Politics is theater, as the saying goes. In the case of the Rick Scott for Governor of Florida campaign, we can interpret the expression as referring to actors who play leaders in public, but who neither mean nor believe the scripted words they utter.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Republican bigshots were pouring money into shoring up the faltering gubernatorial candidacy of Bill McCollum, the establishment candidate.
They financed attack ads focusing on the usurper Scott’s background as head of a health care company later found to have committed Medicare fraud. They asserted that the man was unfit to be governor.
How things change after a primary. It took a few days for the GOP leaders to recover from their drubbing, but then the wagons began to circle around the new star.
Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi and the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, was particularly egregious in casting aside the old, outdated script. “That’s all water under the bridge now,” he said when asked about his earlier statements attacking Scott.
Sure, that’s politics. It’s theater. But you wonder if these players ever truly mean anything they say, if they can deliver their words so convincingly and yet retract them with such facility when circumstances demand.
It also makes you wonder if there is anything so unacceptable in a candidate that the leadership would actually draw the line and not support him once he won the primary. Spousal abuse? Child porn? Embracing universal health care?
Bill McCollum, at least, has refused to do what’s expected of him and has not pivoted to support his party’s candidate, continuing to claim that the man is unfit.
Some would say he is being a sore loser. I say he's just a lousy actor. In this case, it's something to be proud of.