The mainstream media have had it in for Gov. Rick Scott ever since he decided to run for office.
It was exacerbated when he decided to ignore the editorial boards which were, in hindsight, a smart decision because not a single one of them would have endorsed him in any event.
Now we all know that the governor is not a seasoned politician and for many voters that was part of his attraction. Hes not a polished speaker either, but hes able to articulate his position to his followers, even though most, if not all reporters, are against everything he stands for.
The fact that he has carried out what he said he would do has only made matters worse for the left-of-center Florida press corps. As a result, the governor cant get a fair shake even if he were a James Bond martini.
Recently, Gov. Scott proposed that Florida universities and colleges should establish a $10,000 college degree. Now this is something that every Floridian would desperately hope for in these very tough times, but to hear the press and critics report it, the governor was Wal-Mart-izing higher education. Never mind that Wal-Mart is the largest retail company in the world and an extraordinary success story. Somehow the governor was doing Florida wrong.
Yet, every state college eventually decided to accept the challenge and as a result, they will deliver a college degree for this reasonable sum. Had a Democratic governor or nominee proposed this idea, he would have been hailed as the second coming. But this GOP governor? Nope. Nada.
Recently, the governor decided to acquiesce to the will of the citizenry in allowing for the expansion of Medicaid with federal largess. The public is overwhelmingly in favor of this position. Interestingly, almost every reporter made it into a flip-flop with headlines blaring. Yet, just last week U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Mark Warner, both Republicans, decided to switch their position and support gay marriage. But national reporters, in favor of this left-of-center position didnt chide either senator with a story of flip-flopping; no, they reported instead that their thinking had evolved.
Now, if that isnt the pot calling the kettle black, I dont know what is. You see, how a reporter uses key code words will tell you exactly what you want to know about their political leanings. And for the Florida press corps, their unwritten rule is that Gov. Scott must be demonized every step of the way.
Since this governor has taken office, he has committed himself to just two things: that he will focus every day on creating jobs for Floridians and that he will always keep in mind the average citizen and what they need in order to survive this chaotic and lurching economy. So, the fact that the unemployment rate has gone significantly down is just a matter of fact, not the erstwhile work of a governor committed to job growth.
Yet, I will make a prediction right now, 19 months before the next election. Every newspaper, save perhaps one, will endorse the Democratic nominee who almost certainly will be Charlie Crist. For a long time I didnt think that the Democratic establishment would accept Charlie, but recently, when former Gov. Bob Graham opined that he had no problem with Charlie becoming the nominee, it became clear to me that it is a fait accompli. It seems Democrats are willing to win at any cost, and so they are willing to embrace anyone despite their sordid past.
Whether its getting rid of numerous rules that make doing business in Florida challenging, or clearing the way for the Everglades cleanup, pouring state dollars into our ports to keep Florida at the forefront of economic competitiveness in exports/imports, supporting an across-the-board teachers raise and a proposed raise for state employees, its readily apparent that Gov. Scott will be cast in the harsh light of flip-flopping, rather than the genteel moniker of evolutionary thinking.
Regardless of what our governor does or says in the next two years, Florida-based reporters will try to paint a thin veneer of fairness.
Dont be fooled.
It will all just be a fade, because they cant wait to have a do-nothing, always-looking-for-the-next-job Charlie back in the governors mansion with his proverbial hand-over-his-heart mouthing, I love Florida, I love Florida with all my heart.
We were all fooled once and I certainly hope that we dont get fooled again.
Barney Bishop III, one of the most familiar faces within the state business community, is CEO of Barney Bishop Consulting LLC in Tallahassee, and president and CEO of The Florida Smart Justice Alliance.