Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gov. Scott goes to school for Charlie's charm offensive

From the desk of Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Dear (new mom, new lawyer, Lotto winner, business owner or state employee whose job I know so little about I asked your boss to write that part for me):

Congrats on the big whatever good thing just happened to you! Say, have I told you what a good job I've done as governor? And by the way, wasn't the guy before me just awful?

Anyhoo, congrats!

Very, very sincerely,

Your pal,


(*Not an actual letter from the governor.)

For the past year, Florida's governor has been availing himself of the gubernatorial stationery big time.

Recent graduates, Floridians getting business or professional licenses, new lawyers — they get an official shout-out in the form of a note from Scott, who, by the way, is in a tough race for re-election.

Nice, right? Nothing like a letter from a Really Important Person to make a body feel special.

Did I mention that part about re-election?

Because given the self-promotional content of some of those attaboys, a cynical sort might think this letter-writing endeavor has as much to do with campaigning as congratulating.

In letters to new lawyers, Scott mentions oh-by-the-way the sorry state of this state before he took office after Gov. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

You know, the guy now facing off against Scott.

Scott writes about how focused he is on "keeping Florida's economy moving in the right direction" and other talking points.

By then, the letter reader must be thinking: Um, didn't this at least start out being about me?

It's like receiving a tasteful wedding invitation on thick, creamy stationery and feeling really special to be invited, then finding a note inside telling you to bring a six-pack to the reception.

Certainly governors prior, and plenty of other politicians, have taken advantage of sitting in the official seat and sending salutations on Sunshine State stationery. Except, according to news reports, Scott's letters are more extensive in scope and on the campaign stuff — like how in the four years before he got in, Florida lost about a gazillion jobs.

Did somebody say Charlie Crist?

Because what sure looks clumsy and transparent here only emphasizes what Scott faces against the Crist charm offensive (not that Crist won't take his licks on party-switching or policy shifts.)

While Scott can come off as awkward and out-of-touch, the former governor meets a stranger, gives a twinkly tip of a wink and ends up earnestly expressing sympathy for that person's great-grandmother's recent bout of bursitis. I exaggerate, but only a little.

Scott's letter-writing (pardon the expression) campaign has some grumbling about PR on the taxpayer dime. But if you ask me, he really missed out on the nuance and the power of note-writing.

We text, we tweet, but there is still something undeniably nice about a well-written and genuine note of regard. Even in a cyber-driven world, a hard-copy letter from the governor should be something to save, to show to your kids one day.

Otherwise, it's like just another cheap campaign flier, taking up space in the mailbox.

Gov. Scott goes to school for Charlie's charm offensive 11/22/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 22, 2013 9:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa


    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.