When Rick Scott speaks in public, no one expects coherence.
No one expects facts.
Those expectations certainly weren't dashed in Scott's State of the State speech for this year.
Scott kicked off his beatitudes this time around by making a joke about the former, his "world renowned oratorical skills" as he referred to them.
Hilarious. We can now add attempts at humor to his list of monumental failures.
Of course, Scott can joke all he wants. The fact remains that his "jokes" are at Floridians' expense, and they're far from amusing. In the past, his awkward public speaking skills may have helped to put a human mask on his ulterior motives, a distraction from the ugliness of his policies and what they actually do to those Florida families he claims to care about so much. Unfortunately, the mask doesn't do the trick anymore.
After four years of devastating policy results, Scott isn't fooling anyone. Sadly, it no longer matters much, because voters, for some reason many of us still can't figure out, just handed him another four years to keep it up. Since he doesn't need to run again, he can well afford to thumb his nose at each and every one of those voters while he creates a rosy, fictional public fairy tale to cover up the true story of Rick's Wonderland. Because the real story isn't for the faint of heart. It's no bedtime story. For those feeling the impact of the tale, it's the nightmare that never dies.
It's not Wally World, folks, but the wonders of Rick's theme park are closed to Florida's everyday citizens who can't afford a ticket. That Florida Welcome sign says it all. Florida is open for business, at our expense.
In his speech, Scott even gave a name to his latest tall tale:
Florida Exceptionalism: The place where dreams come true.
"We want more people to chase their dreams in Florida."
"Chase" being the operative word here, because it's a chase all right. If average Floridians living under Scott rule the last four years were dogs, they'd be chasing their tails. Florida families chasing those dreams are going nowhere, and many have stopped chasing altogether.
For all his talk of Floridians chasing their dreams, what did he propose to help them reach their goals this year? This:
"I have recommended cutting the tax on cell phones and TVs for every Florida family so they can save around $43 a year for spending as little as $100 a month on cell phone and TV bills combined."
Holy coupons Batman! Now, you add that "around $43" this year to the $25 some people saved on auto tags from Scott's dog bone last year and the possibilities are endless! Maybe someone should pop that Scott bubble with a pin to inform him that a lot of hard working Floridians can't afford to feed their families while working two jobs, so $100 a month for a cellphone isn't even on their dream radar. Never mind that the unemployed are even worse off since those jobs Scott promised largely never materialized, and they can't afford gas to job hunt because the unemployment benefits they're entitled to are locked up in the cyber-hell that is Scott's newfangled unemployment website. (Incidentally, the man responsible for that botched website is making six figures, so you can sleep at night knowing that he can afford a cellphone even without the "around $43 savings." Rick Scott says you're welcome.)
It goes without saying that permanently ending tax on manufacturing equipment is about as useful to working families as that imaginary cellphone, and a proposed college degree on the cheap is still well out of reach when you take out everyday expenses. Poverty in Florida has skyrocketed under Scott, so things like a college education are a pipe dream for many at best.
Scott also waxed poetic about more "historic" K-12 funding, because everything he proposes funding is historic, or so he tells us.
Try histrionics though and you'll hit the mark. We've seen this education funding shell game before and it's getting really old. What Scott taketh away the first year, he giveth back a fraction of the next, and so on, and so on...
"Just like any business, we should expect education to become more affordable each year, not more expensive."
This is one of my favorite parts in his speech, because he really slipped up here. He always promised to "run Florida like a business" which common sense has shown to be a really bad idea. But he's run it more like his business. He acts as if he owns the company (blind trust) and is also the CEO. This may be the first time he's exposed himself for believing that to be true. We, the citizens are merely employees, and every once in a while he gives us the new version of a Christmas bonus: A scant savings on an auto tag or a cellphone. Don't spend it all in one place, kids!
Then of course there's his environmental fairy tale. This one has been told so many times before that people stopped listening long ago. In fact, it's almost amazing that he keeps telling it. The only wind in his sails this year is Amendment 1 which more people voted for than voted for him. But voters dreams are likely to be dashed there too, because no one really believes Scott and the GOP legislature will follow through on that any more than they did with the fair district amendment voters wanted. If they cared about what voters wanted they would have left the voting amendments alone in the first place.
Now granted, we can't light our tap water on fire yet, but Rick's working on it. Who could forget the "oops, we accidentally, illegally fracked" incident? How about Scott's oil and gas investments (the ones we know about)? How about sneaking around on the ranch with Big Sugar? Then of course, the big one, what nearly amounts to extortion via our Duke Energy bills. We're paying for pretend power plants that will never break ground. One thing Scott did that actually was historic was being one of the first in the country since the 1970's to propose multiple new state nuke plants while solar energy lags in the Sunshine State. Why use a free resource for power when you can use taxpayer dollars to fund the next potential Fukushima times four, am I right? As Scott was proposing those new nuke plants, reports of sea rise in South Florida were making headlines everywhere, but remember, Rick's not a scientist so scientific facts don't exist for him.
No sir. If you believe that Rick-I'm-Not-A-Scientist-Scott is a green governor, he's got some St. Johns river water blessed by the magic wand of (Tinker Bell) the Koch family via Georgia-Pacific he'd like you to take a sip of. That sound you hear isn't fairy dust, mind you. It's the ka-ching of Koch campaign cash. Let's Keep Working!
A few other things dreams are made of in the Sunshine State now that didn't make the cut in Scott's speech this year:
Prison deaths under his Department of Corrections, child deaths under his Department of Children and Families, Medicaid expansion that he never pushed for, missing public records, missing emails, missing and hidden financial disclosures, his politicization of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Baileygate scandal, and so many, many more I don't have the time to mention because this post is long enough already.
Suffice it to say, he can make all the claims he wants (and make them awkwardly) but it won't change the fact that he's killing the dreams of people in our state every day, and he's got four more years to finish the job, and to finish the state off before he heads into the sunset a much richer man than he was when he first bought the office back in 2010, yet we'll still be here living the nightmare left in his wake.
"Florida has long been a place where dreams come true."
Rick Scott's Florida Exceptionalism: The place where those dreams go to die.
Cross posted at Beach Peanuts