I know that the name of my blog screams idealism, and many would say that it is naive to believe that you can really expect honest politicians. But is it really too much to ask that the people who run for higher office at least have a background that passes the laugh test?
Florida State Senator Mike Haridopolos is running as a conservative for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate. At first blush it is easy to look at Haridopolos’ record and say that for the most part he has been a good representative. However, the problem I have with him is that, to me, he seems more and more like a career politician that will do and say anything in order to advance his career.
I have grown very weary of all the politicians that claim to be working for us only to get caught doing something that belies their ernest proclamations, and Haridopolos seems to have emerged as the poster boy for career politicians looking to gain personally from their office. The following quotes are from several Florida based media. Take a look at what has been on the record in just the past few months;
“the Senate president managed to forget about a $400,000 home and a $120,000-a-year consulting gig when he filled out his legally required financial disclosure forms — for four years in a row.” -St.Peterburg Times
“Haridopolos failed to disclose property and mortage on a 2005 CE form. In 2004, Haridopolos did not list an automobile worth $20,000. In 2006, income from a job at the University of Florida was not listed.” – Orlando Sentinal
“Mr. Haridopolos is only a few months into his tenure as president, and already gearing up for a campaign for the U.S. Senate. But his brief time at the top has been marred by other missteps, including his flip-flop on high-speed rail — he was for it before he was against it — and his failure to reveal all his assets and business clients on his state financial disclosure form.” -Miami Herald
The above are just a sample of the many stories that a simple google search reveals. Now, many will say that these are attacks from political opponents, but the problem is that Haridopolos has admitted that these are true stories and, I am sorry, but I just don’t believe the “I forgot” excuse when it comes to an 11 year political veteran filling out campaign disclosure forms.
The really troubling thing is that these are not the worst of the allegations. There is also the issue of the $152,000 dollars he received for writing a book for Brevard Community College. No serious person believes that this was anything but a political payoff. The book itself was almost as embarrassing as the deal he cut to write it. I have serious issues with a man that is willing to enter into a sham deal like this. His campaign has been pathetic in their response to these allegations, but in their defense, it is tough to defend the indefensible. His campaign manager actually said “…he would have to think about it…” when asked by a reporter if he would do the deal again.
Oh, and there is also the little matter of his campaign manager being paid over $20,000 per month by the State Republican Party while working on Haridopolos’ reelection campaign. This at a time when the party was doing all sorts of nefarious things that are now under investigation and leading to serious consequences for those involved.
Is this really the best we can do as Republicans? Haridopolos has been in Florida government since he was 28 years old. He began running for the U.S. Senate before he even began his term as the Florida Senate President. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am sick and tired of career politicians that look to government to line their own pockets while claiming to be conservatives.