Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Happy New Year! Are you ready for 2012?

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Where did 2011 go? I can tell you.

Watching Debates.

Maybe not but, there was a lot going. It’s great being able to write about it and sharing it all with you. Enjoy your champagne tonight because there isn’t going to much time to reflect after tonight.

The Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, and New Hampshire a week later.
The circus comes to Florida again on January 31st with our primary.
Again in full force with the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
And of course elections in November.

Who’s team are you on? A Facebook Friend Posted the Best Candidate Matching Quiz from USA Today, I’ve seen in a while. Check it out.

In the non-political column we’ve got the calendar is also full.

The NBA All-Star Game is coming here after all, and Dwight Howard might be leaving, not long after.
DPAC and Sunrail projects will continue to grind forward.
The Olympics.
And of course… The Dark Knight Rises.

In addition to work, school, raising families, and living in Florida. It will be a busy year and a memorable one.

2011 was good.

2012 will be better.

See you next year.

Happy New Years!

Mr. Know-it-all? Kelly Clarkson endorses Ron Paul

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2011 at 12:06 am

It’s easy to like Kelly Clarkson. The first American Idol doesn’t try to change her image to simply conform to the stereotypical pop star lifestyle and look. She’s sweet to her fans, spends a lot of time with her family and keeps her pop music friendly and upbeat.

“My life would suck without you” Come on man, that’s an emotional plea that Shakespeare wishes existed during his time on this Earth.

Yes, Kelly Clarkson is one of the more likeable figures in music….

and apparently Libertarian.

Entertainment Weekly reported that the Texas Native tweeted her endorsement for current Iowa frontrunner, Ron Paul. Take a read.

“I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance,” she wrote of the oft-lampooned Libertarian. “If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he’s got my vote. Too bad he probably won’t.”

Yeah, Ron Paul politics don’t fly with liberal leaning, younger politicos. Clarkson was assaulted with a barrage of negative replies. Mostly due to those newsletters, we read about earlier today.

To her defense Kelly is a pop star, not a political strategist and she stands strongly by her endorsement. Hopefully the normally well-behaved songstress can Breakaway (Yeah, I know) from this controversy.

Clarkson joins movie star Vince Vaughn in Paul’s celebrity endorsement list.

Alright, regardless of whether Ron Paul wins Iowa or not, he’s still a longshot for the nomination but could do damage running as a third party.

Would this make Kelly Clarkson, Miss Independent?

I can hear the boos through the computer screen. Goodnight!

Pop Star Kelly Clarkson stands with Ron Paul

Sprinting in the Dark: Your Iowa Caucus Preview Pt. II

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Welcome back.

This is the second and final article, trying to unravel the mystery that is Iowa voters. If you haven’t read part I and the Google elves have sent you here first. Then, catch up with the first article here. With only five days to go, we’ve examined Newt, Santorum, Bachmann and Huntsman’s chances at victory and today we’ll check out the rest of the group, we’ve grown fond of over the last 194 debates.

Ron Paul:It’s fun to watch voters listen to Ron Paul for the first time. In a 10 minute speech he’ll have them nodding and “amen”ing everything he has to say about cutting the size of government and fiscal restraint during tough times.

Then in the last two minutes he’ll throw the listeners off a political cliff and the whole thing just seems like a cruel prank.

He’s cool with Iran having nukes and wants to scale back national defense so far, that we’ll be defending our borders with Woofle bats and spitballs.

Everyone knows that drawing back defense spending is necessary component for an overall economic solution. But, it’s imperative we remain vigilant against possible threats against our allies like Israel. Especially against malicious nuclear powers, especially against Iran. Anyhow let’s break it down further.

Strengths: Some of the most loyal supporters in American politics and, a ground war in Iowa that currently has him out front in most polls. Can he modify his defense message and “clarify” those connections to radical literature published under his watch?

Weaknesses: Foreign Policy and while his slicing and dicing governments philosophy plays well in a Republican primary, it’s hard to see the guy as electable in a general election, against a President who is going to try to run against the image of a “do nothing” congress”.

Paul's supporters will have to sell Iowa on his foreign policy views

Rick Perry: Man, it seems like a few short months ago, when Texas governor Rick Perry seemed like a sure thing for the Republican nomination President and then he started debating.

“He was for it before, he was against it or….”
“I would cut 3 uhhhh”
“New Hampshire is just the coolest state…Granite state”

Even though he spun the debacle brilliantly and is still a very likable candidate, his poll numbers tumbled and enthusiasm behind the campaign has waned.

Strengths:Dollar, dollar bill y’all. Rick Perry was able to raise loads of cash before his debate meltdowns and has got the money to stay until the end. Away from the podium, Perry comes as advertised and running on his record serves him well.

Weaknesses: His debating ability, his massive loss of momentum and….I can’t think of the third one (Low hanging fruit tastes just as good!)

Memorable Campaign Quote: “Oops”

Mitt Romney:Well, look who decided to show up to the party! Romney, who wasn’t expected to finish in the top 3 in Iowa, rolled in like a cool breeze on Wednesday afternoon, after his poll numbers jumped over the last week. Romney is planning on victory in New Hampshire and rolling that momentum down to South Carolina, then here to FLA. Could he run the table and take Iowa too?

Strengths: Vote frustration. Every candidate has shot to the top of the polls and anointed for victory, only to have excitement over their candidacy fade and fall. Then, like a last resort date to the prom, you’ve got your cousin Mitt Romney. Who is about as exiting Merchant Ivory film from the mid 90’s.

Weaknesses: I’ll bet you a $1000 dollars you can’t think of one of Romney’s weaknesses.

Memorable Campaign Quote: “This is the time to talk about it, we’re running for President”

Will Iowa finally like Mitt Romney?

Conclusion: It’s anybody’s race at this point. Bachmann had a major setback last night, when her campaign chairman defected to the Ron Paul campaign. Still, it’s too muddled to see who is going to pull this off. The candidates have been laid out for you and I’ll make a prediction soon. Keep checking back!

Sprinting in the Dark: Your Iowa Caucus Preview Pt. 1

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm

One thing we know moving towards the Iowa Caucus next week is that, they’re is a candidate for every kind of voter. Capitol Hill Veterans, Mamma Grizzly-Conservative Firebrands, Southern Conservative Governors, North Eastern Republicans, and even a Libertarian to chose from.

What we don’t know is, who’s going to pull it off, or if victory in Iowa even means anything anymore. Let’s take a look at the candidates.

Newt Gingrich: Was this guy even suppose to be here? A few months back, his campaign staff left him for dead and armed only with a smug arrogance, contempt for the media, and a nothing to lose debate philosophy, Gingrich rode the anti-Romney crowd to recent front runner status.

Strengths: The most knowledgeable candidate in the field, years of capitol hill experience, a cavalier communication style and blunt, upfront relationship with the media when relaying his message.

Weaknesses: His cavalier communication style and blunt upfront relationship with media when relaying his message! This guy is a Press Secretary’s nightmare, who is capable of saying a regrettable statement at any given moment. Like…..

Memorable Campaign Quote: “I’m going to be the nominee”

Gingrich's own enemy is himself

Rick Santorum: He was invisible for the majority of the debates and his diet apparently only consists of Red Bull and Vivarin because, the former Senator from Pennsylvania looks and sounds like he could snap at any minute and go on a campaign ending tirade.

Strengths: He’s already hit all of Iowa’s 99 counties and is going back for seconds. He’ll barnstorm with the best of them and 08′ Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee expects him to do well. His platform actually appeals to a lot of Conservatives.

Weaknesses: He’s just so terrible when talking about it. Man, that Palin endorsement would sure come in handy right now.

Memorable Campaign Quote: (look of panic)

If Santorum could do a better job getting his message out there, he could contend

Michele Bachmann:
Remember Bachmann’s first debate appearance? She brought a firm conservative message and much needed spark to the primary conversation. She won the Ames straw poll faster than anyone ever has (she’ll be happy to let you know that). Then her message got repetitive and her stock dropped. Rick Perry and Herman Cain started getting the pub and she got less time to remind us that she has 837 foster children.

Strengths: When Michele Bachmann flexes her Tax Attorney smarts, she sounds calculated and versed on her stop-spending campaign ideology. She’s outgoing during the debates and jumps into the conversation completely out of nowhere, like a stranger waiting in line at the grocery store. She’s already won in Iowa and as everyone has mentioned a thousand times before, she was born there.

Weaknesses: It’s the same ole message since she’s jumped in the race…literally. It hasn’t evolved and that’s difficult to do considering she sends out about 30 news releases a day. Dodd-Frank, Tea Party Caucus, Foster Mother. It’s time for something new.

Memorable Campaign Quote: “Turn 999 upside down and you’ll see. The Devil is in the details”

Bachmann has won in Iowa before, can she do it again?

Jon Huntsman: Congratulations to the Huntsman campaign! By ignoring Iowa, sitting out debates, and deserting Orlando for New Hampshire, you’ve managed to alienate two early voting states! A difficult feat to accomplish this early in the campaign season.

Strengths: Kermit the Frog, baby! The two bonded on the set of Saturday Night Live and rumor has it that the Huntsman campaign will have Kermit stump for him in Iowa. His daughters are terrific on the campaign trail and are surprisingly frank when addressing their dad’s chances.

Weaknesses: He hasn’t set foot in the state in months and gave up on it a long time ago. He’s polling 3rd in New Hampshire, the granite state will be the former Utah Governor’s last stand.

Memorable Campaign Quote: ” I use to poll as a margin of error”

if Huntsman sent Kermit to Iowa he could be the front runner by the weekend.

Part II Tomorrow!

Merry Christmas! Wishing you a day of happiness and peace.

In Uncategorized on December 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Merry Christmas!

If you’re taking the time to drop in this morning, it’s my wish that you’re having the greatest of holidays surrounded by happiness and the Christmas spirit.

Enjoy today and take time to reflect on things besides politics. They’re will be plenty of time for that tomorrow.

Have a terrific day and Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Top Poliltical Quotes of the Year 2011 from FPFT

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

You gotta love these end of year posts and today we’ve got a great one. 2011 brought us some terrific quotes both brilliant and ridiculous. We’ve got strong declarations, scathing criticism, silly rants, and inspiring dialogue. This is a terrific time to relive all of those memorable moments. Let’s get going!

“Florida is open for business” – Governor Rick Scott during his inauguration.

“Visit me at Morgan & Morgan for the people”– Ex-Governor Charlie Crist joins Personal Injury Superfirm Morgan&Morgan.

Dog Bite? Kawlll

“We’ve got a governor who has done more harm to the state of Florida in the last nine months than any single man in the history of the state of Florida,”– Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on Florida Governor Rick Scott

“We’re hoping Batman retires in Delray Beach”– A Governor Rick Scott Imposter during a Twitter Townhall answering concerns about crime in FL.

Florida's plan for fighting crime?

“An attack against one who serves is an attack against all who serve.”– Speaker of the House John Boehner in response to the Tuscon shootings.

“Journalist and Pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the violence they report to condemn. That is reprehensible”- Sarah Palin “stepping in it” when addressing the tragic shootings in Tuscon.

“The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me”
Speaker John Boehner speaking about President Obama’s gift certificate.

“The answer is I did not send that tweet. My system was hacked”-Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner addressing lewd photos he tweeted of himself

“To be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it”– Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner addressing lewd photos he tweeted of himself at a press conference a few days later.

“To the unemployed citizens of Florida, this is an emergency session”

“Show me the jobs”

“Don’t blink”– Governor Rick Scott during his State of the State Address

“You are a traitor, I swear, you will not be re-elected. I will get an opponent.”– Florida State Rep. Scott Randolph to fellow State Rep Daphne Campbell during an abortion issue vote.

“I’ve got my mind on your money and your money on my mind!”
– Former Senator and Current Senate Candidate George Lemieux attack ad mocking Bill Nelson’s fiscal policy.

“The Buckethead Show has service marked “Let’s get to work”
-Jason “Buckethead” Bailey challenging Governor Rick Scott to a job creation competition… He scored the interview.

“Tonight, I can report to the American people and the world that United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda”– President Barack Obama after the death of Osama Bin Laden

“I’m not anti-rap. In fact, like Bret Baier, I know the lyrics to ‘Rapper’s Delight,’ too.”- Sarah Palin on Rapper Common’s invite to the White House.

Common caused a stir when he visited hhe White House earlier this year

“Are you a flake?”– Fox New Sunday Host Chris Wallace to Presidential candidate and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

While…..we’re on Bachmann

“My husband and I have raised five kids, we have 23 foster children“-..

“All the style and grace of a punch in the face. She’s a double down, deeeebie downer.” American Crossroads ad dissing Florida Congresswoman and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“If Bill Nelson doesn’t win, Barack Obama won’t win Florida.”
– Vice President Joe Biden

“Corporations are people too. They’re made of people” Prez Candidate Mitt Romney

“Move Mitch, Get out the way!”
“Caucus Blockers”
“Anytime Democrats and Republicans come together, somebody is getting screwed”
– Jimmy Fallon during a slow jam the news segment about the Debt Ceiling Deal.

“If 10% is good enough for god, 9% should be just fine for the federal government”– Herman Cain on his 999 Economic Plan

“Turn 999 upside down and look. The Devil is in the details”– Michele Bachmann on Cain’s 999 plan

“if your dealt 4 aces that doesn’t make you a great poker player”
Mitt Romney on Rick Perry’s Texas Job Creation Conditions.

“Pass this bill!”– Barack Obama during a joint session of Congress addressing the American Jobs Act

There simply aren’t anywords for this one guys. Oops– Texas Governor and Prez Candidate Rick Perry

“My next door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel ready jobs than this administration”
– Libertarian Candidate for President Gary Johnson.

“At one point I was polling as a margin of error”– Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman

“We strongly believe that our dad, has the experience and the proven track record to revive America’s economy and create jobs. Even if we didn’t believe that….we’d still have to be here”– Jon Huntsman daughters during a hilarious spoof of the Herman Cain “smoke ad”.

“You’re only a career politician because you couldn’t beat Ted Kennedy!”– Newt Gingrich to Mitt Romney during an ABC debate.

Oh no he didn't!

“Get the hell off the beach at Asbury Park and get out. You’re done. It’s 4:30, you’ve maximized your tan. Get off the beach. Get in your cars and get out of those areas.”– Chris Christie to his NJ Constituents prior to Hurricane Irene. Not connected to Florida but too good to leave out!.

and finally…

“The Capitol looks beautiful and I am honored to be at work tonight.”– Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords via Twitter on her return to Washington after being shot in January during the tragic Tuscon Shootings.

The return of Gabrielle Giffords to Washington was an inspiration to everyone.

There you have it. 2011 was a year full of quotes and this post easily could have been twice as long. See you tomorrow.

“Game Change’ Trailer Released- Moore as Palin, Harris as McCain (Video)

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2011 at 12:49 am

Good political movies don’t come out very often. Now, we’ll hopefully get two in six months.

We got lucky this year. If you haven’t seen the “Ides of March” with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling then check it out. It’s soft on realism but delivers high drama.

Now HBO is serving up “Game Change” based on the best seller about the 08′ Presidential race. We get Ed Harris as John McCain and Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin. Here is the trailer.

Harris and Woody Harrelson look right on in their roles. Julianne Moore (who I love) has the difficult task of playing Palin. Not enough footage of her to make a real impression but, she looks the part.

Florida’s Biggest Political Feuds 2011 Pt. 3

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm

What was the biggest, Florida political feud in 2011?

Here we are at the big 3. The three biggest political feuds involving Florida Politics in 2011. What you’ll notice about these three feuds are that they involve large groups of Floridians, attached to the Politicians. These are feuds that affected individuals as much as the actual politicians involved in the conflict.

First a few honorable mentions that didn’t make the list.

Scott Powers of the Orlando Sentinel vs. Joe Biden’s Event Staff– When Powers was confined to a closet during a VP visit, he took it in stride and moved on (more misunderstanding than conflict)

The Florida League of Women Voters vs. The State Legislature– The new voter registration laws have pushed the league, dangerously close to wandering away from their non-partisan philosophy.

Orange County Redistricting Board vs. Hispanic and Democratic Activists– The board no one wanted, the maps few liked, and a cultural divide that was painful to observe and hurt everyone involved. Democratic operatives are using this harmful aggression to flip seats for next years elections.

Here are your top 3 political feuds in Florida for 2011.

3.Florida Republicans vs. New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada:

“Florida will hold it’s primary when it dog-gone feels like it!”

That’s what I thought in September that’s the way I feel now.

There was a lot of huffing and puffing leading up to the change and their were also threats from the powers that be, that Florida would be penalized by being stripped of half of it’s delegates (we’ve still got more than most states) and be passed over for preferential treatment during the Republican Convention next year.

In Tampa…(!?)

No matter, we did it anyways and were awarded another nationally televised debate and for the 4th time in 16 months, Florida will be the center of the political universe.

Who Won? Florida: That’s how we roll here in the Sunshine State.

Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon made the early primary in Florida happen.

2. Herman Cain vs. His Past: Herman Cain wins Presidency V straw poll! Herman Cain leading the polls in Iowa! Herman Cain on “The View”, “Tonight Show”, “Jimmy Fallon”.

The Herman Cain train was in full throttle after his victory at Presidency V in Orlando. Florida was responsible for his meteoric rise to the top of the polls and celebrity status in the mainstream. Even though he couldn’t explain 999 and his foreign policy knowledge was suspect, Cain who basically lived in Florida for months was on top. Conservative VIPs from all over the state were supporting him.

Then came the accusations. First one, then two, and then Gloria Allred holding nationally televised press conferences. All from women hurling dangerous allegations against Herman Cain for misconduct during his time with the National Restaurant association.

The Cain train came to a screeching halt and all of his supporters requested transfers. And just like that one of the most improbable political runs in recent history came to an end. The former CEO of “Godfather’s Pizza” suspended his campaign a few weeks after.

Who Won?: Newt Gingrich, who picked up the orphaned supporters from the Cain campaign and holds a narrow lead in key polls.

Herman Cain will be a sore spot for some as 2011 closes

And the #1 Political Feud of 2011:

1. Florida Governor Rick Scott vs. 71%:
When Rick Scott took office in January, all of the protesters were already in place. After his narrow victory over former CFO Alex Sink, they knew what was coming.

-Teacher Merit Pay
– Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients
– The hard cuts across the board

There was anger over his team’s salaries and appointments. He kept the media behind a velvet rope and killed high speed rail. He watched over the legislature as they held their most conservative session ever. It was everything he campaigned on.

And his approval rating dropped to 29%

He went on the charmed offensive. He lightened up his media policy. Even taking the chance to speak to this blog. He greenlit Sunrail and spoke to the Newspaper boards he’d avoided during his campaign and it worked, for a month or so. His rating flirted with the 40’s for a while.

It’s back down to the lower 30’s/high 20’s and rumors of Nan Rich, Dan Gelber, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and even Ol’ Charlie Crist have been rumored to run against Rick Scott in 14′.

The Rick Scott era is still young and who knows what the next year holds? But, the protests, Anti-Scott publicity stunts, and media coverage have made Governor Scott’s conflict with Florida Protesters and his approval rating, the #1 feud of 2011′

Governor Scott faces an uphill battle to win over Florida Voters in 2012

What Conflicts might make it on the list next year?

Alan Grayson vs. Whoever you put in front of him: Everyone’s favorite/detestable, anti-hero/villain is back and he’s got money(as usual). Will he draw a primary opponent? What if it’s Val Demings? Who will he face in the General election, in one Florida’s new congressional districts?

Wildcards vs. Incumbents: Redistricting will affect races all over the states. Will Allen Westin his new left leaning district get the opportunity to be next years countdown? What about State House and Senate Races?

Bill Nelson vs. The GOP Nominee: Who will the nominee be? Nelson will be 70 when the election rolls around. Does he still got the fire to serve?

President Barack Obama vs. The nominee from the Republican Party: Let’s go ahead and put this one on the list now and here in Central Florida’s I4 corridor, it’s going to be a political war that, everyone is going to be in on.

In 2012, Presidential Politics will get everyone involved.

Conclusion: Occupiers, Event Protesters, and the continued influence of the Tea Party movement all played a large role not only in national politics but, right here at home. It’s this blog’s hope that everyone will get involved next year, and make their voices heard.

Florida’s Biggest Political Feuds 2011 Pt. 2

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Here we are. Part 2 of the biggest political conflicts in Florida this year. Yesterday, we talked about high speed rail, the occupy movement, and throwing office supplies. Today we’ll continue working our way towards number 1. We’ve got more protesters with hazy and uncertain political goals, The Senate GOP Hopefuls, and neighboring house reps taking shots, in what was one of the more public feuds of 2011′.

6.Republican House Members vs. The Forum Crashers and Walking Dead:

Remember this? (provided by the Orlando Sentinel)

In what might have been the ugliest public conflict of the year. Protesters jumped forums hosted by the Republican House Members to debate the economy. Webster, Adams, West and others would be giving a presentation when the protesters would rush the discussion. Arguments would break out among the attendees. The dialogue and the true purpose of these meanings, the exchange of ideas would completely fall apart.

Dan Webster’s office was even invaded by protesters dressed up as zombies to push their “work until your dead” campaign to promote their disapproval of Social Security reform. High on style, low on substance.

Who Won?:No one wins with political tactics like these and Florida Politics took a step back with each of these incidents.

5. The Gentlemen of the GOP Senate Primary:
The only real election action that we had this year (outside of Prez politics) was from the race to take on Bill Nelson for his Senate Seat next year. Former State Majority Leader Adam Hasner, Former Senator George Lemieux, Businessman Mike McCalister, Ruth Chris CEO Craig Miller, would all take turns dissing each other.

George Lemieux is Charlie Crist’s Man
Adam Hasner is too moderate
Craig Miller couldn’t win a Congress seat. What’s he doing in a Senate race?

and of course
The Colonel has to use the restroom.

This went on for months and each candidate has had their victories along the trail, taking various straw polls and taking turns at the top of the polls but, then came Connie Mack.

The race changed and all of the other candidates jumped him. Just minutes after his declaration hit the twitterverse, the other candidates shot out their pre-drafted press releases, slamming the representative from the 14th district.

“He spends too much time in California.”
“Career Politician”
“His voting record is liberal”

Who Won? We’ll see next year: For now Mack is the unofficial frontrunner but, you can expect the others to knock him down to size.

Mack shook things up when he entered the Senate Race.

4. Allen West vs. Debbie Wassermann Schultz:

You knew this one was coming..

What do you get when the Chairman of the DNC starts talking trash about one of the most popular members of the Republican party, behind his back?

And Colonel West’s timely reply

“Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up.”


Who Won? West. No one likes those who talk behind someones back, and int the everyday workplace it’s dishonest and malicious. Capitol Hill is no different. As for their rivalry? Wassermann Schultz hasn’t done it since. It could be because she’s been too busy chasing TV cameras or she’s avoiding him and praying she’ll never have another confrontation like that one again. It’s probably a mixture of both.

Alan West put DWS on notice with his spirited reply.

It’s gonna be hard to top those but, I’ve got your top 3 political feuds of 2011 tomorrow!

Florida’s Biggest Political Feuds 2011 Pt. 1

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Every year it’s fun to reflect on the often irrational, and violent nature of politics here in the Sunshine State. Nestled in between Harry Potter, Mickey Mouse, and our beautiful beaches. We have Occupiers, insane public meetings, and commuter rail.

There were a lot of political battles fought Florida over the last year. But with no election year drama, the fights were often between lawmakers and activists over key issues.

This lists only includes Florida lawmakers and the criteria judged was the intensity of the events leading to the rivalry, impact in the media (both traditional and social), talk in political circles, and the general nonsense involved.

So, here we go!

10. Governor Rick Scott vs. John Mica on High Speed Rail:

Rick Scott wasn’t even done unpacking when early this year he had to make a key transportation decision. Accept 2.4 billon dollars for High Speed Rail, from Orlando to Tampa. Or play it safe by avoiding the possible liabilities involved with tax payer dollars and send a message to President Obama on government spending.

Chairman of the Transportation Committee in D.C and long time Central Florida Congressman John Mica wasn’t trying to hear that.

What we got was a back and forth dialogue between the two debating the pros and cons in the media. Scott ultimately turned down the money because the parties involved couldn’t guarantee that there wouldn’t be any additional costs involved. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood came down here about half a dozen times to ask us, if Scott was sure. He was.

Who Won? Scott and Mica: How? Rick Scott took this decision to the Tea Party and kept them on board with an early fiscal trophy and he was right about the potential issues. Problems are developing on other rail projects, in states that accepted the money. California has reported a number of setbacks.

Mica turned his attention to the Sunrail, a project that was far more popular and received strong support from all sides. Scott approved it a few months later. Ain’t compromise grand?

Mica still got Sunrail and Scott made a strong statement to kick off his term.

9. Mike Haridopolos vs. The World:

Senate Leader Mike Haridopolos would like to forget 2011. Bad book deals, session meltdowns, and talk radio fiascos were just a few of the fights Haridopolos had to worry about during his short lived Senate Campaign.

First there was the book, that’s right. One book he sold to Brevard Community College. That mentioned sage-like political advice. Like that a cellphone was necessary to run for office and that an internet connection is recommended. After the story broke he later sold electronic copies on Amazon.

Then after a late night showdown, he was out dueled in Tallahassee by House Speaker Dean Cannon and had to surrender some legislative battles to the house. They even montaged it.

Then there was this…..

Who Won?: The World: Unless you’re Scott Pilgrim this is a battle you’ll lose every time. This series of events was just too much for Haridopolos and he dropped his campaign for Senate a few weeks after. Few believe that Haridopolos’ political career is coming to a close. There has been rumors he’ll eventually be going after a Congressional seat.

Haridopolos will want to put 2011 as far behind him as possible.

8.Buddy Dyer vs. Occupy Orlando: This was a battle that Mayors of major cities all over the country had to deal with and Orlando was no different. Camped out by Lake Ivanhoe and marching down Orange ave on a nightly basis, the 99% had a strong presence in the City Beautiful.

Members of the Occupy Movement were frequent visitors to City Hall this year.

Who Won? Dyer: Orlando eventually had to start enforcing park ordinances and sent occupiers home at night. The movement still has no visible leadership. They could evolve into something else and comeback to haunt Dyer but, as long as he’s got the OPD, he’s in control.

7>Scott Randolph vs. Daphne Campbell: In what was a bizarre conflict between the two Democratic State House Reps. Randolph actually threw Daphne Campbell’s pen in the trash, when she crossed party lines on an abortion issue vote. Threats were made, demands followed and then this…

Who Won? Unclear:But, state house Democrats who are already working against a super majority of Republicans didn’t need this. It was loud, silly, and took the party’s eye off of the ball in Tallahassee. The future? Randolph sits comfortably in a left leaning district, Campbell already faces opposition and other political issues in her district down south.

Part II tomorrow!