Rick Scott casts himself as a problem solver, but after two years as governor of Florida, his biggest challenge remains unsolved: Himself.
Midway through a four-year term, a time when governors traditionally take stock of their highs and lows, Scott remains a polarizing figure, a leader who’s still awkwardly learning the ropes.
Once the toast of the tea party, Scott now must work to expand his political base as he seeks a new term in 2014.
Slow to grasp the state’s shifting political dynamics, he has made course corrections on issues such as immigration, education, healthcare and early voting.
Sued repeatedly over his policies, Scott has been cast by Democrats as a coldhearted, payroll-slashing “Pink Slip Rick,” ridiculed on cable TV for insulting the king of Spain and parodied for pushing drug-testing of state workers. The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi once tried to goad Scott into giving a urine sample on TV.
“You only get one chance to make a first impression,” said Republican strategist-lobbyist J.M. “Mac” Stipanovich.
“When you get on the wrong side of the Jon Stewarts of the world, it’s a long way back. People formed an opinion early and haven’t seen a reason to change it.” More from Steve Bousquet here.