Monday, May 10, 2010

Great Scott

Rick Scott, the former head of Columbia/HCA, has launched a campaign to run for governor in the Florida primary against Bill McCollum.

Scott, who moved two years ago into an $11.5 million waterfront home in Naples, is on pace to spend more than $25 million by the Aug. 24 primary, and his campaign has signalled no hesitation to paint McCollum as a useless career politician.

”If ever there were a time for a conservative outsider who understands business the time is now,” Scott said in an interview. ”There’s going to be a clear choice between career politicians with their old ideas and stuck in the status quo and a complete outsider with fresh ideas. . . . I’ve built companies, I’ve created jobs, I know the frustration of small businesses with higher taxes.”

His current crop of TV ads running in Florida have him telling voters that he’ll stand up to President Obama and try to repeal the healthcare bill. That’s not a surprise coming from a tea party type, but it’s a little off the track for a governor to make a pitch against a federal bill; that’s usually something a candidate for the Senate would use. It also might be a bit embarrassing if Florida ever needs federal assistance when he’s governor; recent events have made it clear that biting the hand that rescues you from oil spills (see Jindal, Bobby) or hurricanes smacks of opportunistic hypocrisy.

The rest of his commercials are boilerplate right-wing talking points about holding people accountable for their actions. That’s an ironic twist since under Mr. Scott’s leadership, Columbia/HCA came under federal investigation for Medicare fraud. The company paid a record $1.7 billion settlement and Mr. Scott was ousted from the company, which gives him the free time to run for governor. Of course, in Republican circles, defrauding the government and building an $11.5 million house in Naples is considered to be a badge of honor, so he might have a shot at the nomination after all.