– Part 3
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS AND TALLAHASSEE LOBBYISTS
Special interests, corporate lobbyists and Tallahassee insiders celebrated Rick Scott and Pam Bondi’s reelection along with the Republican super-majority in the House. Fear about Charlie Crist’s populist campaign and rhetoric about corporate greed, the insurance industry, climate change, protecting women’s reproductive health and the restoration of civil rights struck fear in the hearts of a political establishment in the capital city that have had their way since Buddy Mackay was defeated by Jeb Bush in 1998. So strong was the fear of Crist’s election, that an unprecedented amount of money was spent on campaigns in this state by conservative forces. The Scott-Crist race goes down as one of the most expensive Governor’s races in US History and much of it was down to the fear special interest groups had of the potential for Florida’s citizens to be truly liberated from the mad corporate and lobbyist-driven agenda of the Republican hegemony. Thanks to Crist’s defeat as well as that of George Sheldon and six Democratic State House members, the GOP led by Rick Scott and Pam Bondi have will have nearly unfettered power statewide over the next two years if not longer.
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chairwoman of the DNC is perhaps the greatest individual to blame for the Democrats debacle, not only in Florida but across the nation. Not only did she personally oversee the appointment of Allison Tant, who presided over this mess in Florida, she personally spent more time than any other politician hitting the streets trying to get out the vote. And while there were marginal gains in Sarasota and some other traditionally Republican medium sized counties, overall her efforts state-wide and nationally fell flat. On the whole, she failed to properly prepare for the Republican wave – something that many have talked about for months. The fact that she is the one leading the review of Democratic efforts gives little to restore hope. Even though she comes from an incredibly safe district, perhaps she should spend a little more time in the competitive areas of the state instead of simply repeating Democratic talking points. Democrats have to do better than what she can offer. Regarding her role on the state level, her handpicked Chairwoman Allison Tant was not given the tools early on or the training to do the job effectively. Certainly the problems in the state party predate Tant by more than a decade – that’s among the reasons why our own Kartik Krishnaiyer is openly willing to give her more time on the job. But for many of the rest of us, she hasn’t done good enough and for that Wasserman Schultz is largely to blame. Florida’s election mirrored the national one. A common thread runs through all these debacles – Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s involvement. Why President Obama has not dropped the hammer on her as DNC Chairwoman yet is anyone’s guess but she must go.