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COLUMN

Happytown

The week where quiet deference in the state legislature gave way to aborta-palooza, Newt Gingrich tapped Rich Crotty (and the horse he road in on) for his Florida campaign and Floridians opted out of health insurance because they were broke. Such a pretty mess.

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It should be noted that the legislative news prophetically follows the Jan. 1 arson of the very same Pensacola abortion clinic that hosted a glorious Christmas-gift-to-Jesusbombing in 1984 and the murder of an abortion doctor 10 years later in 1994. Token toothless redneck arsonist Bobby Joe Rogers of Tuscaloosa, Ala., was a little bit early, statistically speaking, but with any luck he’ll have 20 years in prison to reflect on his timing issues. Wonder where he got his irrational inspiration? Oh … Jesus.

Ever wonder what becomes of horrible Republicans when their sell-by date passes by? It appears that they just form even more horrible clusters of horrible Republicans that smell like mold and sound like “grumble.” On Friday, the Palm Beach Post reported that former surge-protector and present ego balloon Newt Gingrich had enlisted some familiar faces into the Florida nadir of his downward political spiral. Guess what! One of them is former Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty and the other one is a horse!

In a release announcing Crotty as co-chair of the Great Newt Florida Fart, our grumpy old mayor said that Gingrich is “a proven conservative leader who knows how to hold the line on taxes and balance the budget,” before sputtering off into some local-centric nonsense about the space program that Obama ruined by holding the line on taxes and balancing the budget.

If Crotty wasn’t enough of a sign of desperate failure, the employment of gone-to-pasture horse (and former Florida Attorney General) Bill McCollum, who couldn’t even beat Rick Scott in 2010, as his statewide chairman. Between whinnies and nays, McCollum spat out some cud like, “Newt is the most likely Republican candidate to defeat President Obama,” before trailing off on some tangent about Newt being “concise.” Well, at least his campaign will be concise. We shouldn’t be hearing much more of this grandpa grumbling after Florida’s Republican primary on Jan. 31.

Speaking of hearing things, whatever happened to the days when everyone was all “health care is a right, not a privilege” and pushing for politicians to fix the system so we could have more affordable coverage and fewer uninsured? Somehow, the pendulum has swung in the other direction. Now everyone’s all “Obamacare sucks and you can’t even make us take part in your affordable health-care scheme!”

Which leaves us where? With nearly a million more uninsured people in Florida, according to a report released by the Florida Health Care Insurance Advisory Board in late December. According to the report, the number of state residents enrolled in health-insurance plans dropped for the fifth straight year. In 2006, 4.5 million Floridians had health insurance; in 2010, only 3.7 million had it. This most recent drop solidifies Florida’s position as third in the list of states with the highest number of uninsured citizens, right behind New Mexico and Texas. And who doesn’t want to be just like Texas?

The Health Care Advisory Board’s report attributed the growing numbers of uninsured in the state to the number of small businesses dropping coverage for employees because they simply can’t afford it. No surprise there.

There is – or rather, there was – an option for some relief on the horizon: The Affordable Care Act. Among other things, the act would offer tax credits to nearly 300,000 small businesses as an incentive for offering insurance to employees. It would also open up millions in federal grants to the state to help it lower out-of-control health-care costs.

But fuck that! In 2011, Gov. Rick Scott rejected the federal money and told the Palm Beach Post that the act was “not the law of the land.” Thanks for the pre-existing condition,Rick. The invoice is in the mail.

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