Fabiola Santiago: Return of the real Rick Scott

06/14/2013 5:24 PM

06/14/2013 5:25 PM

I had missed the real Rick Scott.

With a reelection bid around the corner, the Republican governor and tea party darling seemed to have developed some love for the rest of his Florida constituents.

He was pushing raises for teachers, pressing college presidents to stop tuition hikes and even calling out Citizens Insurance executives on their excesses.

He could’ve fooled us.

But Scott — Paris-bound on Friday on a “jobs” mission — is b-a-a-a-ck!

On Tuesday, he vetoed a measure that would have allowed the children of undocumented immigrants, affectionately dubbed “Dreamers,” to get a Florida driver’s license.

The law, passed by the Legislature by a nearly unanimous vote, would have eased the way for the young people covered by President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order suspending deportation to get a driver’s license.

That’s all, no big deal.

For these young people, this country is the only home they know because they were brought here by their parents as children and have been educated here.

The Legislature’s action would not have given Dreamers any privileges, except being allowed to use their “approved application for deferred action status” as identification to obtain a driver’s license.

“Deferred action status is simply a policy of the Obama administration, absent congressional direction,” Scott wrote in his veto message. “Although the Legislature may have been well-intentioned in seeking to expedite the process to obtain a temporary driver license, it should not have been done by relying on a federal government policy adopted without legal basis.”

There he is, the governor who turned down federal funds for high-speed rail in Florida.

There he is, the governor who fought the Affordable Care Act, not the governor who recently endorsed a three-year expansion of Medicaid, to the chagrin of his tea party base.

It’s too bad for Scott, who may have underestimated the feelings of most voters.

According to a poll released two days after his veto, 71 percent of Floridians favor bipartisan immigration reform — which would prescribe a path to citizenship to the qualified Dreamers to whom he’s denying a driver’s license.

More bad news for the governor: Florida Republicans back the immigration reform proposal before Congress 71-22 percent. Add to that that, an even larger number — 82 percent — who said their state senator should support it, too.

Those are huge numbers. It’s not a far stretch to think Floridians might want their governor to support the Dreamers.

This might make for interesting conversation on that long flight to the Paris Air Show with his traveling buddies — among them the Miami-Dade mayor and a state representative from Hialeah.

“It’s all about jobs,” Scott said of his trip. “You just keep building these relationships to get more jobs for Florida.”

Yep, there’s the same old Rick Scott, hammering the rhetorical promise of a job.

Bon voyage, governor, just don’t let those French kids get hold of a Florida driver’s license. I’ve seen them drive their Peugeots.

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