Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is Alex Sink running the worst campaign since... Bill McBride? ... by gimleteye

At about the same moment I noted Alex Sink's lackluster performance at the annual meeting of the Everglades Coalition, Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel opined in more detail: "someone has to wake up this sorry campaign". I was at the Miami Jefferson Jackson dinner for the Florida Democratic Party, a year ago, where Sink kicked off her campaign with a stump speech that aimed straight for the conservative heart of North Florida. At the Everglades Coalition, Sink made the same speech, drawing in bits and pieces of newspaper reports from the St. Pete Times and a little bit of folksy enthusiasm for the environment. As Thomas notes, something has to change. Sink's husband-- Bill McBride-- ran the most lackluster campaign for Florida governor in modern history. And Jim Davis, not much better. I suspect that for all, the political calculations have to do with the huge cost of running statewide in half a dozen different media markets; not wanting to alienate a single campaign donor. Note how successful Charlie Crist has been in his US Senate seat bid, scooping up campaign cash by tilting the entire state rightward during the last session of the legislature. The Democrats are junior partners in the money game in Florida, and it is no secret why. Still, the demographics have been tilting toward Democrats in Florida. Sink needs to take some time to re-tool, if she hopes for a different outcome.,0,4885111.column

Sink is sunk if she keeps dodging issues

Mike Thomas


11:03 PM EST, January 13, 2010

Gov. Bill McCollum.

You heard me right.

I now give Bill a 50.1 percent chance of becoming the most personality-challenged governor in America.

That is 50 percentage points more than I gave him when he entered the race with these stirring words about the state's highest office: "That is a position we have to have filled by someone who will be strong.''

What changed my mind? Alex Sink.

In theory, the state's chief financial officer was the perfect candidate. She was a moderate Democratic woman with a strong business background.

But in practice, Sink turned out to be the worst candidate since, well, Bill McCollum. She may even be as bad as her husband, Bill McBride.

McBride ran against Jeb Bush in 2002. The two faced a pivotal third debate with the race deadlocked. Stunningly, McBride arrived like a high-school student who didn't crack a book before his final exam. Jeb wonked him to death, grabbed the momentum, won handily and marveled afterward about his good fortune in running against Democrats.

I'm afraid Sink seems no better prepared than her spouse.

I refer you to a grainy, hand-held Miami Herald video titled: "Alex Sink ducking and dodging."

In it, a reporter begins by asking about her state-paid health-insurance policy. Sink didn't just duck the question. She sprinted off camera.

It was like watching Road Runner: Beep-beep. Poof. Empty screen.

In a later segment, reporters also asked her about the public option. Her lips sealed, her face grim, she walked off camera looking like my youngest daughter confronted with broccoli.

Confronted with fight or flight, Sink skedaddles.

What we have here is a candidate who hasn't mastered the art of sounding persuasive while saying nothing for 90 seconds. That's commendable for a bank president, which she was, but a big problem for a political candidate.

Another big problem: the people running her campaign.

Consider the Alex Sink campaign Web site, It proclaims that "the St. Petersburg Times released a poll yesterday that showed Alex ahead by one point.''

The poll is 2½ months old. That coincides with when someone last updated the Web page.

Contrast that to McCollum's Web site, — current, holiday pictures of the family, a link to commentary praising his constitutional challenge to ObamaCare, another link to an editorial raising questions about Sink's ethics.

Bill's makeover is amazing. Gone is the geek. He is posed on top of the Web page, no tie, smiling broadly, wearing some seriously stylin' specs, coming darn close to looking sexy in a Republican kind of way. Now if only they could stop him from speaking in public.

McCollum's campaign staff is on top of things. It is winning the digital war. Twenty minutes don't go by that I don't get a Bill McCollum e-mail update materializing in the lower righthand corner of my computer screen.

Here's one now: "Bill McCollum announced this morning his opposition to whatever it is that Barack Obama is doing today. Press conference at 11."

Generally I don't read them, but that doesn't matter. They pop up all day long on media computers around the state, delivering the subliminal message: BillMcCollumBillMcCollumBillMcCollum.

It wears you down. At the end of the workday, I often leave finding myself thinking, "You know, I like that guy.''

Maybe that's why the liberal mainstream media are zinging Sink as a ducker and dodger. The only way she can shed that image is standing and answering.

That's hard to do when you have to answer for a president whose policies are fast falling out of favor in your state. It also makes McCollum's strategy quite obvious: Keep her on the defensive until November.

McCollum has no problem with his positions. He opposes ObamaCare, Obama stimulus, Obama in general, trial lawyers, cap-and-trade, taxes and online sexual predators. I'd say that puts him in sync with at least 50.1 percent of voters.

McCollum strongly criticized teachers unions for trying to block the state from getting a federal grant of as much as $900 million because it would require merit pay. Not surprisingly, given the unions' influence with Democrats, Sink has been mum.

What are her issues? Included among those listed on her Web site: Cutting wasteful spending. Better fiscal oversight. Making government efficient. Political accountability. Cracking down on annuity salesmen. Cracking down on Blackberry abuse in state government.

It's all good. But there isn't one thing there that 100 percent of the people would not agree with.

That's a problem. Sink's supporters will get mad at all this. They should be thankful. Somebody has to wake up this sorry campaign.

Mike Thomas can be reached at 407-420-5525 or

Copyright © 2010, Orlando Sentinel


Geniusofdespair said...

Agree. She is a dynamic, attractive candidate but she has trouble connecting with the masses. Bill Clinton was the master at the quick connection. Eye contact and the smile. No one could do it like Bill.

Anonymous said...

Alex Sink is pretty good in person. Maybe she needs better speech writers and better publicists?

out of sight said...

Well, she doesn't have much time to make staff changes...even if she could be convinced that she should.

She is going to be Alex Sunk if she doesn't wake up!

CATO said...

I dunno between her and Bill McCullum voters may be to bored to cast a ballot.
I'll be one of those voters.

Anonymous said...

Last CFO Sink Press Release I read had SEVERAL errors including calling Bill Monfort the CURRENT superintendent of Leon county. She has avoided many issues important to FL voters- she cant continue to do this and expect to win.

Anonymous said...


Good in Person?

Are you two talking about the same Alex Sink I think you're talking about?

It's hard to have less personality than Bill McCullum. But she's sure trying.


Geniusofdespair said...

M no one can stoop as low as Bill McC when it comes to personality.

Anonymous said...

I met her at an event. She seemed nice and she seemed intelligent.