By Jim Bleyer
Milos Columbo identified 007 as possessing that quality in the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only” but he could just as well have been describing Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.
While his Democratic primary opponents Philip Levine and Gwen Graham are relying on piles of money and a legacy name to boost their respective candidacies, Gillum has issued meaningful, detailed policies and criticized the positions of Rick Scott, Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and other high-profile Republicans.
On Friday, Gillum unveiled “Fair Share for Florida’s Future,” a plan to invest more than $1 billion in the middle class, education, and job training, by adjusting the state corporate income tax rate. At the same time he lambasted Trump for pulling a reverse Robin Hood.
“Thanks to President Trump’s tax scam, Florida’s richest corporations will take home even more sacks of money than they already do,” said Gillum. “For decades they’ve gotten richer and richer, while working families have fallen further behind. Now, I’m proposing that the tiny fraction of Florida’s richest corporations pay their fair share, so we can invest in working families through world class public schools, a pay raise for teachers, early childhood education, and SHOP 2.0 vocational training.”
Gillum’s plan adjusts the state corporate income tax rate on large corporations to 7.75%, more in line with a fast-growing populous state, and invests the added recurring revenue in public school construction, teacher pay raises, early childhood education programs, and vocational training.
Karen Woodall, of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy termed the Gillum plan “a job creator for Florida.s working families.”
And concrete proposals from Graham and Levine to help the Democratic constituency? Nada. Bupkes.
Levine and Graham are submissive at best; craven at worst. Levine in the past allied himself with Donald Trump in criticizing the media; Graham’s voting record in Congress during her two-year stint as a public servant is undeniably abysmal.
Instead of taking on the GOP’s steamrolling of the 99 percent, the two corporatists have contracted with pay-to-play blogs to publicize their campaigns. A sample of their touted accomplishments: Levine helped Miami International schedule a direct flight to Tel Aviv. Graham developed a sudden epiphany to help displaced Puerto Ricans.
The pair’s pandering to two important Democratic constituencies in Florida are repugnant, transparent, and meaningless in light of their track records. Neither displays a shred of “thrausos”.
If Democrats continue rewarding corporate donors and ignoring the voters, they will always be in the minority, wrote Richard Eskow in this penetrating piece.
“I want Walter Cronkite to come back. I think we need objective news,” Levine said when asked about Trump tweeting out a clip of himself body-slamming someone with a CNN logo over their face.
In May, Levine threw the door wide open to shunning the Democratic label and running as an independent candidate for governor. Since he could not meet deadlines prescribed by law, he is now running as a Democrat.
“I love the Democratic Party. But you know what’s interesting? I actually like the Republican Party, and I like a lot of Republican ideas, and I like a lot of the people in the Republican Party as well,” he declared in Tampa.
“But this millionaire Democrat also is making headlines — with words like ‘tirade’ and ‘flies off handle’ — because of his off-the-cuff remarks and juvenile posts on social media,” the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorialized in March. “With the gubernatorial field beginning to take shape, Democrats should be asking themselves whether they really want a nominee whose temperament draws comparisons to that of President Donald Trump.”
Graham is even more shameful. Her pivoting and pandering makes her anathema to voters of either major party. If it weren’t for her last name and the carpet bombing of her pay-for-play propaganda, she would be polling in the low to mid single digits.
As a one term Congresswoman, Graham voted with the Republican majority in 39 of 90 key votes: 43 percent of the time. Among her indiscretions:
—Voting for the Keystone pipeline
—Voting against the Unfunded Mandates and Transparency Act
—Voting for the relaxation of permitting for natural gas pipelines
—Voting for improving coal combustible residuals
—Voting for the prohibition of transfers of prisoners held at Guantanomo
—Voting for a joint resolution for Congressional disapproval under Chapter 8 of Title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of “Waters of the United States” Under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
There are so many other environmental transgressions that John Muir is doing somersaults.
As Tampa Bay Beat reported a month ago, Graham would have no chance in a general election unless her opponent was at the epicenter of a Mooresque-proportioned scandal.