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Rick Scott’s Shout Show

| April 11, 2016

rick scott starbucks

Rick Scott loses his inside voice.

By Martin Dyckman

There was once a senator from Virginia who was dismayed to find his picture on the cover of New Times magazine under the headline “the dumbest Congressman of them all.”

He called a news conference to deny it, thereby proving it to be true.


His name was Scott. William Scott.

You can probably guess where this is going.

From that day in 1974 to now, no public official has so witlessly confirmed the substance of a harsh criticism as Florida Gov. Rick Scott did the other day.

A more prudent man would have shrugged off his chance encounter with the citizen, Cara Jennings, who loudly called him an “asshole.”

Left alone, its notoriety would have subsided after the first 2 million or so YouTube and Facebook views.

But Scott is Scott, with an ego nearly as large as that of his newest buddy, Donald Trump, and a slush fund to match.

His Let’s Get to Work political committee swiftly made and posted a video savagely disparaging Jennings.

Unlike a bystander’s smart phone cinema verité video of the original incident at a Gainesville Starbucks, Scott’s riposte is a professional job. A professional hit job.

In the course of claiming that thousands of new jobs have been created in that Gainesville neighborhood, the announcer says “almost everybody” has a job, “except those who are sitting around coffee shops demanding public assistance, surfing the internet and cursing at customers who come in.”

A former Lake Worth city commissioner, Jennings is a self-described anarchist who refused on principle to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Scott’s body slam harps on her background and calls her a “latte liberal” before getting around to implying that she’s a free-loader.

In fact, she is a free-lance consultant who says she was in Gainesville on business, stopped for coffee at Starbucks, and was at work on her computer when Scott walked in. What’s more, she said she doesn’t get a dime of public assistance.

“What I find very offensive is for him to infer that I’m unemployed and just hanging out at Starbucks,” she told me. “I’ve never seen this type of attack against a private citizen.”

Neither have I. To trade public punches with another politician or a media critic is an accepted part of the game. To defame a private citizen — one who wasn’t even responsible for publicizing the original incident — is out of bounds.

Some people I know, having seen only the Starbucks video, which begins partway through their confrontation, were critical of Jennings for shouting at Scott.

But to hear the whole story is to understand why she lost her temper.

context floridaShe began by upbraiding him for refusing to expand Medicaid and for signing a bill to keep state money away from Planned Parenthood, and says “you should be ashamed to show your face around here.”

That’s tough language, to be sure, but nothing worse than what hundreds of editorials have said.

Scott then resorts to his standard mantra, his answer for everything, his non-denial denial for any criticism, by replying that Florida has gotten 1 million jobs on his watch. That’s when she loses it.

As he retreats, she shouts, “A million jobs? Great. Who here has a great job or is looking forward to finishing school? Do you really feel like you have a job coming up?”

She utters the epithet with which he will forever be identified. That is not so much because it was said, but because he dignified it with a response.

For the governor to claim credit for 1 million jobs is somewhat like boasting of making the sun rise or the tides ebb and flow.

Politifact acknowledged the statistic to be mostly true.

“That said, ” it added, “we’ll note one caveat that we always raise when analyzing claims such as Scott’s: It’s a stretch for the governor (or the president, or a mayor) to claim credit for such gains.

“But even if governors do deserve some credit for how the economy performs on their watch, there are other things over which they have no control that can have impacts that are at least as big, if not bigger. These include changes in technology, fluctuations in the national and international economy, demographic shifts (the Census Bureau estimates the state’s population has increased by about 1.46 million people since April 2010, for instance), and events like natural disasters.

“Indeed, governors — like presidents — tend to get too much credit when things are going well, and too much blame when things are going poorly.”

Scott bought his way into power when Florida was still recovering from the 2008 recession. The job growth since then owes in some part to President Barack Obama’s stimulus program, which Scott’s predecessor praised and was rejected by his party for saying so.

In any case, Florida’s job growth is beside the point that Jennings wanted to impress on Scott. It’s that his policies have condemned thousands of Floridians to needless sickness and death for want of the Medicaid expansion money. The spiteful defunding of Planned Parenthood will make that worse.

The name she called him hardly seems too strong for that.

martin dyckmanMartin Dyckman covered local, state and national government and politics and wrote editorials and opinion columns during a 46-year career with the St. Petersburg Times, where he retired in 2006 as associate editor. He is the author of three books. He lives in western North Carolina.

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29 Responses for “Rick Scott’s Shout Show”

  1. Outsider says:

    “That said, ” it added, “we’ll note one caveat that we always raise when analyzing claims such as Scott’s: It’s a stretch for the governor (or the president, or a mayor) to claim credit for such gains.”

    ” The job growth since then owes in some part to President Barack Obama’s stimulus program, which Scott’s predecessor praised and was rejected by his party for saying so.”

    Is it just me, or is this a contradiction? Regardless, allow me to explain, again, why I agree with Scott’s decision not to expand Medicaid in Florida. The federal government wants to give Florida money to pay for an expansion in Medicaid. Sounds great, after all it’s “federal” money, as if that doesn’t come from the same people who contribute to the state coffers. Some of you may have read my diatribe regarding the untenable fiscal situation the U.S. is in. Suffice it to say, the federal government will not have the ability to continue covering the Medicaid costs in the future. Therefore, that entire responsibility will fall on the taxpayers of Florida. If we don’t take the federal money now and we don’t expand Medicaid, this won’t happen. Some might call this “planning ahead.” I’m sure the screaming rope-a-dope in the video can’t comprehend this, but I bet many here can.

  2. Dave Sullivan says:

    I thought the response video was well done and factual. Governor does not
    Take part in response. There is at least one a hole in the video but it is certainly
    not Governor Scott. When liberals cannot win an argument with facts they always
    revert to calling their opponents childish bad names.

  3. jasonb says:

    He more than earns the nickname “Prick Scott”.

  4. Nancy N. says:

    You’ve never seen this sort of political attack on a private citizen? I’ve got one name for you: Sandra Fluke.

  5. Marlee says:

    She called his office and asked to meet with her and other Florida residents over coffee and heard nothing.
    ……except…..he did respond with the personal attack ad.

  6. Fredrick says:

    What a bunch of whiny liberal tripe…..you did not get your handouts and your upset. Well too friken bad.

  7. Runningfromliberals says:

    A million jobs; no Govt. doesn’t create jobs (Scott actually shrank the number of state employees while serving more residents) but it does create an environment where businesses thrive and they create jobs, thanks Gov. Scott. Even a crude and obscene person like Jennings can find work as a consultant (God help her client). People vote with their feet so those 1.5 million new residents must say something about northeast extremist liberal governments that tell employers to pay your employees $15 an hour, how much salt is in your food or how large your soda can be. But don’t fret my extremist liberal friends if you ever do get a Democrat elected Gov. there will be tens of thousands of new state employees to hire and billions upon billions of new state debt to layer on Floridians that Scott has paid down. One last thing, when those new residents arrive to enjoy the low taxes and great opportunities of Florida, please leave your liberal democratic voting habits at the state line.

  8. Knightwatch says:

    Idiot! And you can quote me.

  9. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    Awwwwww poor wittle Ricky, did the big bad Starbucks customer hurt your feelings? That’s so, so sad. :(

    You should get your superpac to make a multimillion dollar ad so you can get even with her and make yourself feel better!

    Seriously though, this clown spent donor money to run an attack ad against a random Starbucks customer because he got his feelings hurt, and he’s not even up for an election. Good job people of Florida, you elected a literal 6 year old for office twice. No wonder everyone else in the nation laughs at Florida.

  10. Geezer says:

    Rick Scott looks like an angry used Q-Tip.

  11. Dave says:

    You ever get that feeling looking at Rick Scott that with some horns and red eyes and smoke coming out of his nose he could be the devil walking among us. The guy has some eerie eyes

  12. chopshop says:

    another dumbocrat wanting something for nothin. if she spent more time in school she would not have time to leisure in Starbucks and get arrested in Miami.

  13. Common Sense says:

    Typical behaviour from a bad governor. A good one would have said, let’s meet and talk about this. As usual Republicans think that freedom of speech applies only to them.

  14. Outsider says:

    So she is upset that Scott assumed she was on the dole. Well, she just stated, or screamed, that she was upset because she COULDN’T get on the dole. What the hell is the difference? She would be on the dole if there was one to be on; she said so in the video.

  15. Outsider says:

    Sandra Fluke claimed it could cost up to the $3,000 for birth control over three years of law school. Well, if a condom costs 50 cents, she’s claiming she needs 6,000 condoms for about a thousand days. That would mean she’s getting it six times a day. That wouldn’t leave much time for studying now, would it?

  16. Sherry says:

    To those of you who are so very “ignorant” of women and women’s health care (and likely many other things as well). . . birth control pills are the most widely used method of birth control in the USA. It is required that they be taken, by women, about 25 days a month. The cost varies depending on the manufacturer. . . some cost as much as $165 per month!!! In addition, a doctor must prescribe them, so then there’s the cost of at least 2 doctor’s visits per year. So, if you are able to do the math, please add up the expenses. Sandra Fluke wasn’t wrong at all regarding her numbers!

  17. Sherry says:

    Oh yes. . . I should have said “ignorant, Rush Limbaugh lovers”. . . sorry!

  18. Sherry says:

    Actual FACTS anyone? Regarding Scott’s “trumped” up jobs created figures. Two thirds of the jobs created under his administration are very low paying tourist industry service jobs, while he cause middle class workers to be laid off due to his budget cuts. . . this from Context:

    When it’s about Florida, and serves both to burnish Gov. Rick Scott’s ginned-up “job creator” status, and further the creation of a new socioeconomic order in the state.

    The job growth report released this month by ADP Research Institute places Florida second nationally with almost 32,000 new private-sector jobs created in June. On the face of it, that seems like good news. That’s certainly how Gov. Rick Scott and other conservative Republicans running the state will spin it.

    But strip away the face value of such statistics, and you’ll find the same trend that characterizes the entire Republican economic “recovery” of recent years. You’ll find about two of three of those new jobs is a low-paying service-sector one. This mirrors years of Florida job growth in predominantly low-pay, no-benefits, dead-end jobs. It also reflects years of Team Scott focusing on tourism, travel and leisure industries as drivers of post-recession economic growth.

    Working middle-class Floridians know how stagnant wages and incomes have been for years now. We know how much harder economic advancement and upward mobility is to achieve. We know how little bargaining power we have left as workers in a state where private-sector union organizing is blocked by an awful “Right to Work” law.

    Yet we keep hearing these reports of new job creation, economic growth, and recovery.

    So where’s the disconnect, why aren’t we feeling all that recovery love too?

    Well, rather than creating quality jobs by training and retraining workers; rather than creating quality jobs by rebuilding Florida’s crumbling infrastructure; rather than creating quality jobs by aggressively transitioning to clean energy sources; rather than creating quality jobs by using already allotted federal funding to modernize our rail and transportation systems; and rather than creating quality jobs by using already allotted federal funding to expand health care and insure up to a million mostly working, low-income Floridians … Gov. Scott and Republican allies have instead created a glut of grimly “going-nowhere-fast” jobs — and a huge burden for the middle class.

    If you’re one of the millions stuck in such bad jobs, chances are you still have to rely on public assistance to care for your family. And if you’re a more fortunate middle-class taxpayer, chances are you’re helping cover the cost of all that newly necessitated public assistance. It’s not right, but it’s the way Florida’s powers-that-be want it.

  19. Sherry says:

    BTW. . . why does Rick Scott need a PAC. . . is he currently running for something? Or, are millions being stashed away for a rainy day? Why is PAC money being used to who run an attack ad against a woman who had the temerity to speak out against Scott’s draconian policies against the working poor?

  20. Outsider says:

    Not according to Planned Parenthood, Sherry. They cost from “0 to 50” dollars per month.

    https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-pill

    If you are so poor that the cost is an issue, you can get them for virtually nothing. A thousand dollars per year is total b.s. (I hope you like my source of information.)

  21. Sherry says:

    Those women who really think men are responsible enough to take care of birth control, with “rubbers” no less. . . please sign here_______ Thought So! Men, generally, should refrain from casting aspersions and speaking out about women’s health care. . . as many don’t have a #$%^& clue!

    The actual cost of birth control pills can vary widely. . . and remember, doctors prescribe specific brands, and every woman’s needs and history is different. This from Yahoo Finance.

    We did a survey of cash or self-pay birth control prices at New York area pharmacies in late April, in connection with a project about prices of birth control pills and mammograms, and here’s what we found:

    Aviane, cash prices ranging from $20 to $45 for a monthly pack
    Gianvi, $45 to $74
    Loestrin 24FE, $48 to $116
    Lutera, $19 to $40
    Ocella, $40 to $80
    Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo 28, $37 to $162
    Tri-Nessa 28, $16 to $49
    Tri-Sprintec 28, $12 to $49
    Yasmin-28, $80 to $105
    Yaz-28, $65 to $130

  22. Sherry says:

    Oh and BTW. . . conveniently quoting information from Planned Parenthood. . . while our Tea Party governor is doing everything possible to shut them down is nothing short of obscene!!!

  23. Outsider says:

    New York area pharmacies? What percentage of the population buys their birth control in New York area pharmacies, where it costs about 20 bucks a day in tolls just to drive into the city? I do happen to know a little bit about women’s health issues; my wife had two c-sections, and I was there from the first cut to the last stitch. We also had two miscarriages, which necessitated d and c’s. We also had lots of “practice,” and the pills never cost anywhere near the high end you quote. The issue at hand during the whole Sandra Fluk thing was her wanting someone else to pay for her birth control, and at that, I will just remind everyone that the best, most effective form of birth control is free.

  24. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    I think those birth control costs are forgetting the frequent visits to the OB/GYN to get prescriptions reissued.

  25. alp says:

    @ Outsider: If the best form of birth control is free, may I suggest that men refrain from using Viagra, which is covered, and avail themselves of this “free” form of birth control, i.e. no sex. If all women used this “free” form of birth control, i.e. no sex, birth control pills would be covered for all women in a New York minute.

    Thank you Sherry, my thoughts exactly.

  26. Sherry says:

    Ahhhh. . . as I noted above. . . just more asinine comments. . . I’ll not waste my time further. . . and just consider the source!

    Our local sunny Spanish market by the sea awaits! Javea is lovely in the Spring! Maybe a dip in the pool after lunch.

  27. BeachcomberT says:

    The career politicians have undermined democracy with gerrymandering, SuperPACs, SuperDelegates and voter purges, Heckling and street demonstrations are about the only recourse we still have. For those who rant about Medicaid being a form of “dole” I have 2 questions — do you accept Medicare, and why in hell would you elect Rick Scott who as a private-sector robber baron overbilled Medicare by billions?

  28. Outsider says:

    Alp, I agree 100% that Viagra should not be covered. You wanna play, you should pay; I should not.

  29. Sherry says:

    Thanks so much “alp”. . . excellent, excellent point about the Viagra type “get it up” drugs. . . which are being so very easily covered by even the health care provider of Hobby Lobby.

    Right On “Beachcomber” and “Trump’s Tiny Fingers” . . . even more excellent points!

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