The 2014 midterm election is finally behind us, and the results could not have been worse for Democrats — be it nationally, statewide or locally.
Political experts are calling it a wave election, although locally you could just call it a bloodbath.
Orange County Democrats not only saw their entire Florida House delegation go down in defeat, but lost on all four ballot initiatives, including their crown jewel, Question C.
A somewhat surprising turn of events, considering the Democratic Party holds a lead of nearly 100,000 registered voters — the Oompa Loompa Tan Man bagged 36,000+ more votes in Orange County than his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott.
Nevertheless, before we move on to new battles, we thought we’d gloat one last time by taking a look at the reaction of some of the local progressive activists as Election Night unfolded, courtesy of social media.
As the polls closed on Tuesday, Scott Randolph, the “leader” of the progressive movement, and former chairman of the local party, posted some stats to let the foot soldiers know they had good reason to hope:
But Randolph’s numbers only served to set the ACORN faithful up for a harder fall.
Their favorite newspaper man, Scott Maxwell, was an earlier harbinger of bad news. Maxwell was posting election results on his Facebook wall, and within the first hour he noted that things were looking bleak for the local Florida House delegation.
He posted another update 20 minutes later, which would prove to be his last for the evening — apparently he could take no more of the devastating news.
By this point, there was no escaping the hard truth. Everything the ACORN folks had worked so hard for was going down in flames. Social media grew quiet for a while, presumably as the bad news settled in.
Among the first to accept the harsh reality was Stephanie Porta, community organizer extraordinaire. Ever the consummate professional, she blamed it all on evil capitalism!
The evening had turned into a nightmare, but loyal aide and Orange County Tax Collector Community Relations Coordinator Kelly Quintero tried to sum things up with this message of encouragement:
All the excitement proved to be too much for the progressive movement’s high strung non-Sentinel scribe, Billy Manes:
Susannah Randolph was next to add to the drama of what was proving to be a difficult night:
Of course, Randolph took it better than some. I’m still awaiting a reply from the Guinness Book of Records, but this next message could be a contender for most “F-bombs” in a single post. Suffice it to say, this is one unhappy camper:
We know monkeys are intelligent, but who could have guessed that they are able to craft ballot language for charter questions?
And use legal dictionaries and dart boards to boot!
That’s the assertion Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell made last week when he offered his folksy two-cents on four potential changes to the Orange County charter voters will be deciding on in the upcoming election.
The thought of monkeys and dart boards conjures up a vision of the columnist throwing darts at a board covered with images of the Republican commissioners as he penned his missive — better known as “the hacks on the commission,” as he labeled them in his column.
In this scenario, can there be any doubt that Commissioner Fred Brummer’s mug would be resting on the bulls eye?
Not only does Maxwell continue the myth that professional activists well compensated by labor unions and other liberal organizations are nothing more than “citizens,” he eagerly embraces the potential for them to “take democracy into their own hands.”
In addressing Question A, he looks past our representative form of government to talk about being able to “directly petition” the commission. This is known as direct democracy, which often goes by another name — mob rule.
The expanded 150 day time limit allows locals more time to better understand how ballot initiatives may affect the community before voting on them, and for this reason alone voters should vote YES on A.
He tells readers that Question B will “ban” them from addressing economic issues, which is disingenuous. These issues can certainly be addressed through those elected to represent the community — that is what they are there for. If you don’t like their decisions, vote them out.
The economic issues he speaks of — favored by labor unions — will limit local opportunity. Voting YES on B will prevent out-of-state special interests from forcing a job-killing agenda on Orange County.
Maxwell gets it right on Question C, vote NO — even a broken clock is accurate twice a day.
He ripped those behind Question D for combining two issues, but wasn’t nearly as harsh on Democrats for doing the same thing on C. In the end, this issue will help protect Orange County from polarizing political agendas — and establish term limits — and voters should vote YES on D.
In baseball jargon, a great pitch is preceded by a proper setup, and in this case, Maxwell’s setup stinks. Which means Orange County voters can’t trust that he’s throwing strikes — vote NO on C and ignore Maxwell and vote YES on Questions A, B and D.
If I had a nickel for every time I was called an extremist, I’d have a lot of nickels.
Just this weekend I was told I have “extreme thoughts,” coming from a person who stands against those who disparage members of the community who act or think differently than others.
Realizing that folks who throw around the extremist label are just repeating a narrative that has been drum-beat into their psyche by the political class and a complicit media, I typically don’t push back — funny how we’re more receptive to messaging that is consistent with our core beliefs.
To expect a fair, open-minded discussion here is expecting a world that never was, and never will be. But in a moment of frivolity, and boredom, I decided to inquire as to why this individual saw me as extreme.
I participate in political discussions on a Facebook page dominated by liberals, but much of that time is dedicated to exposing professional activists on the left who have a penchant for claiming to represent the community — a ruse the local media can’t get enough of.
But rarely do I delve into my personal beliefs, and the moral busybodies on the left, trapped by the bounds of their own self serving sanctimony, seldom ask.
I admit that I was part of the tea party early on, at least until I had my fill of self serving charlatans driven by ambition who succeeded in pushing themselves to the forefront. People hoping to take advantage of the Republican Party’s vast resources who not only turned a blind eye, but in some cases were complicit as the party began to exert its will on the movement.
When I realized that I could still advocate for issues and candidates that are important to me without the tea party, and in the process surround myself with folks who had their priorities in order, I bid adieu to those out for personal gain.
But all that aside, when I asked for clarification on what constitutes “extreme thoughts,” the response was to be asked about my views on same sex marriage.
An interesting inquiry, considering I have invested little time on the issue.
My personal belief is that, regardless of how you feel about “marriage equality” — the new code word for same sex marriage — that ship has already set sail and those who believe in the sanctity of marriage where left on shore.
At the same time, it’s hard to argue that it’s not discrimination to tell a man and woman they can marry, but tell two people of the same sex they cannot. Which I stated in my response to him, along with the belief that it’s not government’s role to decide who we can marry.
Never did I say whether I support same sex marriage or not, but my answer seemed to pass muster. Convinced he would not call me an extremist on that issue alone, I asked for other reasons but none were forthcoming.
While marveling at the idea that a single issue could result in me being seen as a person who holds extreme or fanatical views, I wondered if this was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
I get it that the push for marriage equality is part of a bigger pursuit by the gay community for “all the semblances of normalcy,” as Erick Erickson stated. But to cast aside the religious convictions of so many who feel otherwise and force them to approve, then I ask: Who’s the real extremist?
But this is not about same sex marriage, it’s about being called an extremist. And if you choose to assign that label to me, at least do it for the right reasons.
I believe government has grown too large and is involved in too many aspects of our lives; I believe government spends too much; I believe there are elements in both parties out to secure votes by expanding entitlements in America; I believe there is an ongoing effort to undermine the free market system in America, or at least what’s left of it, and move the country away from self reliance and personal responsibility; I believe there are those seeking to remove God from our society.
And I believe the Marxist-inspired “progressive movement” in America, heavily funded by organized labor, plays a pivotal role in all these things.
I oppose the progressive-led Democratic Party with all my being, seeing it as a clear and present danger to the great experiment known as the United States of America; I thoroughly dislike what the Republican Party represents and am astonished that the elitists who control it are so easily outclassed by the left in all but self enrichment; I am disgusted with what the tea party has become; and find the Libertarian Party’s only redeeming quality to be that they can be counted on to do more harm than good.
Come to think of it, maybe I am an extremist.
By Tom Tillison
Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh was given a platform by the Orlando Sentinel on Sunday as a “guest columnist” to state his opposition to Orange County Charter Proposal Question D — which would establish Term Limits and Non-Partisan elections for constitutional offices.
For clarity, constitutional offices include the Orange County Sheriff, Tax Collector, Clerk of Courts, Supervisor of Elections, and yes, the Property Appraiser.
While not surprised that the Sentinel would give Singh, a progressive Democrat, such a platform, my initial thought was to wonder how long I would have to wait to see an opposing point of view given the same opportunity.
But the more I thought about it, the more outraged I became.
It seems to be an easy reach to say that were it not for his position as an elected official, Singh likely would not have been given this advantageous opportunity — despite their dwindling numbers, the Sentinel still reaches enough folks to sway the direction of local issues. (Just ask a few Republican politicians.)
Folks may or may not agree that it makes sense to remove politics from constitutional offices — who wants a partisan Sheriff? — but to allow an elected official who stands to directly benefit from not adopting this measure to publicly advocate against it in the hometown newspaper certainly gives the appearance of impropriety.
At a minimum.
The more vocal among us may say, as an elected official, it’s an abuse of power.
With Orange County Democrats holding an edge of almost 100,000 registered voters, Singh would certainly benefit when he is up for reelection in 2016 if he can place his party affiliation next to his name.
Yet, he dares to claim that making these offices non-partisan “will only heighten political partisanship.” But it doesn’t take much imagination to suggest that he’d be the first to scream from the heavens IN FAVOR of non-partisan elections if Republicans held the 100,000 advantage.
It’s a given that Singh’s actions here are self-serving, and sadly, we’ve come to accept that as the norm from politicians these days.
But are the actions of the Orlando Sentinel so easily swept aside? Is it acceptable that an elected official was given a platform to push an issue that he stood to gain from? Are there no standards left for ethical journalism? At a minimum, do they not owe it to the community to provide balance and offer an opposing point of view from someone of equal stature?
A lot of questions I know, but the future of Orange County is going to be rather dismal if residents don’t start seeking answers soon.
Thirty-five days until the November election and the Republican Party has long since gone to ground.
If we didn’t know better, we’d swear Boehner, McConnell and Co. had members locked in a basement somewhere deep within the U.S. Capitol — the federal witness protection program has nothing on the GOP when it comes to the art of disappearing.
With polls indicating favorable results for the party on Nov. 4 — Real Clear Politics Average has the GOP up 3.8 points in the latest Congressional Generic Vote polling data — Republican leadership is walking on eggshells in hopes of making it to election day without a serious blunder.
Recent history shows that’s a legitimate concern. Right, Todd Akin?
The chances of the Republican Party regaining a majority in the U.S. Senate are also looking better, even if Dick Morris has gone on the record to say he agrees.
And the incredible thing is, the Republican Party arrived at this advantageous position without doing much of anything other than not being Team Obama.
While things continue to deteriorate on both the home front and on the world stage because of the lack of leadership coming from
1400 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., those who criticize President Obama for leading from behind are content with backing into the November election.
The GOP is willing to hide under their desks in exchange for electoral success, even as the world around them collapses. Which brings up a legitimate question: What kind of leadership can we expect should Republicans take control of both houses in Congress?
Sadly, the Wall Street Journal has already answered that question in an article published earlier this month that suggested if the GOP gains control of both chambers, there will be an emphasis to avoid “a sharply confrontational tone that some Republicans fear could endanger the party’s electoral prospects in 2016.”
Or, in other words, more of the same weak-kneed approach until Nov. 2016.
The mind boggling reality is, as incompetent as the progressive left shows itself to be, the Republican Party seems incapable of showing the American people that it offers anything better, other than “we’re not them.”
By Tom Tillison
When it comes to the Orlando Sentinel, journalistic integrity seems to have taken a back seat long ago. Further affirmation of this point of view surfaced in the “quiet” news this week that reporter David Damron accepted a position with U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson‘s campaign.
It’s not much of a stretch to wonder if Damron jumping ship is a tell-tale sign of the newspaper’s financial woes, and having spent more than 16 years as a county beat reporter, you can’t fault the guy for considering a career change, but make no mistake about it, it is not by accident that Damron has found a home with the bombastic Democratic congressman.
In many ways, the institutional left in this town owes it’s existence to Susannah Randolph, a former ACORN political director. As much as local resident Bill Phillips is seen as the likely funding source for the hard left, Randolph is, almost certainly, the brain trust behind local community organizing efforts.
If Randolph had a protege, it would definitely be Stephanie Porta — the two are inseparable when it comes to local political activism. Porta is the state director for Organize Now, the de facto successor to ACORN Florida, which re-branded when the national organization was exposed as a criminal enterprise.
(ACORN is an acronym for “Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now,” hence the name “Organize Now” — simplicity at its best.)
I’ve gotten a little lost in the weeds, but the background is important because Randolph is also the “district director” for Congressman Grayson.
And Porta spearheaded the mandatory paid sick leave ballot initiative, an issue that David Damron covered extensively — at last count, he wrote more than 40 articles on paid sick leave, many of which critics would suggest bordered on advocacy.
And he quoted Porta often.
In fact, their relationship goes back to at least 2006. And while Damron frequently sought out her point of view on developments related to the issue, he never availed himself of the opinion of a leading national labor expert who personally offered to provide a countering point of view.
Damron also reported on poll results favorable to paid sick leave, to include quoting Brook Hines, the director of Community Business Association of Central Florida, without reporting that her group commissioned the poll.
Or that CBA was an entity of Organize Now.
We could go on about covert nudges and the exchange of sly smiles between Damron and Randolph when they thought no one was looking, or talk about clear efforts to intimidate opponents of the Randolph/Porta clique, but for those who were paying attention, there is little doubt he was carrying their water.
And while our persistent public criticism of the bias displayed by this reporter eventually resulted in a more balanced effort, amid all the uncertainty in an industry commonly referred to as the “dead tree media,” Damron has found refuge.
Among those who benefited most from his efforts.
Zealots on the left will defend the move, pointing to any number of media personalities who’ve gone on to work for politicians, but this is different. Never mind that it’s another black eye for an already punch drunk Orlando Sentinel, this shows the press can be compromised when ethical behavior is subservient to an agenda.
A dangerous thing indeed when considering the power of the media.