Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Politics

Romano: So I guess Twitter is Florida's new field of honor

Just so you know, this little skirmish between Gov. Rick Scott and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is not unprecedented.

In fact, men of a certain conceit have been taking shots at each other for years in Florida. Sometimes, literally.

Leigh Read, who was rumored to be the next leader of Florida's territorial legislature in 1839, got in the crosshairs of Augustus Alston because Read didn't think government money should bail out private business interests. And, no, I couldn't possibly make this up.

The two men met on a field of honor and, before they could finish walking the duel's 15 paces, Alston supposedly stumbled and his rifle went off. Read calmly turned around and shot Alston dead.

Which brings us to the equally epic Scott-Corcoran showdown of 2017. Except, instead of guns, these two walk their 15 paces in loafers and then start firing tweets.

One can only imagine the carnage.

This was Scott's hysterical-sounding response after the House Appropriations Committee approved Corcoran's plan to eliminate Enterprise Florida and whack Visit Florida's funding on Tuesday.

The problem is Scott has cried about this wolf before. When he first ran for governor in 2010, he warned that the Affordable Care Act would be "the biggest job-killer in the history of this country."

Except from 2010 to the end of last year, with Obamacare still going strong, the nation had added more than 15 million jobs in the private sector. So, it might be fair to say Scott's aim, when it comes to job-killing laws, is suspect.

This was Corcoran's highfalutin' tweet that helped get the blood boiling on this feud. It was Corcoran's answer to a suspiciously lopsided poll commissioned by Scott's people that claimed Floridians simply loved the idea of giving taxpayer money to Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.

You might have noticed Corcoran likes to invoke his "principles" in political battles such as this, but it's really just a euphemism for "intolerant." If your principles do not align with his — and I do mean precisely — then you're the enemy.

He doesn't believe in compromise and doesn't want to hear alternative views. Which, when you think about it, doesn't necessarily match the "principles" that helped build this country.

This trash-and-burn approach by Corcoran was actually starting to achieve the impossible — making you feel sorry for Scott — when the governor opted for his own brand of overkill.

Scott visited the districts of what he considered to be susceptible House members and basically tattled on them for not adhering to his job-creation credo. In a street fight, this would be the equivalent of giving somebody a nasty little rash.

Earlier in the battle, Scott accused Corcoran of attacking Enterprise Florida to raise his profile for a future run at governor. This is a strategy Scott knows well, since he is funneling money to Enterprise Florida to boost his own profile for a future run at senator.

For these guys, the field of honor seems to be 140 characters long. And the weapon of choice is a smartphone.

This duel may lack virility and nobility, but it makes up for it in sheer petulance.

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