Reubin Askew

Republicans, Race, And The Confederate South: Successors To Old Southern Democrats!

The Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln; the Emancipation Proclamation; the 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments; large scale support for civil rights in the 1960s; and having three progressive Southerners as President (Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton); and many New South Governors (including Jimmy Carter, Reuben Askew, Dale Bumpers, Bill Clinton), has now fully adapted itself to the old Confederate South, the old Southern segregationist Democrats, the South that wants the “good old days” of slavery and discrimination that existed before the Civil War and continued for another century until the civil rights movement transformed the South, or seemed to do so.

The fact is that the old Confederate South still exists, and the Republicans have become the successor to the old racist, Southern Democrats. Many of the members of Congress from the South and the Border States have no problem spewing racist statements, and backing racists, including, just recently: Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling, Paula Deen, George Zimmerman, Ted Nugent–all of whom identify with the Republican Party.

At the same time, the majority of the Supreme Court, appointed by Republicans, have weakened the Voting Rights Act enforcement and have now made affirmative action something that will be ended, rather than reformed; and the use of abusive language toward the first African American President has been done with absolutely no sign of any respect or deference for a person in the Presidency, who at least has the right to expect that. Some would say that every President suffers abuse, but none since Abraham Lincoln has faced as much hate and personal threats as Barack Obama.

Additionally, the Republican Party has done everything it can to limit the right to vote to African Americans and other minorities as the only way for them to keep power in the South, but also in the heartland, as well!

It is indeed sad that the GOP has become what conservatives love to condemn the old Southern Democrats for doing, but indeed have copied–a party of support of racism and inequality of treatment!

The Worst Governor In Florida History: Rick Scott!

Florida Governor Rick Scott may have gained less attention than other “Bully” Republican Governors elected in 2010, but he is, in many ways, the absolutely worst governor in America, and easily, the worst Governor Florida has ever had in modern history!

Florida has had some really outstanding Governors, including Leroy Collins (1955-1961); Reubin Askew (1971-1979); Bob Graham (1979-1987); Lawton Chiles (1991-1999); and Charlie Crist (2007-2011). Republican Governors Claude Kirk (1967-1971) and Bob Martinez (1987-1991) both lost re-election and were controversial. Jeb Bush (1999-2007) had his controversies, but did an excellent job dealing with eight hurricanes during his time in office.

Rick Scott came into office with the record of having paid a record fine for his Medicare corruption as the leader of the nation’s largest hospital chain, and should have gone to prison instead, for his misdeeds. He won the Governorship by only 50,000 votes, the smallest margin in Florida history.

Scott spent $73 million of his own money to get himself elected, despite a personality that was and is a turn off to most people who have any intelligence or compassion for others. It was an example of how backward Floridians were, that they would allow a convicted felon to become their Governor.

Scott has done massive damage on voting rights, privacy rights, public schools and higher education, environmental protection, and health care. His party controls three fourths of the seats in the legislature, and has taken Florida backwards at a time when it is about to become the third largest state in population.

Scott has made it harder for Florida citizens to vote; for those who are unemployed to gain unemployment compensation; for renters to avoid eviction; and made it easier for borrowers to be charged high interest rates on short term loans.

Scott has refused to accept Medicaid money for the poor, despite the fact that the federal government will pay all the costs for three years, and 90 percent after that. He fought ObamaCare tooth and nail, and still makes it difficult for citizens to apply for it.

Scott rejected federal money for high speed rail, while creating another state university, Florida Polytechnic University, which undermines the University of South Florida market for students. His administration spends less per public school student than when he took office, and promotes private charter schools over public schools. He has undermined respect for a liberal arts education, and teachers at all levels have been treated with disrespect by his education policies.

Scott has undermined the environment protections put into effect by his predecessors, and sees Florida as equivalent of a corporation that needs to be given freedom to abuse in every way possible, including health insurance rates, higher electric rates, and tax breaks for businesses that have not created the promised number of jobs.

Scott has demonstrated little concern for individual rights, wanting drug testing for state employees and welfare recipients; purging voter rolls, and restricting early voting. Luckily, there has been reaction against these ideas by courts, county elections supervisors, and the public.

The man has no compassion or empathy, and comes across as a cold, calculating individual, and it makes one wonder how Floridians could possibly consider him for a second term, but Scott is willing to spend whatever it takes to fool people, and to keep the vote numbers down by any means he can conjure up.

Scott gains less attention nationally than Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and other “Bully” Governors, all of whom are considered Presidential possibilities, but IF Rick Scott is re-elected, do not be surprised if he tries to bring his corruption, mean spirit, callousness, and lack of empathy or compassion to a national campaign for President.

One might say, wait, there is already Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio as potential candidates for President from Florida! The answer is: So What? Scott has never let ego or ethics get in his way in the past, and do not be surprised he might mount a national campaign if he defeats former Governor Charlie Crist, who has switched parties, and faces a massive challenge to be elected Governor as a Democrat, in a state with such a large Republican dominance in the state legislature!

The problem is that, even if Crist were to win, he is likely to face a hardline legislature, where only his veto might sometimes be effective, as Florida politics now represents one of the most backward agendas of any state, despite the fact that the state has nearly 20 million citizens, including many elderly, poor, sick, and disabled!

This is NOT a state where anyone who has a choice to move would decide to remain. YES, the weather is great, but the future for the elderly, the poor, the sick and the disabled, and for children in general, is gloomy!

Maryland, anyone?

The Loss Of A Classic Great Governor: Reubin Askew Of Florida (1971-1979)

When one examines the history of state Governors throughout American history, one discovers that a very large percentage of them have performed horribly, with many mediocre at best, and very few standing out as exceptional in their performance in office.

We often say that the best place to look for Presidential candidates is to go to the states, and find effective Governors, who have proven their ability to govern.

But when we look, even at the present group of 50 Governors in the United States, it is hard to find many who give one a sense of optimism, as to their honesty, concern for the average citizen, and commitment to good government.

So when we do find such a Governor, he is to be treasured, although often not recognized adequately in his own lifetime.

Such a case is former Florida Governor Reubin Askew, easily rated the greatest Governor in Florida history.

But Askew is much more than that, as he is rated by scholars in one study as one of the top ten all time Governors in the history of all states since 1789!

Askew came out of obscurity in the Florida State legislature to serve two achievement filled terms as Governor of a state with a long list of mostly mediocre Governors. He was the first Florida Governor able to have two terms in office, due to a change in the state Constitution in 1967.

Askew was one of the NEW SOUTH Democratic Governors who came out of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, and Arkansas Governors Dale Bumpers and Bill Clinton. Sadly, the Republican Party did NOT produce forward minded Governors then or since, and we see the product of it in such Governors as Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and other disastrous Southern Governors given their states by the GOP!

Askew was a liberal on racial issues, in a state not known for open mindedness and tolerance, in the years before 1970. He was able to overhaul the tax laws of the state, and to promote open government through “sunshine” laws, and also advocate environmental protection. Additionally, he promoted streamlining of the state government and courts, and also pushed ethics laws.

Askew had tremendous accomplishments, but was always very humble and decent as a human being, not letting his power to go to his head, a rare thing among state governors, past and present.

Askew was so highly regarded that he was offered the chance to be the Vice Presidential nominee with George McGovern in 1972, but turned it down. He also had a brief run for the Presidency in 1984 and for the Senate in 1988, but disliked having to work to raise campaign funds.

He was born to a poor family, worked his way through school, and never forgot the common touch, which in itself, made him a great man!

Florida and the nation have lost a true giant, a model for others, but not many are following in his footsteps, either in Florida or in other states around the nation, something to be mourned, as we mourn his death!