Monday, May 19, 2014

Florida Council of 100 tries to impose GOP discipline on business community, bans Charlie Crist from luncheon speaking engagement … by gimleteye

(UPDATE: the following was published last week) For Florida's Council of 100 to cancel a luncheon speech by Charlie Crist on the same day it had been scheduled speaks of itself to Florida voters.

Its website tab, "about us"you, claims, "The Florida Council of 100 is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of business leaders, which exists to promote the economic growth of Florida and improve the economic well-being and quality of life of its citizenry." Nonpartisan? According to its Wikipedia webpage, "The Council's non-profit filing with the Internal Revenue Service states that their purpose is to "educate the community and promote economic development to provide a better standard of living for all Floridians."

What is strange about its blatantly partisan act -- that ought to attract the scrutiny of the IRS -- is that when Charlie Crist was Florida's governor, he supported just about everything that the Florida Chamber of Commerce or Associated Industries wanted. One would be hard pressed to identify a single piece of pro-business legislation that Gov. Crist opposed.

In the matter of optics, however, Charlie Crist irritated the tight fighting machine, including the Council of 100 leadership, the coalesced around former Governor Jeb Bush. The Council of 100 was an organizing tool for Bush and commanded loyalty the Bush way. Its leaders like Al Hoffman -- champion of suburban sprawl whose corporate platform, WCI Communities, crashed and burned in the housing bust -- were top organizers of the 2000 campaign for President George W. Bush. Today, the Council of 100 board of directors includes top Bush allies, like former state campaign director Phil Handy.

The board of Bush's non-profit vehicle -- The Foundation For Florida's Future -- overlaps with the board of the Council of 100, including Carlos Alfonso, David Dyer, Manny Fernandez, Phil Handy, Lou Placencia, Pete Rummel and former Council of 100 leader Al Hoffman. Pepe Fanjul, Jr. -- the billionaire oligarch Crist offended with his planned buyout of US Sugar -- is also on the Bush foundation board.

Charlie Crist as GOP governor side-stepped Jeb's carefully selected command-and-control. All his careful preparation and cultivation of a new junction where privatization would supplant centralized government authority went fallow more or less.

Crist wasn't an ideologue in the Bush mold. In contrast, although current Governor Rick Scott also dodged a close affiliation with Jeb Bush during his first campaign, four years ago, once he had been elected -- as result of investing tens of millions of his own fortune -- Scott arrived in Tallahassee with zero experience base and quickly absorbed or was absorbed into Jeb Bush's loyalists.

The cancellation of the Crist speech by the Council of 100 -- ostensibly to avoid angering Scott -- is really more about enforcing discipline in the GOP ranks.

If Charlie Crist is guilty of anything, it is that he has made successful inroads with some big Republican donors. For example, at a recent political fundraiser on Normandy Isle in north Miami, the room was packed with donors ready to do business with Cuba: Hispanic Republicans.


Anonymous said...

Subtitle ought to be: GOP practices class warfare from the top, down

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the end of the article, that green clothed free speech always rises to the top.

Anonymous said...

It really doesnot matter what they do. The voters will make the call and Scott is out. When Crist becomes governor, they will be on the outside looking in. So put a pin in this, and when the time comes, remember this act.

Anonymous said...

It is very hypocritical for Charlie Crist and company to complain about what the Council of 100 did to Charlie Crist but they didn't seem to care when the Florida Democratic Party did something similar at the Party Convention last summer. They balked at putting Senator Nan Rich, the first Democrat to announce her candidacy for Governor, on the program.

Anonymous said...

It is demonstrative of the lack of voter education that exists in our state, for people to be wanting Crist as governor. It appears people will be voting for all the wrong reasons. Pity.

Anonymous said...

Your posts have become verbose, repetitive and often pedantic. Try to bring back the other blogger. In spite of her vulgarity, she makes this blog more interesting.

Anonymous said...

With 20 million people in Florida, ...we have these two terrible candidates, Scott and Crist, What is going on?
One is worst, the other worser.

Anonymous said...

True. Two total losers. A white collar criminal and an ambitious twit.