Florida Republicans hastily shut down the special session yesterday without allowing a vote on whether to put a constitutional amendment banning offshore drilling off Florida’s coast on the ballot. The decision drew sharp rebukes from the emerging political tag team of Charlie Sink and Alex Sink.
Crist, under curious fire from the right for talking, or not talking, to Harry Reid (how highlighting that issue helps Marco Rubio I still couldn’t tell you,) went off on his former allies yesterday, as reported in the Wall Street Journal:
“Today I call this legislature the do-nothing legislature, and I’m going to give them hell for it,” he said at a press conference. (Click here for the video.)
GOP leaders said they would try to return to Tallahassee in September to consider other measures to help people affected by the oil spill, but the episode, which aligned Crist with Democrats, gives him more of a leg up in his efforts to cultivate elements of the political left.
Sink, meanwhile, sent out a fund-raising appeal sounding much the same message:
When the Florida Legislature had the opportunity yesterday to address one of the worst economic and environmental crises Florida has ever faced, do you know what they did? Absolutely nothing.
That’s right. Instead of taking steps to help our state three months after the oil spill began, the House wrapped up their meeting in 49 minutes and the Senate took only one vote — the vote to adjourn.
Floridians have already suffered for three months, and should not have to wait two more months for relief that the legislature can provide now.
Sign my petition and stand up to the out of touch politicians in the Florida Legislature. Tell them to stop playing politics and get to work.
With each passing day, thousands of families and small businesses get one step closer to bankruptcy while oil continues to wash up on our beaches.
That’s why I urged the Florida Legislature to use this session to bring much needed relief to the people of Northwest Florida. But instead, the out of control leaders of the Florida Legislature did nothing.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party of Florida fires back, accusing Sink and Crist of “leadership by press conference.”
Call it what you want, but the press conferences, particularly out of Sink, have been withering. Here’s part of what she said Tuesday:\
“Our economy needs speed and immediate measures to boost tourism in Northwest Florida or the taxpayers are going to be left with a decades-long bill from businesses that are going bankrupt and residents that may leave and never be able to afford to come back,’’ Sink said.
“Instead of action, the tone deaf Florida Legislature has been twiddling their thumbs. It was only after the governor called for a special session – a special session that I asked for months ago – that some of them started to pay attention,’’ she said. She noted Sen. Don Gaetz’s hearing in Pensacola last week was the first attempt by lawmakers to hear from local government officials, business groups and citizens on the impact the oil disaster was having on the local economy.
“But it seems that many of the legislators are paying attention for the wrong reasons,” she said. “Today at noon, I expect to see the culmination of the complete failure of the Florida Legislature to be in tune with what’s going on the real world of Florida. In the same chamber, where House Republicans shoved through a proposal in just a few days to open state waters to oil drilling, those same Republicans will stand at their desks to claim they don’t have enough time.
“They don’t have enough time for small business owners in Northwest Florida. They don’t have enough time for the oystermen or the bait tackle shop owner or the countless other working class folks that call Northwest Florida home.’’
And not for nothing, but on this one, the public seems to be firmly on Crist and Sinki’s side. Read Sink’s statement (as CFO, not from the campaign) here.