Political Animal


February 06, 2013 10:13 AM Darkening the Sky

By Ed Kilgore

Via Politico’s Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman comes the grim news that Florida Gov. Rick Scott is planning to spend up to $100 million to hang onto his gubernatorial position in 2014.

You’d think that four years of destruction would be enough for Scott. But no: despite chronic approval ratings as low as a gator’s belly and polls showing him losing badly to predecessor and potential Democratic rival Charlie Crist, Scott seems determined to gut it out at any cost. And though Burns and Haberman report talk of some sort of Obama-style voter-file investment by Florida Republicans (Republicans always talk about this stuff), the guts of a Scott re-election bid will be “darkening the sky with paid media.”

As a survivor of the last such gubernatorial effort on this scale, Meg Whitman’s $143 million 2010 campaign in California, I can warn Floridians to be very afraid. Whitman’s endlessly redundant, soul-destroying ads seemed designed to bludgeon voters into submission: “OK, Meg, we’ll let you be governor—just stop the ads!” And compared to Rick Scott, eMeg was personally almost pleasant (so, too, would be just about anyone).

I think patriotic Floridians should begin a petition drive to beg their governor not to run for re-election—not to get him out of office (they’ve have every opportunity to do that in November of 2014 if not earlier), but to avoid the psychic damage of a $100 million Scott campaign.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on February 06, 2013 10:33 AM:

    This, THIS, is why we need to go back to Ike's top tax rate!!!

    If rich @$$holes like Gov. "Dreadful" Scott had to spend the remainder of their untaxed money looking for CPA's and Tax Lawyers to help them find some sort of loophole(s), they wouldn't have this kind of muney to run campaigns for themselves, or, idiots like Adelson did, giving money to Newt Gingrigh and Karl Rove too try to influence elections - which, proved to be about as effective as seeing what your wood-chipper would do if you put a steel pipe in with the oak branches.

    Woudln't it be great if these idiots all bankrupted themselves and their families, in these vanity runs for office, or attempts to bend government their way?

  • Zinsky on February 06, 2013 10:35 AM:

    Well, lets be honest, Ed. We don't hold elections in the United States- we hold auctions. Whoever pays the most, wins the office. At least in 90+% of the cases. Until we remove money from the political process, this country is headed straight down the sewer!

  • boatboy_srq on February 06, 2013 10:49 AM:

    Governor Voldemort has every reason to run for reelection. His first try began late, and he managed to chase out a popular governor up for re-election (Crist may have been RINO, but he was a RINO everyone but the Teahad liked) and an equally popular Dem challenger (Alex Sink had good, positive name recognition), though the election was closer than a Shrub mandate. The problem in FL is plain old "buyers' remorse" - Voldemort campaigned with slogans the electorate seemed to like as campaign rhetoric but never expected to be carried out.

    Voldemort also seems to be listening to the same pollsters and pundits who told Multiple Position Mitt that he had nothing to worry about and it really was his turn. That's only good news for the rest of us.

  • Jeff on February 06, 2013 11:31 AM:

    I'm less nervous about this after the last election. We saw what wall-to-wall advertising bought the Republicans last time around. Bubkis.

  • mb on February 06, 2013 11:41 AM:

    Seems like one of the lessons of the last election is that ad saturation will not overcome a really bad product. I can see Floridians falling for Scott once -- but re-electing him? I think it's likely that his ad blitz will backfire.

  • Cugel on February 06, 2013 11:53 AM:

    What you people are failing to understand is that the Great 1% Money Blitzkrieg of 2012 actually WORKED VERY WELL!

    No, they couldn't elect Mr. 47%, but at the state and local level they were VERY effective in stuffing state government with their hired drones.

    And we immediately began seeing the results of this starting in 2011 with redistricting that managed to gerrymander in a permanent GOP Majority in Congress (for the next 10 years at least), and seize total control of all three branches of state government in PA, WI, NC & MI.

    And now Obama has just announced that cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are "still on the table" which means the top 1% win again, regardless of how we vote.

  • Mark_NC on February 06, 2013 11:57 AM:

    @ Cugel on February 06, 2013 11:53 AM:

    I've said the same thing many times. They won LOTS of power with their money - just not the big highly visible elections.

    The power of endless money is poisoning the country, and sadly, too many are too stupid or too ignorant to care.

  • mb on February 06, 2013 12:49 PM:

    @Cugel & @Mark_NC

    What you're saying isn't wrong, but beside the point. You are begging the question. (Class, pay attention because I know most of you haven't got a clue what "begging the question" means and this is a textbook case.)

  • barkleyg on February 06, 2013 1:40 PM:

    "“OK, Meg, we’ll let you be governor—just stop the ads!”

    My favorite lesson from 2010 elections:

    Name RECOGNITION(Brown) is Good
    Name REPETITION (Meg) Aint so good!

  • FQMorris on February 06, 2013 2:25 PM:

    If he's very likely to lose to Crist, let him run. Let him waste a lot of Republican $$$. One shouldn't discourage that.

  • biggerbox on February 06, 2013 3:24 PM:

    On the upside, it will mean a bunch of jobs for the animators of Skeletor. I mean, someone's got to appear in all those ads, and who can tell Skeletor and Rick Scott apart, anyway?

  • JR on February 06, 2013 5:58 PM:

    Rather than sink into despair, let's hope that Florida voters are as savvy as those in my home state. Sure, Whitmans ads were brutal, but Californians would not be bought.

  • Doug on February 06, 2013 6:41 PM:

    I have to disagree with Cugel and Mark_NC.
    Here in Indiana we elected Donnelly instead of Moudock on the national level. On the state level, guess what? A state usually Republican elected Republicans. I spent nearly ninety minutes in line waiting to vote, almost solely I believe, because of the ticket-splitting caused by Mourdock being the Republican nominee.
    The Democratic candidate for governor lost by a couple of hundred thousand votes, almost exactly the same amount Rmoney carried the state by. Coincidence? I think not.
    Except for the gerrymandered Congressional districts, which resulted in Republicans retaining control of the House, I haven't seen anything to suggest that the vast amounts of money spent on state and local elections resulted in sweeping Republican gains, or even maintaining slim Republican majorities. The opposite, in fact, occurred in Michigan, where Snyder and the lame-ducks passed legislation they were no longer certain would pass in the new session.
    Something to do with a decrease in Republican members, I believe...

  • mfw13 on February 06, 2013 10:15 PM:

    The truth is that most voters are so sick of political ads that they pretty much tune them out. Look at how much the GOP and its supporters spent this year and how little success all their ads bought them.

    If Rick Scott wants to give the networks $100 million of his money, be my guest. He's still going to lose the election.