Thursday, May 24, 2018
Opinion

What's Spanish for 'Gov. Goofball'?

It's fair to say that should Mitt Romney win the presidency, the prospects of Gov. Rick Scott being named ambassador to Spain are somewhere between hapless duffer Charles Barkley winning the U.S. Open and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski being granted parole.

Scott just returned from a Comedy Central mission to Spain, where the governor managed to double down on stupid by: a) making an embarrassed King Juan Carlos squirm more than Nick Nolte posing for a mug shot, and b) once again turning himself (and Florida) into an international punch line.

Gov. Ralph Kramden burst into a meeting with the king blurting out: "I've ridden elephants, I've never shot one," before a mortified Carlos could utter a word.

As diplomatic gaffes go, this might have been right up there with former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who having been overserved, was found wandering around in front of Blair House in Washington wearing only his underwear looking for a slice of pizza.

Carlos recently became embroiled in a national furor over going on a lavish African elephant hunt while his nation, with a 25 percent unemployment rate, is imploding amid an economic crisis. It also didn't help the king's image that he was running around Africa plugging pachyderms while also serving as honorary president of the World Wildlife Fund.

Last week, Carlos looked as if he was hoping an aide would hand him a 30.06 hunting rifle so he could he could bag a rare bald Florida dimwit. Scott continued to blabber on, even ridiculing the king's hip injury he sustained on safari, chiding the monarch that he needed a better excuse for the boo-boo than merely falling out of bed.

Whatta kidder.

At this point, the video of the dopey American humiliating a monarch as if he was cabana boy at the Governor's Mansion suddenly goes black, presumably before Scott had an opportunity to ask Carlos to "pull my finger."

Perhaps it might be best, in the future, that the only foreign travel Rick Scott should consider is Venice — Florida.

But if Gov. Bunker insists on using his passport, he needs a diplomatic primer 101. Let us begin. And pray.

For example, when traveling to Germany, do not greet Chancellor Angela Merkel with a "Sieg heil!" and a stiff-armed salute. Very bad form.

Should the governor find himself in England and happen to meet future king Prince William, please refrain from joking about the lousy emergency medical treatment in Paris.

If Saudi Arabia beckons, do not meet King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud for the first time and say: "You know bubeleh, that's a mouthful of a name. Why don't I just call you Zizzy?" And one other thing. Do not kvetch about your frustration in not being able to find a good Jewish deli in Riyadh.

In Moscow to meet Vladimir Putin, who is not easily amused, he will likely not appreciate it if you tell him: "Say, I just came from Lenin's Tomb. Do all Russian women look like that?"

On the other hand, dignitaries who pull the short straw and find themselves in Tallahassee should not feel constrained.

Feel free when meeting Rick Scott to offer up something along the lines of: "Gov. Scott, I understand you are something of an expert on the American legal system. Could you explain to me how the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination works since you once invoked it 75 times during a deposition?"

Hardy-har-har.

But if an ambassador or head of state really wants to crack up Gov. Bluto Blutarsky, and he's going to love this, make a snarky remark about Rick Scott's leadership of Columbia/HCA, which was later indicted in the largest case of Medicare fraud in U.S. history and paid a record $1.7 billion fine. Just make sure the cameras are rolling.

Upon his return from his court jester tour of Spain, Scott said if he had done anything loopy then he sure was awfully sorry.

If? All Scott did was reaffirm the reputations many Americans traveling abroad have of being more socially tone deaf than Sasquatch.

The next time Rick Scott decides to take a trip, the most important item in his luggage should be a roll of duct tape.

Comments
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18