The first post today relays that "49 percent of the 1,248 Florida voters surveyed by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute approved of Bush's overall job performance as governor, compared with 40 percent who did not." Even though "Florida voters are convinced Gov. Jeb Bush is intervening in the Terri Schiavo case for political reasons and disapprove by a nearly 2-to-1 margin ... the Republican governor's popularity is largely untouched."
What's wrong here?
Perhaps it is time for the media to shoulder some of the blame.
This editorial is typical:
It is important to see the return of the third branch of government, the lawmakers. They're beginning to provide the kind of loyal opposition that might have made Jeb Bush's audacious ideas more viable had it been in place all along to temper them.That is all well and good, and it certainly is important to see signs of "the return of the third branch of government"; the separation of powers and all that.
And its nice to see the media recall that the State Technology Office failed in large part because "Jeb!"
hired an inexperienced political aide with a big audacious personality to launch it, except the fellow ended up embarrassing the governor with legal problems of his own."Tech office expires". To be sure, reminding readers that Bush hired an incompetent political hack to run a huge State agency - the kind of thing Floridians have gotten used to it over the years - is important.
But the mild, indeed pablumesque, tone of the piece - nominally about a critical issue: the executive having rendered the legislative branch impotent - bespeaks a larger problem.
The media has been largely asleep at the wheel as "Jeb!" steadily assumed, excercised and abused executive authority. In the meantime, "Jeb!" has run roughshod over, and ultimately cowed, the few GOoPers in the Legislature who were not totally in bed with Buchco.
And what do we have to show for it: a Governor who has managed to portray himself as some sort of moderate slash occasionally conservative fellow, when (as recent events, coupled with a considered review of his agenda over the years, show) "Jeb!" is in reality is a hard right conservative, with, dare I say it, a substantial streak of religious fanaticism.
How has it come to this? Is Florida really this "way"? I for one don't think so; most Floridians are simply not hard right conservatives.
The ultimate responsibility of course rests with us, Florida voters, for being uninformed. Sadly, most Floridians apparently get their information from the mainstream media, specifically the electronic media.
The media - primarily the electronic media - permitted "Jeb!" to bask in the reflected glory of, first his father (who enjoyed the misleading reputation as a moderate), and then his brother (who enjoyed the misleading reputation as a harmless dolt). In the meantime, "Jeb!"'s extreme legislative agenda and executive peccadillos have been given little scrutiny (and then, mostly in the increasingly less relevant print media).
There is another dimension to this, and we've seen it before. Many reporters seem awed by the "stature" of a son and brother of a U.S. President (particularly since he's supposedly the "smartest" of the bunch). These reporters want "Jeb!" to succeed; they want him to stride upon the national stage. After all, they, too, as the reporters covering the phenomenon, will then bask in the reflected glory of another Bushie who made the big time.