Thursday, May 24, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: The real strategy behind the Scott-Christie campaign tour

This has to make you wonder whether our tone-deaf Gov. Rick Scott has retained Bullwinkle J. Moose as his campaign consultant.

Let's review. You have a Florida Republican governor with all the charm and retail politics skill of Dick Cheney, without the whimsical sense of humor, running for re-election.

In November, Scott likely will be facing new Democrat and former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, the "Music Man" meets Mr. Rogers of Florida politics.

Absent a Vulcan mind meld with the ghost of Ronald Reagan, Scott is going to need all the help he can muster to demonstrate that he has a pulse and cares about Joe Sixpack.

So whom does Scott invite to come to Florida to vouch for his gubernatorial bona fides as the able, efficient, no-nonsense chief executive officer of the state? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is more damaged goods than Anthony Weiner.

The round mound of dumbfound is scheduled to make campaign appearances with the Gov. Lepetomane of Apalachee Parkway Saturday, with fundraising stops in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and West Palm Beach. You can rest assured that phrases such as "building bridges to the future" will not be uttered.

Memo to Scott's keenly-attuned-to-current-events-challenged campaign staff: What were you thinking?

In case you haven't noticed, the New Jersey governor is embroiled in a public relations Armageddon over the role his staff and campaign cronies played in virtually shutting down the George Washington Bridge in September in a fit of pique over the Fort Lee mayor's refusal to endorse Christie's re-election bid.

The resulting four-day gridlock, which was passed off as a "traffic study," victimized an estimated 300,000 daily commuters.

Yet Scott thinks Christie is just the guy to come to Florida to extol the virtues of responsible governance? Isn't this a bit like turning to Charlie Sheen as a role model for good parenting?

This will be Christie's first foray out of New Jersey since "I'm Surrounded By Morons-gate" erupted around the governor's proclaimed obliviousness to the fact people he hired turned the George Washington Bridge into a bumper-to-bumper refugee camp.

It's an interesting commentary that Christie would prefer to spend a weekend in the company of Scott, R-It's ALIVE!", a governor with low poll ratings and all the charisma of a salt lick, rather than hang around New Jersey. The bridge scandal is being investigated by everyone from the state legislature to the feds and by the time he hits Florida, probably the Visiting Nurse Association.

No doubt Scott will want to promote his accomplishments: cavalierly rejecting federal high-speed rail and Medicaid money, a failed unconstitutional effort to require drug tests for welfare recipients, sabotaging Common Core education standards and fast-tracking U.S. 19 road construction in an election year.

But once the potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate arrives for his Laurel & Hardy tour of the state, he will also be followed by demonstrators, the New York and national press corps, and the Florida media — all eager to press the Garden State governor on the bridge to a nightmare.

Rest assured the Scott campaign will try to keep the governor and the man who put the bully in bully pulpit away from the prying scribblers.

Regardless of reporters' questions, Scott will respond by saying: A) "Jobs," B) "Have a nice day," or C) "Bring the jet around, Jeeves."

Of course, this could be part of a grand master plan by the Scott campaign to invite other tainted Republicans to campaign in Florida. The campaign staffers can argue that by comparison, their guy is Lincoln, Eisenhower and the Gipper himself.

Next up? Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell? Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin? Donald "The Birther King" Trump?

Don't laugh. Even the Scott campaign is not immune to a bridge too far-fetched.

Comments
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