Friday, May 08, 2015

The Tragic Incompetence of Florida's Rick Scott ... by gimleteye

I have one friend who knew Rick Scott on his way up in the business world, and my friend is a very, very smart guy. And he tells me that Rick Scott when he knew him in the health care industry was a very smart guy. He had a laser-like focus on making money, and he made a lot.

So why is Rick Scott not just a bad governor, but the worst governor in modern Florida history?

For one, Rick Scott epitomizes the problem of great wealth applied to the political realm. It can create the situation where an individual who may have started life in humble circumstances loses sight from the elevation and isolation that great wealth provides. The best contrast is the former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, who had plenty of critics for an authoritarian management style but clearly understood the difference between business and political life.

Within his own family, Rick Scott may show great empathy and compassion, but under the pressure of Florida Republican politics he has shown extraordinarily poor judgment about the nature of leadership. Instead of empathy, compassion and respect for Florida's history, he treats his job as if it were a corporate challenge.

Perhaps it is understandable, in a way, because Rick Scott was so proficient and successful mastering corporate challenges and so aware of the connection between navigating health care regulations in order to build net worth. A very different route by the way from Bloomberg whose vast fortune was based in information technologies, not the arbitrage between profit and health care rules meant to protect people and a system designed to serve them.

Voters had plenty of chances to question whether Scott's particular skill set was a good one. Prior to self-funding his governor's campaign, Rick Scott had no previous involvement in elections or any public policy arena other than the one where he made his money. Voters didn't question. Or, they did but in a narrower framework and one popular within conservative politics: there is nothing that government can do that business can't do better, and, the corollary along the lines that "if you are wealthy, you must be right."

The prosperity doctrine in western religions has many faithful. In a turbulent era when many families are stretched to the limit and elections are money traps for television revenue, inattention is extraordinarily costly. As for Rick Scott, he was very smart in business but in politics -- at least so far -- he gets a failing grade.

Like most high Republican officials, he is intolerant of diverse opinions within a very tight coterie of insiders. His vision is myopic, as though looking at the world through a pinprick in a sheet of paper or through the porthole window of a private yacht, afraid to come out in the sun.

In his insularity and immunity to outside views, the politician Rick Scott calls most to mind is Richard Nixon. But Nixon was quite effective -- if one looks past his paranoia -- at understanding how to undercut his political opposition. For example, Nixon was responsible for signing into the law the nation's most powerful environmental protections (yes, exactly the ones the Republican Congress is trying to eliminate today). Nixon was no environmentalist, but he needed some support from Democrats and liberals as the Watergate tornado gathered above him.

Rick Scott has nowhere to push back. Fortress Tallahassee and its high walls weren't built by Scott, but he is now virtually a prisoner there; captured by powerful special interests who are in a sense his last friends in political life. Given the sorry state of American elections, thanks to the Bush Supreme Court, those friends (like Big Sugar: cf my post, "Florida's Game of Thrones") may be the only ones he needs.

Right about now, if there are sentient Republicans in the state legislature (any?), they must privately be ruing Gov. Scott's victory last November. If Charlie Crist had won, they would have had somewhere to hide. Instead, the legislature is broken. Leadership is a fading dream and with Rick Scott high on his imaginary hobby-horse there is no dissent to push him off his convictions.

Voters, if there are discerning ones (any?), will recognize the ways in which Jeb Bush and an authoritarian management style laid the groundwork for a Rick Scott. Florida is so much the poorer. Republican legislators, if there are discerning ones (any?), must be wishing just a little bit for a resurgent Democratic Party in Florida.


Anonymous said...

Prediction. When FLA voters have a chance to vote state-wide in a national election ie. 2016, you will see a backlash and that is true even if Marco or Jeb is the GOP candidate. Evidence: when karl rove is out there urging Republicans to dial back, you know there's a problem.

Anonymous said...

Correction: Charlie Crist was the worst Governor in Florida history.

Geniusofdespair said...

No correction,
Charlie Crist was not
It is Rick Scott.

Anonymous said...

Republican animosity toward Charlie Crist is based on his choice, after being elected to Governor in 2006, to spurn not just the Jeb Bush legacy but also the infrastructure that Bush (and the Bush supporters) worked so hard to build during two Bush terms. Scott, when he arrived in Tallahassee, had no connection -- none -- to the Republican legislative infrastructure. He reached out, past Crist, to Jeb Bush operatives and infrastructure that was still in place. To say that Crist is the worst governor requires further explanation. HOW was Crist worse that Scott?

Anonymous said...

Scott's method of governing; If you can't shoot it, screw it or sell it, it is not worth his time.

Comem Ierda said...

Comparing Scott to Crist is like comparing eating a Dog shit sandwich to eating a Cow Shit Sandwich......both not very easy to swallow.

Anonymous said...

Crist may have had some positive qualities, but his flip flopping shone the light on his true agenda, winning at any cost. A chameleon type personality makes a person undesirable in any profession, not just politics.

cyndi said...

Your giving Rick Scott too much credit. The man is creepy. The way he talks about not knowing his father. Basically calling him "the man who got his mother pregnant. " Before you ruin everyone else life its usually a good idea to deal with your own. Just creepy. And when talks he like a spoiled five year old. Remember fangate. Funny but totally bizarre.
I love that turd blossom is telling people to dial it back. funny. He must be seeing all his good work to down the drain.
We needed two things from Charlie. Medicaid expansion and to buy the land to save the water. Three. sorry. We needed some sunshine in the Governor's office.
I know have met him (RS) and they think that something is missing. What is the funniest is that he owns this great pharmacy chain called Pharmica. Look it up. Very cool pharmacy. Total alternative medicine. I used to go to all the time in Boulder.

Anonymous said...

There's something very reptilian about PharmaScott.

cyndi said...

A friend of mine shook his hand and she said there was something awful about him. Like he was missing something. You can tell a lot from a hand shake. I once shook Dennis Kucinich's hand. It was sweaty and gross. I was so disappointed.