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Reality Check: Rick Scott vs. Florida

| February 18, 2011

FlaglerLive Editor Pierre Tristam’s weekly commentaries are broadcast on WNZF on Fridays just after 9 a.m. Here’s this week’s.

It’s become one of Governor Rick Scott’s favorite clichés. “Government,” he says, “has no resources of its own. Government can only give to us what is previously taken from us.” It’s a strange view that reduces everything to a dollar figure or a power play, as if the only thing between a citizen and his government is a cash register. Or a truncheon.

The Commentary on WNZF
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While that may be the case in authoritarian regimes where government is, in fact, in the exclusive business of preserving power, accumulating wealth and repressing whatever freedoms come in the way of either—where government, in other words, is a corporation—it isn’t yet the case in the United States. The irony of Scott’s pronouncement is that he’s doing his best to get it there. He’d like to reduce the relationship between citizen and government to nothing more than that of customer to business: a transaction, preferably money-making, preferably to the advantage of corporations, now that he intends to use privatization as a blank welfare check to private business.

It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of government’s purpose. I have a hard time not thinking of the nation’s public universities, the best public universities in the world, as anything other than a resource. The same goes for our public schools. They have their limitations and they’re certainly no longer the best in the world, particularly in Florida, but they are a colossal government resource. I have a hard time thinking of the National Institutes of Health, which invest $31 billion a year in taxpayer money into medical research, as anything less than a vital a resource that gives back a value far greater than the cold cash it takes in. Scott might also have a hard time putting a price on a soldier’s defense of the nation, though who knows: maybe he thinks privatized mercenaries should take over the nation’s wars. ExxonMobil, AT&T and Disney could perhaps have their own militias.

Scott thinks government is the enemy. But government, in a representative democracy, is its people. In that sense, Scott can’t be faulted for dishonesty. We, the people, are his enemy. He’s making it his business to make that very clear.

Previous Reality Checks:

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31 Responses for “Reality Check: Rick Scott vs. Florida”

  1. Dorothea says:

    Joint Resolution 785 was just introduced in the Florida legislature. It allows the citizens of Florida to recall the governor. Should be interesting to see how many Republicans vote for it. Eighteen states have a similar law.

  2. Tina Jeffe says:

    When did the concept of government as the enemy of the people start? I learned in elementary school that government IS the people.

  3. palm coaster says:

    I am a registered republican until now, but NOT A TEA PARTY MEMBER, did not vote for him and I will go for recall on Rick Scott. He is a disgrace to Florida.

  4. Johnny Tax Payer says:

    This commentary is ridiculous. Gov Scott is 100% correct. Even these great Public Universities you speak of, aren’t self sufficient. They didn’t create themselves, they certainly don’t sustain themselves, and when you break it down, the Public Universities, the public schools, everything Government related, regardless of how worthy a cause it may be, exists because Government takes from it’s citizens time and treasure to create these institutions and programs.

    I also find it laughable that some would now want to start a recall campaign, to overturn the will of the people. Are we surprised Rick Scott is acting the way he is? You shouldn’t be, he’s doing exactly what he campaigned on. In addition, is it not disingenuous to hold Rick Scott responsible for “cuts to education” that he did not make? He does not control the federal purse strings, nor does he have the responsibility to make up for a reduction in federal funding with an increased burden on the citizens of our State.

  5. Mike says:

    Bravo Pierre! You are an asset to what most of us intelligent people already know to be straight-forward fact: Scott is already an embarrassment to the state and will lead it down a dangeorus path. He needs to be recalled like a faulty brake pad on a tea-baggers Buick.

  6. Dorothea says:

    Johnny TP, 52% of the Florida electorate did NOT vote for Scott. I’m hearing that many who did vote for him now regret their choice. If times are so tough, why does Scott’s budget lower taxes? Scott makes a big deal of selling the state’s two aircraft. After all, he has his own private airplane. I hope that the next governor has similar private transportation, but bought through legitimate means, not by ripping off Medicare.

  7. Jojo says:

    I vote for the best candidate, sometimes the last minute, after wading through the double talk of all the candidates. But, this guy Scott is no savior to the fixed income citizens of Florida. How soon we forget that he bought the Governorship with 70 + million of his own money. Sorry, I beg your pardon, 300 + million of tax payers money he walked away with from his business. A business which was, if I stand correct, one of the largest medicare fraud schemes which billed medicare billions of dollars.

    The man is a crook. an out and out crook, who stopped at nothing to buy the Governorship. Yes, as someone already suggested, Scott will lead us down the path to despair with another funky economic hypothesis that will bring nothing but plight on a magnitude you will never see. He has embarked on teachers, cops, firemen, education, state workers’ in his master plan which will not attract the best which is part and parcel for his destruction. The man is a phony.
    ‘know well comrade Crito that these things are what
    I seem to hear just as the corybantes hear flutes.”

  8. Bob Z. says:

    I venture to say that is the election were re-held today Scott would lose. It was close to begin with and now that people see who the real Rick Scott is I cannot see him winning again. But we are stuck with him (for now) so let’s hope that the Senate and House can come up with some compromises on his proposals.

  9. Rob says:

    They voted for him. Now they got him.

    Where are all of these tea-baggers who followed this man down a dark blind alley.
    They are awfully subdued.

  10. Van says:

    Many states are now plagued with these tea party governors. We have our own version in Wisconsin in Scott Walker, currently making headlines at places like MSNBC, leftist blogs and some public radio. Of course Faux News is weighing in to the tune of Those Violent and Selfish Protesters, when the protests at Madison have been models of nonviolent decorum. But what else can be expected of professional liars like Beck, Coulter, O’Reilly and that fascist gang?

    Scott Wanker and Rick Scott should both be recalled. Wisconsin has that option but I don’t know about Florida. What Wanker is doing has nothing to do with budget shortfalls or anything else, besides union busting and expunging every last remnant of social welfare traditionally provided by governments, once upon a long ago time. Wisconsin’s budget is in surplus, so Wanker just routinely lies, the way all rightwingers do in hot pursuit of their corporatist, kleptocratic agenda. That top 2% of income earners simply MUST get everything their greedy little hearts desire, and the rest of us be damned. Scott Walker and Rick Scott we purchased by these oligarchs, and by God they’ll do what they’re told.

  11. realworld says:

    I really enjoy watching the lefty loons writhe in pain. Have another hit on your krackpipes while waiting for your rent subsidies, food stamps and welfare checks . kooombayaaaaaa

  12. palm coaster says:

    Realworld do you watch our country middle society battles in Wisconsin from one of the bailed out banks VIP toilets or from a some chamber of commerce outhouse, while reading the news?
    Beware that our upraise winds may slam the door on your lower hinds on your way out!
    Not our invented rent subsidies, food stamps or welfare imaginary checks in your demented mind is what this tea parties governors are pressuring for, but instead to grab control of the hefty at least 39% tax contributions of the American middle society and for their personal and their rich buddies benefit! Keep it up Wisconsin workers that if needed this weekend, we should all be heading there in your support against these oligarchs, communist proposals.

  13. val jaffee says:

    ‘while that may be the case in authoritarian regimes where government is, in fact, in the exclusive business of preserving power, accumulating wealth and repressing whatever freedoms come in the way of either—where government, in other words, is a corporation—it isn’t yet the case in the United States.’

    Considering the revolving door between the corporations and our government – some recent additions; William M Daley, Gene B Sperling, and of course Florida’s very own.

    I’d say we definitely have – Government for the corporation, by the corporation, and of the corporation.

    ‘It’s not healthy for a society if the people hate their own government’ – Garry Wills

  14. DLF says:

    Another great call by our new governor, as good as doing away with the slow train to Tampa. We need to cut somewhere and we all need to feel the pain,I am willing I hope the rest of you are.

  15. rickg says:

    Rick Scott does not have a clue about running a state. He does know quite a bit about how to skim millions from taxpayers via Medicare and Medicaid. Isn’t it ironic that the very thing that made him a rich (expletive deleted), the government, he now detracts from its usefulness. To all of you deficit hawks out there, try to focus on the rediculous spending on defense and the so called war on drugs. And also think about how your support for Rick Scott and others of his ilk is not in your best interest but benefits those who are extremely wealthy. Think about it. Become an educated voter.

  16. PC MAN says:

    Why does everything have to be self sufficient ? Is the fire department self sufficient ? The police ? The people who claim to be for fiscal responsibility are always penny wise pound foolish, you under fund education and then pay more to jail them later, you deride health care but pay for the eventual emergency room visit.
    Republicans and conservatives in general have such a poor finacial record that anything they say is laughable, they get elected run up huge deficits get defeated and then run for election again on fiscal responsibility. The state of Florida has had a republican Governor since 1999 and the United States had a republican president form 2001 to 2008. How do you explain the mismanagement ? the billions of debt ? Unless you are willing to admit a you have a problem you can’t get better. See you on the next Intervention.

  17. William says:

    Said it before, I’ll say it again.

    This guy is a CROOK. He should be in PRISON, not the Governor’s Mansion. Now he’s showing his true colors, colors clearly visible to anyone not afflicted with Teabircher disease. His approach to governance is that of a dictator. Laws, legal precedent, will of the people? Fuck ’em all. I bought my seat in the big chair with 75 Mil of my own (ill-gotten) gains, now you’re ALL my bitches.

    Fortunately we still have a Republic, although sometimes just barely. The honeymoon is over in Tallahassee, where the less rabid members of the Republican party are helping to throw up roadblocks to his fascist machinations.

    At times like these it is appropriate to remember the phrase “consent of the governed”.

  18. William says:

    @ Van,

    Greetings old friend.
    Are you on the streets in Madison? If so, be careful. Rumor has it that Mubarak and some of his henchmen are among you, in the capacity of Agents Provacateur.

    It must be true. Beck told me so.

    Gotta go adjust my tinfoil hat now.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Van, William, a few more old hands and we’ll have a Notebooks reunion. William, Van was in Florida for a month, we were supposed to meet on his drive back to the other Land of Scott but I didn’t reach him in time. So it’s been. We should get Van to meet Norton Smitty, our new incarnation of our own old Frere Loup.

  19. NortonSmitty says:

    I can’t wait. Oh yea, the Agents Provacateurs will eventually show up in Madison. They did in Pittsburgh: They did in Miami and Seattle. They always do. If your looking for them, you can leave your tinfoil hat at home. Mine doesn’t travel well, gets all wrinkled and shit.

  20. William says:

    This seems oddly appropriate:

  21. William says:

    @ NortonSmitty:

    I constructed mine from a space-age polymer interwoven with tinfoil strips cut to precise measurements. Virtually indestructible, and with the strategically placed signal amps I get great reception from planet Insaneistan. The only drawbacks are the headaches.

    That, and the voices.

  22. Van says:

    Hi William, Pierre and Norton Smitty. As Pierre relates, I was on a 6-week “sabbatical” in south Florida, from early Jan. to just a couple days ago. I had to flee the worst of this Wisconsin winter, for once, finally, after swearing I would the past 15 years and never doing it. I plan to do more of this, having reached the end of my tether with these relentless endless winters. So anyway, I was driving back Thursday, up hwy. 39/90 past Madison, on my way home (4 hours away), and nearly pulled off into Madison. But I opted out because the weather just then and there was quite shitty, I didn’t know where the hell I’d park the car or how far away I’d be from the action, and it would have delayed my arriving home by hours, I’d get back well after dark and blah blah. Also, I was exhausted from all the driving over the previous 5 days and just wanted to crash at home.

    But I listened to Ed Shultz all that day on radio, the best reporting anywhere on what’s happening in Madison. Shultz is as good as it gets on issues like this. He can even call Paul Ryan, the far right kook congressman from Janesville, WI, a “goddamn liar” on radio–something he can’t get away with on TV. He even called out Rush Limbaugh to show up in Madison so Shultz could (implied) kick his fat fucking lying ass halfway across the state. Shultz could run for governor of WI now and win, I think, if he was a resident. [Dream on.] No, voters aren’t comfortable with anyone but fascist shitbags these days.

    Yesterday, Walker made a perfectly calm and relaxed speech at the capitol assuring Wisconsonites that he wasn’t about to back down one millimeter from his draconian power grab. The public unions will just have to take his bitter medicine and STFU. No collective bargaining rights EVER! Massive pay cuts to correct the nonexistent budget deficit, so tea party talking points are validated and ordinary people, most of them professionals, the disappearing middle class, can be absorbed into the ranks of the unemployed and chronically underemployed where they belong. And they can thank their master overseers residing in gated communities and sitting around in corporate boardrooms for putting them in their rightful economic place. So, even if those Egyptian agitators don’t show up in Madison, or the FBI doesn’t send in its agents provocateurs (I’d bet on the latter), this could end up getting messy.

    Pierre, I’m really sorry the timing was off for our meet up when I was driving back, and I blame myself for not contacting you sooner. When we talked that morning I was heading west thru the panhandle, toward Mobile, where I got stuck inside of for several hours with the Memphis blues again. If I had turned around there and headed back to Palm Coast it would have added about 500 miles to my trip. Maybe next year, I hope so, since I definitely will be doing it again.

  23. NortonSmitty says:

    William, Send me the specs on the custom headgear. All I get on mine are Palin, Beck & Hannity. Oh, wait, that’s my TV. Insanistan will be a breath of sanity.

    By the way, why after having it broken off up our working asses for the last thirty years is everyone so focused on playing nice-nice with these fascist bastards? I really think the time for peaceful dialog is past. If the Teabagging DittoHead poltroons get in your face, explain the error of their ways in the manner workers have won their rights for the last century, or since we got them in the first place. I’m afraid that’s what it’s gonna’ take since we have been so passive for so long while the bastards stole them back. They think we don’t have the stones anymore like our Grandfathers did at Braddock and The Rouge.

    The only thing I fear is that they may be right.

  24. William says:

    To some extent they are right, but not because of their stated reasons.

    They are right as a result of the withering attack on the institutions of education and information. Let’s face it, we have witnessed the dumbing down of America for decades now, at least those of us who have been paying attention. The reduction in population capable of critical thinking, combined with the relentless and purposeful dissemination of provable falsehoods by our M$M has produced a distracted and intellectually lazy body politic. These are the sheeople who willingly vote against their own self-interests because it’s so much easier to make an “informed” decision based on the veracity of a slick ad campaign than to be troubled by the task of fact-checking. They are the frogs in the pot who didn’t notice master’s hand turning the stove on high, flipping them the bird for good measure as he pulled his hand back. Unfortunately this phenomenon is not limited to the right.

    But, yes, I absolutely agree that it is long past time to call bullshit, and I have absolutely no compunction doing exactly that . I used to reserve my opinion in the public arena out of respect to my wife, who, although being as left as I am, has indicated some discomfort when I let loose. Fuck that. We’ve been steamrolled by these loud and obnoxious mouthpieces of the right, that is to say the “owner educated” proles, since the demise of the fairness doctrine, and I’ve had it. The Teabirchers were the last straw for me.

    If I needed any proof of the complete and total ignorance of this bunch, it is in the self-evident contradictions they represent. An astroturf organization founded around the principle of taxation that knows nothing on the subject. An organization founded and funded by some of our richfilth overlords whose interests lie far, far away from those of the frothing mob they have created. A bunch of batshit crazy loons who are too out of touch with reality to notice that they too are being led over the cliff by the very forces the rail against.

    But it’s all the fault of the Toll-taker, because s/he has a union job. Head. Bangs. Desk.

  25. William says:

    Not sure why that tagged me as anonymous. Work computers. Quirky.

  26. NortonSmitty says:

    Where you guy’s been? I’ve been carrying the whole load around here for a while.

  27. William says:

    I’ll try to be here more often. I get so disgusted with the process and the blinding ignorance, that sometimes I must walk away for a bit, for the sake of my sanity.

  28. William says:

    Slightly off the subject, but relevant.
    An interesting read, for the discriminating reader:

    Bonus read: On the influence of the internet and social media in effecting social/political change.
    Think of the delicious irony, should the Pentagon’s brainchild prove to be its undoing:

  29. Taxed says:

    What was the amount of Big Corporate Income Taxes Paid last year, Such as GE ? Zero ! Thats where these governors are takiing us !

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