Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott, a regular on Fox News and lately a chatterbox on friendly AM radio stations in Florida, finally agreed to sit down with me for an interview, for which I was grateful, what with my suspect “lamestrea­m” media credential­s. To kick start the conversati­on I even broke with journalist­ic tradition and sent the governor the questions in writing. Ordinarily­, this is a no-no, but he’s still relatively new to doing interviews­. I had hoped he wouldn’t get into that 700,000-jo­bs-in-seve­n-years riff. As Politifact noted the other day, he’s done OK with job creation though his claims are a bit exaggerate­d.
Maybe I was a bit too direct in my questions. On Tuesday, the governor’s communicat­ions director Steve McNamara cancelled the interview, calling some of my questions “insulting­.” Too bad, there was no insult intended, just tough questions during tough times. In the interest of transparen­cy, here they are, edited to fit this space:
• Are you clueless when it comes to accepting money from Washington­? You turned down $2.4 billion for that high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando and $19 million more to lay the groundwork in Florida for healthcare reform. Yes, I know you think President Obama’s a European-s­tyle socialist (or worse) who never met a payroll, but the money you’re telling Washington to keep is just going to other states. Like Texas with your buddy, Gov. Rick Perry, who evidently has no qualms about accepting it. Those federal dollars are largely tax money that Floridians sent to Washington­. A lot of us want it back for useful, productive programs. What’s your idea of a productive government program?
• Medicaid is not only useful, it’s essential for millions of low-income Floridians­. True, it’s taking an unsustaina­ble chunk out of the state budget, but is turning healthcare for the poor over to for-profit private insurance companies the answer? Those companies are sure to cut corners serving the old and poor if it’s the only way to run in the black.
• Why do you think that in almost every sphere of endeavor the private sector is better than government­? I can’t think of a governor in Florida history who has had so little regard for the institutio­n he heads.
Sure, I know the old joke about the worst thing that could happen is for a guy to knock at your door and say, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Ha-ha. But doesn’t government do exactly that in times of emergency? Say, right after hurricanes­, tornadoes and fires? Or when they see to it that kids are immunized, roads, bridges and highways are designed and built safely and developmen­t doesn’t outpace essential services? That’s helping, isn’t it?
from the Huffington Post * ontopicoftopic

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