Actual and Honorary Floridians

Via the inscrutable story assignment process at Politico, where no sparrow falls to the ground without notice, Marc Caputo apparently got assigned to answer a question you wouldn’t figure too many people would ask: who does Florida Gov. Rick Scott prefer for president in 2016, Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio?

Turns out nobody knows, though Scott’s acting as though he wants to play king-maker, and Caputo suggests he’d really prefer to wrap his skeletal, brimstone-reeking arms around Chris Christie or Rick Perry (with whom he enjoys a “bromance”). Indeed, now that Perry’s left office, Scott has picked up Perry’s shtick of going on industry-raiding hunts to godless blue states. It’s certainly clever insofar as it takes an inherently craven, slavish course of conduct–sucking up to corporations with public policy concessions–and makes it look all macho and aggressive.

But in any event, what jumped out at me from Caputo’s account is the reminder that two other proto-candidates, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson, actually live in Florida these days (Huck built his dream mansion near Destin with his Fox News money; Carson has a home in West Palm Beach to which he is sort of half-retired). So if either of them runs and survives until the Florida primary (likely to be in early-to-mid March), they’ll have some claim to be favorite sons.

Huckabee ran in Florida in 2008 after his near-miss in South Carolina (and expensive and unsuccessful forays into New Hampshire and Michigan), when the money really began to dry up, and finished fourth, just behind one-time front-runner Rudy Giuliani. One of Huck’s biggest endorsements in the Sunshine State was from then-House Speaker Marco Rubio, before Rubio became Mr. Establishment Sophisticate and Reformicon Champion. With Huck getting mighty feral in his Palinesque conservatism these days, I suspect that political friendship will soon be long gone.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.