Joe Henderson: Lauren Book’s candor shows helplessness of Democrats’ plight

In Florida, 'choice' is what Republicans say it is.

You have to give Lauren Book credit for candor.

On a Zoom gaggle with reporters, Book, the Senate Democratic Leader, called the current Legislative Session one of the worst she’s seen. Considering the buffeting Democrats have taken in recent years, that’s saying something.

“We’ve got 18 more days to go, so basically we’re in hell week until Sine Die,” Book said. “Sorry, pretty sh**ty.”

For members of her party, that’s one way to look at what’s happening in Tallahassee, but that’s probably not how Republicans see things.

The smoking irrelevance of the Democrats thus far in the Session smells like victory to the GOP.

Gov. Ron DeSantis will get just about everything he wants, despite some opposition from the Senate on his congressional map and a few other things.

The freedom party is about to win the right to tell pregnant women what they can do with their bodies. It won’t stop there, either.

“I think this year, this is all very personal, and it feels personal,” Book said. “I know it’s not coming from a mean-spirited place because I don’t believe that my colleagues are trying to pass legislation that is mean in spirit. But I do believe that this is probably one of the worst Sessions that I’ve seen, where we’re taking issues that are going to deeply, deeply affect Floridians.”

Well, I think one colleague abides in a mean-spirited place.

That would be vindictive GOP Rep. Randy Fine, who has a good chance to bully through a $200 million penalty against leaders of school districts that defied DeSantis’ no-mask order.

Well, there was a bad virus running around — perhaps you heard — and medical experts who actually study this stuff said masks would help prevent infections. Republicans countered with a #FireFauci campaign because, of course, they all hold medical degrees.

They also seized the chance to solve problems that don’t exist (see security, election) and remind women that they’re in charge. Currently, the GOP plans no abortion exemption for rape or incest. By golly, those women will carry that child into the world, after which they’re on their own.

Abortion? No choice.

Vaccines to protect against a deadly virus? Total choice.

Are we noticing a trend here? Choice is what Republicans say it is, and there’s nothing Democrats currently can do about that.

Lawmakers are supposed to solve problems during the Session to benefit the largest number of Floridians. But this Session has thus far been more about telling people how to live and what to think.

None of this lets the Democrats off the hook, though. They’re in this mess because they could bungle a one-car parade. While Republicans stick together, Democrats are a splintered mishmash of conflicting ideas that leaves independent voters wondering exactly what Democrats stand for.

They allowed Republicans to paint them as the party that wanted free stuff. Democrats were labeled elitist because they yawned and giggled when Republicans claimed patriotism and faith as core principles.

They could never cut through the unified GOP screams that abortion is murder. Along the way, Republicans defined them as socialists who are out of touch with everyday hardworking “real” Americans, and they didn’t have a sufficient rebuttal.

Republicans are doing what they said they would, and voters gave them the green light to do so. GOP lawmakers see these bills as something better — their kind of better.

Yes, Sen. Book, things look pretty, um, crappy now for your party. It doesn’t look like it will change any time soon, either. So, yeah, you’re right. There’s not much to do except to dodge confetti Republicans throw during their steamroll to Sine Die.

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.


  • Matthew Lusk

    February 21, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    It must be hard being a democrat on the wrong side of most every issue. Then you have to go home and live with your lost deplorable self.

  • Antonio

    February 21, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    This guy is such a left wing hack. It amazes me that the editor(s) of this website approve “reports” like this. And the media wonders why people don’t trust them…..

  • Alex

    February 21, 2022 at 10:39 pm

    Elections have consequences as we all know. The Democratic Party in this state is in shambles because they do not have any basic sense of how to organize. The party is held hostage by money grubbing consultants. The state party chair was never elected As a democrat he was an independent and was anointed through the pressure of certain congress man and woman. Also the senate minority leader her self has never had to run her own election the seat was bought and paid for. The facts are that Democratic policies have been better for working class people, minorities and small businesses. The republicans stand for nothing, however are brilliant at broadcasting how bad democrats are and dems take it like a bully who steals your lunch money.

    • Tom

      February 22, 2022 at 8:23 pm

      Alex, how was the hospital stay pal.
      What a crock of crap coming from you? Book and the Dems are a joke in Florida. Her father is a lobbyist. Midwest Dems are dragons compared to this clown show. Like I said, if she’s complaining it’s going well.The other clown show, Camillion Crist, Bong a Fraud, and the tarantula.

      Simpson is the problem, he’s gutting Lake O. Environmental policy, after the Gov has built it up the past 3 yrs, refusing to eliminate the gas tax for period of time, cozying up to big suga, attempting to raise state employees salaries, over working people, and refusing to rein in union pension benefits. What a joke.

    • Tom

      February 23, 2022 at 11:38 pm

      Classic lies from sedated Alex.
      What a whopper, Dem policies are better off for “working class, minorities and small businesses.”
      You gotta be hallucinating or smoking or both. LMAO.

  • Nick Ireland

    February 22, 2022 at 12:38 am

    Maybe next time, the Dems can find someone who can really lead instead of a professional victim whose only talent is having a rich lobbyist dad and a leaked video showing the other art she won her senate seat.

    • Trevor Silas

      February 22, 2022 at 12:48 pm

      Welcome back to the poor side of town.

  • Lezgo Brandon

    February 22, 2022 at 4:36 am

    Reality is democrats are authoritarian communists censoring speech while pushing anti-American rhetoric. Progressives burn our flag, open borders, demand gun registration and confiscation, want to abolish police, hate white people, open hate America’s founders and history, want the right to kill babies, push free healthcare and housing and education for illegal invaders and promote Burn Loot Murder.

  • Ron Ogden

    February 22, 2022 at 6:27 am

    “The freedom party is about to win the right to tell pregnant women what they can do with their bodies. It won’t stop there, either.”
    When it comes to freedom of choice about our bodies and the right to life, we Republicans believe it applies to every person, even the ones not born yet.

  • zhombre

    February 22, 2022 at 7:50 am

    Florida Democrats provide a great example of an impotent party in disarray but consoling themselves with sanctimony.

    • Ocean Joe

      February 22, 2022 at 10:25 am

      Actually they provide a great example of a party being gerrymandered out of power. The GOP still holds only 35% of voter registration, but controls the legislature and governor’s office. By design the districts where Democrats can win are largely minority, which blocks the rise of moderates within the party.
      So what we have is a basic return to Florida of 1959, replacing southern Democrats of the day with “conservative” Republicans and right leaning independents who like the roll back of social change, so old white guys can moralize while demonizing immigrants and minorities. Been there, done that, old Florida is rejoining the deep south so one guy can run for president.

  • Tom

    February 22, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    Wah, Wah, Wah Oceans away Joe.
    What a crock of bull jive. When Dems gerrymandered 40 straight yrs of House majority, 52 to 92, Dums & media didn’t cry.
    It’s called to the victor go the spoils.
    Buck up pal. You sound worse than Elmo slippers, peter h.

    What roll back you far left extremist. Not happening, Peeps working, living happy. Quality of life, the best thanks to Ron, America’s Gov. You guys have Biden/Harris, that’s a real problem. DeSantis is highly regarded now nationally and within state. Addresses CPAC conf Th. Last month he addressed the Open society and Federalist society in Orlando. He’s a premium now. You can thank Joe B and Jenn put a sock In it. They made him famous.
    DeSantis the best!

Comments are closed.


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