What is going on in north Florida? Alachua County is under siege from the tea party and now two DEC board members, including chairman Robert Prather, have stepped down. The beautiful blue spot in the sea of red is looking slightly purple these days, with the Tea-Party mayor making 3 out of 7 seats in the city commission property of the local tea-party. While it seems like one chairman stepping down may be a minor issue, the importance of the pipeline of the University of Florida to the rest of the state cannot be understated. UF has been a talent pool for both parties and it is important to have strong local party to draft that talent and to recruit them early, not to mention well over half the state legislature manages to migrate through the Gator Nation. It may be nothing, it may be something, but here’s hoping that everything turns out okay, especially with us headed into the Governor’s race. Alachua voting matters and the DEC needs to get in line and ready, not scrambling for board members.- KB @BurnettKaty
I am not interested in re-fighting the battles of 2003 with regards to Iraq. I strongly opposed military intervention then. However we have too many people in the Democratic Party willing to support the Obama approach to foreign policy without asking the right questions. Clearly, the Iraq conflict has evolved in the way it has because of the mismanagement of the Bush Administration. But that does not excuse this Administration for being asleep at the wheel and spending five years enabling an ineffectual and racist Maliki regime. It does however justify the decision NOT to intervene in Syria, something the neoconservatives hypocritical position cannot reconcile. Additionally those who claim the GOP is just making political hay out of foreign policy matters are mistaken because in 2011 when the US intervened with our allies in Libya, the Republicans running the House of Representatives not only allowed President Obama to blatantly violate the War Powers Act but they also did little to criticize what was an ill-advised attempt at military adventurism in my opinion. Benghazi happened at least partly because Republicans did nothing to stop President Obama from intervening in a conflict in which we did not belong. – KK @kkfla737
There is a lesson to be learned for Democrats in GOP Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning 11 point defeat to Tea Party extremist and (Ayn) Randyian economics supporter, David Brat in Virginia this past week. Brat spent a total of $122,000 on his campaign. Cantor, just to put that into perspective, spent $168,637 solely on steakhouses. Democrats would be smart to keep their celebrating of Cantor’s defeat in check. Allow me to explain. If Democrats can’t get motivated, do not turnout to vote in November, there will more right wing extremists like David Brat in Congress especially in those key states where the balance of power in the US Senate is at stake. With the Presidents disapproval rating at 54.6% and a strong Tea Party motivation despite weak fundraising as seen in the Brat Race, the threat of more Tea Party Extremists in Congress is real, especially in those states, where the fate of the Democratic Majority in US Senate is at stake (see: Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Iowa, Alaska) when we all know, their actual fundraising capability is sky high. But wait, there’s more. Our base isn’t motivated. Latest polls show there is huge enthusiasm gap between Obama’s most ardent of supporters compared to those of his biggest critics. In other words, according to polls, the more you like President Obama, the less likely you are to vote in November- a disastrous analysis. Failure of Democrats to show up at the polls in November will lead to a Republican controlled Senate, and once again, another stalled agenda for the last two years of President Obama’s term. This could tie Obama down as a lame duck, and give Republicans a huge boost going into 2016 Presidential election cycle. Let’s stop our gloating over Cantors defeat and focus. We have an uphill battle ahead of us, and every vote in every race will matter. Every Republican incumbent in America just moved to the right as a result of Cantor’s demise thanks to the continuity of the Tea Party’s strangle hold on the Republican Party. Given all of this, November is shaping up to be a disaster for Democrats at the national level. I’ll be delving more into this topic with a full length post covering Eric Cantors loss and what it means for Democrats later this week.
– JS @JustinSnyderFL
Equality Florida’s decision to endorse Charlie Crist for Governor was met by extreme hostility from not only by active Nan Rich supporters but many who have supported the organization through the years. For my part I was stunned by the news and felt it was not only very disappointing but a clear sign of how closely connected organizations of the left have become with the establishment of the Democratic Party. It is bad enough that establishment elements in the Democratic Party seem determined to avoid real questions being asked of our potential nominee Governor Crist, but to see advocacy organizations endorse Crist over someone with a clear commitment to their causes cheapens the value of the recommendations these organizations make. Equality Florida is not the first and given Nan Rich’s record on LGBT issues, at the very least a co-endorsement was in order, even though that could still be seen as a slap in the face given the contrasting record of the two candidates on the issues Equality Florida advocates. Make no mistake, Charlie Crist will be the party’s nominee and while it is important that Democrats back him in the fall, it is irresponsible and quite frankly hypocritical for organizations that profess to advocate certain principles and hold state legislators to that standard to completely suspend that when it comes to this particular race. Let me make it clear that I believe firmly that the rush to back Crist among many on the left will undermine their credibility when it comes to advocacy on policy in the next legislative session and quite possibly in the 2016 election and beyond. Sure Crist is likely going to win the primary with ease, but credibility long term for some of these activists should trump short term gain. – KK @kkfla737
Ross Hancock’s decision to run as a non-party candidate in District #114 is just the most upsetting thing that I have heard all week. #114 is the home of Erik Fresen, who is not just another Republican, but as the chairman of both the Education Committee and the Education Appropriations Committee, he represents the man behind many of the horrible decisions regarding public education that have come through this legislature. (Not to mention his brother-in-law in the CEO of Academica, the largest for-profit-charter school company in the state, so obviously ethically-challenged as well). Although Obama won this in 2012, Hancock was narrowly defeated in 2012 as a Democrat with a 49/51 vote split with a mere 702 votes making the deciding factor. Even though the district leans Democratic in Presidential years, in a non-presidential election year, the battle was always going to be uphill. Daisy Baez filled last July and has run a great campaign (I know TFS endorsed Hancock, but that was before my time here and personally I disagree). A primary between Hancock and Baez could have been healthy and there would have would one clear winner to face Fresen. Now, with a three-way split and Fresen heavily funded, it looks like another mess where Fresen is going to walk through with the victory. Honestly, this feels like a spiteful move for Hancock after the party has backed Baez and while I understand the sentiment, it seems like it would be better to just wait two years for Fresen to term-out. – KB @BurnettKaty