The South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Sun Sentinel is my local paper and through the years I have been known to cheer-lead for the newspaper. The editorial board of the Sun Sentinel has generally been consistent and forthright with strong views on important subjects that effect south Floridians.
Newspaper editorial boards make decisions on political endorsements for various reasons. Ostensibly, they make these determinations based solely on candidate interviews and candidate quality. But in the case of Adam Hasner’s recommendation by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, questions need to be asked as to motivation and criteria for such an endorsement. Given the newspaper’s strong track record in the past this particular recommendation was out of character for the paper.
Quoting the Sun Sentinel:
“Hasner, 42, a former majority leader in the Florida House who lives in Boca Raton, is more in touch with the needs of South Florida’s business community, which is a plus in this economy when job creation is every candidate’s No. 1 issue. He touts his connection with the business-oriented Broward Workshop and wants to help reform the tax code and push for regulatory certainty so that business owners will have the confidence that allows them to hire and invest.”
The first piece of this is interesting. I’ve long suspected the Sun Sentinel prefers candidates from southern Palm Beach county to those from West Palm Beach because their readership is higher in Boca Raton in Delray Beach. Honestly, I understand this philosophy but just feel the need to point it out. The second part shows a clear conservative bent stating that Hasner is better for business thus a better choice. The editorial makes no mention of what Hasner in an eight year legislative career actually did to bring business to Broward or Palm Beach Counties. This is the thing about Florida Republicans. They talk big about creating a positive business climate and constantly cut taxes but have very little to show for their “efforts.”
The Sun Sentinel again:
“Hasner believes reform of Medicare and Medicaid is a must to avoid “fiscal collapse,” and he backs the GOP-favored premium support, or voucher program, for Medicare recipients in the future. He backs free trade, especially with Latin America and the Caribbean, and he wants to continue efforts to modernize Port Everglades and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.”
This part of the endorsement contradicts Hasner’s eight year State House record. Hasner was the Majority Leader when the state choose to weaken Port Everglades competitive standing as the leading deep-water port on the Atlantic south of Norfolk when the state committed $17.5 million to improve the Port of Miami’s competitiveness which meant competing with Port Everglades which handles far more commercial cargo than Miami. Port Everglades has also has cut into the Port of Miami’s longstanding advantage for cruise ships and the state’s package was designed to prop up the Port of Miami artificially. It was pork project that HURT Broward County, especially the area Hasner seeks to represent now in Congress.
While Hasner is not directly responsible for the Port of Miami project he did little to oppose it or use his influence to stop it. This is important since the Sun Sentinel implies Hanser’s role as Majority Leader in the State House and his membership in the majority party in the US House will mean he can forcefully advocate for his district. Hasner represented Florida Atlantic University in House when Florida International University was awarded a medical school despite FAU’s existing medical program in conjunction with the University of Miami. At that point in time FIU did not have a medical program. While FAU eventually was awarded a medical school, Hasner as a State Representative for a district including FAU was ineffective in advocating for the College of Medicine to be awarded when it realistically should have been. Hasner also worked with legislators from other areas against Rep. Carl Domino’s quest to become the first House Speaker from Palm Beach County since before the passage of the Florida Constitution of 1968. This came despite the fact that Hasner was the only other resident Palm Beach County Republican House member at the time. He improved his own influence with the victories Republicans but undermined local representation at the same time.
Additionally, Hasner has proven he is not a true free trader with his push to remove Citgo stations from the Florida Turnpike as well as his promotion of “divestment” legislation with countries the state of Florida deems as “terrorist nations.” So Hasner, the free market conservative who has represented himself to the editorial board as a free trader and business friendly representative has demonstrated on multiple occasions political rhetoric and symbolism come before business and trade considerations even if it potentially hurts Florida business or consumers. Whether you support or oppose “divestment” or banning Citgo, a Venezuelan government company from the Turnpike, it’s difficult to reconcile those politically charged and motivated views with being a free trader and universally pro-business. I should state I do not have an issue with Hasner on these issues personally but do with him promoting himself as a free trader when his record clearly contradicts this. I am personally not a free trader and support an America first foreign and economic policy. That means I generally do not support free trade agreements except with EU nations, Canada and some other countries whose environmental and labor standards match or exceed ours.
Hasner has proven time and time again he will say or do anything he needs to in order to:
a) Get elected
b) obtain power within a conservative dominated GOP caucus
The recommendation makes it very clear that they favor Hasner over Frankel because he will be a member of the majority party. But the editorial board fails to mention that the majority of voters in the current CD-22 preferred John Kerry and Barack Obama in the last two Presidential elections.
This particular endorsement is difficult to reconcile with many of the thoughtful and credible editorials produced by the Sun Sentinel in recent years. We’ve made no secret of our strong support for Lois Frankel and are not targeting the Sun Sentinel because they choose not to endorse her- it is because they gave no compelling or valid reasons why they have picked Hasner.