With the success of recent television shows “Once Upon a Time” and “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” fairy tales have captured the imagination of TV audiences.
So, would it be too much of us to expect a clean, issue-oriented gubernatorial race in 2014? Or is that wish another fairy tale in the making? Former governor Charlie Crist became the immediate favorite to represent Democrats against Gov. Rick Scott in 2014 when he announced his candidacy Monday. The potential head-on clash between Scott, who can outspend any likely rival, and the popular ex-Republican-turned-Democrat Crist will delight the media with all the potential storylines and possibilities for attacks and dirty tricks.
Our hope is that their strong personalities do not overpower the issues that must be addressed.
Political pundits are already annointing Crist as Scott’s opponent despite the fact the Democrats have at least one other candidate in former state Sen. Nan Rich. Crist also will be challenged to convince potential campaign donors that he is a true Democrat and not a Republican turncoat who just wants to continue his political career.
But, Crist has always been likable and his term as governor showed him to be a true moderate — not the least bit appealing to those in the tea party movement who boosted Scott into office and supported Marco Rubio’s victory over Crist for a U.S. Senate seat.
Already, however, there are rumblings that signal where Scott and the GOP — and Crist — might take this campaign. The GOP leadership has pointed out the weak employment history under Crist’s term in Tallahassee. And, as expected, they label Crist an opportunist who turned his back on his party for the sake of returning to office.
Scott is a lightning rod. Ultra conservatives and the tea party love him even though he angered some when he flip-flopped on accepting Medicaid assistance from Congress. He has a fat wallet and already has raised tens of millions of dollars for his campaign war chest.
Crist, in announcing his candidacy, claimed Scott would try to “bully me by waving around his $100 million checkbook.”
It should make for good theater. But what Florida needs is solutions to so many problems the state faces. We need candidates who will debate and take a stand.
We want to hear about what each would do about the sluggish business climate.
We want them to debate who will pay for fixing Florida’s roads and bridges.
Growth management is another issue for the two candidates to address in 2014. Current laws will limit how much control each county has over future growth. We would like to see that change.
The state’s tax system, in our opinion, is broke. How can we fix it? There are so many issues that present tempting targets for debate.
Whoever represents the two parties in 2014 should tackle these issues head-on and not make the race a personal debate. Floridians will be the losers if that happens.