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Archive for November, 2008

DraftAlex is back from Thanksgiving, but not without a bit of a headache. Though part of it was most definitely caused by traffic and maybe a bit of Turkery (read: tryptophan) overload, most of it was because of this:

“But, Charlie Crist is so popular…”

While discussing politics with my family, that phrase was uttered by Democrat and Republican alike. No one said that Charlie had done such a stand-up job that they were definitely going to vote for him in 2010. No one said that they particularly liked his handling of any issue or problem in the state. Not one person- including my die-hard Republican relatives- thought that he was leading the state in the right direction. So, what’s going on?

You’ve read DraftAlex’s rants on this before, but seriously, why is Charlie Crist’s “popularity” keeping people from looking for a better option, like say Alex Sink? Why aren’t we demanding more for our state? Why is everyone just OK with the job Charlie is doing?

Here’s my deal: his support is softer than it seems. Only 50% think that he deserves to be reelected, even though 68% approve. Democrats can beat him. We need to stop being so defeatist about his supposed popularity and start demanding real answers and solutions for the issues facing Florida- answers and solutions Charlie just isn’t giving us.

Florida is a great state, and I, for one, am not content with settling. But, with the only response being “he’s so popular”, you cannot tell me that I’m the only one.

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Yesterday at a breakfast meeting with reporters Alex Sink told the St. Pete Times and Miami Herald:

I’m going to make up my mind very soon,” Sink said. “It’s all about what’s best for me, and what’s best for the state.

alexcampaigning1This led to some healthy discussion about what she should run for at Swing State Project – of course we were there. Go and make your opinion heard as well — it’s a great blog.

But it also led to this Miami New Times to say she is seeking the Senate instead. Like a bad slumber party flashback the game of telephone on Alex’s quote is quite funny.

Don’t get us wrong, were happy for more recognition of the Draft Alex Sink movement online and offline – but lets get the story right – Alex hasn’t decided what she will do yet and it include a lot of options.

We have no idea what she’ll decide to do – but we wish her and her family the best over the holidays and with making this important decision. DraftAlex has our opinions, but we will support her no matter what she decides to do.

One more thing – with all the coverage of her impending decision everyone missed the best quote of this Buzz post:

The cratering of the construction and credit markets is all the more reason why Florida must continue to diversify its economic base, she said, and end its reliance on real estate. She cited the wildly overbuilt Fort Myers, now one of the foreclosure capitals of the world. “There’s nothing else there, except for Chico’s,” she said

Though we bet that Charlie has no idea what Chico’s is, does Carole Rome?

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n689468099_962883_7922It’s pretty obvious that people are hoping that Alex Sink tosses her hat in the ring or higher office. The question we hope she’s facing right now is which one: Senate or Guvna?

There are perhaps a few too many calls for Alex Sink to be our Senate nominee.  This morning, Blast Off! even called for her to run for Senate and forget about the governor’s mansion.

Here at Draft Alex Sink for Governor the bias is pretty obvious. But, think for a second about why running for Senate wouldn’t be as good as a move.

First, just in terms of personality and experience, Alex is perfectly suited to be governor. She’s been an executive- and that’s what a governor theoretically does (just don’t look to Charlie for an example). Dan Gelber, Bob Wexler, Allen Boyd- these men are legislators- damn good ones, if I may. Their skills and interests fit the profile of a Senator more than Alex’s do.

There is a crowded bench already. Alex would have to compete with the likes of Dan Gelber and Chris Korge, maybe Allen Boyd, or even Bob Wexler. Those are some serious players, who could all represent the state well and some will run if she gets in or not. Alex could win the primary and the general, but why go for Senate to when the bench is already so deep, so good.

Winning the senate seat back is going to be tougher than we imagine. Sure, it looks a lot easier than beating Charlie does, but we’re two years out from the election- things change. Charlie should start to look more like a do-nothing, and Mel Martinez might decide to gracefully bow out, leaving the Republicans to nominate someone who could give us more of a challenge. In short, get excited about another Democratic senator, but don’t bet money on it just yet.

While there’s a crowded bench for Senate, there is literally no bench for governor- outside Alex Sink. If Democrats want to stop losing the state, then we can’t cede races like the 2010 gubernatorial. We need to not only nominate a candidate, but we need to nominate a good one. Right now, no other Democrat is really dipping the proverbial toe in the water- no one, not even Rod Smith.

And, there’s my peace.

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The Buzz is reporting that on his Karl Rove wannabe weekly report — LeMieux says the special session is going to happen in December or January and that raising taxes is on the table.

Of course, Charlie is still silent – preferring platitudes like “tighten our belts” (read:means massive cuts in health care, education, and programs for the disabled). So, LiMieux’s mutterings are the closest thing to an indication about what Charlie will do.

Let’s rewind to the end of the 2006 campaign when Crist campaigned in the homestretch using this simple line:

If you want higher taxes, you vote for who? Jim Davis, If you want lower taxes, you vote for who? Charlie Crist.

Economic crises lead to a change of plans there is no question abaout it – but this was a signature issue for him. What is Charlie going to do?

There is no question something has to be done about the revenue situation, but raising sales taxes in a bad economy will just mean less consumer spending and less revenue. A tobacco tax is a decent idea – but it puts state programs dependent on a declining revenue stream. There are not a lot of good choices – so we really do need to get to work.

A guy who doesn’t work for Charlie anymore is updating Floridians on what is going to happen better than the Governor — it’s time to get to work and fix our budget.

So where is Charlie? He got to work at noon today and has nothing scheduled for the rest of the week.

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Alex Sink called for a special session, and here at DraftAlex, we’re backing her up.

In case you don’t know about the myriad of projects that would be cut or just deleted from the state budget, you can go online to the Florida Fiscal Portal and check it out. Each state agency has submitted their proposed cuts, which can be seen under Sechedule VIIB-2, in order to comply with the additional 10% of the across the board budget cuts asked for by Charlie.

Here’s a few that chafed my ass the most:

  • No more Amber alerts or sexual predator unit
  • Eliminate 13 state law enforcement offices from Broward to Gainsville
  • Reduction of probation supervision by 40% making the probation officer to parolee ration 1:196
  • Cut contracts that improve nursing homes and organ and tissue donation programs
  • Eliminate health coverage for poor pregnant mothers and their kids
  • Eliminate vision, hearing, and dental appointments from Medicare
  • Dramatically reduced support for Pre-K
  • Significant reduction in investigative services and child protection at DCFS
  • $65 Million in funding shifts in Medicare to local governments who don’t have the money either
  • Reduction of unemployment services for over 88,000 Floridans out-of-work including closing 10 centers

and the kicker: From the Office of the Governor, eliminate 10 budget workers.

At least a lot of this has to be approved by the legislature, although that means we have to count on them to stand up for us.

On Friday, Charlie said, “These are historically challenging economic times our state is facing, but just like Florida’s families, we will continue to tighten our belts and live within our means.”

Are you kidding me? This isn’t just about tightening the state’s belt, this is about not getting the water shut off.

Oh, and if you haven’t yet, sign our petition to call for a special session to back up Alex and other state Democrats.

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The 2010 Senate race is shaping up to be a bit of a crowded field. Chris Korge, fundraiser extraordinaire, has already announced he’s going to run. Dan Gelber, newly minted State Senator, is also expected to run. Then, there’s Allen Boyd, a true Blue Dawg from North Florida. And, no I’m not going to get into Alex Sink in this contest- she should run for governor. gelberheadshotchriskorgeheadshotboydheadshot

So, the question becomes who wins the primary? Who can win the general? Everyone expects this to be a cakewalk against Mel Martinez, but if I may, I beg to throw a few questions your way.

Traditionally, south Florida dems cannot win statewide. It’s been the prevailing logic for, perhaps, too long. Which, arguably, makes things a bit more difficult for  Gelber and Korge, both from the Miami area and with both of them in the race, splitting the democratic vote there.

But, with democratic registration growth and shifts in the population overall, will geography be the king-maker in 2010?

Boyd put a poll in the field earlier this week. It included all the usual questions for a potential senate candidate, but also this as brought to us by the Orlando Sentinel:

Oddly enough, the survey also included a few questions about whether voters wanted a Florida politician who did not hail from the southern part of the state. Perhaps Boyd already is considering a strategy that would distance himself from Miami Democrats to bolster his conservative Democrat image.

I think its safe to say that Dan Gelber and Chris Korge would both be phenomenal candidates and Senators. But, can they convey their message enough to win in North Florida? Do they need to win in North Florida? We’ve done a lot of pieces here that makes the argument for needing to at least not get cremed in conservative counties, that candidates need to make dents in those areas because you can never win big enough in South Florida to make up for embarassing defeats in the rest of the state.

If Korge or Gelber- or any other candidate not out of the Boyd mold-  wins the primary, it will be very interesting and definitely an uphill battle for them in the general election.  But, by successfully breaking out of the South Florida stereotype, their victory would mark a new direction for Florida Democrats.

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specialsession3So we know how much red ink we have in Florida today: $2.3 Billion. What does that mean?

Well, even AFTER Charlie borrows 700 Million from the Chiles fund and sells low- only to later have to buy high-we will still have around $1.1 Billion to cut from the state budget.

What’s even worse is that the longer we wait the harder it gets, since cuts have to be made above and beyond Charlie’s lazy, election time, across the board cuts – it may be impossible to stop from eliminating services that are necessities for most and even laying off more workers – adding to the highest unemployment rate in 15 years.

We needed to get to work on a special session this week – instead of having the republicans legislators hang out in $400 a night hotel rooms and talking about how they wanted to cut health care services from already struggling Floridians.

Alex Sink called for it. Dan Gelber called for it. Papers called for it. But Cheerleader-in-chief Charlie and the Republican leadership decided to stick their heads in the sand at a beach resort.

But after weeks of wringing his hands and saying he doesn’t want to get to work – Charlie has to get to work now. But it will likely be too little too late to keep the Florida budget deficit from adding to the struggles of most Floridian middle-class and working class families.

And where is Charlie today? He’s working on the budget- but just not the one that’s important to average Floridians. He’s raising money for the RPOF.

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