With Gollum for a governor, what will Florida Democrats do now?

I woke up (late) this morning to find that indeed I wasn’t dreaming, or delirious from 3 days of whirlwind media excitement at the 30 Rock mothership, analyzing the Democrats’ national doom… and that in fact Florida, the state I was duty bound to come back to last night, had indeed elected Gollum to be its governor [sorry Skeletor, Freddy Krueger and the Smoke Monster; for now, you've been replaced in the TRR snarkofile...] Who would have thought the tricky bastard would get so far in life?

And what’s a good, honest hobbit to do, now that Smeagel has the one ring to control the 75 Pleadings of the Fifth? I mean we know what he’s going to do with it. He and his new friends, the orcs who are now in veto-proof control of the state legislature, are going to make war on us — be we teachers or women who don’t want to give birth under government order, or suspiciously Hispanic-seeming immigrants.

You do realize the gravity of our situation, right? Florida schools are about to get the Texas treatment, as SB6 is served right back at the teachers and students who were so gleeful when our faithful hobbit Charlie, killed it with his blue-glowing sword. Look for good educators to leave this state, where starting in January, PhDs are no longer welcome, and mercenary journeymen on temp contracts to take their place.

State workers are going to be laid off in mass quantities thanks to Mr. 666 … I mean “777″ … and He Who Will Not Release the Depo is likely to exact swift revenge on the police unions who rejected him in the election … because he’s a crook … and endorsed his opponent, the unsinkable Titanic known as Alex. So mind your pensions, boys! And don’t think Gollum’s “minority friend” Jennifer is gonna help you. She’s just there to entertain the black Republicans.

To the media: good luck getting this guy to answer questions or “release the depo” now that the Dullards of Sunshine have handed him the scepter. But all is not lost for you: Tricky Ricky’s latest Medicare fraud case is coming, and guess who’s appointing the inquisitor??? He is!

Folks, let’s just start erecting the Charlie Crist “miss me yet?” signs now, cause it’s gonna be a long four years.

So back to my original question. What now? What do Democrats, trapped in what is now a ruby red state, do next? Surprisingly, there are a few things our ragtag band of elves, dwarves, hobbits (but not yet a wizard — sorry, Steve Schale) can do.

1. Move the hell out of Florida. Yes, I have considered this option. Don’t get me wrong, the weather here is wonderful, and I like a fair amount of the people. But I’m not sure I want to subject my kids to the school system we’re about to get, courtesy of Tricky Ricky and his pal John Thrasher. And with apologies to Jeb Bush, I’m not interested in having the wee ones shoveled into private schools, and I certainly don’t have the patience to home school them. So getting out of Dodge is a real option, assuming I can sell my house in this market. In fact, if the blue folk were to leave this state en masse, taking our intellectual capital and effete “college degrees” with us, thereby allowing Florida to become the Alabama of its dreams, the blow to the economy would be real. But in the end, the Chamber of Secrets would win, because Florida would then become the cauldron of unskilled, non-union workers with flattened wages and desperation for any work at all — but good, clean, Christian conservative values! — that the business lobby has in mind for the country as a whole. Advantage: bad guys.

2. Wait for a better playing field. The one glimmer of hope in an otherwise dismal election this year was the passage of Amendments 5 and 6, the Fair Districts amendments to the Florida constitution. Now the orcs of Tallahassee won’t be able to do as much long term damage by solidifying their iron grip on the state for ten more years by gerrymandering an even bigger Republican majority. If redistricting (which is already being challenged by the two most desperate politicians I think I’ve ever seen, Mario Diaz Balart and Corinne Brown) even slightly alters the state and congressional playing field for 2012, when the lazy-ass Obamacorps get back with the program and actually vote, we have a shot at fixing whatever damage Smeagel and his veto proof majority do — and make no mistake, there will be damage.

Related: Kirk Wagar is ticked off

But to have any chance at fixing things, we’re going to have to do one more thing:

3. Scrap the Florida Democratic Party and start over. Whatever forces you want to blame Tuesday’s drubbing on — the tea party movement, the economy, dumb voters, the Devil … whatever … it should be clear to any sentient being that this state needs a new Democratic Party. Why? Where to begin. Start with candidate selection. As Gary Fineout points out, the only thing consistent about the candidates the FDP puts forward cycle after cycle is that they are completely uninspiring to the base. Now that they have fielded husband and wife losers for governor, and finally tested their unified theory of Dan Gelber’s statewide electability, can we get with the candidate selection program from the 21st century, please? The party need only look at Marco Rubio, chosen by Jeb Bush, or telegenic Pam Bondi, to see what I mean. Pick younger, pick ethnic, pick someone who can be marketed. Rubio is a lot less than he appears to be, believe me, but he’s marketable. Second: message. What was the Democratic Party’s message in Florida this year? “Campaign for accountability?” What does that mean? And as Peter Schorsch points out, even the party’s slogan makes no sense.

And while no one person can be blamed for the kind of losses Florida Democrats sustained this cycle, you can’t simply write off what happened in terms of national mood — not when Harry Reid, with 40 percent approval ratings, won in Nevada, against a person no less odious than Rick Scott. And not when Democrats managed to pull off improbable wins in West Virginia and Colorado, another state that is as purple as Florida used to be. The mood matters, but so does the quality of the state party. No one in their right mind believes that Karen Thurman’s state party is a high caliber operation.

And there are already rumblings that Ms. Thurman should take full responbility for Tuesday and resign. See this must-read article at the other half of the TRR-SPB blogging bureau for more.

So let’s get to wo… god, I can’t even use that phrase anymore (though it’s damned good marketing — simple and to the point, and hits on what most voters care about: jobs …) let’s buck up, Florida Democrats. Gollum may have the ring, but we can still shove him into the fires of Mordor. At least I hope we can.

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19 Responses to With Gollum for a governor, what will Florida Democrats do now?

  1. Flo says:

    Just for starters–as soon as Scott takes office, be sure and locate your birth certificate and verify that your housekeeper and lawn man are legal residents. And of course any bills that Charlie vetoed will be back on Scott’s desk in no time flat.

  2. trueservice says:

    Florida teachers, state employees, women, etc,- they all deserve what’s coming to them under this new administration and legislature- they had a chance to come out, have their friends, families and parents of their students come out and support Crist when they realize that Meek was not in the game, they chose not to. Those voters would have also benefited Sink and all democratic candidates. CRIST TOOK A BULLET FOR THEM AND SEALED HIS FAITH WHEN HE VETOED SB-6. I HOPE FLORIDA TEACHERS ARE PROUD OF THEMSELVES – I AM NOT PROUD OF THEM.

  3. Precious says:

    What a sad day for Florida. A sad day for education and for the human race in general. A sad day too dear Pundit if you and your family do move out of Florida.
    The prospect of a good education for both my grandchildren is very sad… and this all comes from a man who took from public education and project residing the best the public system could give him … (I think that is what his mother said in his political ads). It is also interesting how those who have taken the best they could from public programs and a plentiful garden of jobs (Boehner among them [did you catch his putrid acceptance speech?]) now want to undo for every one else everything that was good about the U.S. and fed their journey to help them get to where they are today. O:-(

  4. jreid says:

    TrueService, you are absolutely right on that one. Crist did indeed take a bullet for the teachers in this state, and the union couldn’t even bring itself to endorse him outright. Had they done so, and mounted a full throated effort for him, things might have been different. Guilt politics trumped smart politics this go-round.

  5. Jean says:

    Please don’t move from Florida, I just found your blog. I would understand though because of the kids. I read this morning on another blog that a nurse’s union hired buses and haunted Meg Whitman her entire campaign. That sounded kind of fun. I will continue to enjoy your commentary as long as you provide it.

  6. Stephen Malagodi says:

    No, this will not do at all. It is not helpful to blame teachers, other public service workers, ‘lazy-ass Obamacorps’ , stupid voters (everyone is stupid but me), or whoever.
    First, it is clear that a new, modern organization is needed. Whether or not the Democratic Party of Florida can be rebuilt into that organization is another question. A lot of the folks that make up the machine are retired and old. They have a right to be old and a right to work in the party of their choice. So whether or not they can be modernized is questionable. Other folks in the party apparatus are entrenched union officials. If you want to see another example of dysfunction in Florida, look at the labor ‘movement’. The last thing these people want to see is a vital democratic process in the Party or in their locals.
    Second, people are under stress. What they want is someone to help them, and lacking that, someone who promises to destroy the existing structures that are seen as the obstacles to ‘freedom’; the freedom to move, to be unencumbered. Pressed by a failing and corrupt economy ~and a changing social complexion~, they will rally behind the demagogues.
    If we look at the apparent influence of the Tea Party on the Republican Party, we can see that it is, in origin, a social movement responding to this pressure. While it is now being channeled by very dangerous political professionals, it is most important to understand that it did not come from a political party or formal organization. It is a populist social movement.
    And this is the problem. The professionals, retirees and well-meaning liberals who make up the bulk of the active Democratic Party have, until now, been relatively isolated from the working-class pain and psychic dislocation of the real working-class. In short, we’re too damn comfortable in our bodies and our minds.
    A progressive revitalization of the political process will come about, if at all, from a social movement, not a political one. This means actually providing services to people who need them and building organization from that network. That is a strategy that works everywhere.
    If anyone is to blame for this disaster, it is the professional strategists so mired in the minutia of political positioning that they completely miss the suffering and need of real people.
    Third, I have purposefully avoided the remarks and comments about Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek for relevancy’s sake, and in hopes that the reader would get this far. Let me just say that it was Meek who qualified by petition, Meek who won the primary fair and square, and Meek who had every right to represent the Democratic Party in the Senate race. Why it seems so natural for him to be expected to give up that right for the fantasy of maybe electing a waffling Republican is beyond me. Or is it? Why does it feel like a Rosa Parks affair?

  7. Flo says:

    Don’t fret, Jean; she could move to Afghanistan, and you could still read the blog on the internets.

  8. Joy, this is great for you. What would their be to blog about under an “Alex Sink Utopia?”

  9. jreid says:

    Well Phil, there’s that… and how else would I have gotten to use that Gollum pic?

  10. bsudah says:

    i thought liberals were so tolerant and understanding, but all that seems to come out of them is bile, hatred, name calling, hostility, and so on. as the bumpersticker says, “mean people suck!”

  11. Flo says:

    What are you reading BSUDAH? There is no bile in my comments.
    You’re the hostile one; go have some tea.
    btw… do you really like Rick Scott??

  12. Uh, no, the weather is not that great. At least not anymore. Instead of four months of brutal heat and eight months of great weather, it's vice-versa with extremes. But please, Joy, keep pounding the state party infrastructure (don't forget the withering local Democratic clubs and the county DEC's- like Broward) and include the links to those other blogs I wouldn't otherwise see that are dancing to the drumbeat. As far as I know right now, it's only you and me talking about who's fault this really is and who needs to, well, you call it "resign." I say fire them yesterday.

  13. Pingback: Why Did Tuesday Happen? » Florida Progressive Coalition Blog -

  14. Alex says:

    It’s not a problem with the candidates only. it’s a problem with the nuts and bolts organizing (when will the FL Dems get an absentee ballot effort worth 10% of the republican one?), with the disconnection with the grassroots, and with the internecine spats and hogging the spotlight.

    Besides, Karen Thurman is not going anywhere unless Nelson says ok. There, I said it.

  15. Alex says:

    BTW, I got no less than 50 robocalls and live calls on my answering machine last two weeks and ALL of them where from Scott, Rubio or the FL GOP and I live in Meek/Frederica district. I can’t imagine the volume that people who live in Republican districts must be getting.

  16. JReid says:

    Alex, I didn’t get a single piece of mail from Sink or Meek in the general. Not one single thing. And I’m a supervoter in Broward.

  17. Flo says:

    And… other than an apperance or two on Michael Putney, etc., did Ron Klein campaign?? Has he been seen in Broward the past 2 years.? I wonder. He wouldn’t do town hall meetings.

    Perhaps Democrats think they can simply campaign by E mail, which is a mistake.

  18. Alex says:

    I’ve given up on getting mail, because my last name is Hispanic and I KNOW Dem campaigns consider Hispanic outreach a lost cause.

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