Rick Scott's Electability Question

By Jesse Phillips

No doubt you’ve heard the TV ad banter between Rick Scott and Bill McCollum. The Attorney General points out the legal troubles of Rick Scott’s company, and Rick to his credit owns those problems, predictably portraying Bill as a career politician who doesn’t have the answers Floridians are looking for. And the beat goes on.

This type of thing makes me want to yawn and find something more entertaining to watch, like Cake Boss on TLC. Politicians slugging it out in July is not nearly as entertaining as a guy from New York making a life-size mural of his own wife out of cake. Now that’s entertainment.

The good news is politics is not entertainment. It’s about getting elected. Which leads me to the question of whether Rick Scott is capable of doing that.

During this past week, the candidates have been sparring over their pro-life credentials. McCollum was recently endorsed by pro-life advocate John Stemberger (Florida Family Policy Council). Rick Scott has started describing himself as a “pro-life leader.”

Right in the middle of this debate the Miller family. You can read the whole story here, but the short version is this:

  1. The Miller’s experienced pregnancy complications that threatened the life of both mom and baby. They decided not to take “extra heroic” measures.
  2. The hospital decided to insert oxygen tubes apparently without legal consent. They were later sued by the family.
  3. Rick Scott’s company bought the hospital and fought the case against the parents, something Rick Scott uses to describe himself as a pro-life leader.

(Note: Rick Scott left the company before the trial started due to the federal fraud investigation. The parents won the lawsuit, awarded $43 million to cover expenses).

Without starting an argument about the details of this impossible situation, my only question is about Rick Scott’s assertation that choosing to fight against the parents in this lawsuit. I happen to agree that our goal should always be to sustain life. If I was in the Miller’s position I think I would have erred on the side of life and encouraged whatever life-saving measures were necessary.

However, I’m not sure I would agree that Rick Scott’s choice to fight the lawsuit necessarily proves anything about your pro-life credentials. His hospital was being sued, giving him a vested financial interest in fighting the case.

My concern with Rick Scott is his electability. Using a lawsuit your company lost while you were being investigated for fraud as an example of your willingness to fight for life sounds a bit desperate to me. There are some things I respect about Rick Scott and some issues we see eye to eye. He just doesn’t quite strike me as someone who has the political wherewithall to navigate the landmines of a general election.


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