Thursday, November 23, 2017
Opinion

Ruth: Politicians get history lessons from voters

RECOMMENDED READING


There are probably a few lessons to be gleaned from Tuesday's primary election night, although no one is ever likely to heed them. Holding elective office is an elixir of sorts for some people who can't resist the roar of the body politic, the smell of power.

Let's start with the defrocked Hillsborough Property Appraiser Rob Turner, who argued he deserved to remain in office because he had done such a swell job property appraising.

Turner is right on that count. He did do a good job. But it's pretty clear he also scored equally high on the creepier than Gary Busey scale with voters.

No matter how able one might be in one's job, it is not a good idea to be caught up in a scandal involving sending pornographic emails to a subordinate, with whom one once had a dangerous liaison — and then firing her. Bad form.

It also doesn't help when the coo-coo-ca-choo hit the fan that Turner attempted to campaign from Dick Cheney's undisclosed location, refusing to do interviews and communicating with inquiring reporters only by email. Sheesh, Howard Hughes was more accessible.

So it says something about what dire straits Turner was in when he was defeated by state Sen. Ronda Storms, the Aimee Semple McPherson of east Hillsborough, who even admitted she really didn't know diddly about property appraising, but at least she wasn't especially icky and would hire people to do the appraising stuff.

And that was good enough for GOP primary voters to rid themselves of the lounge lizard of Kennedy Boulevard.

John Grant III pulled a Connie Mack and thought if he dropped all those Roman numerals voters would think they were really voting for his daddy, a former well known state senator, to a judgeship. The schtik might have worked, too, if only the younger Grant hadn't had some DUI charges in his background.

Is it fair to hold someone's past against them, especially if the offenses occurred a while ago? Probably not, although when you're running for judge, it probably doesn't look good if you've ever had your Miranda rights read to you.

Grant had to know the risk of seeking a seat on the bench would also entail elements of an embarrassing past being used against him. He went ahead anyway.

Johnnie Byrd thought perhaps he too could ride into a judgeship based on his name and his earlier post as a Speaker of the Florida House. Unfortunately he was a truly dreadful speaker, who sent even his fellow Republicans scurrying to grab some garlic and a wooden stake whenever they ran into him. It also didn't help to campaign as if he was good ol' boy Buford T. Justice either.

This may be giving the electorate too much credit for infusing nuance with their vote. But a case could be made that when you run around pretending to be all morally upright and biblical it does sort of seem rather hypocritical to run such a nasty, sleazy campaign, as Rachel Burgin did against Tom Lee to capture a state Senate seat.

Lee is probably no angel. Alas, Burgin would like you to think she is.

And so her efforts to smear Lee were hardly filled with Christian compassion for her fellow man. You can't campaign like Mongo in Blazing Saddles and still expect the public to regard you as Little Miss Muffet.

Is there is a lesson in all of this? Maybe it is that citizens are willing to accept a certain degree of human frailty in a candidate just as long as they don't have to take a shower after leaving the voting booth.

Comments

Another voice: Wall isnít a lifesaver, itís a boondoggle

The first stage of President Donald Trumpís controversial border wall project ended last week, while the prospects for any more construction ó and even what type of wall ó remain uncertain.A Border Patrol agent was killed and his partner seriously wo...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Another voice: Time for Republicans to denounce this tax nonsense

Mick Mulvaney, the phony deficit hawk President Donald Trump tapped to oversee the nationís budget, all but admitted on Sunday that the GOP tax plan currently before the Senate is built on fiction. Senators from whom the public should expect more ó s...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

In a state with the nationís highest portion of residents over 65 years old and more than 80,000 nursing home beds, public records about those facilities should be as accessible as possible. Yet once again, Florida is turning back the clock to the da...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: A time of reckoning on sexual misconduct

Stories about powerful men engaging in sexual misconduct are becoming so common that, as with mass shootings, the country is in danger of growing inured to them. But unlike the tragic news about that latest deranged, murderous gunman, the massive out...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: Trump does the right thing for elephants; he shouldnít back down now

There is bad timing, and then there is this. Last week, an apparent military coup placed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in custody, ushering in a new period of political uncertainty. A few days later, the Trump administration announced that Zimba...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

From birth to death, opioid addiction is ravaging the lives of thousands of Floridians. Drugmakers, doctors, state lawmakers and insurance companies all have a role to play in slowing the epidemic. Lately some more responsible answers, including mill...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "Iím pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: A time for real thanksgiving

Editorial: A time for real thanksgiving

By now the guest list if not the table is all set, and the house will be warmed with the noise of loved ones and the smell of that dish with cream of mushroom soup. Tucked between the sugar rush of Halloween and the sparkle of Christmas, Thanksgiving...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17