It’s a beautiful morning here in South Florida, and there’s a whole lot going on around the country. Now, with video!
Charlie Crist got some very good news today, with the state’s unemployment rate dropping for the first time in four years, to a still high 12 percent. The rate dropped even more in key spots like Orlando (down to 11.4 percent) and Palm Beach County (which went from 12.2 percent to 11.4 percent), both of which are definitely on Crist’s November radar, and in Crist’s home territory, Tampa, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties:
In the Tampa Bay area, April’s unemployment rate fell to 11.9 percent from an adjusted rate of 12.8 percent in March. Among area counties: Hernando dropped to a rate of 14.3 percent (from 15.1 percent); Hillsborough to 11.6 percent (from 12.4 percent); Pinellas to 11.5 percent (from 12.4 percent); Pasco to 13 percent (from 14 percent); and Citrus to 12.9 percent (13.9 percent).
The good news and bad news for Crist is that the increase came almost totally from hiring in nursing homes and state government, meaning he can curry even more favor with public sector unions and seniors, but can’t argue that Florida’s private sector picture is improving.
Meanwhile, come October or so, Governor Crist (who’s looking increasingly strong in Broward County, which is not good news for Kendrick Meek…) can be assured of two things:
- He will be relentlessly attacked by both the Democrat and the Republican in the race, both of whom will pay much more attention to him than to each other; and
- He will be “Arlen Spectered” by the Democratic nominee, with ads on Black radio featuring him calling himself a “Jeb Bush Republican,” ads on Univision and Telemundo and on Hispanic radio, particularly in Puerto Rican-heavy Central Florida, featuring him opposing Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, and ads everwhere else tagging him as a flip-flopper/backstabber/fill in the epithet. On the second item, Charlie Crist needs to get out in front of it soon, because the Hispanic vote is important, and the Puerto Rican/non-Cuban part of it is up for grabs. So it’s interesting that in his interview with the Miami Herald editorial board, Crist stood by his opposition to Sotomayor, based on “2nd amendment issues,” but without specifics on hand to explain in detail what in her record caused him concern. Here’s the video (h/t to The Buzz):
Back to Jeb. He is, in a lot of ways, very much on the ballot this fall, from is pet legislators’ attempt to partially repeal the class size amendment, to his pet Senate candidate Marco Rubio. Now, Jeb is slapping his brand onto none other than Bill “Rentboy Rekers” McCollum. Here’s McCollum’s first television ad, featuring the former governor:
By the way, the fact that McCollum is on TV in MAY, and playing the Jeb card this early, is a sure sign that his campaign is in trouble, and they know it…
Meanwhile, McCollum’s increasingly surging competition, Rick Scott, is confronting questions about his history of Medicare fraud, as he seeks to lead a state with one of the largest Medicare pools in the country. Apparently, our friend Freddy Krueger/Skeletor has more cojones than irony.
Scott’s grimey past hasn’t turned off everyone, though. And Niceville Republican E. Royce White Jr., who writes the blog “Bloggy Bayou,” thinks that Scott is not only a maverick, but a maverick who really might beat Bill McCollum, for three reasons: money, low turnout and … Charlie Crist …
Ducking out of Florida for a moment, today we might find out what becomes of the Texas Textbook Massacre, which even Dubya’s former education secretary is alarmed by.
As Texas strives to become stupider, Arizona is trying mightily to keep pace. Now, the same guy who brought you the “show me your papers law” (and the same ideology which has banned “ethnic studies” and barred teachers with heavy accents — seriously — from the classroom, has got a follow-up act. Russell Pearce, the white supremacist nutter who apparently wields awesome power in the Arizona legislature, says his next bill will target children born in the United States to parents without papers — and he will defy the 14th Amendment to the United States constitution by denying them birth certificates. Seriously.
While Arizona is striving mightily to recreate Alabama, circa 1954, CNN is just trying to stay relevant. However, this is probably not the best way to do that.
And speaking of bad ideas, fresh off his declaration of opposition to the public accomodations section of the 1964 Civil Right Act, Rand Paul has declared that he’s also against something else: the U.S. government being mean to oil companies, like BP. No really, he’s against that.
Anything else going on? Drop me a line. I’m headed to WPBT-2 today to tape an appearance on “Issues.” My pal Sean Foreman and I will be discussing the Tuesday primaries, with the fabulous Helen Ferre. Tune in tonight at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 2 if you’re in South Florida, or catch the re-run on Sunday, or on the web.