Mark Foley and forgiveness
Are some of Rick Scott's budget cuts make-believe?

Is Rick Scott the new leader of the Tea Party?


  Actually, Crowley Political Report has two questions for your consideration - is Florida Gov. Rick Scott the new leader of the Tea Party?

And, is Rick Scott really a Republican?

It seems as if a case could be made that Florida's new governor is far more Tea Party than he is Republican.

And why shouldn't he be? Afterall, Florida's GOP establishment wanted nothing to do with Scott during the Republican primary for governor. They weren't shy about calling him a crook and worse.

Only after Scott defeated Attorney General Bill McCollum did party leaders come groveling to Scott fearing that he would defeat Democrat Alex Sink without being deeply in their debt.

The folks who stuck by Scott were members of  Florida's loosely banded Tea Party groups. And they are still sticking with him.

When Scott released his budget proposal on Monday he chose to do it in front of a cheering crowd of Tea Party supporters. He had private meeting with Tea Party leaders.

Scott represents exactly what the average Tea Party voter believes is important - a forceful leader is needed who is determined to slash the state's budget, reduce taxes and rid citizens of burdonsome bureaucracy.

One senses that Scott is not peddling an image. It appears, both by what he says and what he does, that Scott is a true believer in the Tea Party message.

So is Scott a Republican?

Maybe. Sort of.

Scott is obviously a fiscal conservative. He certainly believes government must be wrestled to the ground. But Scott is not part of the Republican establishment. And doesn't appear interested in joining the club.

When it came time to elect a new Florida GOP chairman, Scott, unlike previous governors,  didn't seem to care who got the job.

And his flirting with the Tea Party this week seems calculated to create pressure on Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate. Scott clearly wants them to bend to his will and if he can keep the Tea Party folks on his side - the implied threat is that those who oppose Scott may face Tea Party wrath in 2012.

And Scott is alreay getting a bit of help inside the Legislature. Republican state Reps. Mike Weinstein of Jacksonville and Larry Metz of Yalaha have announced that the will put together a Tea Party caucus in the House.

Florida's Tea Party groups are not going away anytime soon. What they have lacked is a single leader who can bring the various Tea Party factions together.  

That leader may well be Rick Scott.

Which begs other questions - If Scott is willing to lead the Tea Party what happens to the Florida GOP?

Is there room for both?

Art by Brian J. Crowley, Chicago-based graphic designer, illustrator and author of Hamster Rage.



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Frank Ambro

Well, the Tea Party now hows a real MAD HATTER to deal with....Sadly so does Florida.

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