Currently viewing the tag: "Rick"

Today, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) will announce deep cuts to programs that help the developmentally disabled in his state. Scott will invoke his “emergency powers” to impose a 15 percent cut to the rates charged by group home workers and case workers that help the 30,000 Floridians with cerebral palsy, autism, and Down Syndrome.

Those who provide services to the developmentally disabled are already decrying the cuts. “This would be a catastrophe,” one advocate told the Miami Herald. “The system can’t take this. Eventually, we will have to cut jobs and reduce services.”

Scott says the cuts are necessary to address a $ 170 million deficit in the Agency for Persons with Disabilities — but at the same time, he is also proposing $ 1.5 billion in corporate tax cuts and $ 1.4 billion more in property tax cuts.

Even more galling, today — the same day his cuts are announced — Scott is scheduled to appear at a Special Olympics Torch Run with his wife and other state officials. The run is designed to promote the upcoming Special Olympics in Florida, and raise money for developmentally disabled athletes along the way:

Funds are generated through contributions from individuals and businesses along the way and through sales of the popular Torch Run T-shirts and caps.

This event is held each year prior to Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games.

Given the deep cuts Scott has just proposed, they might need to sell a lot of t-shirts.

(HT: Saint Petersblog)

ThinkProgress

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The wave of hard-right governors who swept into office in 2010 is remarkable, but no figure among the bunch is as remarkable as Florida governor Rick Scott. It’s a big state, and you’d think the conservative movement could have found a standard bearer who’s not a crook whose company was specifically involved in defrauding the government. But between resigning as CEO of Columbia/HCA because of his involvement in Medicare fraud and becoming governor, he founded a company called Solantic. Upon becoming governor he could have rid himself of Solantic-related conflicts of interest by selling his stake in the company and investing the funds in something else. But instead he deployed the fig leaf of transferring his ownership share to his wife.

Now, as Suzy Khim explains, he’s rapidly moving to use his authority as governor to enrich Solantic and therefore himself:

As part of a federally approved pilot program that began in 2005, certain Medicaid patients in Florida were allowed to start using their Medicaid dollars at private clinics like Solantic. The Medicaid bill that Scott is now pushing would expand the pilot privatization program to the entire state of Florida, offering Solantic a huge new business opportunity. [...]

On Tuesday, he signed an executive order requiring random drug testing of many state employees and applicants for state jobs. He’s also urged state legislators to pass a similar bill that would require drug testing of poor Floridians applying for welfare.

Among the services that Solantic offers: drug testing.

There are two possibilities here, neither of which reflect well on Scott. One is that Scott is pushing a bad policy agenda in order to enrich himself. The other is that Scott is pushing a good policy agenda whose political sustainability he’s undermining by creating the appearance that he’s just looking to enrich himself.


Yglesias

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The wave of hard-right governors who swept into office in 2010 is remarkable, but no figure among the bunch is as remarkable as Florida governor Rick Scott. It’s a big state, and you’d think the conservative movement could have found a standard bearer who’s not a crook whose company was specifically involved in defrauding the government. But between resigning as CEO of Columbia/HCA because of his involvement in Medicare fraud and becoming governor, he founded a company called Solantic. Upon becoming governor he could have rid himself of Solantic-related conflicts of interest by selling his stake in the company and investing the funds in something else. But instead he deployed the fig leaf of transferring his ownership share to his wife.

Now, as Suzy Khim explains, he’s rapidly moving to use his authority as governor to enrich Solantic and therefore himself:

As part of a federally approved pilot program that began in 2005, certain Medicaid patients in Florida were allowed to start using their Medicaid dollars at private clinics like Solantic. The Medicaid bill that Scott is now pushing would expand the pilot privatization program to the entire state of Florida, offering Solantic a huge new business opportunity. [...]

On Tuesday, he signed an executive order requiring random drug testing of many state employees and applicants for state jobs. He’s also urged state legislators to pass a similar bill that would require drug testing of poor Floridians applying for welfare.

Among the services that Solantic offers: drug testing.

There are two possibilities here, neither of which reflect well on Scott. One is that Scott is pushing a bad policy agenda in order to enrich himself. The other is that Scott is pushing a good policy agenda whose political sustainability he’s undermining by creating the appearance that he’s just looking to enrich himself.


Yglesias

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Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law, an ambitious and bold plan former Gov. Charlie Crist couldn’t: merit pay and end tenure for teachers.

Scott talked about the measures. Bravo to the Florida Governor.

 

Liberty Pundits Blog

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott is one of the most entertainingly shameless figures in American political life. In the 1990s, Scott headed Columbia/HCA Healthcare, the largest for-profit hospital in America. While Scott was running Columbia/HCA Healthcare, it got involved in a bit — okay, a lot — of fraud. As Forbes reported, the company “increased Medicare billings by exaggerating the seriousness of the illnesses they were treating. It also granted doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. In addition, it gave doctors ‘loans’ that were never expected to be paid back, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.”

The scale of the fraud was so immense that Columbia/HCA Healthcare ended up paying more than $ 2 billion (PDF) back to the federal government in the single largest fraud case in history. (The previous record holder? Drexel Burnham.) Scott resigned shortly before the judgment came down.

Today, Scott is enjoying a second act as governor of Florida. And, as Suzy Khimm reports, he doesn’t seem all that chastened. Before running for office, he turned his $ 62 million stake in Solantic, the urgent-care clinic chain he founded after resigning from Columbia/HCA Healthcare, over to a trust in his wife’s name. Solantic doesn’t take traditional Medicaid, but it does work with the private HMOs that, under a 2005 pilot program, were allowed to contract with Medicaid. And Scott is now pushing a bill that would expand that program across the state making those HMOs — the ones Solantic works with — the norm for Medicaid.

Asked about the apparent conflict of interest, Scott said, “If you look at everything that I want to accomplish in health care in Florida is basically what I’ve believed all my life. I believe in the principle that if you have more competition it will drive down the prices.” And I believe him. But he could have sold his stake in Solantic when he got into government. Since he didn’t, the fact remains that Scott is pushing a policy his family stands to profit from
immensely
. Which is, for Scott, real progress. In the 1990s, he made his money off single-payer health-care programs by cheating them. Today, he’s making his money off single-payer health-care programs by running them. No matter how you look at it, it’s a step up.







Ezra Klein

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott is one of the most entertainingly shameless figures in American political life. In the 1990s, Scott headed Columbia/HCA Healthcare, the largest for-profit hospital in America. While Scott was running Columbia/HCA Healthcare, it got involved in a bit — okay, a lot — of fraud. As Forbes reported, the company “increased Medicare billings by exaggerating the seriousness of the illnesses they were treating. It also granted doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. In addition, it gave doctors ‘loans’ that were never expected to be paid back, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.”

The scale of the fraud was so immense that Columbia/HCA Healthcare ended up paying more than $ 2 billion (PDF) back to the federal government in the single largest fraud case in history. (The previous record holder? Drexel Burnham.) Scott resigned shortly before the judgment came down.

Today, Scott is enjoying a second act as governor of Florida. And, as Suzy Khimm reports, he doesn’t seem all that chastened. Before running for office, he turned his $ 62 million stake in Solantic, the urgent-care clinic chain he founded after resigning from Columbia/HCA Healthcare, over to a trust in his wife’s name. Solantic doesn’t take traditional Medicaid, but it does work with the private HMOs that, under a 2005 pilot program, were allowed to contract with Medicaid. And Scott is now pushing a bill that would expand that program across the state making those HMOs — the ones Solantic works with — the norm for Medicaid.

Asked about the apparent conflict of interest, Scott said, “If you look at everything that I want to accomplish in health care in Florida is basically what I’ve believed all my life. I believe in the principle that if you have more competition it will drive down the prices.” And I believe him. But he could have sold his stake in Solantic when he got into government. Since he didn’t, the fact remains that Scott is pushing a policy his family stands to profit from
immensely
. Which is, for Scott, real progress. In the 1990s, he made his money off single-payer health-care programs by cheating them. Today, he’s making his money off single-payer health-care programs by running them. No matter how you look at it, it’s a step up.







Ezra Klein

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I’ve written before about how government response to public information laws can really be crippling. The White House, for instance, shut down instant messaging — the main way Obama’s staff had communicated on the campaign — though the president fought to keep his Blackberry.

Now Rick Scott seems to have cut himself off from the most basic electronic communications, in order to avoid leaving a paper trail:

"If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send me, I don’t have e-mail," Scott said. "It’s easier if I never get e-mailed. I get embarrassed by it that way. It’s not as easy to communicate," Scott said. "Have a great day."

As Steve Bousquet notes, that’s an odd stance from a guy who aims to run the government like a business, though I suppose business executives who have faced discovery motions are particularly sensitive to the fact that email’s never private. Still, it seems almost crippling to govern without normal communications tools at this point.





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Ben Smith’s Blog

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This is from last night when Louisville coach Rick Pitino was in the TNT studios talking about the NCAA Tournament. Rick said Notre Dame would not lose to Florida State. Sir Charles said the Irish would lose.

(Hat tip to Nation of Blue.)


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John Clay’s Sidelines

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In a speech earlier this week in Massachusetts, former Pennsylvania Senator and probable 2012 candidate for President Rick Santorum pretty much rejected the idea that the First Amendment means what it says:

In remarks to about 50 members of the group Catholic Citizenship — which encourages parishioners to speak out on issues of public policy — Santorum decried what he called the growing secularization of American public life.

He traced the problem to Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, in which Kennedy — then a candidate for president — sought to allay concerns about his Catholicism by declaring, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.”

Santorum, who is Catholic, said he is “frankly appalled” by Kennedy’s remark.

“That was a radical statement,” Santorum said, and it did “great damage.”

“We’re seeing how Catholic politicians, following the first Catholic president, have followed his lead, and have divorced faith not just from the public square, but from their own decision-making process,” Santorum said.

The crowd responded with nods and applause.

Santorum’s comments, and his explicit criticisms of President Kennedy’s groundbreaking 1960 speech on the role of religion in politics, mirrors similar comments that Sarah Palin made in her most recent book, which prompted a response from one of Kennedy’s nieces:

In her new book, “America by Heart,” Palin objects to my uncle’s famous 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, in which he challenged the ministers - and the country - to judge him, a Catholic presidential candidate, by his views rather than his faith. “Contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president,” Kennedy said. “I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president who happens also to be a Catholic.”

Palin writes that when she was growing up, she was taught that Kennedy’s speech had “succeeded in the best possible way: It reconciled public service and religion without compromising either.” Now, however, she says she has revisited the speech and changed her mind. She finds it “defensive . . . in tone and content” and is upset that Kennedy, rather than presenting a reconciliation of his private faith and his public role, had instead offered an “unequivocal divorce of the two.”

(…)

Palin fails to understand the genius of our nation. The United States is one of the most vibrant religious countries on Earth precisely because of its religious freedom. When power and faith are entwined, faith loses. Power tends to obfuscate, corrupt and focus on temporal rather than eternal purposes.

Somehow Palin misses this. Perhaps she didn’t read the full Houston speech; she certainly doesn’t know it by heart. Or she may be appealing to a religious right that really seeks secular power. I don’t know.

I am certain, however, that no American political leader should cavalierly - or out of political calculation - dismiss the hard-won ideal of religious freedom that is among our country’s greatest gifts to the world. As John F. Kennedy said in Houston, that is the “kind of America I believe in.”

It isn’t, however, that Santorum , Palin, and those like them believe in. To them, America was founded as an explicitly “Christian nation” and the Founding Fathers intended that our system of government and laws comply with the tenants of that religion. The problem for advocates of this theory, however, is that the historical evidence is all to the contrary and in fact quite supportive of the secular society based on freedom of religion that Kennedy spoke of in his speech.

As I noted in a post I wrote in December about Palin’s comments about President Kennedy, the historical evidence in favor of the “Christian Nation” hypothesis is sorely lacking:

In reality, the Founders were in fact more influenced by the writings of men like John Locke and Algernon Sidney than they were by anything in the Bible. Jefferson’s most famous phrase “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” came from Locke’s “Life, Liberty, and Property,” for instance. More importantly, at the time of the American Revolution, the natural rights tradition that the Founders relied upon owed more to the Greeks than it did to Christianity or theology:

In reality, neither Jewish nor Christian traditions know anything of the ideas of natural rights and social contract found in Hobbes, Gassendi and Locke. That’s because those ideas were inspired by themes found in non-Christian Greek and Roman philosophy. Ideas of the social contract were anticipated in the fourth and fifth centuries BC by the sophists Glaucon and Lycophron, according to Plato and Aristotle, and by Epicurus, who banished divine activity from a universe explained by natural forces and taught that justice is an agreement among people neither to harm nor be harmed. The idea that all human beings are equal by nature also comes from the Greek sophists and was planted by the Roman jurist Ulpian in Roman law: “quod ad ius naturale attinet, omnes homines aequales sunt” — according to the law of nature, all human beings are equal.

Moreover, the Founders own religious beliefs are far less orthodox that religious conservatives would like to believe. Jefferson, for example, was a Diest who believed in a Creator who played absolutely no role in the affairs of the world, and considered much of the New Testament to be mere superstitions, which is the reason he created his own version of the teachings of Jesus which completely deleted any reference to his being of Divine origin.

Additionally,  John Tyler, America’s 10th President made this point in a letter in 1843:

“The United States have adventured upon a great and noble experiment, which is believed to have been hazarded in the absence of all previous precedent — that of total separation of Church and State. No religious establishment by law exists among us. The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgment. The offices of the Government are open alike to all. No tithes are levied to support an established Hierarchy, nor is the fallible judgment of man set up as the sure and infallible creed of faith. The Mohammedan, if he will to come among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma, if it so pleased him. Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political Institutions.”

And George Washington sent this message to a Hebrew Congregation in 1790:

“The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support … May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

History, in other words, makes it emphatically clear that while the Founders were for the most part religious men in keeping with the customs of their times (Jeffers0n and Franklin being notable exceptions to this), there is simply no evidence to suggest that they intended to create a nation whose government played any role at all in the religious lives of its citizens, or whether religion played any role in government. To borrow former Senator Santorum’s words, it isn’t President Kennedy who was radical when he suggested in 1960 that:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President — should he be Catholic — how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

The real radicals are Santorum, Palin, and those who agree with them that more than 200 centuries of history should be ignored in order create their idea of heaven on Earth.

 




Outside the Beltway

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Governor Rick Scott of Florida is another one of our conservative governors who is actually getting the job done in his state versus the unions.

He has signed legislation for merit pay among teachers.

 

Liberty Pundits Blog

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Rachel Maddow explains while the world was worried about Japan and Bahrain and even Wisconsin, the real story is that today Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a measure that basically makes him dictator of Michigan.

Here’s what Snyder can now do:

The Michigan bill allows a governor-appointed emergency manager to modify or end collective bargaining agreements. With the governor’s approval, the emergency manager also could dissolve a city government or recommend consolidation.

Democrats called the bill an attack on public sector unions similar to legislation signed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker last week and said the changes would add to pressure on cities and school districts.

Republican Rep. Al Pscholka, the bill’s sponsor, said on Tuesday that the changes would give emergency managers more tools to turn around failing schools and cities.

“For years we have allowed cities and schools to be on the verge of bankruptcy without any intervention,” Pscholka said. “When the state finally does arrive, in many cases we find the financial records in disarray and leave emergency managers with very few good options to balance the books.”

The bill expands the powers for the state to name emergency overseers and gives them powers over academics and finances in the case of school districts. The emergency manager also could close schools and buildings.

So at this point, Gov. Snyder can appoint an “emergency manager” over a local government who has the power to remove any local or county government he wants to, eliminate all local government contracts, close schools and offices, disband state employee unions, layoff any government workers, and do all this with basically no oversight.

The best part?  Governor Snyder can pro-actively appoint an emergency manager “long before a city gets into trouble”.  What’s the criteria for appointing this manager and throwing out the elected city or country government?

Well, nobody seems to know, actually.  But Snyder can do it starting now.  And this is on top of Synder’s idea of a budget where he actually adds $ 1.7 billion to the state budget facing a $ 1.4 billion shortfall, and makes up for it by cutting $ 1 billion on state corporate taxes, cutting hundreds of millions in education, and eliminating tax breaks for senior citizens on fixed income.

Yeah, on top of all that, he plans to cut taxes on businesses and make schools and the elderly pay for it.  But this is what you elected, Michigan.

Enjoy your new dictatorship.


Zandar Versus The Stupid

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(AP photo)

(AP photo)

You have to give it up for Louisville, left for dead at the half against red-hot Notre Dame, down 46-32. But Rick Pitino’s team stormed back and downed the Irish 83-77 in overtime to earn a spot in tonight’s final against UConn, 9 p.m. on ESPN.

Preston Knowles, a fellow GRC grad, led the way with 20. Dana O’Neill of espn.com writes:

The Cardinals are here for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the superb job Pitino has done coaching this group. He has catered his teaching to this team’s strengths, building up a defensive behemoth that thrives on disruption. Against the Irish, somehow the native New Yorker’s warnings of “shoot-uh” could be heard loud and clear over the frenzied Madison Square Garden.

But they are here also because of Knowles. The senior has welcomed the mantle of leader with grace, comfortable in his abilities to lead a team.

His spot is so secure now that, during the first half when Pitino lost his cool and was about to get a technical, Knowles calmed him down.

“Me and Coach, our relationship has just skyrocketed,” Knowles said. “When I talk to him he actually listens to me now.”

Give Pitino his props. No way Louisville should have finished fourth in the packed Big East. No way the Cards should be in the title game. Is there a pro on this Cardinals team? Draft Express doesn’t think so. It has not a single U of L player in its top 100 prospects for this year’s NBA draft.

Next question is what seed might the Cards snatch in they win tonight? A No. 2 seed doesn’t seem out of the question, though if both Kentucky and Louisville win their conference tournaments, my guess is that both will end up with No. 3 seeds.

By the way, through Friday’s games, Sagarin has Louisville at No. 11 and Kentucky at No. 15.

Related link: Louisville presses into action in second half, writes Rick Bozich of the Courier-Journal.

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John Clay’s Sidelines

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Santorum is going to get a lot of heat for this. When the Islamic supremacist tools in the mainstream media challenge him on it, he should ask them if they think the death penalty for apostates, stoning for adultery, amputation of the hand for theft, the denial of the freedom of speech, and institutionalized second-class status for women and non-Muslims is not evil. They will then, following some smooth Islamic supremacist deceiver, claim that those things are not part of Sharia; Santorum should then challenge them to name one Muslim country that has ever implemented Sharia without implementing those measures, or one school of Islamic jurisprudence that does not teach such things.

“Rick Santorum: Sharia ‘is evil,’” by Kendra Marr for Politico, March 11 (thanks to Jack):

DURHAM, N.H. — Rick Santorum on Friday asserted that Sharia law has no place in America.

“Jihadism is evil and we need to say what it is,” he said at the Strafford County Lincoln-Reagan dinner, remarks that show how the former Pennsylvania senator continues to establish himself as the candidate most-aligned with the Republican Party’s conservative base.

“We need to define it and say what it is. And it is evil. Sharia law is incompatible with American jurisprudence and our Constitution.”…

Santorum added, “Sharia law is not just a religious code. It is also a governmental code. It happens to be both religious in nature an origin, but it is a civil code. And it is incompatible with the civil code of the United States.”…

Jihad Watch

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UPDATE: A Florida House committee has voted to kill the prescription drug database altogether. A separate bill would end regulation of pain clinics altogether, while also stopping doctors from dispensing drugs. ORIGINAL POST: I was having a conversation with a very wise person the other day, about Florida’s governor, Rick Scott. “Nobody calls themselves a [...]
The Reid Report

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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.”

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

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