When you’re the governor of the tea party, you’ve got to give a little face time to the Koch brothers, every once in a while.
Florida (technically) governor Rick Scott understands this — after all, he vetoed high speed rail at the behest of the tea party, based on a Koch-funded report, and only tells them when he releases his budgets. And that’s probably why this happened:
From The Buzz:
Gov. Rick Scott told the Buzz this morning that he attended the Koch brothers retreatnear Vail, Colo., saying he was asked to speak about his initiatives and covered education, taxes, Medicaid reform, drug testing welfare recipients, public employee pension changes and jobs.
“It was very interesting,” Scott said. “They wanted to know basically … what am I doing in Florida.”
There have been questions whether Scott attended the private weekend gathering of conservative-minded leaders but the governor’s office has refused to say. “I told anybody who asked me,” said Scott, who hosted a breakfast gathering at a bio tech conference in Washington, D.C.
He said he found the sessions useful. “In this job, you’ve got to constantly listen to what other people are thinking. Part of what you do in business is you say, ‘Gosh, they are doing something, well, I’m going to see if I can do it better.’ The same with this … OK, what are people doing that is working in their states?”
At least two other Republican governors attended: Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Rick Perry of Texas.
Well gosh, Scott and his team sure didn’t seem eager to tell folks where the governor was, and the fact that he jetted off without adding the event to his public calendar, and during a rather epic drought season that’s causing actual fires in what’s supposedly his home state, even prompted the Florida Democratic Party’s spokesman, Eric Jotkoff, to launch a Twitter hashtag game, #whereisrickscott. Finally, after insisting that they didn’t have to publicize what Scott did on his “own time,” Team Scott spilled the beans to Alex Leary of the St. Pete Times.
Frankly, the idea of Scott sneaking off to Vail to mingle with the Kochs at a super-secret meeting would be bad enough if he was popular, but the increasing specter of the Kochs’ extending their tentacles into federal and state government (not to mention Florida and other state’s universities) is starting to creep people out, and Scott already creeped people out, so it’s kind of a double whammy.
All of this is just adding to the problems of an already unpopular governor.
Scott’s sinking popularity has Republican politicians and some strategists worried that his troubles could hamper their chances of tilting the state’s 29 electoral votes back into their column in 2012. President Obama won Florida by 2.8 percentage points in 2008. Republican Senate and House candidates are also worrying, strategists say, that the governor’s rapidly declining popularity will affect their chances of winning election. And in Miami, two Republican candidates for mayor have distanced themselves from the governor. State Senator Mike Fasano, Republican of New Port Richey, has verbally tussled with Mr. Scott and his staff. ‘If the election was held right now, he would have no impact or a negative impact — there’s no question about it,’ he said. …’Scott is still not well known in Florida,’ said Bob Graham, a former governor and United States senator. ‘Everything he does is somewhat of a new revelation on what his positions are going to be. And so far, many Floridians have found the things he has done highly objectionable.’
And it’s never a good thing when Stephen Colbert starts paying attention to you.