Florida politics read stranger than fiction
In recapping the recent flubs, foibles and general goings-on of your elected officials, we find everything from claims that your president is an illegal alien to your governor sending folks to a phone-sex hotline.
So forget that novel — because fiction has nothing on Florida politics.
We start with U.S. Rep. Bill Posey.
While most of Washington is engulfed in talks about health-care and spending, the Brevard County Republican is still making news for cozying up with the fringe crowd that believes Barack Obama is an illegal immigrant.
The latest has the Brevard County Republican actually asking the "birthers" for campaign donations — and receiving an endorsement from the publisher of the birthers' Bible: the World Net Daily.
Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this Web site (also known as the 99 percent of America who mingle with mainstream Americans, are willing to consider facts and don't fear sunlight), the World Net Daily is obsessed with its belief that Obama was never legally elected. Headlines on this "news" site range from "Just who delivered baby Barack Obama?" and "Birth certificate fraud: It's been done before" to "Michelle contradicts Obama nativity story" and "Eye-popper: Is Nancy Pelosi in on eligibility cover-up?"
Normally, we could just ignore all this and allow these folks to wallow in their sub-culture. After all, their claims have been refuted by everything from public records to court rulings. And most mainstream Republicans won't have anything to do with them.
But it's harder to ignore the birthers when one of our own congressmen is not only courting them and their money, but filing the legislation they crave. (Posey also filed a birth-certificate-related bill that the hasn't gone anywhere because even most of his GOP peers won't touch it. Republican John Mica Posey's bill as having a "snowball's chance" of passing and something he was "really not focused on.")
Posey has said he doesn't personally believe that the president is an illegal immigrant — but he has no problem turning to the crowd that does for support or filing the legislation they crave.
"You might as well make lemonade out of a lemon," he told me, saying that the left has unfairly beat him up over all this. "Where I'm from nobody beats you up — you beat each other up. So every time they club me, I'm going to club back."
Mayoral game-changer. It looks like Teresa Jacobs will soon get into the Orange County mayor's race. Good. Jacobs will shake up this race the way Godzilla did Tokyo. (So would that make Bill Segal Mothra?) Jacobs has the kind of good-government track record most candidates only jaw about. She wasn't afraid to take on special interests and even her peers on the County Commission when she was there. And she's a Republican with bipartisan support. Jacobs should make this race real — and her opponents real nervous.
Grayson gets loud. Once again, Alan Grayson's mouth made news. This time it was on Hardball when MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews asked Grayson what he thought about Dick Cheney's constant Obama-bashing — specifically Cheney's recent suggestion that the president is a traitor. Grayson wasted no time in responding: "You know, on the Internet there's an acronym that's used to apply to situations like this. It's called "STFU." Matthews seemed confused until Grayson explained that the S stood for "shut."(The U stands for "up." And you can probably figure out the rest.) Basically, Grayson sounded like a crude and immature middle-schooler. In fact, reaction suggested most Americans thoroughly disapproved of his language -- though even more approved of the sentiment.
Grayson gets loud, part 2. It's not just Republicans that Orlando's most vocal Democrat decided to take on last week. He also took on a Democrat — the nation's top Democrat. In an e-mail blast, Grayson urged his supporters to pressure the president to keep his promise regarding peace and "be the president we voted for." "Help me remind the President of something very basic," Grayson wrote. "Peace is good, and war is bad." (No internet acronyms were included.)
Not-so-sexy flub. Politicians love the idea of exciting voters. But I'm not sure that's what Charlie Crist was trying to do when he accidentally directed parents looking for children's health insurance to a sex chat line. In a recorded message earlier this month, Crist urged parents looking for help with immunizations and eye exams to call an 888-number … one that actually directed parents to a service that promised "hot…girls who … love nasty talk as much as you do." Since presumably that wasn't the optometrists they were talking about, Crist's office fixed its instructions.
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