An example. Here’s his answer, verbatim, when I asked him if he would support universal background checks for gun purchases: “It’s always easy to say do something when no one understands what it is. Anything like that, let’s be sure we understand what we’re doing, what type of things it’s going to cover.” Sounds like No, but you try to figure it out.
I also asked the governor why he’d done a total about-face on election reform and got a similar non-response. After the November election, Scott said Florida had “done the right thing” and that 4.4 million voters had cast ballots, even if some had to wait for hours to do so. Suddenly last week Scott, who refused to extend early voting hours, voiced support for extending them, for more voting sites, shorter ballots and once again allowing people to vote on the Sunday before the election.
Why the change of heart? Scott wouldn’t admit that it was. He said the problem with the November election was inefficient local election supervisors, not him or the Legislature.
So how are you going to get re-elected, I asked, when your approval rating stands at 33 percent, the lowest of any governor in the country? His boilerplate reply: “The only poll that counts is the one on election day.” Yada yada.
Scott spent more than $70 million of his own money to get elected in 2010. It paid for a brilliant TV ad campaign that humanized him and offered hope about jobs. He also had the advantage of the tea party surge and a weak Democratic opponent.
I don’t think money will play nearly as big a role in 2014 as it did last time. Florida voters have an impression of Rick Scott and it’s not favorable. Big business likes him and should. He’s been their governor. But for regular folks who struggle to pay their mortgage or rent, put food on the table and send their kids to college, Rick Scott is from another planet.
And when he fails to acknowledge issues that deeply matter to his constituents — like gun violence — he becomes the worst thing a politician can be: irrelevant.