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.