Florida’s Democrats have gone wobbly yet again, and this time on the most important issue of our time. While Rick Scott and Pam Bondi barnstorm cable news programs attacking the Heath Care ruling and get sweetheart treatment from FOX News, Florida’s Democrats have done little to alter the debate. Scott and Bondi have decided to wage a public relations fight against the Affordable Heath Care, by impugning the motives of the Supreme Court Justices and those elected officials, activists and health professionals who support this historic law. Both have publicly attacked President Obama, Former Speaker (current Minority Leader) Pelosi and other Congressional Democrats the past several days on FOX News programs.
Scott’s decision to opt out of parts of the law has been met with public silence by Florida’s Democrats. But why? This Governor who has fostered a culture of cronyism,corruption and my way or the highway rhetoric is the most unpopular public official in the state. Yet Florida’s Democratic leadership continues to be asleep at the wheel, unaware of potential political opportunities and chances to crystallize the differences between the parties. One has to wonder if the FDP and the statewide leadership is really interested in taking advantage of ready made opportunities to define the ideology and principles of the party.
Regardless of the FDP’s lack of messaging on this matter, Democratic legislative candidates locked in tough campaigns should seize this opportunity to demonstrate the type of leadership progressives throughout Florida seek. Attacking Pam Bondi and Rick Scott for playing politics with the health, welfare and lives of Florida’s citizens is good politics and good policy. Let us hope the FDP wakes up and realizes that.
UPDATE: At 1:01 PM following the publication of this post Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich issued the following statement.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: MICHELLE DeMARCO
JULY 2, 2012 850.487.5833
SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER NAN RICH CALLS ON GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT TO HALT POLITICAL GRANDSTANDING
TALLAHASSEE – Reacting to the news late Sunday that Republican Governor Rick Scott is once again attempting to block President Barack Obama’s health care reform from implementation in Florida, Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich (D-Weston) released the following statement:
“This latest announcement by Republican Governor Rick Scott speaks not only to a blatant disregard for the well being of the people he promised to serve, but a complete deference to right wing ideology over his constitutional obligations.
“His ‘more choice for patients, more free-market competition, increased accountability for providers, and incentives for personal responsibility’ are exactly the things the Affordable Care Act promises to deliver. What the law will not provide, however, is the continued free reign to health care companies to cancel policies at whim, deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, or spend more on their CEO’s bonuses than actual medical care for patients. And I fear that the governor’s objections stem more from corporate concerns than what’s best for the citizens of Florida.
“Pitting health care reform against education funding is the same false argument Governor Scott attempted to use during the last legislative session. This is the same governor that wanted to slash public education by 10 percent; the same governor that signed a budget raiding public universities’ reserves and operating funds by $300 million; the same governor who has no problem doling out hundreds of millions of unaccountable tax dollars to corporations to create phantom jobs; and the same governor that touts a dropping unemployment rate but ignores the real reason that rate is dropping – namely that more Floridians are simply giving up because his ‘job-creating’ strategy has been just another empty promise.
“One of the greatest ironies in his decision to forestall any action until the presidential election is the fact that the candidate he’s supporting created an almost identical health care system while Governor of Massachusetts – with the exception that his mandated penalties for failing to obtain “Romney-care” were much higher than the new national plan.
“Rick Scott is the Governor of Florida, not Florida’s CEO. He needs to remember that while he insists on running government like a business, he cannot deregulate his way out of the constitution he took an oath to uphold. Whether he likes it or not, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. It’s time for Governor Scott and the Republican leadership in Tallahassee to stop the partisan war against the law, and work together on behalf of the people of Florida.”