1. Opinion

Ruth: Scott, the 'outsider' who has been governor for 8 years, doth protest too much

HIALEAH, FL - APRIL 10: Florida Governor Rick Scott addresses supporters as he holds a Senate campaign rally at the Interstate Beverage Corp. on April 10, 2018 in Hialeah, Florida. Scott is facing off against the incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) for the Florida seat. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) 775152168
Published Apr. 11, 2018

This probably falls under the category of Political Science for the Gullibility-Challenged. But whenever politicians insist they really aren't politicians it is time to remove small children from the room, hold on to your wallet and begin crawling into a whimpering fetal position.

No good comes from such dubious claims. Especially any semblance of the truth.

Days ago Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced what everybody knew all along — that he was running for the Republican nomination to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson this November.

A big part of Scott's Orlando event kicking off his campaign was the governor's unblinking claim that he is merely an innocent stranger in the dark, devious world of "career" politicians. "I never planned to fit in, and I won't fit in in Washington," said Tallahassee's answer to 2001: A Space Odyssey's HAL. "It's time to shake that place up. We don't need another politician in Washington. It's full of politicians, and that's why it's broken."

This from a two-term career politician governor, who now aspires to extend his career politician ambitions to the U.S. Senate. Not a politician? Really? This is the same governor who imposed a Republican Party loyalty litmus test on every appointment he made, right down to the Yeehaw Junction mosquito control board.

Scott needs to read some American history. He might discover the Founding Fathers were highly adept at the arcane art of politics. After all, kvetching about the multitudes of politicians in Washington is a bit like taking umbrage over all those thespians hanging around Los Angeles.

The problem isn't that there are too many pols in Washington. The problem is too many of these politicians simply aren't very good at their jobs.

How it is that a chap who has run for and twice won the state's top job, raised gobs of campaign contributions, hustled around Florida wooing voters and who has assembled a sizeable political machine, can honestly make the claim: "A career politician? Who? Me?"

Rick Scott is indeed a career politician. He's already proven his great skill at the craft: shameless prevarication.

Hustings blithering about being a non-politician is a well-worn populist trope. Donald Trump rode the anti-pol sentiment into the White House, bragging about how he was going to "drain" the Washington swamp.

Swamp? Forget the swamp. Instead Washington has become a nuclear winter of cronyism, nepotism and incompetence on the Potomac, with Cabinet secretaries engulfed in ethical scandals, an ongoing special counsel investigation, a dizzying array of unhinged policy proclamations and a president whose grasp of governance is confined to Twitter postings dictated by Fox & Friends.

If Scott was truly shocked, shocked to discover politicians being politicians in the establishment of Washington, he could simply take his tens of millions given to him to please go away after his former employer, Columbia/HCA, showed him the door in the wake of settling the largest Medicare fraud case at the time for $1.7 billion, board his private jet and return the family estate in Naples.

Isn't it amazing that so many folks like Scott who decry Washington as a den of iniquity, populated by cootie-infested "politicians," will bear any indignity and certainly pay any price to become a willing courtesan of the city's entrenched special interests?

No doubt he will dip into his vast wealth as he endeavors to add Nelson's hide to his political charm bracelet.

And for what? To win a job he snidely detests, to live in a city he loathes and associate with a group of people he claims to revile. Should Scott arrive in the Senate you better believe he will knock over senior citizens, kick puppies out of the way and brush aside toddlers if they remotely come to represent any threat to holding on to the seat so he can continue to be miserable in Washington.

By claiming he has no desire to consort with "politicians" Scott is effectively arguing he has no interest in the job description. Passing legislation requires advanced political skills of persuasion, compromise and a grasp of public policy.

Would you hire a brain surgeon who doesn't know what a scalpel is? Or an accountant who is lousy at math? Or a lawyer who can't pass the Bar exam?

Rick Scott wants to hold a political post in the most political city in the world, but claims he is above the political demands of the position.

Shouldn't that alone be a disqualifying factor for the job?


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