August 24th is looming on the political horizon and the political ads to watch is the battle between that Old GOP War Horse, Bill McCollum and the rich upstart, Rick Scott. TV ads are still the medium of choice when delivering the message, despite the fact that the audience is becoming increasingly fragmented. FoxNews and Local Channels seem to be the prime channels of choice, however if you get satellite, unless you watch the Local Channels, you are outta luck.
It looks like now that the vast bulk of the Ads, from both sides, are...let me think of the right description..."Pure Florida Sugar Sand Mud with a touch of tarballs". Both sides are using 527 PACs to get around campaign finance laws. Rick Scott, to his credit, openly announced his sponsorship of his 527 ( “Let’s Get to Work.”), while Bill McCollum tried to hide his connection to the two 527's working for him ("Florida First Initiative" and "Citizens Speaking Out Committee") but eventually he was shamed into admitting his connections, saying he had no choice due to Scott being a successful, rich, evil businessman. McCollum has also admitted, despite his personal opposition of using tax money to support candidates for public office, he has no choice but to accept same said public money because his opponent is rich. Way to go there Bill, these sort of ethical decisions would make Charlie Crist proud. Practical State calls the 527 war: Advantage: Scott.
Now let's get to the nature of the Ads. Abortion seems to be a key issue with both candidates. The way Bill McCollum is going, by late August, he will be accusing Rick Scott as the evil mastermind behind Planned Parenthood and of raking in millions on having cornered the Abortion Business in all of North America. Scott is countering that McCollum took abortion lobby money, so is a hypocrite. Practical State calls it: Tie and a waste of money. This year, it's the economy stupid.
Immigration is also a hot topic and scalding mud has been flying from both sides. Bill McCollum has tried to demonize the Scott's financial wire transfer business and is saying that Rick Scott started up the money transfer business just to support illegal Hispanic immigrants (no pandering here /s off). Rick Scott, on the other hand, had a gift handed to him when McCollum stumbled on his support of Arizona's immensely popular immigration law. Talk about having a political tin ear. Scott has pounced on this really bad stumble by McCollum (Think Poland and Gerald Ford, Bush 1 and "Read my lips, No New taxes" bad, etc) and I predict, by August, that Scott will have convinced over half of Florida that Bill McCollum, in between smuggling in Mexicans over the Border every other Thursday, is also the Master Of Ceremonies of choice at most of the "Cirque de Donkey Shows" in Tijuana and Nogales. Practical State calls it: Advantage: Scott. McCollum screwed this one up, BAD....
Finally: Personal Ethics: McCollum is betting the ranch on this one. Rick Scott put together a healthcare empire from scratch and yes, it ran into trouble with Medicare. Rick Scott resigned over the issue and three years after he quit, his former company paid out a record 1.7 billion dollars in fines. McCollum is going for the jugular on this and Rick Scott has openly accepted blame, but has pointed out that he personally was never indicted or even interviewed by the Feds. He also, correctly, points out that the healthcare system he created got high marks in customer satisfaction. Also, to someone who has looked into this issue, Scott (to his credit) hasn't tried to drag the Family of Former Senate Majority leader Bill Frist (who were equal partners with Scott) into the equation...even though he was forced to resign by them because he wanted to fight Uncle Sam over the issue and they wanted to cave in to the Feds. (Here Is my summary of the issue)
McCollum has one major problem that he has to overcome with this tactic. He has to convince the electorate that an "unindicted Medicare Rip-off artist" (McCollum's team description, not mine) is less honest and trustworthy than a career politician. Practical State calls it: Advantage Scott (not even close).
Bill McCollum sat by and kept his mouth shut while Charlie Crist and Jim Greer looted the RPOF; Has been at the center of Florida Politics while the State self destructed; Has been a professional politician for the vast majority of his adult life and guess what, people are still desperate for something different.
Being the ultimate, inside baseball politician, Bushian GOP politician is about the worst thing to be right now. This is the same GOP that fell over themselves to accept 6 BILLION Obama dollars for a useless, unwanted high speed train between Tampa and Orlando (and then ignored the fact that Floridians will have to raise taxes to make it operational...there is no way it will be self sufficient); Gave us Jim Greer, hookers in the Bahamas and still can't unite against Charlie Crist. Bottom line: "More of the Same" doesn't cut it and Bill McCollum is the personification of "More of the Same".
What's Next? Not a hard call, because the first salvo was launched today in The Buzz. The meme is that Bill Scott is unqualified because he hasn't been a professional politician and fails to grasp the nuance and subtle facts of Florida Politics and issues. If this is going to be Bill McCollum's next talking point, I would advise him to drop it, fast. When I read "The Buzz" I immediately thought, "what they are saying he is not a stuck in the mud bureaucratic policy wonk like, you know, the same type of guys that are running the Oil Clean-Up!!!!!" Throw me in that briar patch, Manna from Heaven, shooting yourself in the foot, etc. Bill, a word of advice... DON'T GO THERE. You will only remind people that your sole qualification for the Governorship is that it is "Your Turn". If you want to see what "policy experts" can accomplish, take a walk with Obama and Crist on our ruined beaches.
Right now the ONLY issue McCollum has is that Scott challenged him to debate, McCollum accepted and is now saying Scott is ducking. The sooner Scott debates McCollum, the better. Scott just needs to make sure he has a good set of professionals murder board him before the debate. McCollum Must WIN the debate, Scott needs only to hold his own.
That's it for now..stay tuned. Practical State's "Umpire" will have a major update on Florida District 2 at the end of the week. This is a vulnerable seat and is a strong candidate for a GOP pick-up.
Bloggy Bayou, out.