Rick Scott certainly learned to play the political game extremely well, especially for someone who rose to power as an anti-politician.
That’s why Democrats should be more than a little concerned that Florida’s junior U.S. Senator is the National Republican Senatorial Committee chair. Scott is crafting the party’s strategy to win back that chamber in the 2022 midterms. And if we should understand anything about Scott by now, it’s that he knows how to win.
He is savvy, ruthless, and relentless. Scott also has an instinct to relay the right message at the perfect time and never go off-script.
How many times did we hear “let’s get to work” on his way to becoming Governor in 2011? Sure, he was awkward — soaring oratory was not and is not his strong suit — but Florida was deep in a recession, and he pounded that simple message from the outset of his campaign.
It also helped that he poured $64 million from his ample bank account into the campaign. Let’s not forget that.
The fact Scott was willing to do that is central to his story, though. When he wants something badly enough, he goes all in. Let’s just say that if Republicans regain control of the Senate, Scott will be in line for a lot of credit from members of his party.
Many of them will owe him favors, too, and don’t think he doesn’t know that. If you don’t believe he has the White House in the back of his mind, you need to reconsider.
On “Meet the Press” Sunday, Scott said that, sure, Republicans next year should accept the endorsement from what’s-his-name in Mar-a-Lago. Actually, trollers, Scott didn’t say “what’s-his-name.” That was all me.
Anyway, Scott went on to say, “you’re going to win not because somebody endorses you.”
Translation: Candidates better have something to sell beyond blind allegiance to a clothes-challenged emperor. Maybe it’s education, the environment, taxes, immigration, or whatever clicks with the voters in those particular states.
In another interesting twist that puts Mr. Mar-a-Lago’s influence into at least a little question, Scott said the NSRC would actively support all Republican incumbents running for reelection. That includes Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who incurred the emperor’s wrath by voting to convict him during his second impeachment trial. The emperor vowed to visit Alaska and campaign for Murkowski’s opponent.
Scott’s statement, therefore, is tantamount to defiance in today’s Republican Party.
However, when asked directly, he still couldn’t say the election wasn’t stolen.
“Let me be clear. Joe Biden is President. We went through a constitutional process. Joe Biden is President of the United States,” Scott said.
It’s unfortunate that Scott, like most Republicans in Washington, can’t say out loud what everyone knows. Multiple recounts, audits, and court rulings indisputably prove that no one stole the election. To say otherwise is fake news of the highest degree.
But I guess it figures that Scott took the tap dance approach. In his world, 2020 is gone, and all the focus is winning back the Senate in 2022, and it’s about setting the agenda, not settling grudges.
If what we’re seeing so far is any indication, Scott’s game plan is already in place.