We will never, ever say that the Tea Party's power is diminished, having done so a few years ago and brutally seeing that prediction turn to dust. But we will say that though that part of the Republican Party of Florida probably makes up the diehard base of Rick Scott's support, their support (or lack thereof) won't dictate per his chances of winning re-election next year.
But the RPOF establishment is up in arms over the governor's decision this week to accept the Medicaid expansion plan offered by the feds that will provide health care to more than 1 million uninsured Floridians. Scott agreed to that after the Obama administration agreed to let the state continue their experiment with privatizing Medicaid throughout the state, though the past record of doing that as has had dubious conclusions.
Nevertheless, everyone from Pam Bondi to Jeff Brandes is bashing Scott (well, not everyone. Jack Latvala supports the decsion). The question you have to ask is why? Despite a push poll produced by the conservative leaning James Madison Institute yesterday, the fact is is that Floridians do approve of what Scott did, and if Quinnipiac or any other reputable pollster asks that question soon you will so those results reflected.
Then will people question why this state's Republican leaders are increasingly out of step with the electorate, especially when they learn what the state has to pay vs. what the feds will?
As the NY Times David Firestone reports:
By investing a relatively small amount of their own money to cover the poor, states get a huge increase in federal Medicaid funds. For instance, by spending $3 billion over the next decade on Medicaid, Mr. Scott’s state will receive $26 billion. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the collective incremental cost to states for expanding Medicaid is $8 billion, a 0.3 percent increase through 2022. In exchange, federal spending on Medicaid increases by $800 billion, or 21 percent.
What responsible governor, other than one who wants to make an ideological statement, could refuse that deal? And for those who say this is all about Scott wanting to be re-elected, go back to that James Madison poll. According to that questionable survey, Floridians don't want this to happen. So what does Scott know that James Madison doesn't? Maybe it was done for pure politics. Surprise. Stop the presses. Rick Scott wants to be re-elected. He did something that the majority of the public supports, if not the base of his own party.
The Tampa City Council yesterday discussed the possibility of going further on creating an EB-5 Center, a pet project of council member Yolie Capin.
We finally got around to finishing Lawrence Wright's big new book on Scientology.
WUSF radio has a new guy in charge (for now), but he's been around the station for over a decade.
And Sunday night is the Oscars, and being that this reporter is a huge cinephile, please indulge me on my thoughts on this year's nominees.