“Charlie said he was a Ronald Reagan Republican. He was against tax increases. He was against raising your tuition. And he did both. … Charlie was a Republican and then an independent then a Democrat. … What I can tell you is the ad speaks for itself. Charlie and Scott Rothstein did the same thing. They took money from somebody and they lied to him.”
– Gov. Rick Scott to reporters on Sept. 17
JUST THE STATS
Amount attributed to a Ponzi scheme attached to former Charlie Crist donor Scott Rothstein; Gov. Rick Scott is currently spending $2 million across the state to draw a connection between Crist and Rothstein in television ads
Amount that was ultimately lost to investors in Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme
Amount Gov. Rick Scott was fined for overseeing the largest Medicare fraud in history while chief executive officer of Columbia/HCA
Connecting false dots
But for the unsavory depictions of your favorite figureheads currently blasting your TV screen, you might not know that everything in Florida’s political world is terrible. (And we’re not even talking about Attorney General Pam Bondi’s half-cocked CSI attempt at being a tough prosecutor on the boob tube – a tough prosecutor with ties to oft-prosecuted folks like Donald Trump – with her slightly off-balance smirk. We haven’t found the words for that yet.)
Then there’s this: The National Rifle Association just endorsed Rick Scott in the gubernatorial stakes.
But what we’re actually discussing this week is the heap of accusations and misstatements that Gov. Rick Scott has found himself spending millions to proliferate about his sheepish (seriously, wouldn’t he play a great sheep in a small-town panto?) opponent and former governor Charlie Crist. Now, everybody knows Crist is no angel (!), but the Scott campaign’s time-machine reach back to February’s revelation that at some point Crist hugged big-time scammer Scott Rothstein for money because he’s a political whore who likes $82,000 hugs has reached its nadir. Also, to be clear, Rothstein was tied up with the Republican Party as a whole and was also not afraid of marquee names like Dwyane Wade and Dan Marino; by dint of association, Scott should know better than to kick this big Republican anthill.
And so he has. The Miami Herald, ostensibly perplexed – as are we – about how Republicans fight former Republicans in a toss-up race under beaming spotlights – especially citing history that includes the cloud of party uncertainty and giant mountains of money – dug a little deeper into the aforementioned ad. Though Scott may have believed Central Casting got him the best deep throat possible to expose Crist’s misdeeds, it turns out that the “secret voice” behind the damning Rothstein ad is a certain Fort Lauderdale investor named Dean Kretschmar. What’s more, a bit of investigative stone-turning by the paper found that Kretschmar was neither “swindled” nor “bankrupted” by Rothstein or Crist (as the ad purports), because he’s still filthy rich. Crist took a $500 check from Kretschmar, as one does from investors in political years, and Kretschmar didn’t really lose a penny in the deal. While he helmed the terribly named investment group “Razorback,” which poured money into Rothstein’s fountain, so the story goes, he also was able to regain the bulk of his losses via a lawsuit involving TD Bank (and not Charlie Crist and his few thousand dollars). Oh, and guess what? Crist returned the $82,000 from Rothstein. Meanwhile, Scott is forever up shit creek with his $1.7 billion Medicare fraud scam, but who is counting?
Well, Scott is, apparently. In a video released by leftist group American Bridge, Scott is seen in Miami amid reporters trying to defend the dots he’s connecting in this latest ad campaign. As usual, he isn’t much up to the task.
“This individual was a victim of both Scott Rothstein and Charlie Crist,” Scott says. “Both of them promised things, and they didn’t come through.”
What it comes down to, this “swindle” we’re all enduring, is that Crist dumped his party (Republicans) and therefore hurt his donors (Republicans) who are the ones who instigated this Ponzi scheme. Because Crist used to say he was a “Ronald Reagan Republican,” he will forever be judged for not being so anymore, and that, dear friends, is a “swindle.” Also, Kretschmar only paid Crist $500.
However, all that woozy flapper “swindle” language is clearly having an impact, say those in the know. A Tampa Bay Times “Florida Insider Poll” released last week shows Scott winning by a two-thirds margin, though said poll included 77 Republicans versus 53 Democrats and 10 independents.
As long as everyone keeps lying through stage smiles and ginning up controversy out of disgruntled investors, our fate is effectively sealed. You get what you pay for.
“This is as low as you can get, Rick Scott,” former Republican state Sen. Mike Fasano said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Unfortunately and sadly, at times, you get a guy like Rick Scott who gets in a powerful position [and] who ignores, in my opinion, the needs of the average citizen in this state. That’s why I cannot continue to support him.”