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"If You Are Going After the King, Don't Wound Him."

These days in Tallahassee, there is the unusual picture of mutiny. The Republican House Leadership has elected to take on their Republican Governor in eliminating his pet legislative projects of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. Although he has kept it a secret, Governor Scott is fond of claiming great success in luring new jobs to Florida through both economic development agencies. On the other hand House Speaker Corcoran (R. Land of Lakes) has claimed that the agencies are mismanaged with a pitiful cost benefit result.

The clash brings back memories of some 40 years ago when a rag tag group of new Democratic Representatives decided to take on their entrenched Democratic Speaker Don Tucker (D., Tallahassee). The issue was not jobs, but political power and tradition. The Speaker had decided to break precedent and seek a second consecutive term in the lower chamber. Tucker had cited his success in his first term, working with fellow North Florida Democratic strong man Senator Dempsey Barron (D., Panama City). The two legislative leaders had mounted an all out blocking maneuver of the progressive agenda of Democratic Governor Reuben Askew (D., Pensacola). Many of the new legislators supported Askew.

The battle had become so serious that lobbyists could not be found anywhere--in the Old Capitol (still functioning) or New Capitol (also partially functioning). I can recall the imagery of burly 6 foot 4 inch House Majority Leader Dick Clark (D. Miami) confronting one of the upstarts in front of the House saying out loud, "My friend, I have some advice for you. If you are going to take on the King, whatever you do don't wound him. You better kill him."

The Majority Leader was most effective and clairvoyant. The Speaker went on to become the only Speaker to succeed himself in the history of Florida.

Lesson learned Speaker Corcoran?

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