Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Armitage Supporter Goes Off Deep End

Originally posted on:


Armitage Supporter Ed Slavin, in his blog “Clean Up St. Augustine” went a bit too far in his search for contrast between his favored candidate for FL-7 and apparent front-runner Heather Beaven. In his post supporting Republican incumbent John Mica’s bid to ban smartphones and laptops from US airlines, Slavin got a bit carried away:

"It is a matter of air safety. When we fly, we don’t want to die."

While lithium batteries have caught on fire, the number of times this has happened is dwarfed by the billions of units in service around the world. Clearly, the facts do not justify the kind of hyperbolic language on display in this post.

Likewise, Slavin’s spin of this issue as an attack on Beaven was a bit out of left field:

"Heather Beaven, the Stealth corporativist candidate from the 'monumental, $20 million dollar, growth campaign' that teaches workers nothing about OSHA."

"Heather Beaven: unsafe at any speed?"

Wait, what?

Reading this kind of bizarre vitriol, I was compelled to respond:

"Banning lithium batteries from aircraft would mean eliminating all laptops and smartphones from air travel. This is unrealistic in the extreme, because such devices have become indispensable tools for the business traveler. Airlines have recently added WiFi to their flights in recognition of this fact. Every airport in the US has facilities for wireless networking. These devices allow business travelers to receive, send, and edit data and voice communications with their home offices, out-of-town clients, and suppliers. Banning or confiscating such devices would do much to render business travel impractical.
There have been incidents of batteries catching fire, but of the billions of units in service, the number of documented fires have numbered in the hundreds. Considering the percentage of a device’s life represented by a trans-continental flight, such a ban would represent a gross over-reaction to a very small threat. Even the arch-paranoiac Dick Cheney only applied a one-percent doctrine to his worst-case models. This would be more like a .00001 percent model, and Cheney was talking about nukes!
Look, these things have been in widespread use for a decade, and there are billions of air-miles logged a year. If this were a danger worth imposing this kind of cost, it really would have happened by now.
Furthermore, this issue is hardly the focus of Ms. Beaven’s campaign, and does not justify the inflammatory ad hominem tactics represented in this post. There are plenty of points of disagreement between Armitage and Beaven which could have been explored here, but the Bush-style scaremongering displayed here is unworthy of you or this fine blog."

It’s hard to understand why such an erratic campaigner as Armitage inspires such fervent loyalty. Whatever the political qualities of Beaven, at least she has been running a campaign. She’s been building a team, making appearances, raising money, hiring consultants, and using the media. Armitage has filed no campaign finance reports, has hired no staff, made few public appearances, and refuses to return repeated calls about her status as a candidate.

When she ran last year, she showed little aptitude for retail politics. She was able to win the primary based on the personal loyalties of fellow health care activists in her home county, but got beaten by more than twenty points in the most favorable environment for Democrats in this district since 2002. I’m personally prepared to blame myself for her primary win in 2008, but her idiosyncratic interpersonal style is a strange choice for someone who aspires to elected office. Apparently, her combative and quixotic approach is contagious.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

'Call On Crist to End His Culture of Corrupt Cronyism' Urges New Facebook Group

From FDP:

Florida voters were urged to "Ask Gov. Crist to end the 'culture-of-corruption'-cronyism" by joining a new social networking group, "Stop Crist Now" in an online video launched by the Florida Democratic Party, today.

The video can be viewed online at http://www.FlaDems.com/CristVideo.

"Last week, when George LeMieux (R-Crist) derided Florida's 'culture of corruption,' he conveniently left out his and Charlie Crist's starring role in so many of the recent corruption scandals. That's why today we have formed the Stop Crist group to end Crist and LeMieux's corrupt cronyism," Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux said. "Floridians are fed up with Gov. Crist's lack of leadership and his repeatedly putting his own political ambitions ahead of our state's people."

"'[P]olitical scandals have uncovered 'a culture of corruption' that must be stamped
out,' freshman Florida Sen. George LeMieux said." LeMieux's statement is particularly hypocritical given the fact he was appointed by his former boss Charlie Crist to hold the same vacant U.S. Senate seat Crist is now seeking. Since then, LeMeiux has come under scrutiny for exploiting his new found position to aid Crist and his political ambition. [Miami Herald, 12/1/09; Miami Herald, 11/27/09]

The Facebook group, "Stop Crist Now" is open to the public and can be found online at www.Facebook.com or through the FDP Web site, www.FlaDems.com/StopCrist. The social networking group features news updates on Crist's failure to provide leadership as Governor and ways to join online events.

"People are fed up with Charlie Crist and online organizing is another way Floridians are calling for a change for the better in the Sunshine State," Arceneaux added.

Sunshine: Watch the video

Since over 4,500 of you stood up and asked Governor Crist to put his job as Governor over his personal ambition he's shown no sign of heading our call. In fact he joined his handpicked political crony Senator George LeMieux for a fundraiser in Washington D.C.

Earlier this week, we asked you to help us combat their collusion with the only thing Governor Crist does these days - raising money. But to win next November we need to go one step further: We need to get organized and spread the message.

We need your help to bring what Crist is doing into the light of day and bring it to the attention of every Floridian. Take a minute and watch this video, that every Floridian needs to see, about the relationship between Governor Crist and Senator LeMeiux:


The best way to combat the culture of cronyism and corruption displayed by Crist and LeMeiux to make sure that people know it and aren't fooled by their recent lip service about "stopping" corruption. Together we can Stop Crist by making sure that he can't get away with using his office to further his own political fortunes anymore.

As the old saying goes, "Sunshine is the most powerful of disinfectants," so with your help we can bring their tactics into the light of day. Please help us by watching this video about Crist and LeMeiux, and then forward it on to all you friends:


After you watch the video, please join our Stop Crist group on Facebook. With this group we hope to reach out to thousands of voters that may not know about the Republican culture of cronyism and corruption in Tallahassee - and show them what their Governor is doing.

If we work together we can bring Crist and LeMeiux's dealings in to the light of day and put a stop to them once and for all next November.


Scott Arceneaux
Executive Director
Florida Democratic Party

Rush Limbaugh: "I Like Rubio."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

George LeMieux And Republican Party Of NO Try to Stop Discussion of Health Insurance Reform In Senate

Today, Senator George LeMieux voted against continuing discussion of health insurance reform legislation in the Senate. Instead of standing with his constituents, Senator LeMieux has decided to stand with the Republican 'Party of NO," which is offering no real alternatives and no real solutions. Senator LeMieux's unwillingness to even discuss the issue of health insurance in our country--which has been on the minds of Floridians for many years--shows that neither he nor Governor Charlie Crist are interested in fixing our broken health insurance system and are only interested in seeing Democrats and President Obama fail.

Floridians have made it clear that the status quo is no longer sustainable. Families, businesses and governments can no longer bear the burden of skyrocketing premiums and unfair insurance industry practices.

"Today, Senator LeMieux chose to put health insurance companies ahead of the people of Floridians. By voting to stop debate on health insurance reform legislation, Senator LeMieux has proven that he is more interested in playing politics than coming up with solutions for Florida," said Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff. "Floridians can no longer bear the burden of our broken health insurance system, and we need reform now. Despite Senator LeMieux's vote, Democrats look forward to having an honest debate about how best to put an end to decades of unfair insurance company practices and skyrocketing premiums."

Fact Check LeMieux: Siding With Insurance Companies

From the DNC:

Please see below for a fact check responding to Senator George LeMieux's hypocritical attack on the Senate floor today on the bill's provision to end wasteful subsidies to health insurers under Medicare Advantage and force them to compete for patients through competitive bidding. Sen. LeMieux's comments today prove that he is willing to side with the insurance companies and against the American people despite the fact that ending such subsidies has support even from members of his own party.

LeMieux Defended Wasteful Subsidies To Health Insurance Companies Through Medicare Advantage. Senator George LeMieux: "I think I understand that you're saying that states that have these folks that are on Medicare Advantage now are going to have big reductions in the benefits that they receive. ... You'll hear some say medicare benefits aren't being cut by these proposals. That is a real stretch. But when you look at medicare advantage, it's an outright misrepresentation. Because the benefits they get are vision benefits, dental benefits, the kinds of preventive medicine and the tests and the other types of things that we have found now help you to dramatically increase your health if you pursue these kinds of preventive medicine options are the ones that will be deprived through these benefits." [Senate Floor, 11/20/09]


Medicare Advantage Provides Extra Perks, Like Free Gym Memberships, That Are Subsidized By The Government And The High Costs Of The Plans Are Passed On To Seniors. "Seniors in this Sun Belt retirement haven and across the country revel in the free perks that private insurance companies bundle with legally mandated benefits to entice people 65 and older to forgo traditional Medicare and sign up for private Medicare Advantage policies. The trouble is, the extra benefits are not exactly free; they are subsidized by the government. And some of the plans pass their costs on to seniors, who pay higher co-pays and additional fees to get care. ... In a health-care debate defined by big numbers and confusing details, the prospect of losing benefits such as a free gym membership through the Silver Sneakers program is tangible, and it has spooked some seniors, who are the nation's most reliable voters and have been most skeptical about reform." [Washington Post, 10/15/09

GOP Opposition To Medicare Advantage Competitive Bidding Is Interesting: “Republicans Have Mounted A Ferocious Defense Of The Market’s Right To Continue Burning Through Taxpayer Dollars.” The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein commented on Republican anger at the prospect of competitive bidding to lower overpayments to Medicare Advantage programs: “[i]t is also an interesting moment of insight into the conservative philosophy on these matters. The problem with government programs, we're often told, is that they are expensive and wasteful, and the private market could do better. But faced with an instance where the government program proved relatively lean and efficient, and the private market expensive and wasteful, Republicans have mounted a ferocious defense of the market's right to continue burning through taxpayer dollars.” [Washington Post – Ezra Klein, 9/24/09]


Health Insurance Reform Would Reduce The Difference In Costs Between Medicare And Medicare Advantage Through A Competitive Bidding System. “Federal subsidies to private Medicare plans average about 14 percent higher than those involved in fee-for-service coverage. The health care bills pending in Congress would reduce or eliminate the difference in part by introducing a competitive bidding system to pay the plans. ‘Health insurance reform will strengthen Medicare for seniors, not diminish it,’ said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin. ‘Even under the competitive bidding proposal in the legislation, Medicare Advantage plans will still be paid more than traditional Medicare plans. Yes, they'll need to compete, and they'll need to be more efficient, but they'll still have more money to work with than traditional Medicare.’” [AP, 9/22/09]

AARP Lead Lobbyist On Medicare Advantage Competitive Bidding: “We Think The Proposals Actually Will Improve Access And Quality,” Not Cut Benefits. The Boston Globe reported that, “[t]he $120 billion cut to Medicare Advantage is part of spending reductions in Medicare totaling $460 billion to $540 billion over 10 years that have been proposed by Democrats. The cuts would fall on the government reimbursement rates for a broad variety of providers such as hospitals and home health agencies, which could probably absorb them without affecting the services elderly Americans receive, many specialists said in interviews. Though some industry groups complain the spending reductions are too severe, adjustments could be made if problems arose because they would be phased in gradually. Most are aimed at making the programs more efficient. ‘We think the proposals actually will improve access and quality,’ John Rother, a leading lobbyist for the AARP, the large lobbying organization for senior citizens, said in an e-mail.” [Boston Globe, 9/24/09]

Senate Republicans Introduced an Alternative Health Care Reform Bill that Included Similar Provisions to the Finance Committee Bill to Introduce Competitive Bidding into Medicare Advantage to Eliminate Inefficiencies. Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would include competitive bidding in Medicare Advantage to eliminate inefficiencies and increasing choice. The bill was sponsored by Senator Coburn, and co-sponsored by Senators Alexander, Bunning, Burr, Chambliss, Graham, Inhofe and Isakson. [S. 1099, Introduced 5/20/09, Title V, Subtitle A.]

We Stand Corrected And Apologize...

From FDP:

...to anyone who may have been offended by our understated approach to this matter. We would like to be clear that the Florida Democratic Party continues to be disappointed in Charlie Crist, and what increasing looks like Blagojevich-esq deal struck between Crist and LeMieux as it relates to fundraising.

Orlando Sentinel: A few slugs, a hug — and a little ugh
Scott Maxwell
Orlando Sentinel
November 19, 2009

• An ugh to the Florida Democratic Party for its (non-)news release about U.S. Sen. George LeMieux helping raise money for Charlie Crist. The Dems urged the media to look into this, saying, "Questions remain about the legitimacy of LeMieux's appointment and the cronyism that led to it." Questions remain? Are you kidding me? No, they don't. There are no questions about the legitimacy of LeMieux's appointment. We know it was cronyism. That's what LeMieux was — Charlie's crony. That's why he appointed him. That's why people were irritated — including Republicans who wanted a more respected and experienced statesman to get the job. And all that has been pretty widely documented by the press and everyone else. What's next, Dems? You going to suggest that top-secret sources have suggested Charlie likes to see himself on TV? Stop the presses!

Read Scott Maxwell’s entire column here:


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Scary Brown People

I hate Marco Rubio, but this ad is reprehensible:

Crist's "Great Moment" in Political History

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

C.W. Bill Young among lawmakers named in House investigation

From the Buzz:

U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, is among a group of lawmakers under scrutiny by House ethics investigators looking at ties between defense appropriators and lobbyists, the Washington Post reported late Thursday.

The story is based on a confidential document posted online by a House staffer who has been fired. It shows investigators have been probing the relationship between seven members of the defense appropriations subcommittee and PMA, a lobbying firm founded by Paul Magliocchetti that has been under criminal investigation by the Justice Department.

But the chair of the House ethics committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif, issued a statement that said many lawmakers may be under review by the committee at any point in time. "No inference to any misconduct can be made from the fact that a matter is simply before the committee," she said in her statement.

Contribution records show Young has received $460,000 from PMA Group and its clients, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Young's ties to lobbyists recently came under scrutiny in another context -- for former staffers of his that now work for defense contractors. (background here) Young has faulted the report for insinuating impropriety.

And Young this summer tried to put some distance between himself and a St. Petersburg contractor, Conax Florida Corp, by withdrawing earmark requests after the company's offices were raided by the FBI. That investigation continues.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From the Blogs


The latest stories from the Florida blogs (and beyond) about Congressional Republicans.

Tally: Lessons for FL from Tuesday's Elections

Smooth Like Remy: The Abyss Comes To Florida

Incertus: RedState, Come On Down!

Saint Petersblog 2.0: Crist raises $125K in Mich. (with Greer in tow) as report shows he's off 10 weeks a year

Trish Ponder: Crist Losing Ground in Senate Race

Friday, October 23, 2009

Heather Beaven Earns Fraternal Order of Police Endorsement in Bid to Unseat John Mica

Beaven: “I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with America’s first-responders before, and I’ll continue to do so as the first female veteran from Florida elected to Congress.”

78.5% of FOP Endorsed Congressional Candidates Won in 2008

PALM COAST, FL (October 22, 2009) – Heather Beaven, Navy veteran and candidate for Congress against John Mica, announced today that her campaign has received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police. This endorsement adds to Beaven’s growing list of endorsers including: the Women Under Forty PAC and the Women’s Campaign Forum.

“The brave men and women of the Fraternal Order of Police willfully run into harm's way, at the same moment that most run away from it. That’s why earning this endorsement means the world to me. During my service in the US Navy, I was on the frontlines of the War on Drugs so I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with America’s first-responders before, and I’ll continue to do so as the first female veteran from Florida elected to Congress,” said Heather Beaven.

The Fraternal Order of Police is comprised of over 325,000 sworn law enforcement officers that have considerable political power in Florida. In 2008, the FOP endorsed 14 congressional candidates; 11 of those candidates went on to victory on Election Day.


Heather is a Mom, wife, Navy veteran (who served during Operation Desert Storm) and CEO of The Foundation for Florida’s Graduates. The Foundation focuses on bringing education, workforce development and economic development together to help young people better themselves through education and personal responsibility. Find out more about her campaign at http://www.BeavenForCongress.com

Thursday, October 22, 2009


This blog combines all of FPC's previous congressional watch blogs into one. So, we'll be covering all of the Florida Republicans in Congress. More updates and additions to the blog soon.