John Morgan is the ubiquitous trial attorney who has his name plastered on everything from buses to billboards all around the state.
Hes the one who ponied up millions of dollars to help get Amendment 2, the so-called medical marijuana amendment, on the ballot.
Since the summer he has been traveling the state and debating sheriffs on potential effects if the amendment were to become enshrined in our state Constitution.
He has never debated anyone in the state capital and earlier this summer an invitation was issued to him to debate a sheriff at the monthly meeting of the Network of Entrepreneurs & Business Advocates (NEBA) on Oct. 28 -- that's Tuesday.
He even reconfirmed through his office on Oct. 9 that he would be attending the meeting.
Except, he isnt!
As the polls have shrunk dramatically, John apparently has decided he cant afford to be in Tallahassee.
You remember when, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, Amendment 2 was polling at 88 percent?
The last published poll by the Bay News 9/Tampa Bay Times/UF Graham Center showed only 48 percent support for the amendment now that the loopholes and vague wording have been shared with Florida voters.
A 40 percent drop. Now thats what you call smoke and mirrors.
Johns alleged excuse is that he is going to be taping with the Today show about what his day is like. But come to find out, the Today people aren't taping until Wednesday.
So why not keep to his commitment and debate a sheriff in front of a crowd of business leaders in Tallahassee?
Well, I couldnt get a straight answer from him.
Of course he offered up a substitute.
But everyone wants to see the John Morgan who recently went viral on YouTube where he profanely encouraged everyone to fu#@ing vote or otherwise theyll lose this opportunity to get medical marijuana on the ballot.
Unfortunately, a commitment by John, with whom Ive been acquainted for years, is not binding.
Last week I was at a forum at the University of Miami Medical School where his Amendment 2 campaign manager Ben Pollara was also, and when I cited to the attendees that the amendment wasnt going to pass because it was only polling at 48 percent, Ben said that it may go down, but it would poll at least 57 percent or 58 percent.
This was videotaped.
An admission of defeat.
Calling all potheads: Amendment 2 is going down and both your campaign manager and your leading proponent now admit that the amendment is a lost cause.
Florida is about to become the first state in the country to reject medical marijuana.
Poor George Soros. Pity John Morgan.
They spent millions of dollars to see their efforts go up in smoke.
They said it was about compassion. About end-of-life pain. About suffering.
But when they rolled out the Pot Bus Tour, they didnt go to Hospice centers, ALFs or senior citizen centers.
They went to college campuses, according to their own press releases.
Lots of pain and suffering and end-of-life concerns for matriculating students there.
No, this was a campaign of desperation to begin with.
A callous attempt by Democrats to change the outcome of the elections.
And every notable Democrat -- elected or formerly elected -- has endorsed the idea.
Not a one, except for DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, dared challenge the hypothesis.
And she was unmercifully ridiculed by John himself.
Ive opposed this amendment from the start.
Even when it was polling at 88 percent, because its just not the right thing to do.
And most Floridians know that intuitively as well.
But John has hit the mother lode. A taping with the Today show.
That puts all of his billboards and bus benches to shame.
So this isnt really about Amendment 2, its about the self-aggrandizement of John Morgan.
And if a debate in Tallahassee gets in the way, a week before the election, when the polls show defeat, well, his word just isnt a commitment anymore in his mind.
Barney Bishop III, one of the most familiar faces within the state business community, is CEO of Barney Bishop Consulting LLC in Tallahassee.