The Lowe Down

Category: Rick Scott (16)

Chan Lowe: Rick Scott's crummy poll numbers


We voted for him because he spent so much of his own money on media buys that he practically became a member of our families during those last weeks and months before election day in 2010.

After that assault, we⎯being Floridians⎯connected the arrows on our ballots for him because we’d heard of him more than his opponent. We knew almost nothing about him, except for a few cries in the wind about some shady Medicare stuff in his past. Nothing, that is, except his catchy slogan, “Let’s get to work!”

Sounds good enough to me, we all said with a shrug before heading back to Dancing With The Stars with our bowl of pork rinds.

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Chan Lowe: Rick Scott's rehabilitation tour


Evidently, not all Democratic ideas are bad ones. Even notoriously indifferent Rick Scott has finally decided it's time to remedy his dismal popularity ratings, and has glommed onto an idea first executed very effectively by former Gov. Bob Graham. Good luck to him in his mingling with the groundlings.

More important today is this email exchange I had with a former reader, which I think gets to the core of what's really wrong with this nation:

Hi Chan,
I said so long to the SunSentinel last week. I'll still read it from time to
time when my neighbor lets me have her paper but I just had to stop
my subscription because I just couldn't take the constant left-
leaning garbage your editorial board is shoving down our throats.
It turns my stomach especially in light of an economy that provides
no jobs and a president and his party that are racking up such
tremendous debt that your great grandchildren won't be able to pay.

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Chan Lowe: Rick Scott, American hero


Without even trying, Florida Gov. Rick Scott could turn out to be a national hero.

That’s right, after a mere seven months in office, he’s become so unpopular in the Sunshine State that he’s now a liability to his party. The Republican hierarchy is worried that, thanks to his abuses, Floridians in November of 2012 will fail to pull the lever for the Republican nominee at all, or worse, vote for Obama in retaliation.

There is no strategy for a Republican to win the required number of electoral votes next year without taking Florida. In effect, Scott may singlehandedly save feckless Obama-hating Americans from accidentally electing the likes of a Bachmann or a Palin.

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A pre-written letter to Gov. Rick Scott


I can attest that the part about the dog is true.

In the opinion page business, we call this “astroturf,” which is shorthand for “artificial grass-roots campaign.” Some group or another publishes a suggested letter to the editor on its website, then urges supporters to download it, sign their names and send it in.

Scott’s self-aggrandizing endeavor takes technology one step further. I went to his site, and in the address field of the fawning letter in question, it had somehow known to pre-choose “Sun Sentinel” for me. No downloading was necessary. All I had to do was fill in my name and email, click “send,” and it would become one more snowflake in the presumed blizzard of encomia overwhelming my editor’s inbox.

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Chan Lowe: The big insurance sellout

Permit me to digress briefly from the current national media obsession, which is to determine whether in fact that is a congressional member inside the infamous gray jockey shorts that some malefactor allegedly misTweeted in the name of Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Those of us back in the real world are worrying about more banal matters, like how the people of Florida were sold out by our governor and Republican super-majority legislature. Evidently, their idea of solving the state’s insurance problem is to make the prospect of doing business in this market so attractive and obscenely lucrative that nobody can resist it.

Charlie Crist, whatever you may think of him, tried at least to slow down the growth of premium hikes through regulation, but the downside of that was that companies decided they would rather take their ball and go home than face some risk without what they felt was the proper remuneration.

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Chan Lowe: Mandatory sonograms before abortions


Retired Republican U.S. Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming was on television the other night, expressing himself with the kind of rawboned candor that only a retired pol dare employ.

Simpson was opining, in his prairie twang, on the subject of abortion. He felt, for starters, that the government should “just get out of the culture business altogether.” Nobody wants abortions, he added. And, in a surprisingly sensitive observation for someone of his gender, he indicated that men should never be allowed to vote on the issue.

Ever since the Republican Party embraced cultural conservatism as a ticket to political success, there has been a fundamental—some would say hypocritical—disconnect in its platform. The small-government, libertarian wing believes that government’s role should begin and end with national defense and protecting the borders. The social conservative wing (or the “Terry Schiavo Wing,” if you will), on the other hand, feels that government ought to break into the hospital rooms, classrooms and bedrooms of American citizens to enforce a moral code that, while not hewed to by many or even by most of us, is justified in its enforcement by the sheer zealotry of its adherents.

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Chan Lowe: Rick Scott's tax cuts


A recent poll has found that if the Florida gubernatorial election were held today, an overwhelming number of Floridians would vote for Alex Sink over Rick Scott.

This says a lot more about the electorate than it does about Scott. It isn’t as though he pulled a bait-and-switch. He always said that if he became governor, he would run the state like a business. We all knew that the business he ran paid a record fine to the U.S. Government for fraud, and we knew that he had no experience whatsoever in government. What more did we expect?

Scott’s idea of cutting corporate taxes at a time when Florida desperately needs revenue is so unrealistic that even the Republican legislators can’t swallow the trickle-down myth. They have to balance the budget, and even the most conservative Republicans know⎯deep down in their granite hearts⎯that generating revenue by creating a more favorable business climate would take more time than they’ve got. Besides, with lower taxes, you’d have to see some pretty phenomenal corporate growth for such a folly to pay off.

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Chan Lowe: Rick Scott's drug testing


It isn’t like our state bureaucracy hasn’t been running smoothly since as long as anyone can remember. It has continued to thrive and--with the exception of some minor setbacks--expand, and as a self-sustaining organism, it is practically unparalleled in survivability.

So why would Gov. Rick Scott want to impose random drug testing on Florida’s state employee workforce? Has there been a drastic, worrisome reduction in red tape? Has it become unnecessarily easier for the public to interact with government? Are state workers suddenly showing suspicious signs of courtesy and helpfulness on the job?

It’s easy to understand why people in hazardous jobs need to be regularly and randomly tested. The unpredictability of randomness keeps, say, airline pilots from gaming the system.

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Chan Lowe: Tallahassee two-step


Rick Scott⎯being both mega-rich and the former CEO of a health insurance company, (a) no longer knows what matters to average people, and (b) probably wouldn’t care if he did.

He is able to navigate in that ethereal world divorced from the daily concerns of basic survival and getting along in a community with one’s neighbors. In fact, Rick Scott can hole up in the governor’s mansion, dream up all manner of unworkable ideas and attempt to foist them on the state of Florida, like Lex Luthor from the Superman comics working his will on a miniaturized version of Metropolis that he has imprisoned inside a corked water cooler bottle.

The members of the legislature, most of whom are also Republicans, view the affairs of state through a much more mundane prism. Unlike Scott, who apparently isn’t concerned about getting reelected to a second term, they not only want to remain and prosper in politics, but they must also return frequently to their home districts to face constituents (a notoriously fickle lot).

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Chan Lowe: Rick Scott, contrarian


Rick Scott ran on a platform of platitudes and generalities, like “Let’s get back to work,” and “Seven hundred thousand jobs in seven years.”

He was short on details, and as a candidate refused to meet with newspaper editorial boards⎯a time-honored vetting process that would have smoked out some specifics, or determined if there were any at all.

Instead, Mr. Scott was long on bucks, and money talked…at least in this last election.

He is smarter than we give him credit for, because had he met with a few experienced journalists with institutional memories, he might have been asked questions like, “What is your position on high speed rail in Florida?”

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Chan Lowe: Scott derails hi-speed train


Are you sorry you voted for Rick Scott yet?

What was he thinking? More important, what were you thinking? Here was a man with a completely unproven record…well, at least, in government. Unfortunately, his record in the private sector says a lot of things about him that should have caused you to pull up short before connecting that arrow on the ballot.

He’s decided to allow the running sore of pill mills to continue infecting our state (because they’re a tourist draw, I suppose), and now Mr. Seven-Hundred-Thousand-Jobs-In-Seven-Years has disdained $2.4 billion in federal gift money on the tragically incorrect premise that it will cost Florida taxpayers more than that in matching funds.

And that’s just in one week. This guy is worse than incompetent…he’s malevolent. I thought Scott was all for helping private enterprise create jobs. A consortium of business groups is ready to match the federal money with private investment, and they’re contractually bound to make up any overages out of their own pockets. Where is the risk to the taxpayers?

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Chan Lowe: Scott and the pill mills


Let this be a lesson to all you civic dilettantes out there. You know who you are…you’re the ones who don’t do your homework and then let yourselves be bamboozled by TV ads at the last minute, because you have no foundation of real knowledge about the candidates.

Rick Scott spent $72 million of his own money to, among other things, swamp us with his feel-good “Let’s get to work” ads. His opponent, Alex Sink, had to resort to more conventional methods of political fundraising, which wouldn’t have been a liability in any other year.

She was overwhelmed. She may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but at least she had experience in state government. True to form, Floridians voted for the person they’d heard of, and Scott made sure through his phenomenal media buys that he was that person.

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Chan Lowe: Gov. Scott's budget


The release of the state budget is normally pretty dry stuff… little more than bedtime reading for Tallahassee reporters and policy wonks.

Since Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature are all cost-cutting Republicans anyway, we would expect the newly minted governor’s proposed spending plan to glide through the corridors of the state capitol easier than a lobbyist in a new pair of Guccis, right?

Wrong. We must remember that for Scott, this gig is more or less a very expensive hobby, and he may not care whether he gets reelected in four years, having grown weary by that time.

The rest of our public servants do care, and they know that Scott’s draconian cuts aren’t going to go over well with the voting public, who will surely blame them when education and children’s services, for example, begin to shrivel on the vine.

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Chan Lowe: Teacher merit pay


The concept of teacher merit pay appeals to our Republican legislature and governor because it makes sense at a surface level, is a neat, simplistic solution easily comprehended by the public, and has the added benefit of weakening the hated teachers’ unions, which are part of the power base of the Democratic Party.

From the teachers’ point of view, there is no allowance made for students’ sheer stupidity, bad luck of the draw in one’s class roster, or working in schools whose families find it more difficult to spare the time to get involved in their children's learning.

It is true that unions are formed in order to collectively assure that workers receive compensation in line with the work they perform. Without unions, each worker must negotiate alone, and historically, that has led to exploitation.

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Chan Lowe: Scott targets state pensions


Much as it pains me to agree with Gov. Rick Scott on anything, I have to admit that his idea to require workers on the state pension system to contribute five per cent of their salaries toward their retirement packages makes sense, particularly in this time of financial tribulation.

Frankly, it came as a surprise that, up until now, they have had to make absolutely no personal contribution. Those who set up the system, in their wisdom, left that burden to the taxpayers.

To those of us who work in the private sector, particularly in the age of the 401(K), the idea of the personal contribution is as much of a given as the medical insurance co-pay. It’s pointless to complain, because that’s the way it is and there’s nothing we can do about it.

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Chan Lowe: Rick Scott Inauguration


This being the January right after the election, it’s time for Floridians to begin their four-year-long blind date with their new governor.

I say “blind date,” because we know so little about him.

To use a homely expression, we bought a pig in a poke—well, actually, he bought us to the tune of $3.89 of his own personal fortune for every man, woman, and child in the state.

In fact, you could probably march Rick Scott down any street in Florida and ask passersby who he was, and chances are they wouldn’t recognize him. You could even whisper a hint, like: “He’s the governor of a state,” and they might say, “Oh, YEAH…it’s Jesse Ventura after a year on Weight Watchers.”

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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