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Nancy Smith

Adrian Wyllie ... Are You Sure, Voters?

November 2, 2014 - 6:00pm

Those votes Adrian Wyllie is reeling in are mostly coming from one place. They're the backlash from the descending black cloud of Rick Scott-Charlie Crist negative advertising.

Yes, a few of the votes were cast by Floridians who, like Wyllie, would legalize marijuana no holds barred, medical or not.

But they're certainly not based on the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate's plan for Florida. We haven't seen one yet. We have no idea what that is.

On the other hand, if voters know little about him, it'sonly partly Wyllie's fault.

We can blame him for the part that substituted attractive catch-phrases on a sign board (see below) for a substantive issue-based agenda. What we can't blame him for is not trying hard enough to get our attention -- and how the media, with the exception of Steve Bousquet at the Times-Herald, gave us nothing about Wyllie in-depth to chew on, and how three different debate organizers ignored him in spite of his pleas to be included. Like all third-party candidates, he never got enough scrutiny to be taken seriously.

Wyllie, 44, has beenquoted as saying,"No vote of conscience is a wasted vote, ever." I agree -- if your vote is the product of an informed conscience.

But, unless you know what Wyllie and the Libertarians stand for, unless you know what he would do for the economy, for job creation, for education, for transportation, for the environment, for children -- for all the parts of a state with Florida's dynamic -- then voting for Adrian Wyllie just to make a statement about "the other bozos" surely isn't enough.

I don't say this to disparage Wyllie. In fact, just the opposite. I say this because I take his candidacy seriously.

The national Libertarian Party does have a 2014 platform. That's a good place to start if you want to see where Wyllie is coming from.

Why Wyllie isn't my guy

Adrian Wyllie does have a slick website, including something called "My Promise to Florida." This is the closest thing I can find that comes to a plan. Here's what it says:

  • I will dramatically cut the size and scope of state government, reduce regulation, and eliminate property tax for all Florida homeowners.
  • I will keep government out of your wallet, your bedroom, your body, and your business.
  • I will veto any legislation that infringes upon your economic freedom or personal liberty.
  • I will defend ALL of your inalienable, constitutional rights from an overbearing federal government.

These are sound-good, feel-good goals. I'm for less government, personal liberty and a conservative fiscal policy, too. But presented like this, only in promises, it sounds like governance based on vetoes.

How is a governor going to cut the scope of state government without having a profoundly negative effect on the economy? How would Wyllie, without party representation to lift him in the Legislature, avoid having even one of his vetoes overridden?

Wyllie did say on his website, "Weactually want to cut [the budget] by 30 percent. And that is just by eliminating the waste, the fraud, the abuse, the mismanagement, the crony contracts to somebodys brother-in-law."

Where did he come up with that number?

When Bousquet asked Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, about that, Negron replied, "The idea that we can slash one-third of the state budget is fanciful and would decimate public schools. Its really a frivolous idea that we could eliminate property taxes.

Scott was an outsider when he came to Tallahassee, as Wyllie would be. Once Scott got to the capital, certainly he made rookie, outsider mistakes -- but he did at least have a party in power to help him figure it out. Wyllie, if elected, would have none of the above.

Wyllie, who lives with his wife in Palm Harbor, has no college degree that I can find. He is a 1988 graduate of Dunedin High School and a self-employed IT consultant for car dealers.

So, if elected, Wyllie, who works for himself and earned a total of $48,000 last year, all of a sudden would govern a complex state with a $77 billion budget.

One of the raps against Jim Greer when Crist hand-picked him as Republican Party of Florida chairman in 2007 was that he only had a high school GED -- no college. That was a big deal at the time -- a handicap Greer never overcame with many party members. And he wasn't signing off on anything like a state budget in the tens of billions.

Well, it doesn't matter, you say. Adrian Wyllie can't win -- and it's true, he probably won't.

The irony is that even though he won't be victorious, the folks who voted for him, however well-intentioned, probably will be the most responsible for how Florida is governed for at least the next four years.


Reach Nancy Smith at smith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423.

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