Crist’s pick of running mate a sign of weakness, hubris

CristTaddeoI know I haven’t written here in a while, and that’s because I actually have a life outside of airing my frustrations and smiting my political enemies.

That being said, I figured I’d go ahead and offer my $0.02 about Charlie Crist’s latest antic (they’re all antics, right?).

Giving the media and interested parties only a 4-hour notice, the Charlie Crist campaign cobbled together a press event in Miami yesterday to make what they characterized as an “important announcement.”  It was for Crist to introduce his running mate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein.

Reviews of his pick have been mixed. Some believe it was “solid,” others not so much. Regardless of that, what is striking is the timing. Continue reading

The time is now for a Lt. Governor López-Cantera

CLC

I think Governor Scott has done a marvelous job cleaning up the mess the reckless Charlie Crist left behind and has been a great governor overall. However, who he picks as LG may very well be a determining factor in a close election come next year.

So because the LG issue has been the talk of Tallahassee lately, I figured I’d throw in my $0.02:

Some have criticized the length of time it has taken to pick a LG; I’m not one of them. I believe it should be a thoughtful, deliberative process rather than a knee-jerk decision based on what benefits you personally (i.e., Charlie Crist tapping his chief-of-staff and campaign manager George LeMieux to fill a US Senate vacancy so he could warm the seat for him and fundraise while in DC).

That being said, criticisms and negative press will continue flowing until a pick is made. The lack of official information coming out of the governor’s office in regard to the LG issue is a vacuum that is and will continue being filled by the “unnamed insider” types leaking information to a hungry media. Whether the information is true or false is not the point: the point is, the governor’s office has little control over the information coming out. Naming an LG restores control on that issue.

Naming an LG also provides another voice and another set of boots on the ground to get your message out.

It is no surprise that Governor Scott, despite his many achievements, is still upside-down on his approval numbers. As such, the party, his campaign and he himself have to focus on bringing up those numbers by touting his accomplishments and staying positive. He is not yet in a position where he can tear down his opponent enough to win, especially if that opponent is Crist whose sunny (and vomitous) disposition is hard to crack.

But his LG can. Continue reading

My View: education crisis is America’s new civil rights crisis

schoolchoiceImagine if today–in 2013–a group of politicians pulled a George Wallace and stood in a doorway blocking certain students from entering a schoolhouse due to their race and/or societal class.

The outcry against such an act would be heard sea to shining sea with shouts of condemnation so loud they would make an 80s rock concert sound like a harpsichord recital.  The politicians behind it would be excoriated and forced out of public life forever–and rightfully so.

Thankfully the bad old days of racial segregation in public schools are long gone, and students of any race, religion and background have full access to public schools.

However, access to the schoolhouse building does not guarantee access to education–that is, the kind of education students need to at the very least be able to provide for themselves and their families as they enter adulthood.

It is no secret that many of our nation’s schools are failing their students.  The statistics speak for themselves.  But a closer look at those figures, as well as basic observation reveals that those suffering the most are pretty much the same who were denied entry to the schoolhouse in the 1960s.

Many would point the finger at income inequality, nuclear family disintegration, prejudicial barriers, historical hardships, or a combination thereof.  I mean, what else could explain that public schools in more affluent white areas outperform their counterparts in minority, less affluent areas and inner cities, especially when in most cases, they receive similar levels of funding from government?

However, asserting those are the reasons for overall education inequality essentially lays the blame on the students and their circumstances rather than on the schools and their administrators and teachers.

School choice has, in my view successfully challenged this axiom, and placed the onus where it belongs: on the schools (and those who operate them).

For years I have been a school choice proponent because I believe that competition among schools and school systems increases quality and efficiency just as it does in the free market.

A few jobs ago, I was the legislative aide to the Florida State Representative that sponsored and shepherded several of Former Governor Jeb Bush’s education reforms through the Florida House of Representatives.  In that capacity, I learned a great deal about school choice and the quantifiable gains students make through it.  But it never really impacted me on a personal level until last month. Continue reading

Florida League of Women Voters becomes travel agency for Castro regime

Segment of League Promo Video

Segment of League Promo Video

Yesterday one of my Twitter followers alerted me to the fact that the League of Women Voters Florida Chapter was visiting Cuba this week.  While I had heard that they had indeed visited Cuba in the past, I figured it was a one-time thing they did as some sort of civics outreach project.  I was wrong. So I decided to go ahead and dig a little deeper into their activities, and what I found was downright shocking and outrageous. Apparently, the League of Women Voters, which fancies itself a voting rights group, among other things, has organized multiple “delegation trips” to the Communist island since 2011 after Obama legalized so-called “person-to-person” travel. Traveling to Cuba under this system involves arrangements with U.S. and Cuban government-authorized operators and strict schedules of “educational” and “cultural” activities that are organized and led by Cuban government-approved tour guides. This is evident by the very videos, online brochures and other information that the League of Women Voters Florida has put out to promote these trips.  A promo video released just three days ago by the League’s official YouTube account includes pictures of beautiful Cuban scenery, happy natives, impressive old buildings (built before Castro, of course), classic cars (American, and before Castro, of course) various tourist spots, smiling children in communist pioneer uniforms, and several images glorifying Communist butcher Che Guevara. Missing were pictures of dilapidated buildings, gulags, empty grocery store shelves, beaten dissidents, ration cards and food lines. I guess the tour guides didn’t take them to where the regular natives live.  Oh, but the video does end with a web link to instructions on how to visit Cuba. Here’s the promo video: Continue reading

Senator LeMieux: Just. Stop. Talking.

lemieux-and-cristIt is no secret that several figures in Florida politics have been targets as part of my campaign to expose the opportunist perpetual candidate Charlie Crist over the years.

Long before his first party switch in 2010, I maintained that Crist could not have engaged in the betrayal, corruption and dereliction of his duties as governor if not for an inner circle of enablers.

Many of those in that inner circle profited handsomely off their association with Crist. For example: Jim Greer was tapped by Crist to head the Republican Party of Florida and up until he was busted for various crimes, lived the most extravagant of lifestyles in that role as chairman; and disgraced ponzi schemer and Crist fundraiser (read: bagman) Scott Rothstein was appointed to the powerful Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) and enjoyed unfettered access to Crist, so much so that he referred to himself as “the President of (expletive) Florida.”

There are others, but no one personally benefited more from Crist than the man he dubbed the “Maestro” for his role as campaign manager.  Of course, that is George LeMieux. Continue reading