"The Florida Primary"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, February 4, 2012

I recall I said “no more” but being in Florida provided me an opportunity to witness what I believe to be political history. I have tried to have faith in our electoral process but things have changed.

A statement I’ve heard repeated often is, “A presidential election cannot be bought.” That may still be true but in the past week, the state of Florida experienced its primary election being purchased by Mitt Romney.

Mr. Romney not only offered proof of the statement, “Money talks,” he provided a very big example by spending an amount reported to be more than $15 million while campaigning in Florida.

I don’t understand why the shrinking middle class doesn’t seem to interest candidates. Romney’s remark, “I’m not concerned about the very poor” is an example. When he said that, I was amazed a flashing light bulb did not appear above his head, but I noted he made no suggestions about how he would help them, he followed his remark with, “The rich are doing fine.”

An example of “dirty politic” tactics used by the Romney campaign was the repeated airing of an old 1997 news release showing Tom Brokow and Newt Gingrich side by side. Brokow was reporting that Gingrich had been censored for ethics violations. NBC News and Mr. Brokow immediately requested the ad be taken down. Romney’s campaign responded saying, “It falls within the provisions of ‘fair-use doctrine’ allowing for limited use of copyrighted material.” I wonder who interprets the words “fair” and “limited?” Later commentary spoke of legal departments being involved.

The first time I saw the ad I actually thought it was breaking news. The shock presentation was, (as Mr. Brokaw always reported) very notable. The 30-second ad ran on every major channel and as the primary neared, three or four times in an hour. The week of the election, during Sunday’s news broadcast “Meet the Press,” Chris Mathews and Bob Schieffer’s shows, it ran repeatedly. Any Florida resident who watched television had to see the ad. It was on the air right up to the last hour before polls closed.

Stakes were really high because Florida’s primary awards all delegates to the highest vote getter, winner takes all. A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to secure the nomination. Romney, in spite of his big loss in South Carolina, gained 50 delegates in Florida to lead with 87; Gingrich has 26, Santorum 14 and Paul 4.

In his victory speech, Mr. Romney gloated and provided numerous interviews, until the one about his disinterest in the poor, which abruptly ended his victory

Celebration. Florida residents should thank him for the boost he provided in their economy, especially those invested in local TV and radio stations. Most Floridians’ and visitors to the state, however, are thankful he has left their state. They look forward to reclaiming their evening TV viewing without constant back-stabbing, name calling ads.

Mr. Romney cannot be blamed for his actions exclusively; the Supreme Court needs to take their “fair share” of the blame. They allowed the Super PACS to operate with unlimited spending for advertising on behalf of a candidate. It was reported there are 277 registered Super PACS who thus far have spent $49 million contributing to candidates financial funds or providing advertising payments. Make no mistake, the candidates are not in control, Super PACS are running the show.

I have attempted to be a responsible citizen and commentator by watching most of the debates. In my opinion, none of the candidates have laid out a plan to help those who have lost so much; create jobs or control illegal immigrants. All they can say is how bad things are, while offering no positive action plan to change them.

Although I favor no candidate and remain non-partisan, I believe a person running for any office should be required to tell the electorate what they will do to improve their lives. They should have to explain how they intend to make changes and how those changes will benefit the electors. They should tell exactly how they will reduce spending and increase everyone’s income. During the 20 debates (I think that’s the count) aired thus far, ample opportunities existed for them to do so.

As I see it, if candidates were required to tell us more about their plans and restricted on how much time and money they spend on defaming their opponents, a viable person might emerge.

Michigan’s primary is Feb. 28, so the state can look forward to Mr. Romney and his “pot of gold” arriving soon. I suggest if you have an opportunity to take a winter vacation, file your absentee ballot and take off. You can miss out on all the phone calls, debates and vicious ads.




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