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Tallahassee brain drain

Take the lack of institutional knowledge caused by term limits, exacerbated of late by the early retirement of a veteran legislator like state Sen. Ken Pruitt and the cancer diagnosis facing another veteran, Sen. Jim King.  Add the worst budget crisis the state has faced in decades. And sprinkle with the massive political turnover created by five statewide open seats in 2010.

A recipe for disaster?

"We are going to be spending a huge amount of time on politics when we should be tackling public policy,'' said former state Sen. Rod Smith, who lost a bid for governor in 2006 and may take a shot at attorney general in 2010. "Anyone who says this is not a sad recipe for Florida is denying reality. This is a time when we need leadership.''

Smith said he's nearly made up his mind about his plans for 2010 but isn't ready to talk about them yet. "I enjoyed public life but I haven't missed it a lick,'' he said, sounding like a guy who's going to pass on a statewide campaign.