Many pundits have speculated that this new Scott charm offensive, which also included inviting approximately three dozen reporters who regularly cover the Capitol to join him for coffee and doughnuts, is the influence of new chief of staff Stephen MacNamara, who recently replaced Mike Prendergast.
Not only is he now noshing with journalists, but his deputy communications director Amy Graham confirmed Monday that he will soon begin meeting with newspaper editorial boards, an act that he essentially said was meaningless in his campaign against Democrat Alex Sink last fall.
Bob Graham, who has been critical of some of Scott's actions this year, praised the governor for essentially taking a page out of his playbook, in a press release issued by the Scott camp:
"I commend Governor Scott on his commitment to understanding the hopes and concerns of Floridians by working with them. I found the workdays to give me an unusual insight not only into how people earn their living, but how they live their lives, pursue their dreams and confront their challenges. I hope that Governor Scott will have the same rich experiences as he commences workdays. I would also encourage other public officials to adopt this means of better understanding the citizens they represent,” stated Governor Graham."
Let's be honest here: Whether it's due to the influence of MacNamara or whoever, something had to change in terms of style for the governor. To call this first year "rocky" would be the understatement of the summer, and perhaps some of the things he has said and done have permanently alienated him from independent voters who will decide his future.
And what about Democrats? That train left the station the day he killed high-speed rail, if you'll pardon the mangled metaphor. His election has revived the moribund Florida Democratic party, and has given hope to national Democrats that his lack of popularity will help Barack Obama in the Sunshine State next year in his re-election bid.
But it's simple Human Relations 101. The ones who handle the press well get commensurate treatment, and that includes Jeb Bush and (especially) Charlie Crist. Yes, Scott's a rookie at the political game, but that's his own fault for not hiring more astute staffers who might have helped him avoid some of his unintentional errors.
Okay, enough of the lecture.
If you have a suggestion for the Governor’s workdays, send an email to [email protected].