Buyer’s regret

Florida voters aren’t thrilled about Gov. Rick Scott’s teabagging governing:

Even before he was elected in 2010, Scott spent $5 million of his own money—earned leading a health care company that derives much of its revenue from government payments—to fight Obamacare. Florida was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case challenging Obamacare, and even after the court upheld the law, Scott refused to take steps to implement it. His fellow tea partiers are urging lawmakers to do the same: At a hearing in December, activist John Knapp told state legislators, “The American Constitution which you just swore an oath to uphold and defend has been contorted, hijacked, and reduced.”

To get Medicaid in Florida, you have to make less than $3,200 a year—and the state seems set to reject Obamacare subsidies that would fix that.

Obamacare is a particular target of tea party wrath in Florida, but it’s hardly the only one in a state where the movement’s ideology has permeated every layer of government. In just one year, Scott and his conservative allies slashed state spending by $4 billion even as they cut corporate taxes. They’ve rejected billions in federal funds in one of the states hardest hit by the recession. They’ve axed everything from health care and public transportation initiatives to mosquito control and water supply programs. “Florida is where the rhetoric becomes the reality. It’s kind of the tea party on steroids,” says state Rep. Mark Pafford, a Democrat. “We’ve lost all navigation in terms of finding that middle ground.”

Similar shifts have occurred in other states where the tea party has amassed political power, including Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. But no state has gone as far as Florida, where small-government advocates have seized the economic crisis and fiscal downturn to reshape the state, often sacrificing benefits for residents to make a broader political point.

Now, the Sunshine State may be a harbinger of another realignment: Support for Scott and the GOP is plummeting as Floridians see anti-government governance at work. But it may be too late for buyer’s remorse. After two years at the helm, the tea party’s legacy is likely to far outlast the movement.

(h/t/ William White.)

Tougher questions

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Of course!

Maddow went on to say that the president and vice president have both gone out of their way to make themselves available to questions from ordinary citizens, who have asked in town hall meetings about the Democratic Party’s stance on Internet freedom, about tax deductions for homeowners and how to prevent abuse of software patents.

Those substantive questions about real policy issues came from people at a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session with President Obama and from questions submitted to the president via Twitter, not from paid journalists who are charged with covering the White House.

“The professional press corps plays an important role,” said Maddow, “no matter how you feel about the Beltway media.”

But, she said, there is something important there, which you see in the gaps between the kinds of questions asked by Beltway media types and the kinds of questions ordinary people ask of people in power when they get the chance, which seem to come, in Maddow’s words, “from totally different universes.”

Politico led the pack of angry press corps dissenters in the wake of the golf trip to Florida, but media critic Greg Mitchell pointed out that when Politico‘s Mike Allen has had access to President George W. Bush during the 2008 election, he asked questions like, “All right. Mr. President, who does the better impression, Will Ferrell of you, or Dana Carvey of your father?” and “Now, Mr. President, you and the First Lady appeared on American Idol’s charity show, ‘Idol Gives Back.’ And I wonder who do you think is going to win? Syesha, David Cook, or David Archuleta?”

(Thanks to Medical Malpractice Attorney Terry Gaffney.)

Shut up, sit down

What no one explains is that this “shut up and sit down” Senate model is based on the not-unreasonable idea that new senators should develop some expertise in their area before they start making waves. But since Warren is one of the nation’s leading experts on banking and financial services, it’s absolutely silly to expect she wouldn’t use her expertise from Day One. And, as Sirota points out, it’s a double standard for progressives. Anyone telling Marco Rubio not to make waves? Via Raw Story:

Appearing with “The Young Turks” host Cenk Uygur on Tuesday, author David Sirota critiqued Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) recent grilling of the nation’s top financial regulators, saying it’s the first evidence we’ve seen that Warren is showing no interest in “the Hillary Clinton model” of sitting down and shutting in hopes of earning the right to be taken seriously.

“What’s un-serious is the notion that a senator shouldn’t ask serious questions about the biggest financial meltdown in contemporary history,” he said.

“When it comes to Democratic senators, what you hear is, ‘Please follow the Hillary Clinton model,’ that’s what it’s basically called,” Sirota said. “Hillary Clinton came in and she had star power and she laid low and didn’t do very much. Same thing for Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. The expectation, if not the mandate for liberal senators is, only can you be taken seriously if you follow this model that says essentially, sit down and shut up.”

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