Friday, December 15, 2017
Opinion

Ruth: Gov. Scott's lieutenant governor list uninspiring

By now you have to believe Florida Gov. Rick Scott's protracted, snail-like, Diogenesesque search for someone with nothing else better to do with their time than agree to serve as his lieutenant governor has reached the point where our fair state's Creature of the Black Lagoon is starting to look downright Churchillian.

It was March when Scott's number two resigned amid allegations that her former flackery company had done business with a dubious veteran's charity that was involved in illegal Internet cafe gambling. It was around June before anyone noticed Jennifer Carroll was gone.

After all, the job of Florida's lieutenant governor is about as critical to the state bureaucracy as Gomer Pyle was to the Normandy Invasion.

Recently, former Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay, who served with Lawton Chiles, recalled being introduced at a campaign rally in Fort Myers, where the speaker spent several minutes complaining about what a stupid, do-nothing, meaningless job it was to be lieutenant governor as MacKay sheepishly stood nearby. Finally the speaker realized the rhetorical pickle he was in, before regaining his form to proudly announce without reservation that if elected, Buddy MacKay was the perfect person to fulfill the stupid, meaningless, do-nothing, nonjob responsibilities of the cockamamie office.

Since Carroll's departure, Scott has insisted he is simply thoroughly vetting various candidates for the post of First Renfield of the Apalachee Parkway. But really now, with the governor's approval ratings somewhere between the U.S. Congress and Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant, it is also likely whatever few viable picks for the job there may be, they have been avoiding Scott as if he was the Grim Reaper of the Gallup Poll.

Recently Scott's office disclosed the latest short list of Republican lieutenant governor prospects. The group of black-spotted pols included Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger and St. Johns County school superintendent Joseph Joyner, who has already said "no thanks." Clearly happy days are here again.

The list also included Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman and, curiously, Brandon state Sen. Tom Lee.

Considering that Scott's re-election prospects are hardly assured, given that his likely Democratic opponent appears to be the ever sunny former Gov. Charlie Crist, why would an already politically powerful sitting sheriff, or an educator who supports Common Core school standards, something the governor has been less than thrilled about, want to be Scott's gofer-in-chief?

As well, it is difficult to fathom why Lee, already an influential member of the Florida Senate who is positioning himself to reclaim his old job as the chamber's president, would walk away from all that clout to serve as Scott's coat-holder for what could be only a year left in office.

That leaves Murman, who at 63 might think having the title lieutenant governor of Florida would look nice on her resume. But Murman is also eligible to serve on the County Commission until 2018. Why trade that in to serve as the state's official potted plant?

Of course, considering Scott's penchant for being more opaquely secretive than that National Security Agency if you even ask him what time it is, a cynic might suggest that releasing the names of the four means none of them have any remote chance of being picked.

And that leaves who? Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' The Yearling?

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