Rick Scott is in the midst of his “amnesia tour.” With the November election approaching, he is traveling across the state announcing he is for all the things he has been against, hoping Floridians don’t remember what he has been doing for the past four years.
Thursday he announced that if you re-elect him, he will bring education spending to record levels, even though it was a guy named Rick Scott who sought the largest education cut in Florida history. Last week, he announced he wants to restore Florida’s waterways even though it was Scott who dismantled and gutted Florida’s environmental protections.
So what should you think of Rick Scott’s election-eve promises?
Just ask the Labrador retriever, Reagan, if you can trust Scott’s promises. Remember the dog Scott “rescued” right before his last election? Scott adopted him, and even had an online naming contest to make sure animal lovers who voted knew that Scott loves puppies.
After election, the dog disappeared. It took the media two years to get Scott to admit he secretly turned the dog back in just weeks after he was elected.
If Reagan is alive, I’m pretty sure he has a dim view of Scott’s election-eve promises.
Scott says he will spend $100 million to try to get Floridians to forget virtually everything he did up until this campaign season. Unfortunately for Scott, Floridians are not as forgetful as he hopes.
First, Floridians are not going to forget who he is. Rick Scott’s the guy who ran a company that was convicted of stealing hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars. While our Constitution allows common criminals to avoid incriminating themselves, having a governor who pled the Fifth 75 times is a little embarrassing.
Second, Floridians remember what Scott did before his re-election campaign started.
And there is a lot to remember.
He’s the guy who, upon election, tried to cut over $2 billion in education funds for no reason other than to let his Tea Party supporters know he was one of them. His request was so outrageous that even the conservative Florida Legislature refused to cut as much as he wanted.
Remember when Scott signed and defended in the courts an election law that cut early voting and created chaos at the polls? Thousands of Floridians had to wait upwards of nine hours in some places to vote. Scott refused to extend early voting hours, declaring “the right thing happened.” Now he claims to be all for shorter lines!
While he is trying to warm up to the Hispanic community, Floridians will recall that it was Scott who believed that the way to reform immigration was to implement an “Arizona-style” law that would allow police to target Hispanics. I wonder whether the Hispanic community will let that one go.
His recent promise that he wants to clean Florida’s waterways is ironic. It was Scott who dismantled Florida’s environmental protection agencies and eliminated the department that made sure developers pay for the costs of their projects.
And of course, while he claims he will do everything he can to keep college tuition low, Floridians will not forget that it was Scott who implemented 8 percent and 5 percent tuition increases in the two previous years, while he cut $300 million from higher education funding.
Yes, Rick Scott is on a tour to save the state and it’s so misleading that it will, in fact, save Florida… from Rick Scott. If you don’t believe, just ask Reagan the rescue dog.
Dan Gelber is a former Democratic state senator and supporter of Charlie Crist. Column courtesy of Context Florida.