Florida’s new Republican Gov. Rick Scott is moving to cut state bureaucracy, reduce regulation and make the state a more business-friendly environment, and is meeting resistance among the old political guard in Florida. But instead of hailing the governor’s fresh blood and independence (as it had done previously with liberal Republican Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida), the New York Times does its best to paint him as an ideologue in over his head.
From Lizette Alvarez and Gary Fineout’s Tuesday report from Tallahassee, “Florida Republicans at Odds With Their New Executive.”
Rick Scott, the conservative Republican billionaire who plucked the governor’s job from the party establishment in November with $73 million of his own money and the backing of the Tea Party, vowed during his campaign to run the troubled state like a corporate chief executive (which he was) and not a politician (which he proudly says he is not).
And now it has become a problem, some of his fellow Republicans say.
Republican lawmakers in Florida were hoping for a smoother transition. Instead, they say, they got top-down management from a political novice.
The Times listed ways in which the governor had “irritated” or “annoyed” powerful state senators as well as “a host of leaders in conservative states." His rejection of federal stimulus money for high-speed rail “prompted new bouts of discord” even from “a staunch conservative Republican from central Florida."
So what do the taxpayers think about his rejection of a project most conservative Republicans find wasteful, especially in a time of budget strain? The Times doesn’t say. But Scott seems pretty popular among people who voted for him, which should be the only ones who count, not other politicians, although the Times managed to spin that into a negative:
Mr. Scott’s go-it-alone style of governing was on display vividly last month when he chose to unveil his two-year budget 200 miles from Tallahassee, in the rural town of Eustis, at a rally jammed with Tea Party supporters. Mr. Scott, who wants to promote business in the state and drastically reduce the government’s reach, proposes slashing $4.1 billion in spending and cutting property and corporate income taxes.
Lawmakers, though, are decidedly less optimistic about Mr. Scott’s budget plan, and even less enthusiastic about his uncongenial approach to Tallahassee. From the start, the relationship between powerful state Republicans and Mr. Scott was strained.
In contrast, liberal Republican Gov. Charlie Crist (who ran and lost in a race for the U.S. Senate in Florida as an independent in 2010 after losing the Republican primary to Marco Rubio) also became quite unpopular among GOP politicians. But in Crist’s case the Times portrayed his unpopularity among his party as a virtue, not a vice, three times calling him a “pariah,” and a “pragmatist” battling “ideological purists.”