A Knee-Slapper of a Prospect - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Knee-Slapper of a Prospect

TAMPA — Having been around political animals for the better part of a half-century, I know members of this peculiar species can convince themselves they can win elections that every other sentient being paying the slightest attention knows they have no chance at. Even knowing this, an item in the popular “Buzz” section of this morning’s Tampa Bay Times is a stunner.

Adam Smith, the Times political editor, is a sound reporter. So I don’t believe he’s just filling space on a slow news day. If he says Florida Governor Rick Scott is sounding out fundraisers on the possibility of Scott’s running for the U.S. Senate in 2018 when Democrat Bill Nelson’s third term expires, then Smith has some reason to believe this is so. But what a strange notion. It would be amusing if it weren’t so bizarre.

Rick Scott is a smart man who had a successful career in the private sector before running for governor the first time in 2010. His impulses are conservative. He’s demonstrated competence in many aspects of his governorship. Scott is also inarticulate, clinically evasive, always uncomfortable in political situations, and has all the charm of road salt. By comparison, Richard Nixon was a natural politician.

Scott’s approve/disapprove numbers have been underwater for his entire time in office. It took a Republican tsunami year (2010) and a horrendously flawed opponent in Charlie Crist (2014) to give Scott two whisker-thin victories. If anyone has earned the title of The Accidental Governor, it’s Rick Scott. A lot of things had to fall in place for him to secure those two photo-finish wins.

It’s way too early now to predict which other Republicans will line up to declare for the Senate race in 2018, but not too early to predict that whoever these turn out to be they will all have more political assets than Scott. Rick could better spend his time now focusing on Florida issues, and leave the fundraisers alone so they can focus on whether or not to return Jeb Bush’s phone calls.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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