If one wants a good summary of what is wrong with today's Republican Party and it's failed policies, Governor Rick Scott provides the laundry list ranging from everything to climate change denial - even as Miami sees more and more tidal flooding problems - to voter disenfranchisement and slashing education and social safety net spending. Oh, and let's not forget opposition to Medicaid expansion which in Florida would aid some 1 million citizens. Recognizing the toxicity of Scott's policies and brazen disregard for government transparency, the Miami Herald today endorsed former Republican, now Democrat Charlie Crist for Governor. Here are excerpts from the editorial which could just as easily be applied to the policies favored by GOP Senate candidate Ed Gillespie here in Virginia:
Barely in office one month, Mr. Scott announced his first budget at a tea party rally in Eustis in February 2011. That was a clue that he failed to understand that he was governor of all the people. He has improved since then, but not much.
He has ignored the state’s open-government tradition and transparency rules. His lawyers are suing Google in an effort to bottle up private e-mails that may have been used to conduct state business. He won’t talk about his out-of-state travels and he won’t release details of a secret hunting trip to the King Ranch in Texas indirectly paid for by U.S. Sugar. The governor has yet to realize that he is no longer the CEO of a private corporation — he is a public servant.
In his first year in office, Mr. Scott abolished the state’s growth-management agency, which speaks volumes about his devotion to environmental issues. He still won’t acknowledge the reality of global warming and the need to devise effective policies to combat it. Mr. Crist was endorsed by the Sierra Club for his own actions to protect the environment, including an effort to stop the building of new coal-fired plants.
▪ Mr. Scott is just fine with the dangerous Stand Your Ground law, and appointed a task force to examine the issue and give him the result he wanted — Nope, this law doesn’t need tweaking at all. Mr. Crist, however, realizes that it needs to be fixed before more people use it to commit homicide and walk away without punishment.
▪ Mr. Crist favors accepting $51 billion from the federal government to expand Medicaid to give some 1 million Floridians medical coverage. Mr. Scott was against it, then for it, but never lifted a finger to get the Republican-led Legislature to approve it.
▪ Mr. Scott slashed funding for K-12 public education in his first year in office by $1.3 billion. He’s restored some of those cuts, but per-pupil spending is still $200 less than under Mr. Crist in 2007.
There are many other troubling issues in Mr. Scott’s record: He signed laws (since rejected by the courts) requiring drug testing for welfare recipients and some state employees. He rejected $2.4 billion in federal aid to build a high-speed train in Central Florida. And he signed laws designed to suppress the black vote.
Neither one of these candidates is perfect. Mr. Crist has had to defend his political migration from Republican to Democrat, his current support for same-sex marriage and his pro-choice stance against charges of political expedience. However, Mr. Scott stood firm against in-state tuition for young undocumented students before changing his mind this election year. The governor was four-square behind the Common Core curriculum, then wasn’t, claiming federal overreach — instead of the tea party’s tap on his shoulder.
Mr. Crist’s record on the issues, his record as a moderate — even as a Republican — and his undoubted devotion to the state of Florida give him a clear edge. For governor of Florida, the Miami Herald recommends CHARLIE CRIST.