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5 posts from November 11, 2012

November 11, 2012

GOP's next dilemma: retrench or reach out

Mitt Romney’s biggest problem was staring him right in the face all along: the overwhelmingly white crowds that greeted him at parks, manufacturing plants, airport hangars and other stops on the campaign trail.

While the Republican nominee campaigned almost exclusively among white voters — whose share of the electorate has been shrinking for decades — President Barack Obama was rebuilding a dynamic coalition of young voters, women, African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics, the country’s fastest growing demographic.

Obama captured 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, helping him lock down key swing states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida. Less noticed was the 73 percent support Obama drew from Asian-Americans, an emerging force in states such as Virginia, an 11 percent improvement from 2008.

Romney got the largest share of the white vote for a Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984 and still lost.

The 2012 election has forced the GOP to the edge of a demographic cliff. Unless something is done to effectively end the decades-old Southern Strategy of appealing mainly to white voters, Republicans face an uncertain future.

“We have to accept America as it is today and not America as Ward Cleaver saw it,” said GOP strategist John Weaver. “We’re two or three elections away from Texas becoming a swing state,” he added, referring to the reliably Republican state’s rapidly growing Hispanic population. More from Alex Leary here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/10/3091769/gops-tough-choice-retrench-or.html#storylink=cpy

Exclusive: Scott and Gaetz now say they are ready to soften opposition to Obamacare

With the reelection of President Barack Obama, Florida’s Republican leaders are reconsidering their fervent opposition to federal healthcare reform, triggering a discussion that could have huge repercussions for South Florida.

At stake is more than $6 billion in federal funding for Miami-Dade and Broward over the next decade and the possibility of health insurance for a large percentage of the 1.4 million people in the two counties who now lack coverage.

After the defeat of Mitt Romney, who vowed to halt Obama’s healthcare overhaul, the Republican leaders of the Florida House and Senate quickly said the Legislature needed to reexamine the federal act. On Friday evening, Gov. Rick Scott said he agreed there needed to be a discussion.

“Just saying ‘no’ is not an answer,” Scott said in a statement that repeated exactly what Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Destin, the incoming Senate president, told The Miami Herald on Thursday.

“I don’t like this law,” Gaetz also said, “but this is the law, and I believe I have a constitutional obligation to carry it out.” He added that he thinks “there needs to be some adult debate between Republicans and Democrats” on finding ways to make the law work. Full story by John Dorschner here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/10/3091758/scott-may-shift-stance-on-health.html#storylink=cpy

Former GOP aide sings: men-only parties with hookers in the Bahamas as payback to donors

Allegations of a golf cart filled with prostitutes at a party in the Bahamas surfaced Friday in the criminal case against former Florida GOP Party Chairman Jim Greer.

Delmar Johnson, a former GOP official who is testifying against Greer in return for immunity from prosecution, described the women June 15 as he was questioned under oath by Greer's lawyer.

Johnson was asked to describe events at a 2009 gathering in the Bahamas, scheduled as a thank you party for men only. Those attending included then-Gov. Charlie Crist, lobbyist Brian Ballard and GOP finance chair Harry Sargeant, among others.

Johnson said he presumed the women were prostitutes but provided no details of what occurred. He also said Greer asked him to introduce him to some airline stewardesses but he declined.

The questions came from Damon Chase, a Lake Mary lawyer who represents Greer on criminal fraud charges brought by a statewide grand jury in 2010. He is scheduled to face trial in February.

Continue reading "Former GOP aide sings: men-only parties with hookers in the Bahamas as payback to donors" »

Child's sad death in nursing home fuels feds' case against Rick Scott administration

For 14 years, Doris Freyre cared for her profoundly disabled daughter in her modest Tampa home, pureeing fresh fruit, yams and vegetables and surrounding the girl with family photos and pictures of angels.

Marie Freyre died in the care of a $506-per-day nursing home — sobbing, shaking and screaming for her real home.

She never saw her Minnie Mouse plush toy, her Winnie the Pooh or her Cabbage Patch Kids again. She never again saw her Mami or her Abuela.

Marie had been taken to the Florida Club Care Center against her mother’s wishes. Social workers insisted the Miami Gardens nursing home was the safest place for the 14-year-old, who suffered from, among other things, cerebral palsy and seizures. But the evening Marie arrived, records show, nurses did not give her life-sustaining medications and she may have had no food except applesauce.

When Marie struggled to breathe in the two hours before she died, no one at the nursing home called a doctor.

“We are still mourning for her,” said Jose Freyre, Marie’s grandfather. “She was a part of us. It was like losing a leg or an arm or a heart. We are all hurting.”

Marie’s death stands as a bitter reminder of a dog fight between state health regulators and federal civil rights lawyers, who have accused the state of warehousing sick and disabled children as virtual potted plants. The U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights division has threatened to sue the state if it does not take steps to care for sick children outside of large institutions. Story by Carol Marbin Miller here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/10/3091570/no-place-like-home.html#storylink=cpy

Vote suppression. HB1355. And Florida's latest election debacle

Edgar Oliva waited to vote at Shenandoah Elementary School and fretted.

The line was too long. The clock was ticking. He had to get to work across town.

Twice before, during in-person early voting, he tried to vote but he had to leave because lines were even longer. Tuesday was his third try at voting in between one of his two jobs, cleaning carpets in Doral and working at an airport hotel.

About 4 p.m. on Election Day, he gave up.

“I had the intention of voting but there were always a lot of people,” Oliva, a native of Guatemala, told a Miami Herald reporter as he left the scene.

Oliva had so much company on Tuesday.

Voter after voter who spoke to Herald reporters on Election Day said the longer early voting lines dissuaded them from casting early ballots in person. And then the unexpected long lines on Election Day just compounded the sense of frustration in some places. Many dropped out of line.

The experience played out across the state. Data show the 71.13 percent turnout percentage in 2012 fell well short of the rates in 2008 (75 percent) and 2004 (74 percent).

Continue reading "Vote suppression. HB1355. And Florida's latest election debacle" »