Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Bullies need not apply for the Florida governor's job

Think of it as an employee evaluation.

Rick Scott has been on the job for a couple of years, and has a pretty recognizable body of work behind him. It's true he's been critiqued by some columnists along the way, but we all know they tend to be whiners or communists.

No, this time, Scott's review is coming directly from his employers.

All 8.3 million of them.

And what message did Florida's voting shareholders want to impart to their CEO via Tuesday's general election?

Straighten up, bucko.

Now state officials may point out that, technically, there wasn't a referendum on the governor's job performance in this election. In fact, his name was nowhere to be found on the approximately 600-page ballot.

But that's just a minor detail. The reality is Florida voters slapped Scott. Repeatedly and hard.

Issues that were important to Scott and the Florida Republican Party did not go over well with state voters this week. Supreme Court justices were retained. Amendments were killed. Legislative seats were lost. Voter-suppression efforts were circumvented.

And, for Scott, that may not even be the worst of it.

The governor long ago drew a line in the sand on the Affordable Care Act, and has not cared one bit that the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government have all signed off on Obamacare.

Now he has to face the possibility that a majority of Floridians have also endorsed the legislation by voting to re-elect the president.

So what does all of this mean?

I don't think it says Florida is suddenly in the same liberal neighborhood as California. I don't think it means values or principles or philosophies have changed. I honestly don't know if there are any far-reaching takeaways from this election cycle.

What I think it suggests about Florida is simply this:

We don't like bully politics.

We don't like a businessman who believes buying his way into the governor's mansion gives him free rein to ignore the laws of the land.

We don't like elected officials who try to ignore the wishes of voters by sneaking rejected laws back on the ballot with new paint jobs.

We don't like politicians who react to court rulings by throwing temper tantrums and trying to destroy divisions between judicial and legislative branches that have stood for centuries.

The question now is whether Scott was paying attention.

We do know he has an instinct for survival. If you recall, after gutting education in 2011, he realized that was a foolish and losing proposition and reversed course in 2012.

Now, we'll see if he figures out that Florida is not a testing ground for his mad tea party experiments. This is a state of nuance. Of diversity. Of civility and compromise.

This doesn't mean all of his ideas are completely outside the mainstream. It just suggests that he needs to understand he is not the great and powerful Oz, who can do as he pleases. He was elected, and remains accountable.

The truth is Scott is now halfway through his tenure and has accomplished absolutely nothing worth bragging about. A handful of new jobs at 7-Elevens around the state ain't going to cut it.

So consider yourself on notice, sir.

Your job is on the line.

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