There will undoubtedly be a number of Republicans who hope to join Marco Rubio in 2012 as a U.S. Senator representing Florida, and Fort Myers area Congressman Connie Mack IV informally began his own campaign today by blasting the Democratic incumbent in the race, Bill Nelson in an op-ed in today's Orlando Sentinel about his vote against the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.
Admitting he was wrong to oppose the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 would be a first step for U.S Senator Bill Nelson to signal he "got the message" in the recent citizen revolt.
Nelson has an opportunity to make amends and lead the charge for Senate Democrats to extend the Bush-era tax cuts in the lame-duck session of Congress. Studies have shown throughout history that a reduction in taxes actually increases government revenues. The tax relief, therefore, would not affect all of the spending programs Nelson supports; this should be a no-brainer.
In a further slam, Mack takes on the Florida Democrat's support for the federal health care bill earlier this year:
Also with his support of Obamacare, Nelson managed to increase the burden on small business owners by raising their health-care premiums by as much as 7 percent, according to some studies. This is a huge strain on small businesses like the restaurants and shops that fuel the economies of our tourism industry in Florida.
The White House is expected to come to an agreement with House & Senate Republicans on some sort of compromise on the so-called "Bush Tax Cuts" that the former President signed in to law in 2001 and 2003, and which all expire on December 31.
Many Democrats and liberals are insisting that the Obama administration not capitulate on this issue, but you don't have to be a tea reader to understand that there will surely be some type of extension of those cuts for those earning over $200,00 a year (and thus add up to between $650 to $700 billion to the deficit over the next decade, or $65 billion per year).
But it doesn't have to be an either/or for Nelson, despite Mack's hectoring.
There are other possibilities being introduced by Democrats. New York's Charles Schumer is talking up the possibility of raising the level from which the top tax cuts stay in place rise from $250,000 to $1 million. Virginia's Mark Warner says the tax cuts should be extended for everybody but the top 2%, but instead of losing $65 billion annually by giving those tax cuts to the wealthy, there should be $65 billion in targeted tax cuts for business.
As we wrote about last week, you can bet on the fact that on most critical issues that will come up for a vote between now and the 2012 election, Nelson will skew right. The centrist Democrat can sound and even vote progressive on some issues, but in the year plus build up to his first re-election bid in '06, he consistently voted with Republicans on key issues, none for unforgivable for some than going against Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham on the issue of torture.
In September of 2006 Nelson voted to legalize the Bush administrations policy of torture and indefinite detention without trial, as well as kangaroo-court procedures for Guantánamo detainees. Yes, he was in running for re-election that year, but "contested" might be a stretch - as he was facing Republican Congresswoman Katherine Harris, who he ended up beating by some 30% points.
But back to Congressman Mack, who it's been announced has removed his name for consideration to a top House leadership position, fueling more reports that he's serious about running for higher office.
Mack you might recall became a persona non grata to some in his party for his intense language in an editorial where he ripped into Arizona's controversial anti-illegal immigration, writing:
But the new Arizona law strikes a severe blow to freedom and the principles that make our nation strong. This law of frontier justice where law enforcement officials are required to stop anyone based on reasonable suspicion that they may be in the country illegally is reminiscent of a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause. It shouldnt be against the law to not have proof of citizenship on you.
This is not the America I grew up in and believe in, and its not the America I want my children to grow up in.
Mack joins the list of suspects presumed to be seriously considering a run for the Senate. Other names that have been mentioned include outgoing Senator George LeMieux and Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, among others.
It will also be instructive to see if Nelson does what so few Democrats did in 2010 - defend forcefully his vote for the health care reform law.