Rick Scott, Cartoon Villain

I realize that everyone’s understanding of political good guys and bad guys is almost totally determined by ideology, partisan affiliation, and so forth, but some pols just beg to become cartoon villains to their opponents. Florida Gov. Rick Scott comes to mind right away.

There is no “voter fraud” problem in Florida so far as anyone can tell. Most of the hijinks involving Florida elections in the recent past have emanated from Scott’s own party. Local election supervisors, many of them Republicans, have been leery of Scott’s recent effort to “purge” voter rolls to get rid of people with those funny surnames who might be noncitizens. The Justice Department has warned him to back off. But still, he is obsessively pursuing his purge, now suing the Department of Homeland Security to gain access to a database that may or may not be useful in detecting noncitizens.

Maybe some Florida reader can explain Scott to me. As I vaguely recall from 2010, Scott, a man who became filthy rich running a for-profit hospital chain and managed to avoid personal liability for said chain’s gigantic Medicare fraud bust which led to his firing, won the Republican gubernatorial nomination by posing as a Tea Party zealot and spending a gazillion dollars to beat a dim party hack. He narrowly won the general election by spending the rest of his gazillions and riding the largest GOP wave since maybe 1946. He’s been increasingly unpopular from practically the moment he was elected, but that has had little effect on his behavior.

Is he some sort of Scourge of God sent to punish Floridians for their sins? I dunno. But the wiggy SOB seems determined to find some way to throw his state’s electoral votes to Romney this November come hell or high water, and unlike his famous 2000 predecessor in this ambition, he’s not even related to the candidate.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.