Entries Tagged as 'Florida'

The Road Ahead

January 4th, 2012 at 8:44 am 7 Comments

In the wake of the Iowa caucuses, what matters now is not the exact order of Romney, Santorum, and Paul; the numbers are very close. What does matter is the range between the candidates. Iowa gives us basically a tie between Romney and Santorum, with both at around 25%. Ron Paul comes out a strong third at around 21%. Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, and Huntsman, who did not even campaign in Iowa, fall far behind.

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Conservatives: Don’t Doctor The Ryan Plan

June 15th, 2011 at 1:17 pm 43 Comments

How far will conservatives go to tell Republicans they must support the Ryan budget in its entirety? A new Weekly Standard piece on Senate candidate Mike Haridopolos gives a hint.

The editorial line taken with this piece suggests that every Republican has to support the Ryan budget in its entirety, and that any qualm or qualification is unacceptable..

Haridopolos is currently the president of the Florida state senate and is seeking the GOP nomination to be the 2012 United States Senate candidate. What sets Haridopolos apart from other GOP candidates is that he is not supporting the GOP budget as it is currently written.

In a recent op-ed Haridopolos explained that while the current GOP budget stops providing the current version of Medicare for those who are under 55 years old, he would extend that age range further downwards.

His op-ed does not give a number, but when FrumForum asked him about his position at an event in Washington DC, he suggested the changes in Medicare should apply to those who  are currently 40 or 45. He told the Weekly Standard this as well:

“Medicare is not a welfare program,” Haridopolos said today in an interview with The Weekly Standard. “It is a program that each one of us at this table will have paid 47 years of taxes for, and I’m a little reluctant to make that full jump.”

The 41-year-old said he thinks Medicare ought to be reformed for those closer to his own age, people who “have 25 years to prepare.”

“That’s roughly what we’re looking at,” Haridopolis said. “If we’re going to make that transition, let’s give someone the true time to prepare.”

The Weekly Standard took this information and ran with the headline:
Haridopolos: No Major Medicare Reforms for 25 Years

The piece said that Haridopolos “doubled down today on his opposition to Medicare reforms in the 2012 House Republican budget proposal”. Both Haridopoloscare and Ryancare work on the same principle: a vote is held now and Medicare is reformed for people who would qualify for the program at a later date.

If one wanted to be snarky, you could write a headline: “Ryan: No Major Medicare Reforms Until 2021” since that is the date when those who are currently 55 would start getting “Ryancare” as opposed the current version of Medicare. The fact is, both plans involve delayed change to Medicare.

Ironically, Haridopoloscare might be a better policy to run on as a candidate in Florida since its senior population might be scared by the Ryan budget. Haridopolos will be running in 2012 and Democrats can be expected to make a huge effort to run on the GOP budget — so it helps a GOP candidate to set himself apart from Ryan’s Medicare cuts.

Haridopolos told FrumForum that he supported the rest of the Ryan budget, particularly its tax reforms. In his op-ed, Haridopolos also agreed with the Republican position to repeal Obamacare and highlights how he wants to use a repeal to restore the funding to Medicare which has been cut.

In other words, he is with 80 percent of the rest of the Republican plan, yet this position is taken as “doubling down on his opposition to medicare reform”. It will be interesting to see how the Weekly Standard will report the different Medicare plans that the Republican presidential candidates will eventually produce.

Dems Can’t Take FL Puerto Rican Votes For Granted

June 14th, 2011 at 3:15 pm 8 Comments

President Obama pays a flying visit to Puerto Rico today, the first U.S. President to make an official trip to the Commonwealth since John F. Kennedy in 1961. The four-hour visit is being viewed as a campaign swing through the Caribbean island because even though residents cannot vote in the election, the growing Puerto Rican population in Florida can.

And Florida, a highly competitive swing state with 29 electoral votes, will play a pivotal role in the 2012 election arithmetic of both Obama and the eventual Republican candidate.

The island has been hit particularly hard by the Great Recession. Although many areas of the United States have seen double-digit unemployment, Puerto Rico is dealing with 16.2 percent of its labor-force searching for work.

As a result, it’s estimated that at least 350,000 islanders have relocated to the Sunshine State in recent years, swelling Florida’s total Puerto Rican population to more than 850,000 . And even more are on the way, with between 20,000 and 30,000 migrants expected to leave the island for Florida in the coming year.

Florida’s electoral rolls have long been among the most culturally diverse in the U.S., with candidates for state and national political office routinely having to build ad hoc coalitions of white, Cuban, African-American, Jewish, Latino and Haitian voting blocs.

But this ongoing Puerto Rican exodus could potentially shake up the traditional election calculus.

“For years, the Puerto Rican vote in states such as New York and New Jersey has been safely Democratic,” said Angelo Falcon, the president of the National Institute for Latino Policy. But that won’t necessarily be the case in Florida when the 2012 election is held, he added.

Falcon pointed out a large number of those job-seeking immigrants now arriving in Florida are college-educated and middle class, driven from their home because of Puerto Rico’s contracting economy. Politically, socially and economically conservative, Democrats should not take their political loyalties for granted.

Falcon said Florida is the only state in play in ’12 where Puerto Rican voters could potentially determine the outcome and the President is solely in “campaign mode” on today’s trip.

“The four hours … will basically be meant to make a nice impact on voters in Florida,”  he said.

In 2008 Obama carried Florida by a slim margin of 236,450 votes — 4,282,074 compared to John McCain’s 4,045,624.

With the number of first-time Puerto Rican voters in Florida continuing to swell, it’s only a matter of time before Republicans take a page out of Obama’s play book and attempt to woo this growing, possibly game-changing demographic.


It’s Time for a Florida-First Primary

David Frum April 4th, 2011 at 10:44 am 37 Comments

At the end of World War II, a new secretary of state faced a tough management decision.

The State Department’s old quarters had become desperately cramped and crowded. What should be done? An aide proposed moving the department to a new building. The secretary of state asked: “Arguments in favor?”

New quarters would be more spacious, better adapted to modern technology.

“Arguments against?”

Tradition.

The secretary snapped: “Move.”

The secretary happened to be George C. Marshall, one of the greatest military men in U.S. history. Decisions came naturally to him.

The U.S. presidential election system could use a Marshall today.

Florida has proposed shifting its primary into January, making the state the first primary in the nation.

Other early primary states have protested ferociously. South Carolina’s Republican Party chairman has demanded that Florida abandon its plans — or be punished by having the 2012 Republican National Convention move from its currently planned site, Tampa Bay.

Florida seems doomed to lose its bid. Too bad. A Florida-first primary is a fantastic idea.

The current American primary schedule is not the work of the Founding Fathers. The schedule is the unintended consequence of a hodgepodge of habits and coincidences. But this unintended schedule has terrible real world consequences.

Consider this: If you were to ask a panel of Democratic and Republican economists and policy analysts to name the single most wasteful, foolish and destructive public policy of the United States, they would almost certainly identify the ethanol subsidy high on the list.

The U.S. pays a huge subsidy to transform corn into motor fuel. Not only does the subsidy waste money, but it artificially drives up the price of food all over the planet. Many economic studies have cited ethanol production as the single most important driver of recent world food price increases.

Why does this ridiculous program exist? The short answer is: the Iowa caucuses. You want to be a major party nominee for president? You’d better convince yourself that ethanol is indispensable.

Take Barack Obama for example: As a U.S. senator, he was one of ethanol’s most reliable defenders. So much so, that the American Corn Growers Association endorsed him for president in 2008, only the second endorsement in the group’s history.

It’s possible to win a presidential nomination without winning the Iowa caucuses: Ronald Reagan did in 1980.

It’s possible to win without coming first in New Hampshire: Obama did in 2008.

But it’s near impossible to win without either. The Republicans and Democrats of these two states have been granted radically disproportionate sway over their parties’ presidential selection process.

This sway biases the nation’s politics in unhealthy ways:

This is an urbanized country; 80% of Americans live in metropolitan areas as defined by the census. Iowa contains two cities of more than 100,000 people (Des Moines and Cedar Rapids), New Hampshire only one, and that barely (Manchester).

The United States is a very unequal country. Iowa and New Hampshire look like an older and more egalitarian America. In the country as a whole, 13% are poor, the same percentage as in Florida — only 11% in Iowa and 7% in New Hampshire. In the country as a whole, 17% lack health insurance. Again only 10% do in Iowa and New Hampshire. Only one of the Forbes 400 lives in New Hampshire (No. 130); none of the Forbes 400 lives in Iowa.

The non-Hispanic white population of the U.S. has dropped to about 65%. New Hampshire is 92% non-Hispanic white, Iowa 90%.

Americans are hard-pressed by home foreclosures. Yet the foreclosure crisis has by and large bypassed Iowa and New Hampshire, both of which have foreclosure rates substantially below the national average.

There are other reasons of course beyond Iowa and New Hampshire why U.S. policy seems to favor farmers over city dwellers and why it cares so little about extremes of wealth and poverty.

But surely Iowa and New Hampshire are a big part of the answer.

Florida looks a lot more like the America in which most Americans live.

Even the one metric by which Florida looks unusual — the high number of elderly — is shared with the two existing first-in-the-nation states: 17.2% of Floridians are older than 65, but so are 14.8% of Iowans and 13.5% of New Hampshirites. (The national average is 12.9%.)

A primary system that started in Florida would press presidential candidates to talk more about issues about which most Americans care.

In 2012, for example, it will matter that Iowa and New Hampshire have unemployment rates well below the national average, while Florida’s is above.

Al Gore was ridiculed in 2000 for suggesting that the length of commute was becoming a major problem for Americans. Floridians would not find the issue laughable. Floridians on average face the ninth toughest commute in the nation, Iowans the sixth easiest.

Champions of the primacy of Iowa and New Hampshire often celebrate these states’ proud traditions of retail politics. But it’s those states’ retail politics that are precisely the problem. Cycle after cycle, presidential candidates spend two years in the living rooms of Iowa and New Hampshire answering the same questions (if Democrats) about ethanol, Medicare, the goodness of teachers’ unions and the badness of wars. Or if Republicans, they spend those years in living rooms answering questions about ethanol, Medicare, the goodness of guns and the badness of abortion.

Nobody ever asks a question about coral reefs. Or the future of the tourism industry. Or the issues facing communities that host military bases.

By the time candidates have to engage the voters in the 90% of the country where hockey is not a major sport, they have ceased to spend their time in living rooms — ceased to hear from anybody other than consultants and pollsters.

This system badly needs a shake-up. So count me as strongly in favor of Florida first in 2012. And then maybe — Michigan first in 2016?

Originally published at CNN.com.


RNC State Chair: Pull GOP Convention From Florida

March 31st, 2011 at 11:08 am 8 Comments

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Karen Floyd sent a letter to RNC members this morning criticizing the Florida GOP for moving their presidential primary date up to January, in contravention of party rules. Floyd went so far as to suggest that the RNC should revoke Tampa Bay as the site for the 2012 Republican National Convention if the date was not moved back in compliance.

“[I]f Florida does not respect the process by which our primary calendar was set, the RNC should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected,” said Floyd, “If Florida refuses to move its primary date into compliance with RNC rules, I am respectfully requesting that the Committee convene a special task force to select a new site for the 2012 Convention outside the state of Florida.”

While the Florida GOP has been relatively cooperative with RNC requests that the original rules be kept, the Republican-controlled legislature in Florida has been the primary force behind the push to move the primary date forward.

The RNC had previously decided that the Florida primary could not be held before March 1.

Floyd has an ally in Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn, who issued a press release slamming Florida legislators.

“The contempt that Florida legislators hold not only for the RNC 2012 rules, but also for the RNC members who approved these rules, is astonishing. To reward this arrogance with our national convention is a great disservice to the Republican activists, donors and elected officials nationwide who support the RNC,” said Strawn.

The full Floyd letter can be found below:

Fellow Republican National Committee Members:

Taking back the White House in 2012 must be our top priority as Republicans, and as such it is critical that our presidential nominating process must serve to put forward the candidate best able to accomplish that task.

It was with great foresight that in 2008 the Republican National Committee conceived the Temporary Delegate Selection Committee, which subsequently worked for nearly two years to put forward a fair and equitable recommendation with regard to states’ roles in the 2012 nominating process.

That recommendation was adopted last year by our membership – and, not insignificantly, adopted by a two-thirds vote. This system represents a great step forward in bringing some much-needed predictability to the presidential nominating process, and will help us as a Party to avoid a de facto national primary. I believe that a comprehensive, thorough vetting and nomination process is critical to our efforts to defeat Barack Obama in 2012.

Unfortunately, our Party stands on the precipice of our hard work being rendered meaningless, with the very real possibility looming that Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary may be held prior to March 1, in contravention of Party Rules – a move that would precipitate numerous other states similarly violating Party Rules.

As conservatives, we believe in the rule of law, and that rules are made to be followed. To that end, I am sure we all appreciate our state Party counterparts in Florida advocating for the RNC rules being obeyed. But what is disconcerting is the apparent recalcitrance of Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature, which is in effect thumbing its nose at the RNC – and feels emboldened to do so because of the 2012 convention location.

According to CNN, Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon recently said that he “is not worried about penalties and cannot envision a circumstance in which the RNC refuses to seat Florida’s delegation, since the GOP convention will be held in Tampa.” Cannon continued, “There is some understandable skepticism about what [the RNC] would do with Florida’s delegates.”

I give Chairman Reince Priebus great credit for having already stated definitively that the penalties for violating rule 15(b) will be enforced on any state that acts outside the RNC primary calendar, including Florida. Chairman Priebus is also on record as stating that the consequences for states could extend beyond the loss of 50 percent of their delegates, to penalties such as loss of guest passes, hotel location, and floor location.

That being said, based upon the totality of the public statements from Florida’s legislative leaders, it is my fear that these sanctions may not be enough to dissuade Florida from the path that they are on. Recently, some legislative leaders in Florida have even floated the idea of a “compromise” by which they would hold their primary in mid-February rather than late-January, an idea that should be unacceptable on its face. One should not get credit for breaking the rules “less” – if Florida holds its contest any time before March, the penalties should still be the same. Similarly, it should not be acceptable for any state to circumvent the process completely via highly publicized non-binding “caucus” events. While we recognize that Florida or any other state doing so would not violate the letter of the RNC Rules, it would certainly violate their spirit.

This brings me to my purpose for writing you all today:

Simply put, if Florida does not respect the process by which our primary calendar was set, the RNC should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected.

If Florida refuses to move its primary date into compliance with RNC rules, I am respectfully requesting that the Committee convene a special task force to select a new site for the 2012 Convention outside the state of Florida.

I believe rather than becoming the fodder for strong-arm legislative tactics, the Convention should be viewed and treated as an incredible honor for any state fortunate enough to host it. What’s more, we as a Committee have an opportunity to use the Convention as a show of solidarity with Republicans nationwide who are fighting for conservative change and working to unseat entrenched Democratic interests. To that end, I would also suggest the following alternatives to the Committee, should they become necessary:

Liberal forces across the country have mobilized to push back against the conservative, pro-taxpayer reforms being advanced in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana that are aimed at curtailing union power there. What better way to recognize the courageous efforts of conservatives in those states than by having Republicans descend en masse on a city like Milwaukee or Cincinnati for our Convention? In addition, each of these states are critical swing states for our efforts in 2012, and recent electoral trends would suggest that they will be more “in play” than Florida next year. If Florida continues on this course, I believe the Committee should strongly consider relocating the convention to Wisconsin, Ohio or Indiana.

Similarly, we should look at states where our presence could bolster efforts at winning key Senate seats in 2012. Among others, it is critically important that we retake the seat of retiring Senator Jim Webb in Virginia, and defeat incumbent Democratic senators like Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan. I would humbly suggest that the Committee look toward those states as potential Convention sites as well.

Finally, with Obama having won the once solidly red state of North Carolina in 2008, we must reassert our presence there. Having our convention there would have the added benefit or countering the considerable energy that the Democratic Party is looking to generate in that state by holding their own convention in Charlotte.

I do not make any of these suggestions lightly, or with the notion that this idea will not be met with considerable resistance. Even if we choose to take this action as a way to sanction Florida, I am fully cognizant that it may not ultimately dissuade them from the path that they appear to be on — but as a Party, we must send a strong message that flouting RNC rules and processes will certainly not be met with a reward so significant as the hosting of our national Convention.

It remains my sincere hope that none of this will be necessary – that Florida will ultimately abide by the rules set forward by our Committee, that we will have an orderly and predictable nominating process, and that we will have a phenomenal convention in Tampa in 2012. If Florida’s legislature makes those things impossible, however, it is important to start the conversation now about the alternatives.

Thank you again for all for your continued leadership of our Party and in all that you do. I look forward to working with each of you as we fight to bring conservative leadership back to this country.

Sincerely,

Karen Floyd

Chairman

South Carolina Republican Party

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