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Tilting at Windmills

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November 3, 2010

GOV.-ELECT RICK SCOTT.... After having been born and raised in Florida, I've come to expect a certain amount of madness from the state, especially when it comes to politics. But I honestly thought Floridians' judgment wasn't quite this bad.

Wealthy businessman Rick Scott (R) will be the next governor of Florida after state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) conceded this morning, handing Republicans a victory in one of the marquee gubernatorial contests in the country.

Sink's concession came as raw vote totals showed her trailing Scott by roughly 50,000 votes out of more than five million cast. [...]

Scott's victory also has major implications for the 2011 congressional redistricting as the Sunshine State is slated to gain two seats and Republicans now control the governorship as well as the state House and state Senate.

Rick Scott is, of course, best known as the disgraced former head of the Columbia/HCA health-care company that got caught up in a massive fraud scandal in the 1990s -- and nothing says victory in Florida like "Medicare fraud." Scott's firm later pleaded guilty to charges that it overbilled state and federal health plans, and agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines, a record penalty for a health care company. The fines covered fraud perpetrated under Scott's watch, and he was forced out of his job as a result of the scandal.

More recently, Scott used his personal fortune to hire the Swiftboat liars' p.r. firm, and proceeded to launch a breathtakingly deceptive right-wing ad campaign in opposition to health care reform. He is, by the way, also at the center of an ongoing scandal stemming from his alleged fraud at a different health care company he created.

When the initial HCA scandal broke, and Scott was forced to give a deposition about his role, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment -- 75 times. After the second fraud scandal broke, Scott gave another deposition just days before he announced his gubernatorial campaign, but refused to let the public know what he said.

And despite his scandals and alleged crimes, and the fact that he's never held any public office and at any level, Rick Scot will now be the chief executive of one of the nation's largest states.

Usually, far-right Republicans get elected and then become criminals. It's not every day an apparent crook gets caught and then gets elected.

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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Sometimes even Carl Hiassen can't imagine how crazy it can get down there.

Posted by: TCinLA on November 3, 2010 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Usually, far-right Republicans get elected and then become criminals. It's not every day an apparent crooks get caught and then get elected."

So, Scott's either ahead of the game, or a trendsetter.

I still can't believe a POS like this ass-clown could get elected dogcatcher, let alone Governor.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on November 3, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

This win floored me too.

Have people lost their f'in minds?

Posted by: mikefromArlington on November 3, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Large sections of the electorate are now so bitter, vapid, and "style gang"/culture affiliated (as opposed to rational interest group, like employee/retiree/small investor etc.) they have no idea how to appreciate the national or their own interests. A nation can't maintain its influence, economy, social stability etc. with buffoons like that putting such freaks into office. It's ironic, many conservatives like to say voters should have to take a test. Well, we can see that they're right. It would have saved lots of trouble for America since those who thought their tax rates went up the last two years etc. couldn't have voted.

And if all those snarky, self-absorbed "sit (or is it, shit) this one out" types had just gotten up and voted ...

Posted by: neil b on November 3, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's clear this is a major turning point in American political history. There's absolutely nothing a white, Republican candidate can do that will disqualify them to hold high office.

I wonder how long it will take Scott to start raiding Florida's coffers.

Can you see the writing on the wall? Florida will go red in 2012's presidential election.

Posted by: June on November 3, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I saw some speculation last week that African Americans frustrated by Meeks' poor showing/treatment would drive Dem turn-out and hurt Sink. Anybody know if this turned out true?

Posted by: Jim on November 3, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

GOP's current Lie and Party Mantra is "that we are listening to the people"! They maybe listening to the people (in one ear and out the other) -- but they sure are Working hard for Wall Street!

Soon to be Speaker Boehner ( who by the way, Proudly stood side by side with a Nazi sympathizer, someone who puts on the Nazi uniform, a symbolism for "white supremacy") stated that the GOP tidal wave is definitely not a time for celebration. He certainly got that right, because this is a time for Woe! And by the way the Tea-Partiers, will be their worse "nightmare".

But, it will be average Americans who will get hurt by this tidal wave of destruction, which will not bring in anything good for the people. It came to me watching this debacle, this "tidal wave of destruction", that it is the North vs. the South all over again, in another cleverly disguised form, and sometimes not so disguised. I mean when they say take their country back, take it back from whom?

And, it's amazing to me the "fickleness" of the American people to go back and elect GOP operatives that brought this country to the brink of ruin and catastrophe. Haven't they suffered enough? The GOP Party is obviously a group for big business and corporations and Not a group for the People! They are not even for small businesses, though they pretend to be. If they were for small business, than why are there so many large Wal-marts, Lowes, Home Depots, so that the small mom and pop operations are squeezed out of business. Democrats even have to fight the GOP to get them to extend UE benefits when needed, especially when GOP know that the jobs are just not here anymore due to their policies of outsourcing good jobs to China and India and on the otherhand saying No to any investment in America and her infrastructure which by the way, creates jobs, jobs, jobs! Does anyone in the GOP Party have a heart or compassion for anyone or anything other than big business?

I feel sorry for average Americans who continue to shoulder the tax burdens because the wealthy and big Corporations pay very little or no taxes at all due to tax loopholes, which is just another way of lying and cheating and getting over on the American people. If the American people want more money in their wallets, than they should go about getting the wealthy to pay their fair share once again.

We, who truly love humanity, justice and an equal playing field, can only pray that the people will eventually see through the GOP lies and deceptions and get off the "yellow brick road" to nowhere, before its too late and we really do become a third-world country under dictatorship once again!

Posted by: angellight on November 3, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

extending my metaphor from the other thread,

A vote for a Republican is a vote for crime, and a vote for stupidity. It's a vote for building a house by shitting on a brick and throwing it at somebody.

Keep it up and eventually you have a big pile of bricks with shit on them and that makes a great foundation. So now to build the house. Er, how to do that? Let's get somebody to do it! Who? Oh, er, we've just buried the guy who could do it under our big pile of shit and bricks. So --let's hire somebody! Who? Why not the guy who sold us the bricks and shit? He knows all about bricks and shit. So they hire a private contractor at five times the cost they'd otherwise be paying and he dumps a huge pile of bricks and shit on top of their pile of bricks and shit and throws in some broken glass (for lagniappe) which he says is windows. Everybody wins!

Posted by: cld on November 3, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Republican voters cried "rule of law" in the 90's, but they once again proved that they never mean what they say (more evidence is the easy election of corrupt Republican Congressman Nathan Deal to be Georgia's next governor).

When Republicans voters say "Muslim", "rule of law", "freedom", "constitution", "conservative", "fiscal conservative", "free markets", "illegal immigrant"... what they really mean is "tax cuts for the wealthy".

Posted by: Chris on November 3, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Is there anything left in the coffers after Jeb?

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 3, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

The general assumption of voters is that the majority of politicians are crooks and liars. Its instilled from a young age. Add to the general contempt for government that Republicans have spent years cultivating and this isn't that surprising. A few 'ethical problems' and a gift for money manipulation are considered normal.

Posted by: thorin-1 on November 3, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

People vote for candidates whose life-story speaks to them, whom they feel they could emulate.

Who among us doesn't dream about or long for the day when we, too, can engage in grifting on a truly Pharaonic scale?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina@gmail.com on November 3, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but but but but, she looked at her BLACKBERRY or something.

Posted by: Mouse Brain on November 3, 2010 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

As a resident of Florida, I am truly concerned about our state with Gov. JarJar Binks running it.

Posted by: Howey on November 3, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Usually, far-right Republicans get elected and then become criminals. It's not every day an apparent crook gets caught and then gets elected.-- Steve Benen

The standards are changing, obviously. Years ago, you tried to hide your criminal past; now you don't have to bother anymore. Scott isn't the only one; Alan West and Vitter are a couple more, just off the top of my head. And criminal past didn't stop Traficant from running, even though he didn't win.

Ditto for standards of intellect. There always used to be a few nuts/dimwits in the political arena but they stood out as the oddballs they were. Now, post-Palin, there are so many of them, they merge into the larger background and form the basis for the new standards.

Reminds me of the change in clothing sizes, which happened a few years ago. I didn't lose any weight (indeed, may have gained a couple of pounds) but, one day, I went to a store and found that I was no longer size 8, but size 4, the general "standard American woman" having gained some 50 pounds or more over the past decade.

Posted by: exlibra on November 3, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

So, conservatives elected a pathological liar in Illinois, a repeat philanderer in Louisiana, and massive Medicare fraudster in Florida.

Team America! F&*k yeah!

Posted by: Vince on November 3, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

So, whose manuscript will reach the publisher first? Carl Hiaasen's or Elmore Leonard's?

Posted by: berttheclock on November 3, 2010 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Remember when saying "macaca" was enough to cost a guy a Senate seat? Is there any chance that would _remotely_ happen now?

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on November 3, 2010 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Banana Republic- not just a clothing store, anymore. . .

Posted by: DAY on November 3, 2010 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I'm more and more disappointed in the health care bill's lack of one key provision that was removed after loud objections.

Death panels.

We need them. It would save health care costs, and save the nation. Old sick people aren't worth the expense, and should die faster.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on November 3, 2010 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

I live i Florida and I am truly scared . He is talking about cutting property taxes again after Crist finished with his Frankenstein , double homestead and portability abortion. That measure coupled with the housing bust has crippled most municipal governments that rely on property taxes to exist. The city that I work at has made many layoffs and cutbacks and is struggling to maintain services with less people. Do you like Firefighters , Police and Garbage pick up? Another cut and you will be fending for yourself . Learn How to fight fires , take your garbage to the dump and buy a gun , 'cause we wont be able to afford to do it.

Posted by: John R on November 3, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

@ John R, the old people will probably suffer from lost services, but blame illegal immigrants or something. Again, that's where the death panels come in. Let's try to get them passed in the lame-duck session.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on November 3, 2010 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

So, conservatives elected a pathological liar in Illinois, a repeat philanderer in Louisiana, and massive Medicare fraudster in Florida.

Team America! F&*k yeah!

Posted by: Vince on November 3, 2010 at 1:02 PM

I'm just waiting for the eventual day when (and I think we all know it's a "when," not an "if") the Right nominates a convicted pedophile for office, and said person actually wins thanks to FOX and the noise machine, and the increasing ignorance and laziness of U.S. voters. The GOP is already in bed with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, so why stop there?

No disrespect to you intended, Steve, but I hope Scott runs such a swindle on the state of Florida it nearly destroys the state, if for nothing else than to provide a smack upside the head to voters and perhaps encourage them to pay a little more attention to who they're electing. Of course, one could ask if there were any newspapers down there that actually did their job and told people about Scott's background, or just toed the party line. I'm betting the latter.

Posted by: electrolite on November 3, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

And Marco Rubio misspent tens of thousands of dollars of GOP money for personal use. At this point, if there is a R after their name, they are a criminal.

Posted by: MsJoanne on November 3, 2010 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

In the minds of Republican voters, corporations and the wealthy are benefactors of the common man, and government and poor people are thieves and moochers, therefore when corporations and the moneyed elite steal from the government, they are acting like Teabagger Robin Hoods, taking money that would be wasted on the needy and giving to the privileged who will then use that money to "restore prosperity".

Of course, government bailouts aren't approved, because if the government willingly gives money to corporate entities, they are picking "winners" and "losers", instead of letting those most efficient at stealing from the taxpayer rise to the top naturally.

Posted by: Rip on November 3, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

This is the world as written by A.J. Cronin. If you're not familiar with him, he's the author of such novels as "Hatter's Castle", "The Stars Look Down" and "The Citadel". His work has a common theme although his books all feature different characters - bad guys make out like mad bastards, and in spite of occasional setbacks are rarely punished for their manipulations and conniving. The good guy usually gets what it was he thought he wanted in the end, but has to sacrifice everything that ever meant anything to him on the way, so is robbed of any real victory.

Does this sound like it'd make a good A.J. Cronin plot, or what?

Posted by: Mark on November 3, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

According to Andy Tobias, every major newspaper in Florida endorsed Alex Sink. Go figure.

Posted by: Mimi on November 3, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

I am shocked at the poor judgment of my fellow Floridians.

You don't have to know about Rick Scott's past to know he's a bad guy. Just one look at him is all you need. If you got a flat tire at night on a deserted highway, and Rick Scott stopped to "help" you, you would be scared out of your gourd. He is one creepy dude. Looks like Skeletor.

And folks in my congressional district elected Allen West, whose Army career ended (at the rank of colonel) when he mock-executed an Iraqi detainee by firing a handgun next to his head. I guess folks in the district agreed with him that this example of low-grade torture was something for West to feel proud of.

Posted by: Holdie on November 3, 2010 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree on Scott and I was a little surprised that he won. I suspect the nauseating spectacle of Crist and the inspirational example of Rubio pulled it out for him.

Posted by: Mike K on November 3, 2010 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

every major newspaper - see, that plays into the hands of the vulgarian psychology of the teabaggled new American voter: get off so much on amygdalar diddles like "I just had to see the looks on their smug faces when their favorite that 'we were supposed to vote for' went down ..." That's the sort of trash we have now running around voting. Maybe libertarian snob Neal Boortz has a point ...
And wow, Mike K agrees with us, the situation was just that bad. But why "nauseating" Crist, I thought he was a rather decent fellow ...

Posted by: neil b on November 3, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

That's not to say I like Latins. But Rubio seems to be a better class of Mexican than the ones I had trimming my avocado tree before my third wife left me and took everything in my third divorce.

Posted by: Mlke K on November 3, 2010 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Nice that the sock puppets have to come back. Rubio will be a superstar and probably on a presidential ticket one day before too long.

Posted by: Mike K on November 3, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

What was truly amazing about Scott's campaign was not just the negative ads, but he essentially was able to make it appear that Sink was the incumbent and blame her for problems created by republican governors and legislators.

And I predict that we will see a Palin-Rubio ticket in 2012 (just kidding, but don't be surprised if Rubio is VP, unless he follows in Obama's shoes as a short-term senator.

Posted by: Dean on November 3, 2010 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Palin and Rubio will not share a ticket. I think pretty highly of this Mexican guy politically but I don't like to see them with our women. As we all know Latins have trouble controlling themselves and most women are weak. Just ask my second and third wives.

Posted by: Mlke K on November 3, 2010 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

It's too bad about Governor Moonbeam and the housewife from Marin but I never thought Carly and Meg were great candidates. Most male voters don't like "career" women because we've seen how hard it is to work with them. They tend to get emotional at meetings and nothing you say gets through.

The real problem in California is the change in budget approval. Now the Democrat Party will raise taxes and continue unnecessary social programs that make underachievers feel better about themselves. California is finished. I'll probably move to Arizona if my son comes through with a loan.

Posted by: Mlke K on November 3, 2010 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK
Scott's victory also has major implications for the 2011 congressional redistricting as the Sunshine State is slated to gain two seats and Republicans now control the governorship as well as the state House and state Senate.

At least FL Amendments 5 & 6 passed which should (but very well might not) help prevent redistricting from being completely political. Not holding my breath, but at least there is more hope than if they'd failed to pass.

Posted by: weasel on November 3, 2010 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Rank and file Republican voters admire corruption. Is that so hard to figure out? I think it has to do with their idea of government as inherently evil. If you're not corrupt, you're not doing it right.

Look at the Georgia gubernatorial primary: Two Republican candidates, both right-wing nuts, but the one with some anti-corruption cred and an anti-corruption message lost and the one who is visibly unlikely to make it through his term a free man won. You tell me.

Posted by: Tom Marney on November 3, 2010 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

My Zing! to the Tallahassee Democrat that probably won't be published.

Can't wait to hear the new guv, taking the oath of office, his hand on the Bible, say "I refuse to answer on the grounds ..."

Posted by: Scott-tally on November 4, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK



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