Over the past few days, many of you might have read the Sunshine State News article in which Republican Senator Don Gaetz claims that Florida Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith tried to broker a deal with the Republicans over the State Senate map for his own personal benefit. In this article, the following claims are made:
- Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith “attempted to cut a deal to alter an area of the state that was not objected to in any way by the Florida Supreme Court for the sole purpose of creating a district for himself so he could return to the state Senate.”
- Another state Senate seat would be drawn for Volusia County Democratic Chairman Frank Bruno.
- Changes would be made in Broward County to “further weaken the area represented by Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff,” R-Fort Lauderdale.
- In exchange, the Democratic Party would assure the necessary votes for the revised maps, drop its lawsuit and file a brief in support of the plan at the high court.
Of course, the Florida Democratic Party denies the attack by Sunshine State News and Senator Gaetz. But it doesn’t matter…the simpleminded conservatives have already chugged the Kool-Aid.
Similar to taking everything Glenn Beck says as written fact, Republicans lined up behind these claims as if they were factual without doing any research on their own. The Republicans tend to do this quite often. How else did a Hawaiian-born Christian become a Kenyan-born Muslim? The “Jedi Mind Tricks” work wonders in the Republican Party.
But for us Democrats, we require a little more. We aren’t satisfied with pure hearsay. We don’t take Senator Gaetz “word” when it comes to accusations about back-door deals for the benefit of a few. Yes, we acknowledge that negotiations took place between the FDP and the Republican leadership. This is a known fact. But when Gaetz and the Sunshine State News come up with a laundry list of so-called ‘self-serving deals’, we would like to see something more specific.
The GOP’s “Jedi Mind Trick” really showed itself during an online Twitter debate between myself and GOP media consultant Rick Wilson (in what was, surprisingly, a civilized exchange). Here is the exchange, which was a response to Kartik Krishnaiyer’s article “Questions Continue About the Senate Map”:
Wilson: Such as Rod Smith trying to cut a side deal for a bespoke seat.
Wilson: Don’t outrun your coverage on this one. Really want to gamble against me on this one?
Trotter: Prove it.
Wilson: Odd how the only map the FDP ever produced had a district for him.
Trotter: Yep, we require a little more than “Gaetz said it, so it must be true.” We require concrete facts. Why would Rod Smith mess around with the State Senate when he can easily run for AG or Governor, makes no sense.
Wilson: Trust me, you can’t win this one 😉 All in good time.
Trotter: Prove to me that the map that you are talking about is specifically for Smith. Already putting up the white flag? 🙂
Trotter (con’t): I think your argument was that Smith met with Gaetz to draw a district for himself. I just ask for proof this happened.
Trotter (con’t): You know, I saw on the cover of Weekly World News that Batboy met with JFK last week as well.
But that is exactly the point. One could almost say that Republicans, with the history of hearsay and, basically, making stuff up, could sell the idea of Batboy to their base. If Glenn Beck, or Senator Gaetz says there was a meeting between Batboy and JFK, then damn it, it must be true!
Democrats seek a little more. We want proof that Batboy exists. We want proof that JFK is still alive. If President Obama were to say there was a meeting between Batboy and JFK, Democrats would first ask if he was joking. If he states that he wasn’t, then we would ask for the straight jacket.
That is the fundamental difference between conservatives and progressives. We listen, examine and learn. They listen and follow without question.
So, in my second direct challenge of the week, I ask both the Sunshine State News and Senator Gaetz to produce whatever they have that specifically shows the four main accusations mentioned above. Simply having “a map” and Senator Gaetz’s “word” doesn’t do it. Anyone would be laughed out of most courts with so little evidence.
So Senator, let’s see what you have. If you are right, you can prove it and your point would be 100% valid. If you continue with hearsay, many of us that are old enough can remember the old Clara Peller quote…”where’s the beef”?