Thats right. Ross underwrote the campaign of a guy who bashed Obama for being a collectivist supporter of wealth distribution and government spending.
Remember when the Romney campaign savaged Obama for saying, You didnt build that (a reference to how business owners rely on the public treasury)?
Months later, the billionaire Ross wanted some collectivist wealth distribution to help upgrade his stadium and make the value of his club far higher.
The tea party was aghast. The Republican and Democratic parties of Miami-Dade opposed the measure.
Handouts for rich
Billionaires asking for taxpayer handouts are tough to fathom. So is this fact: At the same time the Dolphins owner wanted public money for his stadium, he was in talks to buy . . . a bank!
Ross literally has enough money to purchase a place that stores money, has ATMs and makes loans.
Ross could hire the best lobbyists and spokesmen money can buy, but in the end he needed to do his own speaking and his own lobbying to explain himself.
He never did. He never could explain why one of his employees suggested it would be unwise for Ross to use his personal billions to retrofit his own stadium.
Some other sports clubs didnt have as tough a time, however. The Legislature signed off on a deal to help publicly finance spring-training baseball facilities.
But the Dolphins deal was different. Its haunted by the Miami Marlins deal.
For years, the Marlins tried and failed to get legislative approval for a new stadium. It failed time and again.
In 2006, for instance, West Miami Rep. Marco Rubio stood at the speakers rostrum just before midnight asking then-House Speaker Allan Bense to bring up a Marlins bill. Bense shook his head. The session ended.
Seven years later, a similar scene played out with Weatherford as Hialeah Rep. Eddy Gonzalez pleaded for the Dolphins.
Oh, yeah. Weatherford is Benses son-in-law. Killing Miami-Dade stadium deals runs in the family.
The Marlins set the bar for pro-sports stadium deals in the Legislature.
When a frustrated Miami-Dade County Commission decided to go it alone and steer tax money to the ballclub, the political fallout helped lead to the recall of the county mayor and a commissioner. Norman Braman, a billionaire car dealer and former NFL team owner himself, helped fund opposition to the Marlins and then the Dolphins deal.
But unlike the Marlins, the Dolphins have built up a store of goodwill in Miami and Florida. It is an iconic club. It does great charity work. Anyone who works for the Dolphins or owns it has a real stake in the community.
The Dolphins plan would have used hotel bed taxes paid by tourists and a type of state sales-tax subsidy, but it differed completely from the Marlins deal in this regard: Citizens would have voted on the core of the proposal.
But Ross clearly didnt like all this direct-democracy stuff.
In the few interviews he gave (never with the political reporters of the Capitol press corps), he expressed discomfort with the fact that the public would have a say over public money. He said at one point that he absolutely wished the public had no say.
A secret deal?
Ross said in his public statement on Friday that Weatherford secretly promised a vote of the House. Weatherford denied it.
By the time the Senate bill reached the House, it took a two-thirds vote to pass. House leaders say the votes werent there. The Dolphins say they were.
Regardless of whos telling the truth, its hardly a tear-jerker: Billionaire pouts that a politician misled him over a clandestine out-of-the-sunshine deal to help steer public money to his stadium. This is the same House that balked at expanding Medicaid to cover more than 1 million Floridians.
Ross and his team never mentioned this alleged Weatherford promise on Monday when the billionaire watched the full Senate approve the plan before it was sent to the death chamber of the Florida House.
At the time, Hialeah Republican Sen. Rene Garcia was one of the few voices of opposition. Garcia inveighed against the fact that the deal did almost nothing to help the little guy in his district but benefited the billionaire.
Ross didnt want to talk about it as his handlers tried to shield him from spending more than a few minutes with the press.
I want this to be my legacy for Miami-Dade County, Ross said.
How do you feel about the fact that Garcia called you out for wanting public money as a billionaire?
Its not true, Ross said. So what are you going to say?
Well, you can start with the truth.
No amount of money could hide that or the fact that, in the end, Ross has the parental rights to his own failure in Tallahassee.