Public Policy Polling continues its tour of swing states that elected Republican governors last year and have already soured on them. In Florida, Rick Scott's already deep in the negative zone.
So Scott joins John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin in the ranks of GOP governors with horrible robo-poll numbers only three months into their terms. The Florida difference: There hasn't been a robust union or Democratic protest movement of Scott. There's just negative media coverage about how his family could benefit from his own policies, complaints from Republicans about his leadership, disapproval of his cuts to education and the state workforce (as he phases in an end to corporate taxes), irritation with the cancellation of the Tampa-Orlando rail line, etc and so on.
I wrote earlier this month that the rejection of these governors' austerity packages were potential problems for the GOP's national ticket in 2012 -- it's hard to win without Ohio and Florida. These are still potential problems.
We've already heard quite a bit about Walker and Kasich. But what's Rick Scott done that's so bad? Well...
A disabled food stamp applicant has asked the Florida Supreme Court to overturn Gov. Rick Scott's executive order suspending agency rulemaking powers.
Lawyers for Rosalie Whiley filed the petition Monday. It alleges Scott overstepped his authority by transferring rulemaking from agencies under the governor to his office.
That halted rules to simplify the reapplication process for food stamps. Whiley, who is blind, said the new rules would have made it easier for her to apply for food stamps online.
Her lawyers include former Florida State University president Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte, who said the order halts actions urgently needed to protect vulnerable low-income citizens.
He also said the governor doesn't have the power to suspend state laws.
And then there's stuff like this...
Gov. Rick Scott offered little Tuesday when asked whether he would consider ending his family’s financial stake in Solantic, the urgent care company he founded and which provides drug-testing services.
Scott’s role in the firm was spotlighted when he signed an executive order ordering drug-testing for new state hires and random screening of current employees.
“As I’ve told you, I’m not involved in that company,” Scott said, refusing to directly answer whether he would consider prohibiting the state from contracting with the firm.
Scott, who reported a net worth of $218 million when he filed papers to run for governor last summer, had pledged to put his financial holdings into a blind trust, when elected. Instead, in January, Scott transfered his Solantic stock to his wife, Ann.
Scott, lawmakers want less oversight of nursing homes
In the weeks since Gov. Rick Scott called for the ouster of Florida’s top nursing-home watchdog, Republican lawmakers have introduced more than a dozen bills that critics claim would further “neuter” the ombudsman program.
The state Department of Elder Affairs also has notified Florida’s 400 mostly volunteer ombudsmen, instructing them not to speak to the media without alerting a district manager about the conversation and detailing the questions asked.
“My biggest concern is that we can still speak for residents, still do yearly assessments of the facilities, still handle residents’ complaints and not be muzzled by the industry or the governor or anyone else,” said Lynn Dos Santos, chairwoman of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman Council and a volunteer herself. “Under the new policy, I shouldn’t be talking now. But the truth has to be told.”
The developments come as the U.S. Administration on Aging investigates the dismissal of Brian Lee, who led Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program for the past seven years. In part, investigators are looking into allegations that Scott broke federal law by “interfering” with the watchdog program, which is supposed to be independent.
In case you were wondering, all of those stories occurred over the span of one day. I cannot imagine what other damage Scott is doing to his state on a regular basis. Maybe I should get a daily Google News alert on him just to satisfy my morbid curiosity.
(Incidentally, America, I did try to warn you about this last year. You didn't listen to me, but that's OK. I still love ya.)
But for Democrats, there is an upside to all this: From Scott to Walker to Kasich, all of the biggest jerkwad GOP governors are in swing states. An intelligent Democratic campaign for 2012 -- and yes, I know, I shouldn't assume any such thing -- would go to voters in those states and say, "Hey, do you like the fact that your grandmother's nursing home contracted her out to clean up toxic waste because Rick Scott decided that nursing homes don't need oversight? Well you'll love what the GOP is gonna do when they take over the entire federal government!"
I'd also recommend the national Dems get involved in firing up their base voters in these key states by running campaigns against Republican lawmakers who have aided and abetted unpopular GOP governors. A simple campaign pledge of "I won't force your granny to clean up toxic waste!" would be sufficient to get Democrats to turn out to the polls in droves. Hell, I think swing voters might find themselves attracted to that messaging as well.
This sort of strategy can really get your base motivated to work and can also help peel independents away from the GOP. You guys gotta do something, because the prospect of a second Obama administration isn't exactly making anyone excited right now.
UPDATE: Or, alternatively, you can just play this video of Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sean Duffy saying that he's "struggling to meet his bills" despite the fact that he makes $174,000 a year.