No matter how he spins it, the just concluded session was not a "winning" one for Senator Haridopolos. Reports that his buddy House Speaker Dean Cannon rolled over him to ram through some special interest legislation is hardly something that he can use in his campaign, and his failure to pass an immigration bill will be recounted for months to come by LeMieux and Hasner.
But there will be plenty of time to hash over all of that. Our interest this morning is reading excerpts from an interview conducted by LeMieux with Roll Call, the D.C. based paper/Internet site.
LeMieux responds to the toughest obstacle he'll have in trying to win the nomination: his past close relationship with the man considered persona non grata in Florida Republican politics, Charlie Crist.
LeMieux, who serves as the chairman of the board of the directors for the Palm Beach-based corporate law firm of Gunster, downplays the Crist connection by emphasizing his bona fides on taxes and a fiscally conservative record when he served briefly in Washington.
And then he adds this bon mot:
“It would honestly be a lot smarter for me — a guy who’s got four kids who are 7 and under, who has a really great job helping to run a statewide law firm — to not run. A lot of my friends think I need to have my head examined,” LeMieux said, adding that the debt crisis is why he wants his job back.
The inference is that LeMieux is a patriot, willing to take a cut in salary (to a paltry $174,000) to fight against Barack Obama and those bad, bad Democrats who will spend us into oblivion, since it was they who advocated tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, were the party that supported going into Iraq and the money hole that that's been for the country, and also were the party in power in Congress when the prescription drug plan was approved back in 2003.
Oh sorry, that was the Republicans.
In a separate article on the conservative news website Newsmax, LeMeiux is featured in an article that's headlined,
"Sen. LeMieux: Obama Lied About GOP Debt Plan"
LeMieux is referring to President Obama's speech where he criticized Congressman Paul Ryan's 2012 budget plans, which include the controversial provision of reducing Medicare to a voucher program, which would be used to purchase private health insurance. In turn, LeMieux criticizes Obama for his reaction:
“He had an opportunity to be big, to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to solve the most pressing issue facing this country internally, I believe, since the Civil War, and he didn’t do that,” he said. “He was divisive, dishonest, and he demonized the Paul Ryan proposal.”
Yes, that he did. But because he criticized the Ryan plan doesn't mean the public, or more importantly, the Washington media class, won't let the president off the hook when it comes to addressing Medicare's problems going forward.
Would he have done so before? Probably not, which is why Ryan will always deserve credit for opening up the discussion. But because Obama doesn't believe in the Ryan plan shouldn't shock the once and possibly future Florida U.S. Senator - much of the country in polls so far aren't pleased either with the Republican plan on Medicare, leaving House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp to say last week
that he won't bring up the plan in his committee.
Also last week two GOP Senators, including Tennessee's Lamar Alexander, indicated they're not in favor per se of the Ryan plan. Alexander said this:
"I think there are other proposals that deserve serious consideration and I'm waiting to see what those are and I might vote for those as well," he said. "Senator Domenici has a proposal for example, that would allow seniors to go into the marketplace and find a premium support plan much like the Ryan bill but still have the fallback of a traditional Medicare benefit. I like that idea better, frankly, than the House Budget."
The point is that reasonable people can disagree that the Ryan plan is the way out of the Medicare problem. LeMieux probably knows that, but with Adam Hasner and Haridopolos (and the rest of the state party) about to ride him mercilessly about his associations with Charlie Crist, it doesn't hurt to categorize Barack Obama's opposition as "divisive and dishonest."