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Our dumb state's dumb governor

Photo: Illustration by Shan Stumpf, License: N/A

Illustration by Shan Stumpf

We are fucked.


He may have successfully distanced himself from the mammoth $1.7 billion Medicare and Medicaid scam associated with his former private hospital company Columbia/HCA - if by "distancing" you mean playing dumb in his 1995 deposition on the matter and being squeezed out of his CEO position by 1997 - but the very fact that he was able to pull that mosquito net over a state full of retirees to get elected is a testament to his reckless audacity. His more recent start-up walk-in clinic company, Solantic (of which he owns more than $60 million in stock), was charged with similar fraud late last year, something for which Scott was deposed six days prior to entering the governor's race. That case has been conveniently sealed in confidentiality since its settlement last April. Transparency means never having to look.


The hard-edged chrome dome wasn't playing so well with the palm-tree set in the two months leading up to the election. His "Let's Get to Work" mantra, declared in joyless repetition, left his campaign stained with stern-jawed severity, so Scott decided to spin a kinder, gentler image for himself: He paraded out the soft, feminine wiles of his mother and his wife, both of whom went into full testimonial mode, to lead the general voting public to believe that, hey, he's a really nice guy from humble beginnings that never breaks a promise. It's like finding out your mother's boyfriend is an abusive jerk after she decides to marry him.


Rather than starch his collar and present his imaginary budget before people who understand economics, our CEO governor took his flashcards to a Baptist church in Eustis on Feb. 7 to roll out his incongruous cuts before the dilapidated yellow snake flags of a Tea Party rally. "There will be a lot of special interests that complain about the cuts to their favorite programs," he clasped his hands in apparent relish at the unveiling. There would also be a lot of regular, hard-working people complaining, too.


Just after taking office, Scott made it clear that he wanted to go toe-to-toe with secessionist Gov. Rick Perry of Texas - the king of state-level deregulation - by scouring Florida's already deficient regulatory fabric for whatever impediments existed to turning the Sunshine State into a big box of low-paying grunt work. He immediately suggested that Florida's Department of Community Affairs was, in fact, a "job killer," or just another expensive hoop restricting big-business growth. He then set his sights on taking down the Department of Environmental Protection and closing one-third of Florida's state parks. All told, Scott says he could save $120 million over the course of two years by reorganizing state offices into one lubricated pro-business stream. There just won't be any streams left.


The only glimmer of victory for progressives on Nov. 2 was the passage of Amendments 5 and 6, the Fair Districts amendments aimed at halting the time-worn practice of 
gerrymandering for the benefit of (presumably conservative) incumbents. On Jan. 4, Scott rescinded the required federal paperwork to set the amendments into action, thereby undermining amendments approved by more than 60 percent of the state.


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