Category Archives: Politics: FL-18

Health Care Wars — the Ground Game

I like this ad from Americans United for Change, “SNAIL”: Tell Congress to Pass Health Insurance Reform Now!:

I get why the GOP wants to stall health care reform: if it gets voted now, Obama wins. I accept that they don't care enough about uninsured (or pseudo-ensured) Americans to vote the way I think they should.

What I don't get is why observers think delay will do the GOP much good. What legislators have waiting for them when they get home is a lot of people who have lost their jobs — and thus their health care, and even more people nervous that it could happen to them. They are going to be bombarded with localized pitches, like this one which details the effects of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act on Florida's 18th Congressional District:

America’s Affordable Health Choices Act would provide significant benefits in the 18th Congressional District of Florida: up to 22,000 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees; 11,000 seniors would avoid the donut hole in Medicare Part D; 1,100 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs; health care providers would receive payment for $110 million in uncompensated care each year; and 118,000 uninsured individuals would gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance.

Our Congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, is a particularly hard case with a relatively safe seat and she's unlikely to be moved by mere considerations of the benefits to local families. But that won't be as true elsewhere.

Posted in Health Care, Politics: FL-18 | 3 Comments

IRL is on Twitter

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has a Twitter account.

I still think that I have enough distractions in my life.

Posted in Politics: FL-18 | Leave a comment

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Still Doesn’t Have Our Interests at Heart

Lots of people remarked on how Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the other two local Florida Republicans who just survived tougher-than-usual re-election races switched their votes on S-CHIP and voted for it last week after being pilloried for a series of no votes back when it mattered.

I didn't join that chorus. I saw these as cheap votes for a bill that was now certain to pass; yes votes a year ago might have actually swung the tide on a bill that will particularly benefit South Florida due to the very large number of uninsured children in our community.

And only a few days later I feel vindicated: our own Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, supposedly one of those chastened Republicans, now more sensitized to our needs after a hard-fought (but ultimately not that close) election is right back to her old tricks: letting ideology trump reality.

One of our current realities is that the State of Florida is facing declining tax revenues, and is balancing its books on the backs of schoolchildren. And the schools of Miami-Dade are taking a fearsome hit in the budget the GOP-controlled legislature has just sent to the Governor.

One consequence of this disaster is a push to provide some funds at the national level. Again, that would be of disproportionate benefit to South Florida because we're in such dire straightsstraits. But — surprise — our own Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is against it.

U.S. House bill would pump millions into S. Fla. schools: Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, called the economic stimulus plan “a reflection of the state of this nation's priorities.”

“To secure our future, we must invest in our students today by reversing cutbacks in education, preventing teacher layoffs, keeping class sizes small and building modern schools outfitted with 21st-century classrooms,” he said.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, was skeptical.

“Borrowing and spending are out of control in Congress,” she said. “Every week, we are confronted with a new massive bailout plan that is packaged as an emergency must-have bill. The true bill will be passed along to our children in massive deficits.”

I didn't hear any of that stuff when she voted — repeatedly — for tax cuts for rich people, did you? But now that the economy requires massive fiscal stimulus to stave off a Depression, now it's time to ration the children again.

Posted in Econ & Money: Mortgage Mess, Florida, Politics: FL-18 | 4 Comments

Taddeo to SBA?

Washington Post columnist Al Kamen writes in The Cabinet: Who's Next?, that local candidate Annette Taddeo may be in line for a good job under Obama:

Monica C. Lozano — Los Angeles businesswoman, major political player and publisher of La Opinion, the largest Spanish-language paper in the country — had been seen as a possibility for the Small Business Administration, not quite a Cabinet job but kind of. That doesn't appear to be happening, either. There's talk that Annette Taddeo, a Colombian-born business executive who lost last month to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), may be in the mix for the SBA.

Taddeo ran a very disciplined campaign. I was impressed by her office and her ability to show up on time. I'm sure she'd be a first-class choice.

Update: An out-of-towner writes to ask “is that the nicest thing you can say about Taddeo?” What this question fails to grasp is that by Miami standards, showing up on time is not just a @#$# miracle, but a sign of serious, praise-worthy organization that surmounts the major obstacles that nobody is ever ever on time for anything around here… Let there be no doubt: I think she'd be great.

Posted in Politics: FL-18 | 1 Comment

In Which I Do the Inconceivable and Rise to the Defense of the Otherwise Indefensible Illeana Ros-Lehtinen

My Congressperson, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, hung up on President-elect Obama — twice and then issued an error-filled press release about it.

A Florida congresswoman — convinced she was being prank-called by a Barack Obama sound-alike — hung up on the actual president-elect Wednesday.

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was told by an aide that Obama wanted to speak with her. According to a statement released by her office, the Republican congresswoman cut off the caller, telling him she thought “this is a joke from one of the South Florida radio stations known for these pranks.” She then hung up.

Much as it pains me, I think I'll have to defend IR-L from some of the inevitable jokes, at least if the call was during morning drive-time. I can just see the local 'zoo format' jocks pulling a stunt like this.

And, anyway, think about it — on any rational calculation doesn't President-elect Obama have about eight million better things to do than call Ileana Ros-Lehtinen? As she herself apparently admitted:

When an amused Obama called again, Ros-Lehtinen he was either “very gracious” to reach across the aisle by contacting her, or “had run out of folks to call, if you are truly calling me.”

Indeed.

But it does make you wonder how many people Obama has called in the last month who have had the same reaction. I bet it's not a small number.

(Note that I'm not defending Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's office's inability to spell the President-elect's name — and that of his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel — in the press release she put out about the incident. If only that were the only thing IR-L gets wrong….)

I do hope that Obama is not under any illusions that he owes anything to Miami's revanchist Cubans when it comes to normalizing relations with Cuba. It's now clear from the latest poll that a even a majority of Cuban-Americans in South Florida want to end the embargo.

Posted in Politics: FL-18 | 3 Comments

New Taddeo Ad — Still Mostly Positive

Here's Annette Taddeo's latest (final?) ad, focusing on health care. It's still positive.

Personally, I would have preferred something a little more negative. Taddeo has run a positive, decent, uplifting campaign. That might have won it if outside groups like the DCCC had come through with the necessary negative ads exposing Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's views on the war (for it!), uninsured poor children's healthcare (against it if it involves paying for it!), social security (let's privatize 50% of it!), and her links to the Scientologists (I gather she's their favorite Congressperson).

But for some reason the DCCC failed to come through.

Can you be too decent to be elected? Yes you can.

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