Give Scott credit, if not love

Perhaps my Twitter account had been hacked. Maybe I had bumped my head. There was even a conspiracy theory that I had succumbed to a political payoff.
Whatever the reason, my followers on Twitter could not believe what I tweeted on Friday. That’s because this avowed progressive and Charlie Crist acolyte dared to write something positive about Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Even on the “little things,” Scott is more and more doing what’s right, at least what is considered right by the newspaper editorial boards who never hesitate to criticize the governor. For example, House and Senate budget negotiators have agreed to spend $36.3 million next year to provide services to hundreds of people with developmental disabilities who have been stuck on a waiting list. This was a proposal first backed by Scott.
The trouble for Scott is two-fold: One, he was never forgiven for the scorched-earth campaign he ran in 2010 to win the governor’s mansion. As if that first impression wasn’t bad enough, Scott’s first year in office was politically disastrous.
Just consider this: Scott at his most popular has never been as high in his approval ratings as the low-water mark for Ohio Gov. John Kasich – a fellow big-state, strict conservative also elected in 2010.
I can’t believe I am about to write this, but I don’t know if Floridians are being fair to Rick Scott.
Don’t get me wrong – or at least don’t accuse me of being secretly paid by Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work” political committee. I won’t be voting for Scott in 2014 unless Donald Trump relocates to Mar-a-Lago and throws his hat in the ring.
But Scott deserves some credit for what is happening in Florida. Florida’s unemployment rate in March, 7.5 percent, was lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, a key benchmark that shows Florida’s recovery may finally be speeding up after months of lagging behind the nation as a whole.
That may not be enough to see him re-elected, but it’s enough for me to agree with his campaign bumper sticker: “It’s working.”

Peter Schorsch, a political consultant based in St. Petersburg, publishes and edits the Florida political blog SaintPetersBlog.com.

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