In Florida, There is Only One.

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In previous posts, I have suggested the leadership in the Congress affecting the presidential election,  resides solely with the Speaker Paul Ryan (R., WI).  In the Florida Congressional Delegation, I believe it is again one member, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Miami).  Full disclosure–I know the Congresswoman and her husband well, having served in the Florida legislature with Dexter.  Ileana is a native born Cuban, having taken her formal education from Miami Dade Community College, Florida International University, and the University of Miami.  She is an educator by trade and has served in the Congress for almost 30 years.  Significantly, she served with great distinction as the powerful Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

With the Speaker currently reticent about endorsing his party’s presidential nominee, and Florida serving as a key swing state, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is most important Floridian who will determine Donald Trump’s fate in the Sunshine State.  He would be well advised to spend some quality time with the Congresswoman when he next visits the Capitol.

It Ain’t Over

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For some strange reason, with over 1/2 year until the election, I have a sense that the campaign choices are not complete.  Almost everybody I talk to about the race–Republicans and Democrats–say the same thing, “I am not voting for Trump or Clinton.”  Although I do not think there is enough time and logistics to field a candidate that can win, I have a feeling that a third party effort will happen.  Here are possible candidates:

  1.  Any of the 20 or so candidates than ran unsuccessfully in the primary,  they may run with an Independent Campaign.
  2.  Any of the existing ‘long shots,’ but buttressed with a name running mate.
  3.  A hybrid of a Democratic-Republican Team.
  4.  An emotional  “issue” campaign, say immigration, abortion, minimum wage, global warming, or even a war campaign ticket.
  5.  A ‘plant’ by either Trump or Clinton to split their opponents votes.
  6.  A third party run by serious candidates from the past like John Edwards, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Ralph Reed, Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, and even Ralph Nader.

I know all of these possibilities are extreme, but I really feel there is such widespread dislike of the two major candidates, that someone else will roll the dice to tap into the pent up emotion in the country.  We’ll see.

The Speaker Has Spoken Mr. Trump

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It was reported today that the Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan (R., Wi.) said that he is not prepared to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President.  The Speaker as I have said in this Blog, is the most powerful public official in the country, and will be so for the foreseeable future.  The reason I believe that is because of Ryan’s strengths, his good fate, and the weak leadership demonstrated by his counterpart in the U. S. Senate, Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.).  Ryan”s put down of the insurgency by the House Tea Party members was very telling.

It is apparent that the Speaker does not share all of Trump’s positions nor his methodology to secure his party’s nomination.  Although there is no possibility of the Speaker bolting his own party and supporting Democratic Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.), deferring any support for Trump could cost the Republicans several seats in the Congress.  So the Ryan slight of Trump is a very big deal.

Now Mr. Trump is going to discover that third and very important branch of government–the Congress.  The question does he have enough time and good will to win the Speaker over.  The Speaker has spoken Mr. Trump.

Did a Dinner Joke Result in Trump Candidacy?

Former FL State Senator Bob McKnight.

President Obama had his last White House Correspondent’s Dinner last weeend.  The evening was full of jokes, most in good taste and self deprecating for most of the recipients of the jokes.  The President saved his Trump jokes for the end of the dinner.  They were funny, but generally seemed in good taste.  Trump was not present.

Five years ago, Saturday Night Live Comedian Seth Meyers started the Trump presidential jokes, and in that dinner Trump was present.  The first Meyers joke was the one that must have really penetrated Trump, ‘Trump won’t be running as a Republican or a Democrat, but as a joke.’  The camera quickly panned in on Trump at the dinner, and he was stoicly staring at Meyers.  Trump’s ego and temper are legendary, so it was obvious that he was boiling with everyone in the audience laughing at him.  Could that jab have been the start of Trump’s vindication with his candidacy?  As of this writing, he is the favorite to be the choice of the Republicans to become our next president.

Trump–Somebody Get The Guy A White Paper

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Traditional politics suggests that in declaring for an office, a candidate outlines what they will do if elected.  If you favor their platform, you vote for them, if not, you don’t.  Pretty straight forward.  So let’s look at 2016 with the apparent GOP nominee.  Here is what Donald Trump has said he wants to do as President:

  1.  Make America great again.
  2.  Build a wall to keep Mexicans out of America.
  3.  Waterboard prisoners.
  4.  Bomb the hell out of ISIS.
  5.  Say Merry Christmas during the holidays.
  6.  Tell the Pope to take down his wall.
  7.  Prohibit manufacturing of US products outside America.
  8.  Let him make deals–they will be great.

I know readers will think I am making fun of Trump’s candidacy, but I don’t think I am.  I truthfully understand all 8 of these ‘platforms’ to be what I understood he has said….repeatedly, as what he will do if he becomes President.  I have no knowledge of any details or backup on how he will accomplish any of these planks, in spite of the press requesting it constantly.

To my good friends in the GOP, may I suggest somebody quick get the man some whitepapers.   But don’t let him read them like he did on the Foreign Relations speech.  That was a double disaster.  Just produce it, have somebody knowledgeable check it, and release it.  He is going to keep on campaigning the way he does, so let me do it.  Good luck.

RIP the ‘Hoover Model’ of Governance

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Readers of this Blog that are in their 60’s no doubt remember hearing about the Democratic Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.  He assumed office after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Johnson is the last of the veteran lawmakers that knew the rules and the members–intimately.  When President Johnson was Senate Majority Leader, his mentor House Speaker Sam Rayburn taught him the lesson of FBI head J. Edgar Hoover.  Hoover kept detail, secret files on the members of Congress.  It was said to be commonplace for Hoover to trade member personal data with Johnson for massive funding projects within the FBI.  Johnson in turn used the member personal data to cajole hard to get votes out of the members of Congress.  When President Johnson moved into the White House, he continued to use the Hoover Model information to pass the Civil Rights Act and massive liberal spending programs, among many others.

Today, there is no Edgar Hoover, nor is that data retained without court authority.  The candidates running for President will not be as effective as their predecessors when they take office because mentor deal makers like President Lyndon Johnson are gone and forgotten.  Johnston had and has many critics, but he did manage the Congress very effectively, because he understood the ‘Hoover Model.’

Rubio: ‘I urge to vote for my friend, the Con Artist and Fraud.’

Former FL State Senator Bob McKnight

 

Senator Marco Rubio is a very talented speaker…in English or Spanish.  He is obviously smart and quick in his thinking.  But, for those of us in Florida that have watched his conduct and behavior in politics, he has to be among the most dishonest people ever to seek the highest office in the land.  His misuse of public funds and his influence of legislation benefiting himself and his friends has been well documented.

But his latest pronouncement urging support for a person he called…repeatedly, a ‘fraud and con artist’ is hard to fathom.  As a former public official, I understand the need to rally around a party candidate, but this goes well beyond reasonable tolerance.  I also understand he will justify the hypocritical reverse by saying that voting for Trump is better than voting for Clinton.  Nice try Senator.  Seeing Rubio’s actions moves my reaction from surprise and disgust to feeling sorry for him.  But, he will probably never know the damage he has done to the integrity of the office he holds nor the offices he has held.  He should not be believed again…ever.

Shame on you Senator Rubio.

“Another Great Governor”

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As I have pointed out in previous posts to this Blog, Governor Scott seldom if ever answers questions…at all.  He reverts to memorized cliches and sound bites that won’t get him in trouble, in response to virtually any question asked.  In addition to being rude to the questioner, it is also a violation of his oath to be honest to the people of Florida.  But with 2 years more to go, don’t expect him to change.

Then yesterday, he apparently opined that the future of Florida rode on the possibility of electing “another great Governor.”  Really.

I am not going to detail here the vacant office on the south side of the Plaza Level of the new Capitol for the past six years.  Instead, I am going to constructively offer three very clear recommendations on how we might fill that otherwise vacant office with a reasonably competent Chief Executive:

  1.  Create an environment for affordable, quality public and private health care for Floridians.
  2.  Lead the full funding fight for public education, without the diversion of public monies for private education.
  3.  Demand the legislature and your office pass the necessary reforms and full funding for our criminal justice and prison system.

That leaves many, many issues hemorrhaging from neglect and abuse, but I really don’t think this person cannot handle multi-tasking.  If we can just keep him from further destruction, with maybe some progress on these three specific recommendations, we can at least assume the corner office is occupied for the final two years.  We will try for the “great governor” in 2018.

1 Difference Between Trump and Scott

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In a previous post, I opined about the similarities of Florida Governor Rick Scott (R., Fla.) and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.  Among the similarities:

  1.  Both have run afoul of the law–Scott as part of the massive HCA U.S. Justice Department conviction on fraud, and Trump in declaring multiple bankruptcies for violating legal contracts with creditors.  Trump is also being sued by consumers for alleged fraud in his businesses.
  2.  Both came out of their legal troubles as multi-millionaires, or more.
  3.  Neither had ever served the public in any capacity.
  4.  Both are dreadful speakers, reverting to simple, short memorized answers, no matter the question.
  5.  Both are clueless about the inner workings of a public governance model.
  6.  Both are indifferent about political history or culture.

There are certainly more similarities, most of which are nothing of which either of them should be proud.  But they are Americans and are entitled to run and convince the voters of their capacity to serve.

The major difference between the two seems to be an overt temper displayed by Trump, especially during the public debates.  On the other hand, even when tricked into accepting service on a subpoena, Scott remained cool and appeared disinterested.  

Other than a hot temper, if you want to picture a Trump presidency, just look carefully at the 6 year record of Governor Scott in Florida.

Republican Solution–Florida

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Still holding my Democrat registration, I probably should not opine about the growing Republican Presidential Election dilemma.  With today’s revelation of Trump’s outburst about the delegate process, it is apparent that my predictions of a GOP melt down are going to happen.

In trying to put myself in the position of Chairman Reince Priebus, seeking a solution, my first thought would be to suggest the introduction of former Treasury Secretary Jim Baker to help work the mess out.  Baker was a brilliant Cabinet officer for the successful terms of Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush I.  He was also the chief negotiator for the Bush II win in 2000.  But, Baker is now 85 years old and probably not up to such a nasty challenge.

But, Florida is also blessed with an experienced and highly successful negotiator, former Florida Chairman Alberto Cardenas.  He served as Chairman of the huge Florida Republican Party during the GOP takeover of the legislature and Cabinet in the ’90’s.  He is also close personal friends with both of Florida’s presidential candidates this year, Former Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio.  Perhaps most significant, in my opinion, he is of the intellectual and negotiating capability to handle the major challenge of temperamental Donald Trump.  I know Al and have watched him serve his party and Florida with distinction.

The Republican Convention is now headed to an abyss.  But, it could recover if solid party regulars support the negotiating skill of Chairman Al Cardenas of Florida.