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Absence makes the guv grow fonder

To recap: The less-than-Special Session cost the citizens nearly 700 grand, Rick Scott’s legal bills are now north of $1.5 million (not counting the lawsuit environmentalists have filed against the House and Senate for not implementing Amendment 1 or the action Planned Parenthood is likely to bring), the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has issued more bear hunting permits than there are bears, and there’s a big ole storm aiming for the Gulf of Mexico.

Did I miss anything?

Yikes! Of course I did: In Florida, government dysfunction is the house style.

Legal Barbie, aka Attorney General Pam Bondi, is fighting the EPA’s Clean Power rules.  Because we don’t want the feds interfering in our God-given right to let Big Energy pollute our air.

And you’re paying for yet another demented lawsuit, added to the one siding with polluters of the Chesapeake Bay and the one in which the twice-divorced Bondi crusaded for the sacredness of marriage.

Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell took nearly nine weeks of vacation last year and spent $30,000 traveling on alleged state bidness to Boston, New York and Las Vegas. Because, yeah! What was the question again? While O’Connell rocked the state credit card all over the planet, her division became a seething mess of scandal, with millions in property gone missing, fraud, illicit gun-buying –

On Friday, she resigned to, ahem, “pursue other opportunities in the private sector.”

Over in the legislative branch, the Republicans hate each other. Which makes sense: We hate them, too.

The House and the Senate flounced out of Tallahassee, kicking aside the debris from their latest Big Fail, not the Regular Session hissy-fit pitched when they refused to expand healthcare for poor people (though that was indeed impressive in a nauseating sort of way), but their sad, stupid, inept attempt to redraw Florida’s congressional district map.

An unedifying spectacle, even by the Legislature’s low standards.

It begins to look as though the one more-or-less functional part of Florida government, the courts, will have to take over. Again.

What of Gov. Rick Scott, I hear you ask? He’s doing great. Just great. His poll numbers are up. Well, ish: The latest Quinnipiac survey finds that for the first time in five years, more Floridians approve of him than disapprove of him. By one whole percentage point.

Political pundits attribute Scott’s newfound popularity to the fact that he’s been out of the state for much of the summer.

He was completely invisible during the redistricting Special Session. Why should the governor provide leadership? That’s so 20th century. To be fair, Scott did demand that Florida Planned Parenthood be investigated in the spurious baby-parts scandal. The investigation was a total bust, and may result in yet more public money being spent in a lawsuit, but hey, at least he tried.

He also supported his lottery secretary, claiming her “constant marketing efforts” (an interesting way to describe her two months-plus of vacation and taxpayer-funded junkets) were wonderful. Until they weren’t. And he has declared a “fathers and father figures” day in Florida schools.

Mostly though, he’s been lying low and collecting money, most recently 400 grand from the Florida Chamber of Commerce for, as POLITICO’s Matt Dixon put it, “some future political ambition he has yet to acknowledge.”

Scott may not have acknowledged it, but we can: The creature wants to take the peculiar talents that have rendered Florida a byword for bad governance to Washington. As a United States senator. Because what the nation needs is another egotistical idiot in Congress.

Diane Roberts teaches at Florida State University. 

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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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