“I don’t know that I would have made the decision to go forward with this if I had been around three or four years ago,” he said in St. Petersburg at the Florida Press Association/Florida Society of News Editors annual meeting. “I walked in with this set of facts.” He said his attorneys told him he would likely lose in court if he was sued for killing the $1.28 billion, 61.5-mile project. (St.Pete Times, Saturday July 2.2011-http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/masstransit/article1178293.ece)
Everett Wilkinson, chairman of the South Florida Tea Party, said that Scott’s decision was “influenced by big-money lobbyists” and that the governor “failed to deliver on his promises.” (St.Pete Times, Saturday July 2.2011-http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/masstransit/article1178293.ece)
“For one thing, the train was leaving the station before he took office. The Legislature approved it with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities in both houses, and the measure was signed by Gov. Charlie Crist. Scott froze the contracts earlier this year, saying he needed time to vet the details. At the time, lawmakers, including Senate Budget Chair J.D. Alexander, reiterated their support for the project and said he ought to release the money. For his part, Scott kept the money in his budget proposal.” (Florida Independent, Saturday July 2, 2011- http://floridaindependent.com/37698/rick-scott-sunrail)#
The Governor says he had no choice. The go ahead for SunRail was in motion well before he was elected. Have a heart. Can’t anyone recognize a poor victim of circumstance when they see one? Aren’t we being a bit quick to jump to any conclusion that the Governor caved in to pressure or influence?
There is no question that once Rick Scott explained his “outsider” street cred to CSX they immediately backed off trying to make good on the legislature’s commitment to give them almost one half of a billion dollars to use their tracks along with relief from any liability they might incur from their own continued use of those same tracks. In fact, once Scott reminded special interests of what he said on the night of his election victory-“Tonight we have sent a clear message to the Washington insiders — to the Tallahassee insiders — and the special interests that fund both of them. The message: We’re going to clean house and hold government accountable.”
He added: “The dealmakers are crying in their cocktails.” St.Pete Times, Monday, July 4, 2011 (http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/gubernatorial/the-insider-in-gov-rick-scotts-team-of-outsiders/1178743)
there is no doubt Disney, Tupperware, Florida Hospital, J.D.Alexander and others folded their tents. Poor Rick Scott though, he was hamstrung by the law and he simply had to go along.
Now let’s look at how this decision was announced.
Unlike other announcements which were calculated to be wildly popular with his base, there was no carefully orchestrated announcement at The Villages or some other political base stronghold. No display of red meat oratory or demagoguery this time. No sir. This announcement did not present a chest thumping, tough guy moment.
So Rick Scott did it by proxy. The Governor was miles away. Punk’d!
The Governor would have been better served by calling a press conference at one of his base strongholds and making this announcement himself and welcoming questions. He could have presented his “I had no choice” defense in person and at least showed his followers the respect they deserved regarding this decision some are referring to as “anti-Tea Party.” But he didn’t.
In choosing a proxy method of announcing a very unpopular decision, Rick Scott has shown he lacks in both courage and character. His naked demagoguery has been exposed. He is now revealed to be the opportunistic coward so many thought him to be. On this day where we honor those who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, Rick Scott is left with a fortune pledged to win office, sacred honor nowhere to be found, and a political life with a future that should rightfully be D.O.A.