott really think that by moving closer to the middle he will gain the trust of Democrats and moderate Republicans? I for one will NEVER trust anything he says regardless of how centrist it sounds. And by alienating the Tea Party, I think he may have just pushed away the one group who MIGHT have supported him in 2014. In my opinion, he could have just sealed his own fate — a loss at the polls in 2014.


  6. Scott is a jerk but so is Charlie Crist. A contest of double dealing political chameleons awaits in 14′.


  7. Great piece. Well argued and good historical context!


  8. Dude the Democrats wrote the political campaign for the Republicans when they decided to pick Crist who vote 100% with Rubio while in the Florida legisalture. The Republicans did not run away from Crist if you look at his record and speeches. The Democrats should be smart and run someone else otherwise all will be exposed. Dont think because there was no trial with Greer that everything wont be public.

    1. Prolife Charlie
    2. Harry Sargeant…blood money anyone? Yes my friend…at 20K please!
    3. Prayer in school …amen to that!
    4. vouchers….sure why not I love Bush’s idea
    5. Sarah Palin is more qualified than Obama
    6 drill baby drill….oh I need to remove it from my site if I am going to run as an I (PBC is going to help?) Only if that guy from the Boynton Club gets out the vote for me!

    There is no Democratic Party. Wake up people. Crist is the pick because the party is trying for a cover up. The only thing that Charlie keeps on doing is anything you tell him to win.

    Get married sure…..at least pick a Jewish woman that does not leave her kids.

    Piece of shit.


  9. Once again you are slamming the Governor as if no other elected official does any of these things…Democratic Governors have done exactly the same thing!…as for the continual indictment of the business community as “scrapping labor laws,” “polluting at will,” and “not paying taxes” businesses are neither Dem or Repub…their owners may be but company owners come in all political stripes…the criticism of companies making a profit is true and we are guilty as charged…imagine if companies didn’t make a profit, where would a signficant amount of your tax dollars come from?…in Florida we have no personal income tax…it comes from property taxes – both business and personal, and from sales tax which is generated by guess what?…the biz community…liberals, I mean progressives, can complain all they want and make the private sector out to be the enemy, but Kartik I assume that you’re a for-profit company as well…so are you guilty of trying to make a profit?…not everyone has to believe in the idealism that you espouse…many of us are realists who know that there is always two sides to every story…I asppreciate the fact that you are entitled to make your opinion known, but don’t condem everyone else just because they don’t agree with you…when Al Gore sells out to El Jazzira don’t tell me that isn’t fulfilling the “greed of money” as well…and Gore will take every opportunity under the law to avoid as much as he can in paying his fair share of taxes – everyone does!


    1. Always appreciate your input Barney as you are someone who has been around the block more than a few times and has done some great things through the years.

      We disagree here but not entirely. My point is that Scott is not really a conservative. He’s a self promoter. He’s always been a self promoter. I have a great deal of sympathy for the Tea Party. Despite the national media characterizations of them, they were real reforms, albeit from the right but more sophisticated than “occupy” or any number of previous leftists advocacy efforts we’ve seen. Scott played them- used them to get elected and now wants to stay in power. Democratic Governors struck a smart alliance with business, they didn’t give away the farm. They made Florida a model for private-public partnerships and relationships. The GOP has not done this.

      The Republicans here in Florida have been less effective in creating jobs and attracting out of state industry than Republicans in neighboring states. I made the point about gutting labor laws, polluting at will, etc because that’s been what’s happened to a large extent here with little upside. South Carolina with true tax reform and conservatism can attract Boeing, but we do nothing of the sort. We cannot even get companies interested to relocate their corporate headquarters from high tax states like New York. (see jetBlue and Crist’s botched effort to get them to move.)

      I am a liberal but do agree with many of your ideas about creating jobs and attracting industry to the state. But why hasn’t that happened? Why do Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama attract more manufacturing jobs? Why does North Carolina and Tennessee attract more innovation and R&D type jobs? Why has Virginia has several Fortune 500 companies relocate to their state in the last decade while Florida has not? All these states are smaller than Florida by population. They are all also right-to-work state and generally have been governed by Republicans (NC an exception until recently.) Certainly we must have some explanation for why all the tax incentives, environmental protection gutting and tort reform Florida Republicans have pushed have not created the jobs or transformed our economy the way other southern states also governed by Republicans have.

      Today the Sun Sentinel pointed out what a boondoggle Scripps has been in Palm Beach. Jeb Bush sold Scripps to us as the biggest relocation of jobs to Florida since Disney World was built. It sure hasn’t worked out that way and the taxpayers have been left holding the bag.

      Your point is not entirely lost though. A relationship to create jobs has to involve business (something trial lawyers don’t always understand) but also sensible regulations that create incentives for companies to invest in this state and tourists to keep coming. The Environment as far as I am concerned is the single greatest asset Florida has to attract residents, companies and ultimately jobs. We need to protect and promote it for our long term economic sustainability.


      1. Scripps is also the fault of the Democrats. A bi-partisan boondoggle.


    2. One more thing…regarding Al-Jazeera much is being made about nothing. They are actually the most independent news outlet in the Middle East, so much so the network is frowned upon or even banned in some of the most oppressive dictatorships in the region.

      I have other issues with them such as the buying up of TV properties in Western Europe and now in the US simply to prevent the competition from getting them (they have done this with numerous rights in soccer that Newscorp ie. FOX owned though in fairness I am not totally objective as someone who has done business with FOX but not Al- Jazeera on the soccer side) and other sports/properties. They are anti-competitive trying to run FOX’s Soccer Division out of business by spending large amounts of cash and not airing the properties they swiped from FOX. They’ve done similar things with Canal and Orange in France though BT seems to be doing business with them in England.

      That having been said the fuss is overblown about them coming into the states.


  10. Florida needs a real leader. Draft Adam Putnam for Governor.


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