Thursday, December 14, 2017
Opinion

Hell hath no fury like a politician scorned

Memo to the spats of the very modern major generals running the Republican Party of Florida: Hell hath no fury like a politician scorned.

But you probably figured that out by now.

For but the pettiness of stiffing a former party chairman out of $130,000 to shut up and go far away, the GOP brain trust has found itself in the crosshairs of Jim Greer's campaign for revenge.

It's isn't pretty. But it sure makes for some swell reading.

Greer was the hand-picked coat holder for Gov. Charlie Crist to oversee the affairs of the state party. And it is probably true it didn't take long for Greer to see himself as Caesar as he gallivanted about on private planes, stayed in swanky hotels and treated the post as his own personal ATM.

But as the now-disgraced Greer faces criminal fraud charges stemming from the time of his rule, the former chairman is lashing out at those he accuses of plotting against him. The list of usual suspects is impressive: outgoing Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, state Sen. John Thrasher, party counsel Jason Gonzalez and even Crist's former chief of staff, Eric Eikenberg.

Let the shames begin.

Greer has filed a civil suit in an effort to recover the $130,000 he says the party promised to pay him if he would change his name to Occupant, take a vow of omerta and move to Burkina Faso.

So in a lengthy deposition in the civil case, the chatty Greer unloaded on his former party brethren as liars, crazy nuts, brigands and connivers hatching schemes to suppress the voting rights of black Florida voters.

And all this was going on while everyone was conspiring to stab each other in the back. There is something to be said for multitasking. Was this the inner workings of a political party, or Tallahassee's answer to Macbeth meets The Departed?

With Greer's allegation of racially motivated GOP shenanigans to suppress black voter turnout, it is little wonder in an election year the party would welcome any effort to postpone the defrocked chairman's criminal trial until 2112.

The inclusion of the former Crist chief of staff in Greer's charges of suppression efforts is curious, especially since while in office Crist led the way to restore the voting rights of felons after they had served their time.

But considering Gov. Rick Scott and the rest of the Tallahassee Republican establishment embraced other voter suppression efforts such as reducing the number of early voting days and scrubbing of voter rolls, it would be reasonable to conclude where there's smoke, there's an elephant.

The litany of self-indulgence Greer alleges makes The Jersey Shore look like The Waltons, although it's hard to envision Thrasher as Tallahassee's answer to Snooki.

Greer suggests things began to go south when Crist, forgetting he was supposed to be a Republican, greeted President Barack Obama with a warm embrace rather than tossing him the keys to park the car. It is was bad enough the governor wanted to let "those people" vote. Avert your eyes!

In Greer's view, the state GOP allowed itself to be hijacked by "whack-a-do, right-wing crazies," who wanted him to "censure" Crist for palling around with a Democratic president. Let's not forget Greer was sworn to tell the truth.

Greer found himself in a pickle when he hid his interest in a somewhat misnamed consulting company, Victory Strategies. Sure it was a tawdry effort to double dip by taking his chairman's paycheck while pursuing contracts with the party.

But let's not get all Little Bo Peepy with feigned moral outrage over Greer's ham-handed duplicity.

After all, Greer was plucked from relative obscurity to run the party, only to find himself surrounded by big shots treating their GOP credit cards as if they just won the lottery.

Why wouldn't Greer think he too, could ride the gravy train?

The irony is if party officials had simply paid off Greer with his $130,000 door prize, chances are none of the cheesiness would ever come to light.

After all, Greer's real crime isn't the money-grubbing. It's that his patron for the job was Charlie Crist — the Iago of Republicans.

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