Winner and Loser of the Week in Florida politics — Week of March 23

Kudos to city and county officials throughout Florida who made the tough choices. But resounding boos to anyone who still thinks COVID-19 is a media-driven hoax.

So, what has everyone been up to lately?

Catching up on Turner Classic Movies? Organizing the closets? Binging on “Tiger King?” Watching the Tom Brady marathon on ESPN?

These are worthy pursuits, but here at Florida Politics, we put duty ahead of indulgence, even in times of global peril when we’re all supposed to hide under the bed.

That must mean it’s time for our weekly Judge-O-Matic endeavor called “Winner and Loser.”

We begin with the Winners:

Honorable mention: The People of Florida.

Sachs Media Group surveyed 3,100 Floridians about how they’re handling the situation wrought by the Virus That Shall Not Be Named. The conclusion: Only 2 percent say the measures in place to deal with “it” are not worthy of such a fuss.  More than 9 out of 10 Florida voters have the opposite view.

They are following most, if not all, of the safety guidelines advocated by medical experts (you know, the people who actually WENT TO COLLEGE TO STUDY THINGS LIKE THIS AND KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS THAN ANY DENIER!!!

There may be hope for us yet.

And a special nod to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. It reversed its earlier ruling that barred the sale of mixed drinks for diners ordering “to-go” meals – which is the only kind most people can order these days.

After consulting with the Secretary, the Governor, and ABT Leadership, we are relaxing the “sealed alcoholic beverage requirement,” the agency said in a release. “Effective immediately, licensees can sell cocktails, wine and beer in cups, jugs, and other reasonable containers, as long as the alcoholic beverage is for consumption off the licensed premises.”

That’s one small gulp for a man, one giant gulp for mankind (once safely home and no longer behind the wheel).

Runner-up: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Rubio is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He was a key player in a $300 billion aid package for small businesses that are hit hard by the pandemic.

America’s more than 30 million small businesses — and the 59.9 million individuals they employ — today face the prospect of going bankrupt,” Rubio said. “They face this threat due to no fault of their own, but because of a global pandemic that takes human lives and grinds productivity to a halt.”

Well done, sir.

But the big winner: This was an easy call. It goes to the City and county officials throughout Florida that “get it” on COVID-19.

We know it can be challenging in a state that is dependent on tourism to shut everything down in one of the busiest months of the year. But throughout Florida, mayors and county commissioners made tough calls in the name of public safety.

They had to do it, though.

The next step is to ensure those suffering economic damages get the help they need. This thing is like nothing we’ve seen.

Now, we switch to the part of our program that focuses on those who didn’t have such a good week. We call them the Losers:

Dishonorable mention: U.S. Sen. Rick Scott argued against the $300 billion COVID-19 aid package. Why? There was a provision he said would pay laid-off workers more in unemployment compensation than their work salaries.

Put more simply – using taxpayer dollars to pay people more to not work than they would receive if they were back on the job is just silly,” Scott said after he voted to approve the overall bill.

Thanks for reminding everyone that as Governor in 2011, Scott led the charge to cap unemployment at $275 per week for 12 weeks. Try living on that in today’s economy. #tonedeaf.

Runner-up: Normally, the last week in March is one of the best times for sports fans. The National Hockey League would be getting ready for the playoffs. Major League Baseball’s season would be starting. The NCAA basketball tournament would be filling out its Final Four for men’s and women’s teams.


But it didn’t stop ESPN from unveiling its Opening Day baseball power rankings. Spoiler alert: the Tampa Bay Rays are 4th overall. The Miami Marlins are 27th.

There can only be one No. 1 loser, though.

Drumroll, please.

The unquestioned louse of losers: Anyone whoever said the COVID-19 pandemic as a media-driven hoax.

Try telling that crap to the heroic health care professionals working themselves to exhaustion. In some cases, they became sick themselves.

Explain yourself to the 54 Florida families who, as of Saturday, lost a loved one to the virus. It’s not fake news to the more than 3,700 people in Florida infected with the bug.

Then, go … oh, never mind.

Joe Henderson

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.


  • DisplacedCTYankee

    March 29, 2020 at 5:39 am

    I would never, even in non-pandemic times, drink a “cocktail” that I haven’t watched being mixed with my own eyes. And, while I feel absolutely terrible for all the restaurants right now, there is NO WAY I am eating their food, take-out or delivered. I thought about getting Chinese, then re-heating it to a high temperature, but that would ruin the meal. And what about the cardboard containers and the bag? Call me paranoid; I don’t care. I am going to Publix once a week for food and beer. That’s it. I’m 71.

  • Ocean Joe

    March 29, 2020 at 8:34 am

    If it is true that the reporter for the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times was barred from the gov’s press conference because she made inquiries about social distancing, then the people of Florida are among the ‘losers.’ While we must sacrifice and temporarily give up many freedoms for the common good, the first amendment should not be among them. Mr. Governor, you have been doing a good job, please allow this reporter in, set your staff straight. Do not mimic the ridiculous attacks on the press we see at the national level. We need leadership, not pettiness. Leadership is in short supply these days, we are counting on you. Good luck.

    • John

      March 29, 2020 at 8:59 am

      Well said. I was horrified when I saw the Herald reporter being barred from access to the press conference due to alleged social distancing —as the governor and his cabinet sat within a foot of each other. Come the F on.

Comments are closed.


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 @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704