Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Florida voters shake their heads in wonder as Tampa Bay Times continues flogging their stories re their poll of "political insiders" -favoring incumbents in 2012. Surprise!


Florida voters shake their heads in wonder as Tampa Bay Times continues flogging their stories re their poll of "political insiders" -favoring incumbents in 2012. Surprise!



Political insiders say Sen. Bill Nelson likely to win third term
By Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor
In Print: Sunday, December 25, 2011

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/political-insiders-say-sen-bill-nelson-likely-to-win-third-term/1207786

It's like a poll of national sports writers in Miami in the days before Super Bowl III that overwhelmingly favored the Baltimore Colts over the New York Jets, the Georgetown Hoyas over the Villanova Wildcats in the 1985 NCAA basketball tourney.
And how did you like last season's World Series between the Red Sox and the Phillies, the pre-ordained classic that never was?
Who actually had the Packers over the Steelers in the Super Bowl before the 2010 season started?
(You'll recall that my prediction before the game was spot-on.)

Dear reader of the blog, whose attention and time at this first post of the year I appreciate, please tell me when since 9/11 has there ever been a poll of elites and insiders in this country or this state or this county where the unexpected was accurately predicted?
Even when there were plenty of signs that something unexpected could well happen?
Precisely.

The sports analogy is nationally-known print sports writers and TV reporters appearing on nationally-syndicated sports talk radio shows of the sort that I have been listening to since I was a kid in the 1970's -just like I did with Tony Kornheiser's Washington, D.C.  radio program for WTEM-AM in the '90's before he was at ESPN- listening to them opine on the NCAA basketball tourney selections in the days before the tourney starts.


They're clearly eager to hear guests offering insight into possible upcoming upsets for the benefit of their listeners or viewers, but almost invariably, the host or co-hosts then ignore everything that's been said, heard and seen -and history- by then picking nothing but 'chalk,' i.e. picking nothing but the top-seeded teams.


Yes, despite every one's always saying that they want something unexpected, look what happens when "experts" are asked and results have consequences?

That's a pretty common 'phenomena' in contemporary U.S. sports media that you rarely hear anyone discuss or criticize, and it's political counterpart is equally common at almost every national and Florida-based newspaper and media website worth perusing, even the good ones.


It's a real buzz-kill, and in my opinion is one of the main reasons that few big political movements happen down here as spontaneously as they do in other parts of the country -the news media here really isn't interested in change, and cover and report accordingly, rather than let the narrative and natural ebb-and flow of events tell the tale.


This explains, in part, why the national news media write as if they would like Newt Gingrich to be finished after the Iowa Caucus this coming week, despite all the larger states he leads in, like Florida, for instance, despite less resources than Mitt Romney.

In short, the news media really doesn't want change, they just want the pretense that change could happen, which is why the voters who DO want big change are so frustrated by the news media's bias.
It's not just a political bias on the part of some reporters, though it IS that, but also a bias towards what they already know, understand and can explain, which is why so much political reporting is derivative to a nauseating degree.

That's another reason I'm in favor of having an election system like Louisiana's, where all the candidates run together and the general election is between the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation.
(I know there's a name for this system but I'm too tired to think of the name of it.)

Now THAT would be fun and reward the voters with an election worth watching and get more sensible people in office, and be a handy tool for dealing with gerrymandering.
Imagine what gerrymandered districts would be like in South Florida under a system like this -less extremism of the left or right.


Florida voters across the state that I've been in touch with since this most recent post on the insider's poll continue to shake their heads in wonder as the old St. Petersburg Times and their reporters and columnists continue flogging a series of stories with a never-ending story-line about their poll of "political insiders" favoring incumbents in 2012.
Really?
Imagine that?

Of course they do!
And so do the state's print and electronic media thru their mostly bad and superficial coverage, too!
Which, of course, is part of the problem, no? 

The very same elites, "insiders" and news media that thought they would have Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio to play with -like a cat's toy- for a few months, with Rubio playing the role of well-chewed rubber mouse?


After all, hadn't these same forces already publicly proclaimed Charlie Crist a political genius, month-after-month, for 'splitting the difference,' despite the lack of any empirical evidence that held up to serious scrutiny, that he had fundamentally changed the broken and much-loathed political culture of Tallahassee, south Georgia's anti-Mayberry?
Yes.

Evidence, who needs tangible evidence that anything was changing for the better in Tallahassee when the state's news media was in love the way the Florida news media was in
full-thrall to Charlie Crist and his affable white hair in 2009 and early 2010?

Yes, Florida, the Sunshine State, where the then-formerly popular governor Crist lost that Senate GOP primary that the Sunshine State's Mainstream Media and political elites had considered a mere formality, having already been writing newspaper stories/columns and filing TV stories for months that took the position that he was "inevitable."


So "inevitable," in fact, that the state's news media actually started filing stories on whether Crist might soon be a GOP VP candidate, a pseudo-fact that because it was printed in Florida newspapers so often, started appearing more frequently in DC-based media, blogs and websites as well, where they didn't know any better.
(The Beltway pundits assumed the reporters here in Florida must know what they were talking about, and had some sources who knew it was true.)

And all of this MONTHS before the formality of an actual election
After all, the MSM and political elites would know, wouldn't they, they're "experts"?


And besides, as they were always keen on reminding us, Florida is SO important.
Except when it's not.
But they were 100% wrong and Marco Rubio trounced Crist in the GOP primary.

And then, not willing to accept the mandate of the people, the elites of both parties and many columnists and editorial boards decided that Crist should be given yet another chance to win, not just one, so millions were given to him by the comfortable status quo-types who reminded us over-and-over that despite his loss to Rubio, Crist was still the best candidate.

Then in November, Rubio trounced Crist for yet a second time, and made hapless Democratic Party nominee Kendrick Meek a third-place finisher in a three-way race, and a very bad third place at that.

Yes, Florida, the same state where the only statewide-elected Democrat in the FL Cabinet,
a multi-millionaire, former banking executive and longtime Democratic insider who was married to a wealthy attorney and former Democratic gubernatorial nominee, lost the gubernatorial race to a wealthy businessman who had never run for elective office before.


Losing in some part because she never did the one thing that all good elected officials must do -explain who they are, what they've done, what they are in favor of and against and why.
That is a necessity.


But Alex Sink and her political advisers and the Democratic Party, esp. the most liberal wind of that shrinking party, took all that for granted, as did most of the state's news media.

But finally someone started noticing what I had seen from the beginning -that she really was running for office in the worst possible way.
By late August and early September, reports started appearing in newspapers -but not on Miami-area TV- that her campaign had been done such a poor job of laying the groundwork explaining who she was and her stand on issues, that, surprise, there were still many voters who did not know that Alex Sink was a woman.

When you are running for governor of the fourth largest state in the country and three months before the general election, a sizable number of likely voters don't know what sex you are, you are poised for a bruising losing effort.
And that was when Rick Scott's TV campaign started in earnest of defining the woman who had been so blase that she and her staff thought that could wait until after the summer.

And the same elites and reporters were reporting for months that in a re-match now...
Sink would win.
But we don't have do-overs  a few months after the election, we just have the election.
Scott, a very flawed candidate, beat Sink, a very apathetic and blase candidate who didn't do the minimum required.

I ignore those stories for some of the same reasons that I voted against Sink, knowing that no matter how close the election might be or how much the news media, esp. the liberal news media in South Florida, wanted to play tail gunner for Sink and get Scott in a game of "gotcha," Sink was a seriously flawed person and candidate who was incapable of moving the football in Tallahassee and get the state out of its backwardness in so many areas.

Knowing that both branches of the state legislature are held by the GOP, and veto-proof if sink won, what could Sink possibly accomplish as governor given how  self-evident her personality and management flaws were?
She'd continually have been made a fool of as the legislature over-rode any vetoes she might made, even when I might have agreed with her reasoning.

To say the least, Alex Sink was not much of a gubernatorial candidate, and it's my guess that she would have been a terrible governor for the fourth-largest state in the country, even when she was right on the issue, because her personality and manner would NOT have worn well with residents.
In that election for governor between too very flawed candidates, we drew the well-meaning "Joker" who at least knew who he was, and we all have to live with that verdict for another three years.

Now, eleven months until the 2012 election, the same state "insiders" and experts I've described are alternately pre-ordaining Bill Nelson's re-election and/or the rise of some queer boomlet called the Connie Mack revolution.


To my way of thinking, where ideas -thoughtful and nuanced- really are important, Connie Mack is political 'fools gold' compared to Marco Rubio, who is Fort Knox in comparison, since as someone who supported Rubio from the beginning -even when state reporters were writing his premature obituary- I always knew that he was everything that Sink, Meek, Crist, Nelson and Mack are NOT.

In that comparison, to me, candidate Connie Mack is the small change you find in the shallow end of the hotel swimming pool while on summer vacation in North Carolina to escape the heat, humidity and boring existence of summertime South Florida.
(Asheville, North Carolina  1972 to be exact. A trip I've never forgotten: Mount Mitchell, Smokey Mountains, Stone Mountain, GA...)

Great for kids, like your two younger sisters, who race each other diving into the pool to get the quarters you throw, which amuses some of the other hotel guests around the pool otherwise zoning-out, but not really much to brag about for adults, or even teenagers paying close attention.

In short, there is no "there" there with Connie Mack IV.
Or any possibility of any upside that he would ever become the sort of thoughtful, savvy and sometimes counter-intuitive person that surprises you frequently with his principled stands representing the crazy-quilt of six different states cobbled into one that that is today's Florida, and able to cast important or even dire votes that will matter to this nation's future.


To me he's the personable but somewhat dis-connected high school homecoming king whose father is the mayor and largest developer in the area, and he's still milking the gravy train, occasionally doing the right thing, but not often enough to inspire either trust or respect.
To me, Connie Mack IV is NOT the answer to any reasonable question.


Like I've so often said on this blog about the city I live in, Hallandale Beach, and how it so thoroughly mis-managed to the detriment of the residents who want it to be MUCH BETTER now than it is, Mack's "An interpretive house of cards that falls apart at the slightest touch of rationality and evidence."


As for perpetually tone-deaf Alex Sink, the more things change...

Jetsetting Letter Misses Mark With Suffering Floridians
By Martin Merzer
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

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Hallandale Beach City Hall
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North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

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