Versus Bush in 2004? A fraternal fracas brewing in Florida as
proxies of the Governor and the President vie to succeed retiring
Senator Bob Graham. Jeb backs Katherine Harris, but the White
House [allegedly] demurs: "There's no way the White House will
let her run. There's just no way the president's going to stand
next to Katherine Harris on every stop in Florida in '04." said
a Florida Congressman's aide to The Hill newspaper. Meanwhile,
the Miami Herald recently quoted a GOP eminence grise in Washington
claiming that "the entire campaign in Florida becomes a rehash
of the recount" if Harris is the nominee. Rove backs Housing and
Urban Development chief Mel Martinez, which should play well in
South Florida; off the record, though, it is said that Harris
is willing to go negative to torpedo opposition, and Martinez
would be no exception. This quite visible fissure in the GOP asserts,
yet again, that Florida is In Play next year. Harris, for her
part, claims to have "little" contact with the White House, indicating
that conditions will have to be met to finally discourage her
interest in the Senate.
Secretary Martinez, meanwhile, is a bowl of the turgid broth that
is Orlando politics. His political experience speaks to his usefulness
in committees. Before he came to HUD, Secretary Martinez was the
elected Chairman of Orange County, Florida, in Orlando, laboring
while Chair on the Governor's Growth Management Study Commission.
He previously served as President of the Orlando Utilities Commission
and as Chair of the Orlando Housing Authority. At HUD, meanwhile,
Martinez has been key in implementing "faith-based initiatives"
in the time-honored, fully Constitutional tradition of Compassionate
little regarding the nomination is being said to the media at
this point. In a terse reply to a query by the St. Petersburg
Times, Bush said that "the White House is not behind Mel Martinez's
decision to run for Senate". [Those who rip into Bush for inarticulateness
would do well to consider the tight, focused inscrutability of
the Presidential reply, and the myriad things those words could
actually mean]. For his part, Jeb says that if Martinez runs,
"he's going to have to earn it", adding that the Governor would
offer no public endorsement of any candidate.
list of candidates, declared and prospective, slants heavily toward
the southern end of the state. Martinez would be the third Orlando
area candidate in a wide-open Republican Senate race, joining
the charisma-free former U.S. Rep. McCollum and the race's own
Don Quixote, State Sen. Daniel Webster. A fourth hopeful, House
Speaker Johnnie Byrd, is from Plant City, and lawyer Larry Klayman
of Miami likewise is in the race. An unappetizing brew of candidates
aside from the aforementioned superstars; it is nearly a lock
that one Bush proxy or the other will score the nomination and
then take the seat. So why the apparent schism between the President
and the Governor?
school of thought says that the President wants someone more reliable
[and pliable] than the outgoing, often problematic Senator Graham.
Martinez, unlike Harris, has no hold card over President Bush;
he is an affable regional politician who serves the Administration
in a forgettable capacity. Harris and her firsthand knowledge
of the 2000 Election Postgame in Florida could present President
Bush with tactical difficulty in case a legislative capitulation
on one issue or another was necessary. And as his recent behavior
toward a Florida Congressman indicates, he
has little time for internecine disagreements.
to be blunt, will be a year of war, a year in which Americans
should be willing to sacrifice a little more liberty to ensure
their safety. Often, I joke with people that 2004 will be a very
interesting year in which to write about politics, as it could
well be the last free election. But
freedom is a relative thing.
who our leading figures are. The political writers are mostly
hacks, whose nervous, giddy laughter on talkshow panels exposes
them for the frauds they are. Interchangeable fascists of the
Bill Bennett variety burble on and on about how America is incomparably
"rich and free" easy enough for the Video Poker hand to say
that as he pisses hundreds of thousands of dollars down his leg.
Money that would better have been spent on OxyContin.
have war, and will have war for as long as there is a Washington
government. It is what our economy is built on. Our children eschew
the predictability of church hymns to genuflect at the altars
of Botox and Boeing. The boys aspire to work for SOCOM, and the
girls yearn to twirl around a stripper's pole. This is America,
a place moored in violence, cheap sentiment, and misplaced longing,
and forever it shall be such.