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Joe Henderson: WWRSD (What Would Rick Scott Do)?

After being force-fed more Rick Scott commercials on TV than I can count, all I’ve really heard from the man who wants to be our next U.S. Senator is that Bill Nelson is (paraphrasing here) washed-up, tuckered-out, and devoid of new ideas.

One lady in a Scott ad allowed that Nelson seems like a good guy, but he has been around forever and so we ought to elect someone else.

Rick Scott approves that message, and that is basically all he has had to say:

Nelson bad, Nelson bad, Nelson bad.

Scott good?

Depends on your point of view I guess. And it does remind people that Scott has hammered his opponent in multiple ways, he hasn’t actually talked much about what he will do if he defeats Nelson.

Take the latest attack by the Scott camp, calling Nelson a Democratic “rubber stamp” for judicial appointments while Barack Obama was president.

It says that Nelson voted yea on more than 300 people Obama nominated for judgeships. He never voted to turn one down.

As reported in Florida Politics, Lauren Schenone, Press Secretary for Scott for Florida, said: “Bill Nelson’s voting history shows that he puts partisan politics before Floridians, even when it comes to something as important as judicial nominations,” said

“Bill Nelson didn’t vote against a single one of Obama’s judicial nominees, but he obeyed party leaders in voting against Supreme Court Justice (Neil) Gorsuch and decided to vote against a Florida judicial appointee he personally recommended once Chuck Schumer told him to. That’s because Bill Nelson isn’t in Washington to be a leader for Florida — he’s in Washington to be a rubber stamp for Democrats.”

Well, it’s true that Nelson recently decided to vote against confirming Allen Winsor for a spot on the Northern District of Florida court after initially saying he could support President Trump’s nominee. He said new information came before the Senate Judiciary Committee that caused him to change his mind.

Whether you buy that explanation or not, it really doesn’t matter. The decision is red meat for Scott’s campaign, as long as no thinks about the uncomfortable follow-up question that must be asked: WWRSD?

What Would Rick Scott Do?

I mean, you can’t decry your opponent for being a party-line rubber stamp unless you plan to go to Washington and turn over the tables with principled votes that go against, say, Mitch McConnell’s agenda.

And Scott wouldn’t do that — unless, of course, he had a high desire to be shunned by Senate leadership and shuffled off to the Subcommittee on Investigations into Possible Links Between Backgammon and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

With likely rare exceptions, Scott would dutifully push the green button on Republican-sponsored bills and red for anything offered by Democrats.

It’s how Washington operates, which explains why Scott hasn’t invested a lot of airtime and space on telling us what he will do if elected.

As the campaign goes on, I assume Scott and Nelson will get around specifics about what they hope to do for Florida.

Right now, though, the Scott strategy is to tag Nelson as often as possible as a Washington lightweight who does what the Democratic leadership tells him.

They’re betting no that, for now, one will ask Scott, “Why would you be any different?”

When that question eventually is asked, they’d better have a good answer that has more substance than, well, he’s not Bill Nelson.

Written By

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.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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