Saturday, February 24, 2018
Editorials

Florida GOP sends signal: Defeat Obama, stop infighting

Florida Republicans signaled Tuesday they are more interested in mounting a vigorous challenge to President Barack Obama in the fall than in venting their frustration now. Mitt Romney's convincing victory in the presidential primary confirmed he is the Republican best positioned for the general election, and it reinforced the importance of a large, diverse swing state playing a prominent role in choosing party nominees. Because of Florida, Romney is a better candidate with broader support — and the clear favorite to return to Tampa in August to accept the Republican nomination for president.

For all of the talk about the tea party influence in Florida and Newt Gingrich's railing about elites in the political party and the media, Republicans embraced the party establishment's candidate. And Romney used a well-established strategy to win. He developed a superior campaign organization, far outspent his opponents and aired many more television ads. He performed well in two Florida debates, and coming off his loss to Gingrich in South Carolina he attacked, attacked, attacked.

The result: Romney won convincingly in Central and South Florida and piled up advantages among men and women, whites and Hispanics, young and old. Gingrich won a number of smaller counties in North Florida and split the vote among tea party voters, signaling Romney has more work to do with the most conservative Republicans. But while Romney has new momentum, the former House speaker leaves Florida much weaker than he arrived and more driven by his own ego than a realistic chance to win the nomination.

Romney remains a flawed candidate. He has yet to develop a compelling agenda or define himself to many voters. His quest to satisfy unconvinced conservative Republicans and his negative campaign ads threaten to alienate independent voters and push him further away from his more mainstream record as Massachusetts governor. Despite an easy win Tuesday night, as the Republican nominee for president Romney would find it more difficult to win Florida in the general election. A Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/BayNews 9 poll showed him essentially tied with Obama, despite Florida's economic issues and the fact the president has yet to start campaigning.

In a general election campaign, Romney would have a tougher time blaming Obama for Florida's weak economy and high unemployment rate at the same time Republican Gov. Rick Scott takes credit for creating more jobs and housing begins to rebound. His harsh anti-immigration rhetoric would not play as well among all Hispanic voters, who backed Obama four years ago. Romney also would have to explain how his opposition to national health care reform that benefits so many Floridians squares with his support for similar health care reform as governor in Massachusetts. This is a candidate who appears firm but flexible in his core beliefs.

Romney has to slog on through the primary season as long as Gingrich continues his self-centered campaign, and expect the attacks to continue to be personal. But Romney had plenty to celebrate on Tuesday night in Tampa, and it would be no surprise to see him back here in seven months to accept the party's nomination at the Republican National Convention.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18