Is It Time to Recall Rick Scott?

Less than two months into the job, Gov. Rick Scott is already facing a proposed bill that would allow Florida voters to recall him. (Photo courtesy of Rick Scott.)

By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Rick Scott came into the governor’s office without having ever governed. Not even a term on a school board. He never even had to get folks to reach consensus in a precinct.

Scott’s main qualification to be governor was that he was CEO of an HMO found guilty of the worst case of Medicare fraud in U.S. history.

He’s such a newbie that he doesn’t grasp the most fundamental concept about governing: Politics is the art of compromise.

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Academics Donald J. Boudreaux and Dwight H. Lee, writing for no less a conservative voice than the Cato Institute, can explain: “Regardless of the terms employed, few doubt that politics is indeed the art of compromise. Politicians unwilling to compromise are typically labeled ideologues — a label not regarded as a badge of honor among members of the political class. Moreover, politicians who refuse to compromise seldom win and hold on to office …”

Being CEO, on the other hand, is the art of applying force and pressure.

Running a company is nothing like running a state.

And that’s becoming clearer with each passing day of Scott’s term.

The tea party’s governor came into office in January like a man possessed — and unconcerned about anyone but his business buddies and the tea party set.

He showed little interest in building compromise or coalitions, immediately going after teachers and county and state workers as if they were his employees. Pawns to be moved and sacrificed as only he sees fit.

He has shown a disinterest in working with minorities. When Scott met with black lawmakers who were concerned he does not have a single minority in his cabinet, he tried to ingratiate himself by saying he could relate to them: He had grown up in public housing with a parent who had a sixth-grade education. How charming.

Scott, who was viewed with suspicion by Hispanics during the campaign because of his promise to bring harsh Arizona-style immigration enforcement to the state, briefly softened his stance — at least until after his brief appearance at the Hispanic Leadership Network. Then he reverted back to his old rhetoric.

His budget, presented to a tea party rally as if the rest of the state didn’t matter, pushed corporate tax cuts onto the backs of teachers, county and state workers, and correctional officers. Maybe if those correctional officers had contributed $100,000 at his inauguration, which was a dolled-up fundraiser for him and the Florida Republican Party, things might have been different. But instead, it was the Geo Group — which runs private prisons and employs Scott’s close chum, Bill Rubin, as its lobbyist — handing out the checks. And surprise, one of the first targets of Scott’s decimation of the state infrastructure was … the state prison system.

Scott campaigned against the hiring of state lobbyists, then hired state lobbyists.  The difference, he explained, was that these were his lobbyists. He threw state Sen. Paula Dockery, one of his earliest political supporters, under the political bus (or train) by rejecting $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project that she had been working on for years. That decision reportedly occurred after he met with tea partiers in his office.

Hey, appeasing those loyal tea partiers by making an anti-Obama statement comes before political loyalty — or creating upwards of 20,000 Florida jobs.

It is as if we suddenly have en emperor in Tallahassee, issuing policy by decree.

That might be the way to run a corporation. But it’s no way to run a state.

The way Scott has acted, running roughshod over constituents and supporters alike, you’d think the man had won his election by a massive margin — what politicians call a “mandate.”

But actually, Scott beat a Democrat in a ruby-red Republican state by one percentage point. Less than 62,000 votes gave him the keys to the mansion. And that sliver of a margin came after spending $73 million of his personal fortune, avoiding the press and opponents until the very end of the campaign, and relying on his mother and wife to be his political face during the campaign.

Looking back, it was an impressive blueprint for how to win an electoral victory. Not so much for how to be successful at governing.

Now, he occupies office with few allies other than tea partiers and the business elite.

Even Republicans and early political supporters — burned by Scott’s sudden, bizarre and illogical decisions such as killing a database tracking addictive pill prescriptions — seem perplexed. Last week, the Senate, overwhelmingly controlled by his party, voted by a veto-proof majority to continue going after the money for the Central Florida rail project. Republican Sen. J.D. Alexander questioned whether Scott had the legal authority to do what he had done, and another Republican senator, David Simmons, vowed to lobby fellow legislators to overturn Scott’s decision.

It’s hard to find anyone other than tea party zealots who have a kind word to say about Scott.

The other day, a short story in a Treasure Coast/Palm Beach County publication simply announcing a Scott appearance at a Republican fundraiser in Martin County drew a rash of angry comments, such as, “I wonder if Gov. Scott will share the fact that his budget proposal includes increasing his executive office’s budget by over $300 million?” And, “If you’re a senior citizen attending this event, hide your medicare card. Just saying …”

Citizens have now formed a Facebook group to advocate his recall. This after less than two months in office. But they should probably speak with Rep. Rick Kriseman first.

Last week, Kriseman introduced a bill that would allow the recall of state officials.

I know what you’re thinking: Scary that we don’t already have that right.

Yep. It’s past time. Thank you, Rep. Kriseman.

HB 787 should be automatic, considering the legislature is controlled by Republicans, who often tout accountability as a cornerstone of their party.

We’ll soon see whether for them (and their tea party supporters), accountability only applies to teachers and welfare recipients. Or whether it’s for all Floridians, regardless of position, pocketbook or political persuasion.

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93 Responses

  1. wes

    Can anybody tell me who voted for this guy? Everything he has said and done is outrageous. This makes me feel ashamed to live in Florida. People I think we deserve better than this. Ok Rick Scott let’s see how canceling a drug-monitoring program works out for us. If any state needs this program it’s Florida; we are infested with pill popping teens and people that come here out of state just to get a pill. How embarrassing: Please come to Florida we’re the pill mill capital. Thanks….. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
  2. Mike Block CPA

    This article is a joke. You must have legal ground for a recall under Florida law. There are none with Scott. The only votes that matter for now are the votes that elected him and the public vote that killed the last high speed rail project by a substantial margin. Recent Florida HSR proposals were a bad joke, such as the 90 mile Miami to West Palm and Jupiter run. It was to take 4 hours, for an average speed of less than 23 miles per hour. We elected Scott to STOP that insanity and he is working to do that in many areas.

    Reply
  3. squirrelsonfilm

    Mr. Block (how appropriate),

    Apparently you didn’t read the article that you claim is a joke.

    “Citizens have now formed a Facebook group to advocate his recall. This after less than two months in office. But they should probably speak with Rep. Rick Kriseman first. Last week, Kriseman introduced a bill that would allow the recall of state officials.”

    Reading comprehension much?

    Reply
  4. Mike Block CPA

    The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting is an apparent fraud. It should have investigative articles, with new information, not a rehash of pre-election charges or political differences. Nothing here legally justifies impeachment / recall. Florida has had a recall law for 35+ years, but it requires a legal reason. That is why the liberal minority Democrat recall bill, targeting a top Republican, will not even get a floor vote.

    Reply
  5. Trevor Aaronson

    Mr. Block,

    While blogger Ralph De La Cruz does link to and comment on reporting elsewhere, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting also produces original investigations and reporting.

    From today alone, as an example:

    http://fcir.org/2011/02/22/fcir-cbs4-partner-on-schools-investigation/

    http://fcir.org/2011/02/22/internal-documents-prove-ice-misled-public-about-secure-communities/

    Thanks for reading, and for commenting.

    Trevor Aaronson
    Associate Director
    Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

    Reply
  6. Redneck Cyborg

    Mr. Block. Current recall laws apply only to municipal governments.

    Good day.

    Reply
  7. Kyle

    Mr. Block

    The recall law that is in place currently applies to elected officials at the local level. Floridians cannot recall State officials such as Legislative members or the governor. Please read up on your facts before you publish misleading information.

    Reply
  8. Proud Left Wing Extremist

    @Mike Block CPA

    No, that’s to impeach the governor. If you’re going to impeach a governor/president, he has to have committed a crime while in office. However for a recall, you have to have at least one signature from each county, and those signatures have to add up to 15% of the voting population. Then it goes to the ballot, and they decide whether Scott gets the axe, which he will. By the new Florida law, Jennifer Carroll is history too.

    Reply
  9. Ben Thayer

    Mr. Scott has decided that because he does not believe in global warming, all state employees are now forbidden from mentioning this scientific fact (the “debate” as it is, is over the cause of warming not the fact of warming). This means that state park rangers for DEP can no longer describe the harmful impact of warming tides of Florida’s reefs. Can science profs at UF and FSU even teach biology anymore. We are rapidly becoming a national embarassment, and Mr. Scott is allowing politics to control scientific education.

    Reply
  10. Janis Margulis

    He and his ilk make me want to vomit. Their only answer to a problem is to strip the hard working middle class of their rights. Far be it for them to require the luckiest of us to pay their fair share to help fix the mess we’re in. My next door neighbor is in the business of installing yacht avionics and electronics. In this time of belt tightening, his business has never been better. Does that tell you anything?

    Reply
  11. Janis Margulis

    Who cares what the law says. The recall movement is meant to send a message to the moron in chief.

    Reply
  12. Dan

    Rick Scott couldn’t have been elected dog catcher in ANY OTHER YEAR other than 2010.

    Voter apathy, ignorance, etc. He took advantage, and a would-be FELON is now a Governor!

    Reply
  13. Ralph De La Cruz

    Mr. Block,

    Thanks for engaging in this dialogue and sharing your perspectives.

    You are correct in saying that impeachment isn’t going to happen. Not with the overwhelming majorities that Scott’s party has in both houses of the state legislature.

    As several people have stated in their comments, THAT is why recall is the only option.

    So…perhaps you can answer a question.

    You say that a, “Democrat recall bill, targeting a top Republican, will not even get a floor vote.”

    And perhaps you are right. But can you tell me why that is not the height of hypocrisy considering that the Republican party has always claimed to be about accountability?

    They have used “accountability” as a reason to mandate the FCAT test, as a reason to test teachers’ knowledge base, as a reason to push for drug testing of welfare recipients and the unemployed.

    So why would accountability not apply to state officials?

    Let state officials — of either party — face voters if they are found lacking or unresponsive.

    It would seem THAT would truly be the Republican way.

    I eagerly await your response.

    Reply
  14. Moe

    This crook hoodwinked the people who voted for him. We need to kick his arse out of office ASAP to save Florida.

    Reply
  15. M.

    Socialism is a failure and it is under attack, the jig is up – just ask Mr. Block.

    The crushing debt cannot be ignored and the rail line is a boondoggle in the making. All of your fantasies of utopian societies cannot be funded.

    Compromise got us into this mess, the budget must be balanced and the freeloaders are going to have to get a job or their families/friends to give them help.

    I fully support Rick Scott’s moves to austerity and having a government that does what governments are supposed to do. Trying to ridicule him and label him as racist is a sad tactic Ralph. Just because there is not a quota of a certain gender or skin color means nothing.

    You want to call the Tea Party zealots? Well you are a socialist zealot that is in the path of Karl Marx – WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

    Face facts, you do not agree with his agenda – well I do and so do many other Floridians.

    The Era of Big Government is over and RHINOs are an endangered species my friend.

    Reply
  16. Ralph De La Cruz

    M.,

    First, I have not called Scott a racist. And where in the piece do I mention quotas?

    But I will not shy away from mentioning that the man who is supposed to be the governor of all Floridians (including the 20 percent who are Hispanic and 15 percent who are black) has not included a single Hispanic or black in his cabinet. That’s a fact. I wonder what your reaction would be if the cabinet did not include a single white man.

    Now, on to some of the other points worth addressing in your comment.

    Perhaps with your amazing clairvoyance and knowledge you could explain to me what closing pill mills has to do with “austerity?”

    And by “freeloaders” do you mean Scott’s business friends and private schools? Because they do quite well under Scott’s budget proposal. And as someone who believes so strongly in “austerity,” why do you not speak out against the doubling of the size of the GOVERNOR’S OFFICE and Scott’s hiring of lobbyist friends? Why are you not outraged by this raiding of the state treasury?

    I suspect the answers to those questions have something to do with using the budget and “austerity” as an easy excuse to wage a cultural war against anything you don’t personally like.

    If I’m wrong, I challenge you to come back and answer those questions. And by the way, if you do return, offer something other than crying, “socialist, socialist.” This isn’t an elementary school playground. We’re trying to have an actual dialogue among adults. You do nothing but harm your position with such childish nonsense.

    Finally, if you’re so sure that so “many other Floridians” are happy about how Scott is running the state, I would assume you wouldn’t have a problem with putting recall to a vote.

    Reply
  17. MaryAnn

    Mr Scott is for his interst, and how much he can suck the life out of the poor and the great state of Florida! He only wants what will give him the power. It will be always what he wants and not the interst of people that he suspose to protect.He is a ME man!

    ME,ME,ME,ME,

    Reply
  18. Hella LiB

    De La Cruz: fantastic article. Thank you. Please keep up the investigative research on this monster of a governor we have. I anxiously await the ooportunity to vote to recall this SOB.

    Reply
  19. fltxag

    @ Mike Block CPA. Florida can only currently recall local and county officials. Go troll you crazy drivel somewhere else or at least know what you’re talking about before you open you hole.

    Reply
  20. Independent Thinker

    Wake up Florida and the good old USA. We are letting corporate America run our lives into the ground and steal our money. Rick Scott is part of the problem. People like him are responsible for the economic crisis we face now. I love my country…It is the government that I don’t trust when it is full of greedy self serving thieves.

    Reply
  21. Feisanna

    Is 7 to 11 deaths a day a joke too Mr. Block because Florida can’t control their controlled narcotic substances? I guess Mr. Scott thinks it is.

    Reply
  22. Joel

    Who is going to spearhead this man being removed from office and how can one jump on the wagon to ensure it happens?

    Reply
  23. Thismanisajoke

    Ummm you want a reason… what about his currently sealed four indictments!! There ya go… there’s a great reason. No Florida judge in there right mind will bring them to light if they want to keep their job but the ppl need to know this man is a crook!

    Reply
  24. manisajoke

    Ummm you want a reason… the four indictments that are currently sealed since he has been in office!! There ya go… there’s a great reason. No Florida judge in there right mind will bring them to light if they want to keep their job but the ppl need to know this man is a crook!

    Reply
  25. manisajoke

    P.S.
    I am a business owner here in Tally and this mans rash decisions are going to put all small businesses in the Tally area under strain!

    Reply
  26. Paul

    To Wes,

    I know one (two when you include his wife) who voted for this guy. The man is a long time lawyer. He was some kind of doctor in Psychology before he worked in law.

    He told me he knew Scott was a crook but voted for him anyway. He has been retired for over two years and living on, along with his savings, social security and medicare. He blasts Obama everytime I talked to him even when the conversation has nothing to do with politics. He watches Fox News religiously and I often hear every single talking point coming out of him (Obama is a socialist, Obama is stupid, Obama is a muslim, muslims are evil, etc.). The overly-generalized statements coming out of this highly educated man is truly disheartening.

    It’s scary Wes. Really scary. I would like to think there still level-headed people in Florida. It doesn’t matter if you are Democrat, a Republican, Conservative, or liberal….I’m really hoping that there are still people in this great State that have some inkling of common sense and would side with greater good of others instead with ideology or selfishness.

    Reply
  27. Ralph De La Cruz

    Paul,

    I wish we had one of those little emoticons that shows applause. I’d be using it.

    “It’s scary…really scary. I would like to think there still level-headed people in Florida. It doesn’t matter if you are Democrat, a Republican, Conservative, or liberal….I’m really hoping that there are still people in this great State that have some inkling of common sense and would side with greater good of others instead with ideology or selfishness.”

    Well said. This isn’t about ideology (or shouldn’t be). It’s about common sense and the need for good governance in difficult times.

    Reply
  28. Jerry de Laval

    Rick Scott is a crook who has stolen millions from the Healthcare System. When the rising costs of Healthcare are being dicussed, the actions of crooks like Rick Scott are a huge factor. Evidence is now turning up that his campaign was heavily financed by the infamous Koch brothers. It appears that he is on a mission to do their bidding. His actions during his first 2 months in office show that he clearly does not have the best interests of the PEOPLE of the state of Florida at heart. Interestingly enough, he was mentioned in the conversation in the “crank call” to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker as one of the new governors that were about to “do something big”. Rick Scott needs to be recalled or impeached before he does any more damage to the state of Florida.

    Reply
  29. david sheppard

    Sign me up to. I am on board. Let’s remove this guy from office before it’s too late. He is unable and or incapable of leading Florida and will do much to damage our State. He already has. We can’t “convince” others who have their mind made up or who disregard the facts.
    It’s going to be detrimental to our school age kids if his cuts go through. We already spend less than all the other States on education. He will not bring high paying jobs to Florida. Maybe minimum wage jobs with his plans. No corporation in the world want to come to a place that disrespect education and environmental laws.
    J Carroll has talked about providing veterans with the benefits they rightly deserve. We agree with that but where’s the money Jennifer.

    David

    Reply
  30. Proud Socialist

    I just wanted to comment on M’s statement above. Do you not realize we have lived with socialism in the US for decades, where do you think schools, medicare/medicade, social security, unemployment and other services come from, they are socialist programs. There is nothing wrong with socialism, but there is good socialism and bad socialism.

    I will agree with you on the high speed rail, I am not sure if it would really create long term jobs for the state once it was built compared to its cost.

    The reason we are in the financial mess is because the haves have gotten more while workers like me have seen my wages flatten and my expenses increase. While the rich have only increased their wealth.

    I think you need to look at what freeloaders, whom I am assuming you are meaning public sector workers really get paid. They get paid far less than what they would make in the private sector, hence why they get a decent pension plan to defer the pay they should get for the work they do now to be used when they retire. With the current budget plans for FL we will possibly see large layoffs in schools, fire, EMS, and law enforcement sectors. All of these only hurt the state, why don’t some people understand that public sector jobs are real jobs, these people who would then be out of work would only add to the state’s unemployment rate. Now is there middle management that could be cut out, possibly, I would agree that sensible changes could be made.

    I think many of the Tea Partiers have been lead down the yellow brick road and soon they will see that it’s not their small government they are going to get but a government run by those with money and influence through their money.

    “Quoting M”
    Socialism is a failure and it is under attack, the jig is up – just ask Mr. Block.

    The crushing debt cannot be ignored and the rail line is a boondoggle in the making. All of your fantasies of utopian societies cannot be funded.

    Compromise got us into this mess, the budget must be balanced and the freeloaders are going to have to get a job or their families/friends to give them help.

    I fully support Rick Scott’s moves to austerity and having a government that does what governments are supposed to do. Trying to ridicule him and label him as racist is a sad tactic Ralph. Just because there is not a quota of a certain gender or skin color means nothing.

    You want to call the Tea Party zealots? Well you are a socialist zealot that is in the path of Karl Marx – WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

    Face facts, you do not agree with his agenda – well I do and so do many other Floridians.

    The Era of Big Government is over and RHINOs are an endangered species my friend.

    Reply
  31. Mel Dier

    It was time before he forced his way /bought his way in….
    So where is the petition where do people sign? How do you get this thing started instead of just talk?

    Reply
  32. fred

    Sign the petition to get rick scott out of office at “www.thepetitionsite.com/1/get-rick-scott-out-of-office/”

    Reply
  33. essick mays

    You voters wanted a crook in office you voted him in and now you to you want to complain it is to late and also I beleive that Ms. Sink gave up to quit. We the people cannot recall Mr. tea party rick scott and he knows it but we can get our reps to start a impeachment on rick scott

    Reply
  34. Paul Redington

    This is an unbelievable individual, who daily reminds me of how incredibly idiotic we are when we “skip” a vote….Who voted for this Chrome Dome???? Corporations, Repubs, Retirees, and the Uninformed???????

    Reply
  35. Anonymous

    Who decided that this jerk should be in office. Florida education is already in the crappers. We should not be complaining that he is a horrible governor, we should be protesting to get his sorry excuse of a governor behind out of office and give the position to someone that actually deserves it.

    Reply
  36. JanisL

    Scott has an agenda: to be the reverse Robin Hood for all of the healthcare corporations and drug corps. To neutralize from the Fl governor’s mansion the implementation and success of the much-needed federal healthcare reform law signed by our President. This was a diabolical corporate scheme by this bloated industry to stop the reforms that will end their huge profits and multibillion dollar annual bonuses! I believe they pooled their money and created a slush fund to finance Scott’s $70-some million dollar expenditure to buy the office of Fl governor. His plan: to be the point man to get this job done, to gut every worthwhile state program serving the citizens of Florida, that is, those who don’t live in $5M mansions in Naples like HIM! This man is a premier flim-flam man and the one job we, the people of Florida must get done: recall this unqualified phoney, and NOW!

    Reply
  37. JanisL

    Yes, Scott never served in elective office, not so much as on a City Council. Just like Jeb Bush, who was equally as unqualified at the time he ran–he traded on his father’s (infamous) name, and it took two times to squeak by at that! I have every confidence the RPOF stole that election for Jeb as well as the presidency for sociopath George in 2000. And look at the mortal damage Jeb did to this state, and then started his dog and pony travelling minstrel show of Jeb Bush, edjykashin guru–what a joke.

    Reply
  38. Ericka Courtney

    Mr. DeLaCruz, Thanks for this site. I truly enjoyed reading this article. Typically, my blog site doesn’t use Politics in the blogroll, but you’ve definitely earned a spot. It’s my first time stopping by.

    Having Rick Scott out of office would be something that Most Floridians would easily adapt to. When you vote GOP, you sometimes run the risk of major cut backs. With Scott, noone really expects a happy medium of compromise from him. The truth is, the numbers do tell the whole story. Is it safe to say that 65,000 voters brought him in? Are you serious? It is highly likely, if you use common sense, Blacks didn’t vote much, Latinos didn’t vote much and Liberals decided to sleep in that day. It was evident when Meeks didn’t win nor Grayson. How many of you on here voted in the Mid-Terms? Be honest.

    The good thing about Rick Scott being elected as Governor is that, we are all able to see what he can do. It’s like a trial case. If he messes up royally, there is NO CHANCE he will make it to the White House. Isn’t it good to know this ahead of time, rather than living on broken promises?

    Reply
  39. durf

    Mike, I don’t think you have read HJR 785….read it, comprehend, then comment.

    Reply
  40. durf

    Dave, get a grip….I don’t think corruption, and ineptitude in a public official are grounds for wishing cancer upon someone.

    Reply

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