Irreverent View dissects the races and makes recommendations in all of Floridas statewide, congressional races, and ballot initiatives
By Chris Ingram
With absentee ballots already in the mail, its time for a quick assessment of the candidates. Irreverent View makes the following recommendations.
Rick Scott has his baggage with the Columbia/HCA fine, but it is important to note two things about him. 1) Scott was never charged for any wrongdoing; and, 2) Scott didnt help create the mess our state is in. Alex Sink has done a decent job as the states CFO, but she has not shown real leadership or proposed any bold initiatives to fix Floridas many problems. Shes not a career politician, but she is certainly more of the problem than the solution than Rick Scott. Rick Scott knows how to get things done and will use his business experience to help cut red tape and create jobs for Floridians. Irreverent View recommends Rick Scott for governor.
Pam Bondi of Tampa has spent her entire career putting bad guys in jail. Shes tough as nails when she needs to be and has a thorough understanding and balanced application of the law. Shes also empathetic and kind, and would bring a fresh voice to Florida government. Her opponent, Dan Gelber is a career politician from Miami who like Charlie Crist merely yearns to be elected to something. The A.G. race is but a stepping stone for Gelber, and quite frankly voters deserve better. Irreverent View strongly recommends Pam Bondi for Attorney General.
Chief Financial Officer
Loranne Ausley is hardly a Tallahassee outsider, but running against State Senate President Jeff Atwater, she looks like the Mother Teresa of Florida politics. Atwater is probably the most disingenuous and self-serving elected officials in the entire state quite a feat in a state that is home to Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio. He rails against big government spending in Washington while balancing the states budget on the backs of the next generation in the form of Obama stimulus funds. Ausley probably would have done the same, but Republicans should expect and demand better. Send double-talking G.O.P. candidates a message by sending Atwater back to whatever rock he crawled out from. Irreverent View strongly recommends Loranne Ausley for Chief Financial Officer.
Adam Putnam of Bartow has ably represented Floridas 12th Congressional District for five terms. If anything, Putnams multiple years in office is becoming something of a liability as he looks more and more like a career politician. But Putnam who grew up on a family farm is well-suited to head the states Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. His opponent, Scott Maddox is the former Mayor of Tallahassee and former Chairman of the Florida Democrat Party. Maddox also grew up on a family farm in the rural outskirts of Dade County. Maddox is thoughtful and competent but Putnam appears to have a better grasp of agricultural issues. Either way, Floridians win in this race, but Irreverent View recommends Adam Putnam for Commissioner of Agriculture.
United States Senate
In its ranking of the Most Crooked Candidates in 2010, the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named all of Floridas big three U.S. Senate candidates to its list which consists of just twelve candidates nationwide. That means Florida voters get to pick from crooked candidates Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek, and Marco Rubio.
Fortunately voters have another candidate to choose from Libertarian Alex Snitker. No one gives Snitker much of a chance, but he is a true citizen candidate as opposed to game-playing career politician. He has some good ideas on the issues, is enthusiastic and sincere, and is the only one of the four not under some cloud of ethical or legal controversy. Irreverent View enthusiastically recommends Alex Snitker for the United States Senate our children deserve better than more of the same from the likes of Crist, Meek, and Rubio.
Competitive U.S. House races
In U.S. House District 2, funeral home director Steve Southerland would like to bury Allen Boyd of Tallahassee. Boyd supported Obama-care and the budget-busting stimulus package. His liberal, big government tendencies are no match for his conservative panhandle district. Irreverent View recommends Steve Southerland.
In U.S. House District 8, incumbent Democrat Alan Grayson has become an embarrassment to his constituents and the Democrat Party. Graysons mouth has gotten him into more trouble than a Hollywood celebutante. Dan Websters conservative record is more in line with the Orlando district and would bring a level of respect and integrity that voters deserve. On the issues, Grayson supported the stimulus and Obama-care. Irreverent View recommends Dan Webster.
With Adam Putnam running for Agriculture Commissioner, his U.S. House District 12 seat is one of two competitive open seats in Florida. Republican attorney and former State Representative Dennis Ross faces Democrat Lori Edwards who is Polk County Supervisor of Elections. The liberal leaning Edwards is a poor fit for the district. Rosss smaller government platform is far more in line with the district and his steady and sincere demeanor will serve the district well in Washington. Irreverent View recommends Dennis Ross.
In U.S. House District 22, incumbent Ron Klein faces conservative hero Allen West who has attracted a national following. Klein is a career politician and major Obama cheerleader. He supported Obama-care and the stimulus package. The district is marginal, though it used to be represented by Republican Clay Shaw before Klein beat him. The biggest ding on West is he (like Marco Rubio, Kendrick Meek, and Charlie Crist) makes CREWs list of most crooked candidates for an aggravated assault charge on an Iraqi prisoner when West was battalion commander in the Armys Fourth Division in Iraq. While assault rises to a level of concern, Im not sure that qualifies as being crooked. That said, the charges are serious and a military officer of that rank should have known better. Washington is full of hotheads and big egos who think theyre above the law, and we dont need any more. Nor do we need more liberals in office like Ron Klein. In District 22, Irreverent View makes no recommendation.
In U.S. House District 24, Suzanne Kosmos, (like Boyd and Grayson), has voted more like a D.C. liberal than a moderate from a mildly conservative district. Like her pals, Kosmos voted for Obama-care and the stimulus. The seat was previously held by Republican Tom Feeney and should return to G.O.P. hands. Sandy Adams is a fiscal conservative, an Air Force veteran and former deputy sheriff is poised to send Kosmos home. Irreverent View recommends Sandy Adams.
Amendment 1 relates to repeal of public financing of political campaigns. Irreverent View recommends a Yes vote on Amendment 1. Do you really want your tax money going to political candidates running for office?
Amendment 2 relates to providing a homestead property tax break for deployed military personnel. Irreverent View recommends a Yes vote on Amendment 2. Until such time as we reform the tax code and stop pandering to special interest groups, there isnt a more-deserving special interest than our deployed military personnel. God bless our soldiers.
If passed, Amendment 4 would require that changes to local government land use plans be approved by public referenda. Irreverent View strongly recommends a No vote on Amendment 4. This draconian measure to control development would severely cripple the states economy if passed. Note to developers: get your act together if you want to avoid more ridiculous proposals like Amendment 4.
Amendments 5 and 6 both relate to legislative redistricting (5 relates to state districts, while 6 relates to congressional districts the language otherwise is the same). Irreverent View recommends a No vote on Amendments 5 and 6. The premise for these amendments appear well intentioned, however they were pushed by Democrat partisans who would like to regain power and who never had a problem with ridiculously drawn districts when it benefited them. Even if passed, these two amendments only provide guidance and dont specify how the end goal is to be accomplished. The state constitution is no place to tinker with a temporarily perceived wrong. If citizens dont want gerrymandered districts, they should demand better from their legislators.
Amendment 8 relates to revising the constitutional amendment voters passed several years ago limiting the number of students in each one of Floridas public schools. While elements of this revision are worth considering, the amendment as a whole is an attempt to erode public education by denying funds to achieve the limits on class sizes voters already approved. Our public education is a mess and that is in large part due to the liberal/Democrat teacher unions, but failing to maintain small class size limits is not the answer to our public education spending and teacher accountability problems. Irreverent View recommends a No vote on Amendment 8.
Nonbinding Statewide Advisory Referendum
If youre about ready for an alcoholic beverage by the time you get to this stupid question, thank Jeff Atwater or any one of the other Republican legislators who wasted over $80,000 taxpayer dollars putting this measure of public sentiment on the ballot. While this question and what it addresses is of the utmost importance (balancing the federal budget), putting this glorified public opinion poll on the ballot to score political points is a perfect example of what is wrong with American politics: people like Jeff Atwater. That said lets not send the wrong message. Irreverent View recommends a Yes vote on the question of balancing the federal budget. But check your ballot and make you voted against Jeff Atwater for CFO.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Floridas largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com