Joe Henderson: If Andrew Gillum is radical, so are lots of people - Florida Politics

Joe Henderson: If Andrew Gillum is radical, so are lots of people

The Republican game plan to defeat Andrew Gillum has been clear from the start: Paint him as the compromised puppet of billionaire Democratic donors who want to unleash a radical socialist agenda on Florida that would END LIFE AS WE KNOW IT!!

Sorry, I didn’t mean to shout.

We saw some evidence of that on this most excellent website just the other day in a commentary by conservative John Stemberger, head of the Florida Family Policy Council.

Stemberger noted that Gillum opposes “robust Second Amendment rights” and even bragged about leading protest marches.

Well, to a lot of people, that isn’t exactly a “radical” idea. In the wake of the Parkland massacre, there were massive protests and several polls showed between 65 and 70 percent of Floridians wanted tougher regulations on firearms. Maybe those who oppose that are the radical ones, huh?

Stemberger also referred to Gillum as “impressive” — which obviously he is. He stormed from behind in the final days of the primary campaign to win the nomination. Somebody must like him. We know Bernie Sanders does.

That group won’t include Republicans, of course — but it likely does number a majority of Florida’s 3.5 million voters who have no party affiliation.

If I may offer just a tiny bit of advice to my GOP friends, it would be this: Be careful with all that “radical” talk.

It’s not “radical” to say health care isn’t a privilege reserved for those who can afford good insurance. It’s not “radical” to say the failure to expand Medicaid to the neediest citizens is a moral failing by a government that should try to represent all the people.

It’s not “radical” to say our public schools deserve better than they have gotten from a state government masking attacks on the teachers’ union as educational reform.

Nor is it “radical” to question why Tallahassee, under Republican control for 20 years, has taken to slashing and burning environmental protections in a state where the great outdoors is kind of important.

Here’s what has happened, though.

After controlling everything in Tallahassee for two decades, Republicans have become tone-deaf. They believe they’re responsible only to people who believe in the same things they do, and to hell with everybody else. That ignores the fact, by the way, that Rick Scott won two elections to be Governor by about 1 percentage point each time.

They haven’t had to care what opponents thought and wanted for so long that anything beyond their own agenda seems, well, radical.

That’s why in their deepest recesses, they are afraid of Andrew Gillum.

They should be.

I’m sure they noticed how he squashed his opponents in South Florida in the primary.

Andrew Gillum got nearly 40 percent of the vote in a 5-way field in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and the turnout was significant. Getting out the vote has always been a problem for Democrats, especially in nonpresidential years. That might be changing.

Gillum has tapped into the frustrations of people who feel left behind and ignored by the GOP, and they vote too — especially when the Republican candidate, Ron DeSantis, clings to Donald Trump like a shadow.

None of that is “radical” Republican friends.

It’s just reality.

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.

30 Comments

  1. While I believe Medicaid is a good thing & should take care of our neediest families can someone please explain to me why the Jaguar players baby mamas & children are on Medicaid? Why when they earn millions of dollars do you have to steal services from those who really need it? And why does the NFL allow this ?

  2. This is EXACTLY how I see Andrew Gillum….someone who won’t be afraid of, and will stand up to, the GOP’s big donors and what the current Republican administration has tried to do to this state. Someone who will fight for the little guy instead of the billionaire class.

    1. @Sam, I believe Karen is referencing a ” fake” news story that was featured on Fox …probably on one of Hannity or Tucker Carlson’s shows. So I seriously doubt the validity of it…when I tried to research it nothing came up so…just another false narrative promoted by right-wing propaganda hosts on Fox.

      1. Are their left wing propagandists on MSNBC or CNN? Just askin – by the way – I watch NO – MSM I do my own homework and thinking. At least I can today – it is not illegal yet !

        If we all outrage – let’s find something we can all be outraged about and take care of it – then maybe we can talk about the divisive things. We seem to have forgotten how adult society works today. Let’s tackle bigger common matters first. Then we can start to heal !

  3. Sounds like the author of this piece is a socialist. Socialists love promising “rights” and paying for them with money that is not their own. Truth is, there is no right to food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, or any other tangible that requires the labor of someone else to produce it. Taxation is the bane of a vibrant, growing economy. Government must take away from someone to give to another.

    Private business creates, while government does not. Government spending is always less efficient than private spending. $1 spent in the private sector gets you more that $1 spent via government.

    Charity is never forced, it is given freely.

    1. Oh my goodness Greg….please do some research on what “socialism” actually IS…socialism is where the government CONTROLS all corporations…it has nothing whatsoever to do with charity…or food, clothes, etc. Socialism is just the newest buzz-word being used by the Republicans, in their latest attempts at fear mongering…that’s the ENTIRE GOP playbook now…is just to SCARE the electorate as much as possible while also drawing attention AWAY from their own failed policies and promises. For instance…where is that GREAT and LESS EXPENSIVE healthcare they promised? Where is all that new infrastructure they promised? When will they get Mexico to pay for that wall as promised? Of COURSE they followed thru wirh those tax cuts for big corporations as promised.. after all…they’re not going to let their BIG DONORS down…but as for the rest of their promises..we’re all still waiting. So far all MOST of us see is CONSTANT CHAOS and an OUT-OF – CONTROL Potus…those of us who actually have our eyes wide open, that is.

      1. Socialism is not new. It is what it is. It has an intended goal. Wrapping Marx in Gilliam speak still makes it socialism. If it so great call it what it is and defend it. Because what he is discussing is not constitutional or democratic.

        We all want what is best for all. Let’s be careful on both sides we do not over inflate or on the other diminish the reality of Socialism. It is real – it has killed millions and the policies advocated while compassionate in their intent are not the place for government to decide. That is socialism. Government defined business practice, standard of living, etc….

        So let’s start where we all have common ground then work from their. There are too many important things occuring in our State for us not to have adult conversation about cause and remediation. Government is not the answer all the time. Especially on social issues and matters.

  4. I think this is probably my first comment on a public website, but I feel compelled to reply to Karen’s post. I am a Florida attorney, and my practice has been focused on Medicaid and Medicaid eligibility issues for over 20 years. Medicaid is a very complicated Federal program administered by the States with strict financial testing. Absent outright fraud or a child with profound and severe, I can assure everyone reading this that the children of NFL players do not meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid.

  5. And since some of you have apparently tied “Socialism ” to free health care…thwn I guess Canadians are “Socialists” as well, huh…since they have free healthcare…guess all those living in Germany and the UK are ” Socialists ” too, huh? Every other civilized, developed country has health care that’s provided by the government except us. My brother & his wife have lived in Stuttgart Germany for the last 30 YEARS and they said the healthcare there is excellent and they have many choices of specialists & surgeons, etc. My sister- in-law has a blood clot in her eye and my brother said they have seen several specialists so far to get different opinions…so it’s far from the government being in charge of your care…it’s just that you are not charged for it…it is paid for by your taxes. Wouldn’t that be nice…instead if our tax dollars ( which they’re not gonna let us keep in our pockets anyway) went to programs that actually helped US…instead of paying for crap like $135,000 OFFICE DOORS for Secretary Zinke…or for them to charter private jets, etc????? I think so.

  6. Staatssozialismus <– State Socialism – I lived in Garlstedt Germany for 4 years – trust me when I tell you they are socialists. Do you know most workers pay in excess of 60% of what they earn to the government so the government can tell recipients where to live – where to go to the doctor – what to ride – what to…you name it. It is socialist.

    Let's just c all it what it is and have and adult discussion. Based in fact and not emotion.

    1. Socialism – /sōSHəˌlizəm / – a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

      A transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.

        1. I agree actual REAL socialism does not work and it is certainly not a platform I would get behind. My point remains I don’t understand why we are even DEBATING socialism when there are no candidates running for office in the state of Florida that is running on a “socialist” platform…so I will reiterate this is simply the GOP’s NEWEST buzz-word that they are trying to scare everyone with…nothing more. But I’d much rather discuss why , although he announced his candidacy all the way back in January , which is TEN MONTHS AGO, he backed out of an interview with Tampa Bay Times this past Tuesday, where he was SUPPOSED to lay out what HIS platform is…he said he ” still needed time to flesh it out”….huh???? Yet he has PLENTY of time to go on Fox TV shows and talk about Donald Trump and national issues…the one ad I’ve seen ( ad nauseum) is of him speaking baby gibberish to his kids about…wait for it…Donald Trump…NOTHING about what HE will do for Florida…nope…just that he WORSHIPS Donald Trump. Okay…whatcha gonna do when a Cat 4 hurricane is headed our way, Desantis? Any ideas about the toxic algae killing our marine life and hurting tourism? Expand Medicaid or no? Oh and how about making sure our nursing homes have backup generators….something that Rick Scott has STILL failed to address…75 % of our nursing homes STILL don’t have backup generators, even after all those senior citizens DIED last year after Hurricane Irma…not to mention even though 12 deaths were listed as “homicide” there has STILL been no charges bought. So…do I TRUST Ron DeSantis to know what to do as Governor of a coastal state? My God…NO. At least Andrew Gillum has experience with hurricanes, etc. Adam Putnam would’ve been a much better pick by the Republican voters…but nope…he didn’t worship at the alter of Trump well enough I guess. What a mess.

          1. Again – his positions and the use of government to remediate issues is socialistic. They just are. When you take the party, candidate and everything else away his approach is socialistic in approach, design and implementation. It just is. Forced government is not liberty.

            Besides, endorsements from Sanders as well as campaign funding and support from Soros don’t help his arguments either. Both of them after all are declared Socialists. We need to know who we stand beside this day and age – they rub off ya know. I am glad we could have an open dialogue – however limited this forum allows. God Bless you – thank you for giving a damn !

  7. @Eric Miller I just don’t understand how, and WHY, some Republican voters keep falling for these buzzwords the GOP uses every election cycle to scare their voters. Remember they USED to think the word ” Liberal” was enough to strike fear in the hearts of their voters…that and “Nancy Pelosi” which is still one of their greatest ” hits” …they still try to throw that name in almost all their TV ads, don’t they? Regardless of any thing they say, I don’t know anyone who wants actual socialism in this country…we all know and appreciate how free trade works and no one wants to change that. And it is absolutely laughable that you mention “diviseness” when we currently have a Potus who THRIVES on diviseness…who wouldn’t have it any other way, because it WORKS for him. After all, as long as we’re fighting with each other, we’re not paying attention to how CORRUPT he AND his administration is…we’re not asking WHY there’s been no new infrastructure bill…or WHY the GOP hasn’t even TRIED to offer some kind of affordable healthcare bill ( remember he PROMISED during his campaign that HIS healthcare bill would be the BEST and the MOST affordable) or why he’s off playing golf every single weekend…even after he PROMISED he would be WAY too busy working hard to ever take off for golfing. .yeah…as long as we’re busy fighting with each other we’re not asking any questions about any of THAT and soooo much more .

  8. ” – @Eric Miller I just don’t understand how, and WHY, some Republican voters keep falling for these buzzwords the GOP uses every election cycle to scare their voters ” – Answer is simple – They wear an R the other side has a D. Teams – tribes – they want them warring with each other. Distraction. It works both ways and opens up a lot of doors for Corporatist, socialists, progressive and other non-constitutional ideologies to seep in. And I agree – Trump is a cultural pig. He is a chauvinist and a lot other things I do not like in a person either. He is however the President.

    I too know that the Republicans today are worthless. I am done with the R and D ripping apart. We have some big issues to deal with like adults, as you have mentioned. What we need though are Americans not R’s and D’s – we need to take a time out and try to heal before we explode. That by the way is by design.

    Once you look outside the paradigm of modern politics and the two party donnybrook – you can see a whole lot better who we need to be addressing our rage at. It is not at each other.

    1. it is 9/12 today – do you remember what it felt like to be an American on 9/12 2001? When we had a common purpose. A common National mission. We were America – even if it was only for a few weeks – we actually came together around a common purpose.

      It is true – when we come together as a nation for a common mission we are unstoppable. WWII – The Moon – etc – We have just lost our way in the communication department a little bit. Again – let’s all take a breath. Regroup as new Party as “we the People” and begin to tackle the things we all agree on. Then let’s get to the nitty gritty. Hell it will take us 30 years to deal with the big stuff – why sweat the small stuff. Time to regroup and everyone get on team America before it is too late. E Pluribus Unum

      1. Will always agree that we need to come together as Americans and as far as our politics go, @Eric Miller, we will just have to agree to disagree. But thank you for the open, civil discourse and God bless you, sir. I wish you all the best.

  9. The Left Wing has gone INSANE! If you want Florida to become Venzuela, instead of America, vote for Gillum. If you want to eat your pets, instead of having pets, vote for Gillum.
    Vote Red, or America is Dead!

    1. Oh please. America didn’t turn into “Venezuela ” in the last 10 years ,did it?! President Obama inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and under his leadership America was able to come back to prosperity…it may have been slow & difficult but we did it. Remember, in Jan. 2009 when he took office the stock market ( the Dow) was at 6750…when he LEFT office in Jan 2017 the Dow was at over 19,000. So…for all his WHINING and complaining…Donald Trump INHERITED a GREAT ECONOMY and those trends that started under Obama have only continued to get better. So please STOP with all this “socialism” and “Venezuela” NONSENSE that’s being regurgitated DAILY from the White House & Fox Faux News…it’s ridiculous and crazy.

      1. The Democratic National Committee chair, (one more time – the HEAD of the DNC) Tom Perez, has wholeheartedly embraced Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old self-described democratic socialist, calling her “the future of our party.”

        The chairman of the Democratic National Party, Tom Perez, on Tuesday said socialist political candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are the “future” of the party.

        https://youtu.be/tIriGu5dtHM

        So…. you tell me. The LEADERSHIP of the party says it is the future

        Here is Bernie on the matter https://youtu.be/-XgdtHewGR0

        Sorry – your party has left you.

      2. The Democratic National Committee chair, (one more time – the HEAD of the DNC) Tom Perez, has wholeheartedly embraced Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old self-described democratic socialist, calling her “the future of our party.”

        The chairman of the Democratic National Party, Tom Perez, on Tuesday said socialist political candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are the “future” of the party.

        https://youtu.be/tIriGu5dtHM

        The LEADERSHIP of the party says it is the future

        Here is a clip of Bernie on the matter https://youtu.be/-XgdtHewGR0

        Sorry – your party has left you.

  10. The Democratic National Committee chair, (one more time – the HEAD of the DNC) Tom Perez, has wholeheartedly embraced Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old self-described democratic socialist, calling her “the future of our party.”

    The chairman of the Democratic National Party, Tom Perez, on Tuesday said socialist political candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are the “future” of the party.

    https://youtu.be/tIriGu5dtHM

    So…. you tell me. The LEADERSHIP of the party says it is the future

    Here is Bernie on the matter https://youtu.be/-XgdtHewGR0

    Sorry – your party has left you.

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