Wednesday, December 30, 2009

St. Pete Political Football

Not exactly politics, but a recent bit of political football - I am speaking, of course, about the Baywalk sidewalk.

I want to give credit to my favoroite St. Pete Times columnist Howard Troxler. I was listening to him on WMNF today.

To paraphrase what he said - mayor-to-be Bill Foster and other local politicos have decided that the real problem with Baywalk is not 12.5% unemployment, (almost twenty percent higher than the nation, as a whole - heckuva job, you're doing there, Crist), a weird collection of less than popular shops, and the hordes of teenagers loitering around the premises. No - our great and wise leaders have decided that peace protests, occurring about once a week and lasting for about hour - that these people (numbering perhaps a dozen on a good night) are the real problem and not the Charlie Crist economy, the businesses themselves, nor roving bands of teenagers.

All in all, I would say this is classic St. Petersburg government.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Steve Schale

I hope everyone is checking out Steve Schale's new blog.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What's Up with the Diaz-Balart Thing?

Things got worse for Crist - both Diaz-Balart brothers withdrew their endorsement of the governor. Endorsements are almost always overrated, but these two guys were a good entry point for Crist to try and keep Rubio from locking up the Cuban vote. But what really hurt here is what the elder brother's statement that "[Crist] knows why."

This is going to open up all sorts of weird questions that only Lincoln Diaz-Balaart can answer, but clearly doesn't intend to give us the satisfaction - so Floridians are going to keep on wondering. Is it about money or sex or SunRail or the FCAT or Cuban policy or... you get the idea.

Zogby has Crist up by 9 points over Rubio. I haven't been a big fan of Zogby, but these numbers look more realistic to me than the Rasmussen numbers that had them tied. Rasmussen leans right to the point that I believe their numbers to be pretty badly flawed - though I do see wisdom in their trend lines. And all the polls show a pretty basic trend - Crist staying under 50 and Rubio climbing. All in all, 9 points sounds about right to me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Irony

Poor Crist's numbers are dropping (though we must always take Rasmussen's reactionary-leaning polls with a grain of salt).

The irony of it is, had Crist run for re-election as governor, he would likely have faced only token opposition (Sink almost certainly would either have run for re-election as CFO or gone after the Senate seat herself).

It looks increasingly likely that the blowback from Crist's decision to forgo a second term as governor could include a loss in the Republican primary, the ouster of his good friend Jim Greer from the chairmanship of the Florida Republican Party, and a Democrat in the governor's mansion (giving the Democrats an equal seat at the bargaining table during redistricting - thereby threatening the GOP's gerrymandered control of the legislature by 2014).

Oh, and Crist's 2016 presidential ambitions? He can just forget about it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eric Forcade's Blueprint

Eric Forcade is not, currently, a serious candidate for the 10th Congressional District. He is not likely to become a serious candidate for the 10th Congressional District.


There is always a "but," isn't there?

Forcade is no Ron Paul or Marco Rubio - he will not be able to raise the kind of money you'd expect to need to defeat Bill Young.

So why the "but?"

Because Young is not young (he turns 79 tomorrow - happy birthday, Bill!) and has never been known as an aggressive campaigner - someone who enjoys the battle.

If Forcade is committed to running an aggressive and smart campaign that focuses on the the GOP primary base, he can cause Young some real trouble and potentially force young to tack to the right (something he has already been doing - though he still loves his congressional pork).

Republican clubs, tea party groups, facebook, and twitter and some aggressive doorknocking and just enough money to drop a little bit of targeted mail on some disaffected GOP'ers...

I don't actually expect Forcade to mount a serious challenge - even if he does everything right, it will likely require him the thread the needle to even reach the 30s. But, the blueprint exists - especially because no one really knows how Young will respond to an aggressive and early challenge ("early" being key, as well - Young almost certainly has it in him to for a hard campaign that lasts from mid-September through November 2nd, but it is not clear if he has the endurance for fight that lasts from January 1st through November 2nd).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Press Releases

I'm going to comment on something Peter posted here.

Peter implies (though does not openly say) that Mitch did something wrong or stupid here, but Kenneth is absolutely right. Any paper sent out by the campaign (including press releases) has to have the "paid for by" on it somewhere. While there may be some folks who will enjoy a little bit of schadenfreude to see Mitch stumble a little, I can't blame him for getting a little miffed at the paper's response.

His failure, as has been pointed out, was a failure to do his homework, as regards that particular publication. He should have seen that his candidate had been ignoring interview requests before including them on this press list.

Press releases and press conferences can, in my mind, take up too much of a campaign's time. I believe in sending out plenty of press releases, but I also believe that the average press release is just tossing something out and seeing if it sticks - and most things don't stick. That's why when I see kitchen cabinets spending a long time crafting the perfect language, I get frustrated - it's not a good use of time to spend a lot of it on something that will get minimal attention.

In fact, if you are commenting on something timely, it is better to get something out that quickly (provided it is on message) than to craft the perfect, pithy comment that doesn't get out until later in the news cycle.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I have, at long last, joined Twitter.

But, I feel kind of bad about that.

I don't expect to be constantly twittering - even with only 140 characters, I don't have that much to say an hourly basis - but if you're interest, I'm at TBCampaignMgr.

My only posting so far is a necessarily brief musing on HD 58. Congratulations are in order for Rep. Michael Scionti (see photo), but on to the politics.

"Coach" Bob Henriquez held this seat before, if I recall.

Democratic candidates have been quick to jump in, but so far no Republicans. Scionti won handily in 2006, but that was also a wave election. We'll see if the Republicans make a good faith effort to contest this seat or not (the party is a little distracted, between Crist struggling to put down Rubio, Greer beset by scandal and rumor, and McCollum doing his usual thing, which is underachieving - so they might be forgiven for letting this slide).

Finally, don't expect Scionti to be gone forever - in fact, I would see him as a future candidate for statewide office in Florida or as a strong congressional candidate, should Congresswoman Castor run for higher office.