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Diane Roberts: Rick Scott street-walkin' his way to Washington

OCCUPIED TALLAHASSEE – The annual Harlot Show and Prostitution Expo – commonly called the Florida legislative session – has been such a wowsa so far, we’ve neglected to pay sufficient attention to the mack daddy in the Mansion.

You know, Rick Scott. He’s not governing; he has people for that. He’s running for the United States Senate.

Though Florida is a purplish state, with more registered Democrats than Republicans, Scott figures the donkeys won’t turn out to vote in 2018, any more than they did in 2014 (thanks, South Florida!). They’ll be washing their hair. Or something.

So Scott’s working on getting the attention of the anti-regulation, anti-tax, anti-government billionaires inclined to fund candidates of his ilk. Last week he went out west to pimp Florida, reminding California shipping execs that Florida has ports, but no unions! Nothing to get between them and the full pleasurable experience of screwing the workers.

Scott criticized California as bad for business, accompanied by an ad campaign proclaiming, “Florida is Ready!”

And cheap. Really, really cheap. So cheap that whatever your sick, weird fantasy might be, Florida will fulfill it in fifty shades of tropical.

Never mind that California is home to 54 Fortune 500 companies, while Florida has 16. California also has a bouquet of top-ranked public and private universities, and Florida, well, doesn’t. The CEO of the Sacramento Economic Council said if cost was the only thing business cared about, “we’d all be living in Mississippi.”

Meanwhile, back in Florida, the sea is rising. The collective IQ at the South Florida Water Management District, stocked with Scott appointees, is falling. The city of Hallandale has had to abandon three-fourths of its drinking water wells. Too salty. We’ve drained, destroyed or dirtied so much land that once acted as a recharge area or, as in the Everglades, a giant filter protecting the aquifer, that soon South Florida’s going to have a king-hell water problem.

Scott doesn’t notice. Or care. We could make a start on fixing our water problem by buying Everglades agricultural land south of Lake Okeechobee – the state has an option on it that runs out in October.

But US Sugar would rather rape and pillage the land for profit, and Scott had better be sweet to them if he wants to make it to DC.

Did you hear that some mysterious person or persons (Big Shug, anyone?) paid actors to show up at the SFWMD meeting to “protest” buying the land? Then, when the Everglades Coalition sent environmentally-concerned South Florida students to Tallahassee to lobby the legislature, US Sugar’s Judy Sanchez claimed moral equivalence with the people who got $75 to yell stuff they didn’t even understand outside SFWMD: she seems to think a 9-hour bus ride, a hotel room and a bit of free food constitutes “buying folks.”

Folks are way cheaper than they used to be.

But we digress: the Climate Issue that Dare Not Speak Its Name provides Jon Stewart with endless material while Rick Scott won’t talk about it. He won’t talk about not talking about it, either.

This makes him a natural for big time Republican politics. They aren’t keen on science – see Inhofe, James; Paul, Rand and, oh hell, the entire Republican presidential field.

As if that weren’t sufficiently demented, now Rick Scott is filing a lawsuit against the federal government. Over Medicaid expansion. Because why shouldn’t everybody pay for expensive Emergency Room visits?

Try to keep up, now: he was against Medicaid expansion, because, Barack Obama. Then he was for it. Now he’s against it. Again.

The federal Low Income Pool, due to be phased out last year (but extended for this year) will be replaced by a program linked to the Affordable Care Act. Scott demands the feds cough up the cash without any tinge of Obamacare. This is odd, seeing that Florida is the capital of Obamacare, with a greater ACA enrolment than any other state.

         Plus, the state is in the middle of negotiations with the feds over the LIP and Medicaid. Strange time to sue, if the goal is to provide care for the poor. But then, that’s not the goal. The goal is to stand firm on Tea Party dogma.

Scott said: “Not only does President Obama’s end to LIP funding in Florida violate the law by crossing the line into a coercion tactic for Obamacare, it also threatens poor families’ access to the safety net health care services they need.”

It doesn’t, it isn’t and it won’t – not if Florida agrees to a program that would help more than 800,000 Floridians. Besides, we’ve already contributed via federal taxes. It’s not like saying “no” saves us money.

Scott’s preening for the Koch-cameras, spreading his tail feathers, showing his stuff. He couldn’t look more for sale if he were leaning out of an Amsterdam window, dressed only in a leather bustier.

Diane Roberts teaches at Florida State University. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

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Diane Roberts teaches at Florida State University. Her latest book, “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America,” will be out in paperback in the fall.

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