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Don't Wound the King

Post # 247, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

"If you go after the King, don't wound him."

Florida House Majority Leader Dick Clark (Miami, D.), 1974

In my book, The Golden Years of the Florida Legislature, '70's and '80's, I describe a spirited race for Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in 1974. The sitting speaker, Don Tucker of Tallahassee (D.) was seeking an unprecedented second term. He was surprisingly being challenged by one of his close Committee Chairman, Barry Kutun of Miami Beach (D.). The House Majority Leader Dick Clark, also from Miami, went to Barry and said in front of several of us on the House Floor, "Barry, if you are going after the King, what ever you do, don't wound him." Tucker won.

That telling advice comes to mind again today--some 50 years later--coming from U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky., R.). Florida's Junior Senator Rick Scott (R.) declared his candidacy for Minority Leader last week, even though Leader McConnell said he already has the votes for his re-election. Many in the Capitol wondered why Scott, still in his first term, would defy a long standing custom of supporting the re-election of the leader of your party. It is particularly confusing because it was Scott, the Chairman of the GOP effort to retake the Senate, that lost after bragging the Republicans would win. To make matters worse, Scott, in fruther defiance of McConnell, announced that if the GOP took back the Senate, he would sponsor cancelling the popular Medicare and Social Security Programs for Seniors. An angry McConnell immediately said Scott's bill would be DOA--dead on arrival.

Scott has a checkered background and reputation. As the head of a hospital chain charged with stealing $1.7 Billion of public funds, Scott fought the charges by taking the 5th amendment during the trail. The hospital chain paid the money back with fines and interest, and the government required Scott's removal from the health care industry. He sold his interest for millions and retired to Florida. After a few years in his new home state, he upset the GOP hand picked favorite running for Governor. He barely defeated a weak Democrat candidate and took office in Tallahassee with no public service experience ever. His two terms as governor were under whelming and with more of his own millions, barely beat long time U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D.) for the Junior Senator seat.

With his losing campaign for Senate Minority Leader--37-10, Scott is now closely aligned with former and twice impeached President Donald Trump. Scott has previously criticized Governor DeSantis, so his faulty decisions seem to be falling in place with his future political plans to attack the Republican establishment.

Scott would have been wise to review the advice of my long ago House of Representatives colleague, Dick Clark when he said, "If you are going after the Leader, what ever you do, don't wound him."


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