Peter Schorsch: Democrats should stop whining — and just stop the other team

Having returned from a quick vacation, I find my inbox bombarded with emails from all sorts of Florida Democrats bent out of shape by the “new lows” and “repulsive” tactics of their Republican adversaries.

Upsetting Florida Dems the most is the Gov. Rick Scott campaign having trackers videotape license plates at a Democratic Party fundraiser for former Gov. Charlie Crist at a private home in Tallahassee Tuesday.

As first reported by Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press, about 200 people attended the Tuesday night event at the home of Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant. When they arrived at the home in an upscale, secluded neighborhood, they were met by Republican Party of Florida and Scott campaign staff holding anti-Crist signs and dressed in prisoner costumes.

The guests were then photographed and videotaped getting out of their cars or walking into the event and some license plates were photographed, Tant said.

“It was some sort of silly attempt to intimidate,” said Tant.

Less than 24 hours later, the Florida Democratic Party blasted out an email describing what happened as “Nixonian” and a “new low even for Rick Scott.”

“I’ve never had a tracker follow me. It was somebody right at the entrance to the driveway so they clearly got everybody that came in,” said Gil Ziffer, a Tallahassee city commissioner who has been to many political fundraisers at private homes. “I’ve never been to an event before where I’ve experienced that.”

Oh please.

Instead of whining to The Associated Press, the staffers at the Crist fundraiser would have been better off handling the situation the way Sonny Corleone is portrayed handling a somewhat similar situation in The Godfather movie.

During his sister’s wedding, the feds show up to take down license plates of the cars parked in the driveway. Hot-headed Sonny, the prince of New York City, marches right out to the, um, trackers (albeit these are from the FBI, not the Republican Party of Florida) and after one of the agents flashes a badge, he spits on the ground in front of him (a genuine insult in Italian culture). Sonny then spies another agent taking photos of the wedding, so he grabs him by the shoulders, throws him to the ground — thereby breaking the camera. Sonny then tosses a couple of bills at the interloper, not really to pay for the broken camera, but as a final sign of disrespect.

That’s how you handle trackers!

No whining to the press. No faux outrage (faux because the Democrats do pretty much the same to Republicans at their events). No incredulous emails.

Of course, in our modern, more civil society, one can’t get away with the assault and battery perpetrated by Sonny Corleone. But that doesn’t mean Democrats have to whine, either. To take a page from a more famous scene from The Godfather, the one in which crooner Johnny Fontane complains to Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone about being refused a part in a movie, Democrats can just stop crying.

Lately, that’s all the Ds seem able to do.

State Senate candidate Judithanne McLauchlan, running in one of the only competitive state Senate races, is boo-boo-hooing that she is being attacked by her Republican opponent because she filed for bankruptcy. She’s calling the attack “repulsive.” She should be describing the criticism as pro forma. You file for bankruptcy and you run for public office, you damn well better expect to be attacked for it by your opponent.

After a recent poll found Crist down in the polls to Scott, Democrats took to social media to lament the fact that the race was still tied despite Crist being outspent three to one. If Rick Scott and the Republicans didn’t have all that money, Democrats like to say, he wouldn’t be ahead.

“The fact that your opponent out-punched you three to one may explain the outcome of the fight, but it does not change it,” snorted Republican lobbyist John “Mac” Stipanovich in response to the mealy-mouthing online of some Florida Democrats.

If Democrats don’t want to be outspent three to one, find candidates who can raise money on par with the Republicans. Barack Obama did it against Mitt Romney. Nationally, congressional Democrats are doing it against their counterparts.

Teams that don’t like having the score run up on them need to do only one thing — stop the other team.

Or act a little more like Sonny Corleone.

Peter Schorsch is a new media publisher and political consultant based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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