First: Full Disclosure: I support Rick Scott for Governor. Now for the red meat:
The Chairman of the Republican Party Of Florida, Senator John Thrasher, just threw the weight of the RPOF behind Bill McCollum for Governor. Here is what he sent out under the official RPOF banner:
“Attorney General McCollum, Speaker-Designate Cannon, Senate President -Designate Haridopolos and I stood up to Governor Crist and worked to remove Jim Greer as Chairman because of his mismanagement of the Party. When evidence of the wrongdoing Jim Greer has now been indicted for was presented to us, Attorney General McCollum acted swiftly to refer our findings to the proper authorities.
“Mr. Scott’s repeated attacks on Attorney General McCollum, Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos are not based in truth and come straight from Jim Greer’s talking points. I’m hopeful Rick Scott will begin to lay out a positive message for why he is running for the Republican nomination to be our next Governor, instead of continuing to release false statements regarding fellow Republicans.”
Whether Senator Thrasher approves of Rick Scott or not, whether he supports Bill McCollum or not, is totally irrelevant. As Chairman of the Party, he is OBLIGATED to stay neutral in the primary fight. Politics is not beanbag, as the old saying goes, and I never heard a word or murmur of protest from Thrasher when Bill McCollum threw mud at Rick Scott, more or less calling him a thief. As for Mr. Cannon or Mr. Haridopolos, if they have a problem with Scott, then they should speak for themselves..they are “Grown-ups” after all.
Remember when Senator John Cornyn of Texas stuck his nose and that of the National Republican Senatorial Committee into Florida Politics and endorsed Charlie Crist? Remember the outrage the Republicans of Florida felt? I do. I also remember being informed by a much more experienced and connected Republican than I that Rubio was doomed and Crist was a shoo-in. I felt differently. Well, If that same Republican is listening, I am telling him right now that Thrasher’s statements have started another civil war between Republicans in Florida. Thrasher’s statements were stupid as they were ill-advised. In a job that calls for being non-partisan during primaries, John Thrasher has failed miserably. To us Republicans on the outside looking in, the Good-Ole boy network is, once again, rallying around one of their own and trying to stifle new voices in the party. Enough.
This is fact: Whether you like it or not, Rick Scott is a legitimate Republican Candidate for Governor. He has a right to expect from the RPOF the same level of support and respect that Bill McCollum gets. No more, no less. That means letting these two candidates duke it out on the airways and the debates without the RPOF deciding who to back or endorse (which is what Thrasher just did…make no mistake). Negative campaigning is a part of the American Political Tradition. What does not kill you makes you stronger.
What John Thrasher did is exactly what Grassroots Republicans have been complaining about. Good Ole Boys sticking up for Good Ole Boys. I don’t care if you are for McCollum or not, if you are a RPOF chairman, vice-chairman or even committeeman or woman..you do not use the office of the RPOF to do what John Thrasher did today. As Chairman of the party, Senator Thrasher occupies a special place of authority and with that power comes responsibility. If Senator Thrasher felt compelled to speak out against Rick Scott as he did today, he should have resigned the RPOF chairmanship before doing so. Period.
If Rick Scott is elected to be the Republican Candidate for Governor on 24 August 2010, he now has every right to insist that John Thrasher resign as RPOF Chairman on 25 August 2010. Right now I feel that Thrasher shouldn’t even wait till then. He should resign now and let Ms. Cox-Roush takeover till another election for RPOF chairman can be held.
As it stands now, it seems like Senator Thrasher is acting like he has something to hide…just like Jim Greer did.