Welcome to the Monday before Christmas, the beginning of a two-week dead zone for news. Yours truly is in town for the first time ever this holiday season, and will blog when appropriate, but let's face it folks: With the exception of the unexpected (natural disasters, deaths or good old crime stories), the country sort of shuts down at this time of the year, hence the explosion of Best and Worst lists, reviews of winners and losers, etc.
Which brings us to such a column published yesterday. While I hadn't really thought about it at all, I do have to admit that I was not wowed by Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith's choice of Rick Scott as Winner of the Year in Florida politics on Sunday. Smith also named Marco Rubio his Loser of the Year, which I certainly can concur with.
But getting back to the Scott pick, what was that old George W. Bush line about not holding disadvantaged children to rigorous education standards? Oh yes, the "soft bigotry of low expectations." Only in the case of the governor, whatever bigotry there is about his low expectations, and now appears that "it's working," to use of his favorite sayings.
When you've been in the mid 30's in terms of your approval ratings for much of your tenure as governor, hitting 40 or so is a big deal, and in that respect Scott has made somewhat of a comeback with the public. And whether he's got anything or not to do with it, Florida's unemployment numbers are dropping. Any governor would claim such credit, since they'll definitely get the criticism if that number was going in the opposite direction.
And Scott has been had robust fundraising, which shouldn't be a surprise considering how Florida Republicans have ran the show in Tallahassee for nearly for decades now and want to make sure a Republican stays in that office for at least four more years. Add his personal fortunes (which certainly played a factor in Alex Sink opting not to run against him next year) and a better recent poll against Charlie Crist and you can certainly see where Smith is going with this.
Let's face it: Charlie Crist vs. Rick Scott is going to be a battle between two fifty-something white guys who have tremendous baggage they bring with them to the campaign. Is Crist so flawed that he won't be able to seal the deal next year? We'll all be watching to see how that plays out, though for Democratic leaders, at some point they're going to have to get over their grudge against Crist once they realize that 71-year-old Bill Nelson simply does not want to get into this race, and that not every Democrat is clamoring for him to do so.
In other news: The Tampa Tribune endorsed David Jolly in the GOP CD13 race yesterday, after the Times had previously endorsed Kathleen Peters. On Friday Peters issued a statement calling on Jolly to list all of the clients he's lobbied for in his days in Washington D.C. Team Jolly replied that Peters presumably has an Internet connection and can do so herself.
On the Sunday morning TV circuit: Former Arkansas Governor and media personality Mike Huckabee showed up yesterday on Fox News to talk Duck Dynasty, Obamacare and how he may run for president in 2016.
And friends and foes of NSA leaker Edward Snowden all said yesterday that he should leave Russia and come back and face the legal consequences of his actions here in the U.S.