TO BE GIVEN FOLLOWING JOINT SESSION OF FLORIDA LEGISLATURE
MARCH 2, 2010, 6:45 pm (approx)
Good evening fellow Floridians,
We meet during unique times, the second year of the deepest recession in generations. It is anticipated that this week, the unemployment rate in Florida will be the highest ever recorded. Record numbers of Floridians left the state last year. Property values are down, way down. Taxes and fees are up. Our reserves are drained. As bad as things are, next year things will be will be even more challenging. Florida is facing a $3.2 billion deficit for fiscal year 2010-11.
In this difficult environment, our lame duck governor has told us that ideology is wrong and that we should seek pragmatic solutions to our problems... like gambling.
Governor Crist's state of the state address this year, which ran more than twice as long as years past, offered no solutions--just hollow platitudes and vague allusions about how he is a problem solver. Given the fact that he is governor and that Florida has problems, one should be safe in assuming that he has solved our problems?
Um, perhaps made a dent in our problems?
No, our putative Republican governor, Charlie Crist, has caused our problems. He has been asleep at the ship of state.
You may recall that following 9/11, Florida's last Republican governor to date, Jeb Bush, convened a special session to tackle the economic effects of the attack. The tax cuts and other policy objectives that then-Governor Bush actively pushed through the legislature allowed Florida to weather the aftermath of 9/11. Why did putative Republican Governor Crist not call the legislature back into session this past summer to cut unnecessary regulations? To cut taxes and improve the environment for businesses? Where has he been? Does he have no ideas?
Instead of steady conservative leadership for the last three years, we have had an absentee governor who hasn't been to work on a Friday in who knows when. He has abused the office we have entrusted him to by neglecting its duties and distracting himself with running for Vice President and now US Senate. He has been by all accounts, the worst governor in America.
Gov. Crist's idea of solving problems involves offering politically expedient, poll-driven short-term solutions that will cost the state in the long run well after he's no longer around to deal with the mess. He would allow Florida to wallow in a morass of red tape while he is off gallivanting in Washington, pining for the next political office.
And when anyone has the temerity to call him on this, well, of course, they speak from the cheap seats, "where wisdom is not required and nothing is either risked or gained," according to the putative Republican governor.
Well, the good news is that the end is near. Finally people are standing up to putative Republican Charlie Crist and saying, "Enough!" Standing against the stimulus package does not make you an ideologue. If it did, every Republican in the United States congress, sans three notoriously disloyal Republicans, would be ideologues.
Republicans deserve better; Florida deserves better. Republicans are sick and tired of politicians with no guiding principles, no ideas, no solutions but lots of talk about problem solving when problems abound.
A great Republican, Barry Goldwater, once said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice...and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Well, defense of the stimulus is not a virtue, it is unforgivable.
Putative Republican Gov. Crist derides all Republicans who stood on principle by saying, "...a few governors may have rather loudly condemned the stimulus money, but that did not stop them from quietly accepting it."
The debt of the United States represents a clear and present danger to our children, our nation's stability, and the world's economy. If Crist wins election to the Senate, he will continue to support policies that will harm America. As Republicans, we must stand up to this, otherwise these "compromises" will be the standard for years to come and our "Shining City on the Hill" as described by our great president and mentor Ronald Reagan will stand less secure, less prosperous and more vulnerable than ever before.
See, putative Republicans like Charlie Crist called Ronald Reagan an ideologue and an extremist. But to that, Reagan said: "You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, 'There is a price we will not pay.' There is a point beyond which they must not advance."
The Republicans in the Florida Legislature now know for certain that the Emperor has no clothes and we stand ready to pass our agenda and formally dare the governor to veto our cuts in taxes, fees and regulations, and our market-freeing reforms to the property insurance system he socialized.
Crist is wrong. Thankfully, he is almost gone, and if Republicans across Florida stand up and make it so, he will really be a lame duck in about five months.
Thank you for watching. God bless Florida.
****UPDATE 3/4/10 2:10pm****
Here is an excellent editorial by the Panama City News Herald that discusses Crist's State of the State address titled "The Cost of Crist."