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March 2011

Should Jeb Bush run against Bill Nelson for Senate?

Eler First let's note that any polling down about an election that won't take place until November 2012 is largely worthless.

Second, while favorability ratings are fun to look at, the value of that information is, shall we say, very limited at this point when looked at in context of an election more than 18 months away.

So the newest Public Policy Polling survey is really an exercise in amusement.

But from it we can derive this question - is former Gov. Jeb Bush the only person who has a real chance of defeating Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson?

Crowley Political Report says the answer is "yes" and "no."

Certainly if Bush gets into the race it would be a nightmare for Nelson. It would also be a nightmare for every GOP candidate remotely thinking about running.

Continue reading "Should Jeb Bush run against Bill Nelson for Senate?" »

Priebus says negotiations with Florida are delicate

John Distaso writes for the Manchester, New Hampshire Union Leader that RNC chairman Reince Priebus remains determined to stop Florida from having a presidential before March 2012.

Crowley Political Report explained at some length in this story the desperation of Granite Staters. Simply put - they are clinging to their 15 minutes of fame like a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.

So understand, if you are the RNC chairman giving a speech in New Hampshire it would be less painful to pluck your eyes out with a fork than to tell New Hampshirites you are willing to let Florida have a primary in January.

Distaso writes - Florida currently intends to break the RNC rule and hold its primary in late January 2012, but Priebus has taken a tough stance in defense of the rule, a popular among Granite State Republicans.

"We have rules to follow and we plan on enforcing the rules," Priebus told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

With Florida being not only a key swing state in a general election but also the host of the 2012 Republican National Convention, Priebus acknowledge the negotiations are "delicate."

He said, "It's always delicate but the full RNC adopted the rule," including its Florida representatives, "and I believe in the end, the rule will be followed."

Place your bets - who wins, Florida or New Hampshire?

Rick Scott or Marco Rubio for vice president

RickScott On Jan. 3, Crowley Political Report wondered how long it would take for folks to start wondering if Florida Gov. Rick Scott was vice presidential material.

It didn't take long. Within weeks some speculation began trickling out - with a few folks wondering if Scott could make the top of the ticket.

Scott doesn't appear to be thinking about the White House in 2012, but as we wrote in January if you are Florida's governor, someone is thinking you might be a dandy vice-president.

By the summer of 2012, Scott - assuming he is not a disaster - could be getting a lot of national attention as Republicans begin to gather in Tampa for their national convention.

Unfortunately for Scott he is being eclipsed on the national stage by Florida's newest United States Senator - Marco Rubio.

Rubiofin Rubio rolled out his national visibility campaign this week insisting all he wants to be is a good senator for Florida.

President? Nope. Vice President? Nope.

When Rubio declines this causes genuine pain for the nation's conservative commentators. They L-O-V-E Rubio.

Meanwhile, let's just say Scott is a little less loved.

Continue reading "Rick Scott or Marco Rubio for vice president" »

Marco Rubio is the hot date of the 2012 presidential campaign

Forget Sarah Palin. Who cares about Michele Bachmann. The hot date for the 2012 presidential season is Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Rubio has become like the hottie in the bar - the more he says "no" the more Republicans want him.

Still, Rubio keeps saying "no" he will not be a candidate for president in 2012.

Crowley Political Report believes him. 

Vice President?  Well that may be something else again.

Watch his interview with ABC News and you decide.



Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Art by Patrick Crowley

Ten questions about Donald Trump

Clearly fearing that he might start the week without enough media attention, Donald Trump went on another birther rant Monday while talking to FOX's Greta Van Susteren.

"I've been into this issue for a couple of weeks and I'm getting very concerned," proclaimed Trump who went on to say "birthers are great Americans."

Proud Republican Trump also blasted the Obama administration for its handling of Libya wondering why China and Saudi Arabi are not taking the lead.

"We have people with no clue leading our country" said Trump who is an expert on the clueless.

As for his own ambition to run for president?

"I have an amazing interest, a very strong interest in running," Trump said.

Crowley Political Report believes there are a number of vital questions that must be answered before we can take Donald Trump seriously as an "amazing" presidential candidate.

Will Trump's neighbors in Palm Beach evict him for excessive buffoonery?

Has anyone demanded to see Donald's birth certificate?

Is Donald's hair legal in all 50 states?

Does the Wharton School of Business want its degree back?

Has anyone demanded to see Donald's marriage licenses?

Will American voters demand to see Donald's hair wet?

Spanx for men Donald?

Can Donald complete three sentences without using the word "amazing"?

Who does Donald see when he looks in the mirror?

Is it possible for the Florida Legislature to legally ban Donald Trump from being on the presidential primary ballot?

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Adam Hasner's Florida Senate campaign gets a boost

Republican Florida Congressman Connie Mack announced he is not going to run for the U.S. Senate.


His reason - family. Oh and he's already very influential in Congress.

"I've got two small children and it's hard enough to get to spend a lot of good quality time now. I have a wife. They are all very important to me and at the end of the day family has to be number one,'' Mack told the St. Petersburg Times.

Of course.

This is good new for former state Rep. Adam Hasner. With Senate President Mike Haridopolos already blundering and former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux still on the sidelines, Hasner could quickly become a leading contender.

Hasner is pushing hard right apparently counting on winning strong support from Tea Party activists. Hasner is also likely to benefit from supporting Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate long before most people thought Rubio had a chance of winning.

It's early and much will happen in the month to come - but today Hasner seems to have gained the most from Mack's decision.

LeMieux needs to make his intentions known soon. And Haridopolos needs to give back that $152,000 he got for that bogus book and deeply apologize. It would be a small price to pay if doing so salvaged his candidacy.

It is going to be a very interesting Republican primary.


Donald Trump Palm Beach's court jester

Crowley Political Report
apologizes to the court jesters of the world - perhaps it is unfair to them to include Donald Trump.


That's better. Trump is one of those self-absorbed, loud mouths who lives to see his name in the news. He loves to tell folks he's a really smart guy but in fact he is not.

Yes, he knows real estate. And yes, he has made a fortune in real estate.  But in the great scheme of human endeavors - so what?

Oh that's right, he's the star of Celebrity Apprentice - a show where he surrounds himself with folks whose stars stopped shining long ago.

In June, Trump will reach his full Social Security age of 65. Maybe that explains why he is pretending to run for president of the United States. Perhaps even he realizes that his life's legacy is just another tall building and a goofy TV show.

No one takes Trump seriously as a potential presidential candidate even when he brags that he could spend his own cash to win (we doubt it).

When he appeared before CPAC last month, Trump warned the audience about the threat from China because of their growing economic power and control of a huge chunk of our nation's debt.

Trump said these things as if he were the first to figure it out. Not hardly.

Now, he is ranting about President Obama's birth certificate. Trump would like to see it.

Does he really care about Obama's birth certificate? No.

It just another Trump stunt.

Sort of like the time he got tons of publicity by telling the staid folks of Palm Beach that he was going to fly a giant American flag in front of his private club, Mar-a-Lago.

His flag had nothing to do with patriotism - it was about headlines.

It is kind of sad to watch as Trump desperately clings to the stage just like the the folks who surround him on Celebrity Apprentice.

Trump's biggest fear is clearly his own irrelevance.

Helping Bill Nelson, Charlie Crist testifies, Rick Scott's a cowboy

Busy day in Florida politics so let's do a quick round-up.

Vice President Joe Biden is in the Sunshine State helping to raise money for Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson who has a very large target on his back.

Republicans believe they can take Nelson's seat in the 2012 election and there are already a handful of potential GOP candidates - Adam Hasner, George LeMieux, Mike Haridopolos and some unknown filthy rich guy hovering in the background.

Biden is going to the Winter Park home of developer Alan Ginsburg and then on to Tampa for another Nelson fundraiser.

Meanwhile, former govenor and independent U.S. Senate candidate dropped by the courtroom to testify this morning at the trial of former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom. Crist didn't stay long and his testimony probably didn't add much to the trial.

More on Crist's appearance complete with photo of his swearing to tell the whole truth.

Now the boots.

Clearly Gov. Rick Scott has a huge fondness for cowboy boots and now he has an interesting new pair featuring a large rendition of the state seal.

A picture of the boots and some thoughts from presidential boot maker Rocky Carroll are on The Buzz.

Of course the one question we're still trying to answer about our new governor - is he all hat (in this case boots) and no cattle?

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Lois Frankel throws a helluva punch can Allen West take it?

Crowley Political Report
has been observing Lois Frankel for more than 20 years and one thing is certain - she is one tough campaigner.

In fact, she can be downright mean spirited without much provocation. And often Frankel gets a pass with people rolling their eyes and saying, "oh that's just Lois."

Yesterday, Frankel announced that she is going to run against Republican Florida Congressman Allen West in 2012.  And she is expected - at least at first - to get serious backing from Florida and national Democrats who would dearly like to take back the District 22 seat.

Frankel began her political career in 1986 as a state legislator where she was known in the House as a fiesty, often brittle, liberal Democrat. 

In 1992, a redistricting year, Frankel decided to run for Congress in a seat that had been carved out as a minority-leaning seat.  Much of the black community - eager for their first opportunity to elect an African American congressman from South Florida, bristled at Frankel's entry into the race.

They wondered why she didn't run in another district.

Making matters worse, Frankel started throwing punches at her Democratic primary opponent, Alcee Hastings, a beloved figure in the black community.

Hastings, in carefully orchestrated outburst, retaliated - in front of this reporter at time -  by calling Frankel, "a racist bitch."

Continue reading "Lois Frankel throws a helluva punch can Allen West take it?" »

Fiery Allen West gets challenge from fiery Lois Frankel

Could this be the Thrilla in Manila - look it up kids.

Democrat Lois Frankel, soon-to-be former mayor of West Palm Beach, is announcing today that she will take on freshman Republican Congressman Allen West in 2012.

This will be Frankel's second bid for a congressional seat. Her first effort was against Democrat Alcee Hastings who famously called Frankel a "racist bitch" in one of 1992's most heated congressional races.

Frankel lost and then ten years later made an ill-fated attempt to become the Democratic nominee for Florida governor in 2002. She made little headway and quit the governor's race to run for mayor of West Palm Beach.

She has been an energetic and controversial mayor. Frankel's style is often confrontational and she's not afraid to slash at the media and political opponents.

Frankel does not take slights easily.

In some way's Frankel and West are two sides of the same coin.

We'll have more on this development later.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Haley Barbour gets some Big Love

So the awful series finale of HBO's Big Love was on Sunday night when the Twitter world went into twitterquake over the fact that Florida Republican political operative Sally Bradshaw is going to work for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

Bradshaw made her mark managing Jeb Bush's campaigns for governor with two wins and one loss - yes fans Jeb Bush actually lost the 1994 campaign albeit barely.

In 2008, the Tallahassee-based Bradshaw was helping the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State. There have been high expectations that Bradshaw would be helping the former Massachusetts governor this time as well.

Instead, Bradshaw, 45, decided to help another M-state candidate. Bradshaw is a Mississippi native so maybe she is just feeling some love for the milk state.

Milk? You ask.

In 1984, milk was declared the state beverage.

Back to Bradshaw.  Just last week, she had some very nice things to say about Romney on Capital Dateline (video below).

"Mitt Romney right now is the odds on favorite," Bradshaw said.  "I mean he ran before.  Republicans typically do not nominate someone who has never run for president before."

Continue reading "Haley Barbour gets some Big Love" »

Allen West calming down?

AllenWest Reflecting on Florida's Congressman Allen West's speech before the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches Friday, Crowley Political Report has come to the conclusion that the former Army Lt. Colonel may be calming down a bit.

Now this is in relative sense.

West still tosses red meat to the crowd. He still acts as if the United States is in immediate peril of disappearing from the continent.

But his overall tone was, well, calmer.

And the overflow crowd - most of them - loved him.

So what is the appeal?  Mostly, it appears to be that he really believes what he says and pulls no punches. And people - some whom you would least expect, were eating it up.

West will describe the prison facilities at Guantanamo as a "5 star resort" compared to what prisoners are entitled to receive.

And he notes that not only is he pro-life but he believes abortion is an "epidemic" in the black community.

West, 50, describes himself as a "regular guy"  who can outrun the average college kid in a six mile race.

He calls the Tea Party "one of the greatest things" to happen to America - which seems like a helluva of an assessment coming from a man who prides himself on being a student of American history.

West is still a simmering stew of conflicting emotions...but he did appear a touch calmer.

And, he's able to make his audience laugh, even as he warns that there may be doom ahead.

It is an interesting combination.

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Art by Brian J. Crowley, Chicago based artist, illustrator and graphic designer

Sarah Palin to visit Rick Scott's hometown

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is expected in Naples, Florida next week for a "town hall" meeting.

Naples is where Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls home when he is not residing in Tallahassee. Not sure if Scott will join Palin at the March 23 event.

Only in Naples would you have a "town hall" meeting at the Ritz Carlton.

Palin will arrive in Naples for the Wednesday, 6 p.m. event after spending a few days in India and Israel.

Does her foreign travel mean she is ramping up her presidential campaign?

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Art by Patrick Crowley

Allen West is a sell out


Okay calm down. Not that kind of sell out.

Allen West remains a popular albeit controversial speaker who often makes news intended or not.

On Friday, the Florida Republican congressman and former U.S. Army Lt. Colonel will appear at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches.

More than 600 people have purchased tickets for the luncheon in West Palm Beach. The Forum Club is a non-partisan public affairs organization.

The Club also will be honoring former Florida Congressman E. Clay Shaw for his many years of public service.

Disclosure: Crowley Political Report is on the Forum Club board of directors.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

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

Rush Limbaugh dreams about Marco Rubio for president


Well everyone has to have a dream.

Apparently making tens-of-millions of dollars for chatting on the radio for three hours a day is not a big enough dream for Rush Limbaugh.

Considering the fact that he gets paid for doing what any decent Irishman does over a pint - offer political opinion - you would think Limbaugh would be a happy fellow.

Instead, he finds doom everywhere. His latest solution for saving us from ourselves is Marco Rubio.

Limbaugh loves Rubio. He believes Rubio should run for president and said as much on his program Tuesday.

"I wish the damn guy, I wish the guy would run for president. Marco Rubio."Rubiofin1

The "damn guy" was said with affection.

President? Really?

Based on what? Two months as a United States senator.

Crowley Political Report suspects that Rubio knows better. The Republican freshman is probably enjoying the attention and there is little doubt that he will be a finalist when the eventual GOP nominee is shopping for a running mate.

Meanwhile, take a deep breath Rush and enjoy the ocean view from your Palm Beach mansion.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Art by Patrick Crowley


Florida's longest war - merit pay for teachers

LeRoy Collins 
The late LeRoy Collins (pictured above) is considered by many to be one of Florida's finest governors. He became governor in Jan. 1955 and left office in Jan. 1961.

One of his ideas while governor was to push for a merit pay plan for teachers complete with methods to determine the quality of teachers.

The issue of merit pay, teacher testing, teacher evaluations and all the other stuff that the folks in Tallahassee today think they just discovered is very old news.

In fact, after doing a little research Crowley Political Report, found that merit pay issues have been pushed by one governor or another since at least 1957.

Continue reading "Florida's longest war - merit pay for teachers" »

Gov. Rick Scott wears a Panama hat

Admit it...that's a picture you would like to see - Gov. Rick Scott donning a Panama hat when he leaves to visit the Panama Canal Wednesday.

He is taking a commercial flight from Miami to Panama leaving his private jet at the Miami airport. Crowley Political Report can't help but wonder whether Scott will be traveling First Class, Business Class or Coach.

Scott's trade mission to Panama is an effort to convince folks that after the widening of the canal is completed in 2014, those large container ships should stop at ports in Miami and Jacksonville.

Scott is convinced that Florida could become an even greater hub for international commerce with the Sunshine State's proximity to the Panama Canal.

Now about those hats. While Sean Connery and a host of other celebrities have adorned their skullsSean connery  with the classic Panama hat,  Crowley Political Report has learned that Panama Hats are not from Panama.

The folks from Ecuador are the creators of the Panama Hat. We get this from the website Panador.

Surprisingly, the Panama Hat is not from Panama. It's always been made in Ecuador. The misnomer stuck after the Ecuadorian straw hats were worn by workers building the Panama Canal for protection against the heat and sun.

Scott returns on Friday. We suspect he will be hatless.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Jimmy Buffett goes to the Tallahassee press corps skits

Skits graham and buffett 

Word is that Florida Gov. Rick Scott is not exactly embracing the 56th sometimes annual Tallahassee Press Corps skits that will be going on tonight.

There was a time when some members of the press corps worried that the governor was getting too involved in the skits.

That governor was Bob Graham who put on elaborate counter-programming that often eclipsed the best efforts of the press corps.

In 1985, Graham brought along Jimmy Buffett and the two sang a duet - well Buffet sang, Graham did make a sound that would not described as singing in many cultures.

In his final skit in 1986, Graham declared himself "governor for life" and marched in with the entire FAMU Marching 100.

Skits Graham 

Really, Gov. Scott be a sport. As Crowley Political Report noted in a previous post - there's a perfect character for you to play.

And it might help you avoid this from the press corps.

Skits 4 

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Do newspapers still matter?

Penhead People have been signing the death warrant for newspapers for decades. With the emergence of the internet and the titanic sinking of ad revenue, many newspapers in Florida and elsewhere are a shadow of their glorious past.

Now, iPads, smartphones, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms are not only redefining news but further dismantling the traditional advertising model.

And it may be one explanation for why Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other politicians feel less inclined to cater to news media.

A PEW research study released today titled - State of the News Media 2011 - finds a few glimmers of hope but only a few.

Below are a few excerpts. You can read the entire PEW study here.

In a media world where consumers decide what news they want to get and how they want to get it, the future will belong to those who understand the public's changing behavior and can target content and advertising to snugly fit the interests of each user. That knowledge -- and the expertise in gathering it -- increasingly resides with technology companies outside journalism.

In the 20th century, the news media thrived by being the intermediary others needed to reach customers. In the 21st, increasingly there is a new intermediary: Software programmers, content aggregators and device makers control access to the public. The news industry, late to adapt and culturally more tied to content creation than engineering, finds itself more a follower than a leader in shaping its business.

Continue reading "Do newspapers still matter?" »

Is Rick Scott's wife going to profit from his health care policies?

Rscott079 Palm Beach Post reporter Stacey Singer has raised some interesting questions about Florida  Gov. Rick Scott's financial relationship with Solantic - the urgent care firm that became a hot topic during the election.

From Singer's story:

Solantic co-founder Karen Bowling says Scott has taken steps to distance himself from the chain. He stopped regular business calls with her after he was elected.

"I don't talk to him anymore. Not since November. Really not much since April," Bowling said.

Scott left the privately held company's board of directors in January 2010, during his campaign.

But the most important step the governor must take to avoid a conflict of interest, some ethics experts say, is to divest his Solantic interests.

In January, Scott did transfer his Solantic stock - to his wife.

Singer does a good job of exploring the conflict-of-interest question in her story.

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Art by Patrick Crowley