Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Jeb Can Fix It? ... by gimleteye

Tired of dragging around a dispirited exclamation point, Jeb Bush's campaign team is trying out a new meme for size: "Jeb can fix it!" Call me a skeptic, having observed and written critically about Bush era policies while he was governor. Maybe Jeb can fix it because he broke it in the first place.

Growth management, wetlands protections, the Everglades: these are just a couple of important policy areas where Jeb's penchant for micromanagement without the benefit of wisdom, patience and understanding upended decades of bipartisan effort to save Florida from being over-run by sprawl. His under-handed efforts to shoe-horn Scripps into Everglades wetlands had the combined effect of pushing community activists off the stage and dispiriting career agency staffers, leaving a hole wide enough for Charlie Crist then Gov. Rick Scott to drive through. The so-called conservatism that Jeb Bush championed was like setting lanterns by pirates on the coral reef, driving the ship of state there to splinter and sink and be harvested for profit by reef wreckers.

From the viewpoint of Florida, "Jeb can fix it" is a ludicrous proposition.

It does, however, lead to a serious question: where in the world were Florida Democrats during the Jeb Bush era? In press accounts today, there is a lone Democrat with the background, acumen and skill to be quoted: former state senator, Miami Beach native Dan Gelber.

Even today, the question arises; where in the world are Florida Democrats? There are some good answers, but not enough. First of all, they are fighting for Fair Districts. The movement, that is consuming the energy of the GOP legislature and millions of tax dollars to defend the indefensible (and illegal), should not be a single party issue. Second, Democrats are fighting for election protection and against efforts by Republicans to suppress the 2016 vote. They are advocating for a higher minimum wage and for policies that will mitigate against the impacts of climate change.

Although it is easy to point to the 2000 presidential election as a dismal example how Jeb! really did fix it, it is not so easy to explain the limpid response of the state's Democrats. An inherent problem is that there really are two Florida's; a progressive southern half of the state, where the wealth is mostly concentrated, and the Dixiecrat north.

The inability of Democrats to muster a response to an entrenched state GOP has led national political campaigns to largely by-pass the state party. Along this line, an interesting blog post from Florida Squeeze: "Florida's Dem leaders just aren't that into us".
In two weeks, the Republican Party of Florida will hold their state convention, and 12 of their 15 Presidential candidates will be attending. This weekend, the unfortunately under-loved Democratic State Convention came and went, and you were lucky if you got a selfie with Alan Grayson...

It’s seriously messed up that the Democratic State Convention would underwhelm in any way. Florida controls 29 electoral votes — the same number as New York. Chicanery here in 2000 resulted in George W. Bush “winning,” which in turn gave us the war in Iraq and the Great Recession. The stakes couldn’t be higher, which is a fact we’re inevitably reminded of when the party wants our votes.

But when it comes to grassroots Democrats actually participating in the process of electoral politics, the message is the party is not that into us.

That is a sad state of affairs, for which leading Democrats bear responsibility. But who are those leading Democrats? They haven't fixed the Democratic Party in Florida because for decades, Florida Democrats have sat back and fought mostly defensive efforts against well funded GOP opposition. The irony isn't that Democrats are unable to articulate how being pro-business doesn't mean being anti-community or anti-environment or anti-people, it is that the GOP pro-business funders are "all-in" -- from the Chamber of Commerce to Associated Industries -- in opposing Democrats.

Somehow the message just isn't getting through; there is a race to fix what is wrong with Florida. If you don't trust the wrecking crew to fix what they broke, who can you trust?


Anonymous said...

Jeb!'s campaign is now on life support, forced to continue in his misery by the fatcat Republican establishment who bought him, much like the misery he and his cohorts imposed on Terri Schiavo and her family. Jeb!, your family has filled enough graveyards, your schemes of privatization have filled enough crony pockets, your brother and his neo cons have set the stage for decline of the American Empire through the idiotic attack on Iraq. Enjoy your wealth without bothering the rest of us. As for the impotence of the Democratic party of Florida, remember who controlled Tallahassee during the census, who set the stage which only now are courts repairing, who engaged in voter purges and suppression. Of course if you stay home and don't vote, then even a 400,000 voter advantage is worthless.

cyndi said...

I would fire his brander and pr people. They are doing a terrible job.and everything anonymous said above.