Fool me once, shame on you;
    Fool me twice, shame on me.
    — Common idiom mangled by G.W. Bush

You’d think that, twice burned by Bushes, Floridians would wise up. But no. Now they’re considering electing to the Governor’s office a fellow who made his bones with a corporation dedicated to wiping out public health care facilities and turning them into profit centers for a host of middle men.

Maybe it’s just a matter of people having been lured to the Garden of Eden to spend their golden years being absolutely determined to reject being fooled again — by deciding that it just can’t happen. Nancy Argenziano, the former chair of the Public Service Commission, obviously has another take. A Republican, Argenziano has resigned two months before her term is up in order to campaign for Alex Sink, the Democrat. She not only wrote a letter of resignation but she explained her purpose to the press, living up to her reputation for being outspoken.

Like Alan Grayson, Ms. Argenziano is originally from New York. Perhaps that’s what makes us so intemperate. Anyway, I relished her take on the prevailing culture. But, first:

Every Commissioner is prohibited by law from endorsing, supporting, or advancing political causes or candidates. (350.041(2)(e)) I have a choice, therefore, of doing nothing, and suffering the possibility that my inaction will be somewhat responsible for a catastrophe for honest people of the State, or resigning from the PSC and doing what I can – of telling what I know, and going all in — for the election of Alex Sink.

I quote that paragraph as a caution to potential activists that getting people to run for public office or appointing them to commissions is a tried and true strategy for getting rid of a nuisance. Public office is not a stepping stone to reform. Presumably, Ms. Argenziano knows that now and is going to try a different track.

I do not know that I can effectively portray the immensity of the danger of a marriage between the clowns, cowboys and crooks of the current Republican-led state legislature and Rick the fifth amendment Scott. There would be no balancing of power; no check on what Time Magazine described as a notoriously dysfunctional legislature; no check on an executive who, by his own published economic plan, schemes for a significant residential electric rate increase. I cannot imagine a more noxious mix of government then than that which the legislative leaders and Rick Scott concoction would produce. There is not sufficient resilience in Florida to recover from the pit into which this cast of self indulgent politicians would consign us.

clowns, cowboys and crooks” That about covers it. The clowns and cowboys, of course, serve to distract the populace, while the crooks pick their pockets. It’s an old gambit. What’s new is that the crooks have figured out how to make it all legal. No longer do they ply their mischief under cover of night. Now it all happens under cover of law. Legal crime. That’s the ticket.

I suspect the former Commissioner has not quite realized that “to regulate” means that to make a regular stream of revenue, with no risks and no interference from upstart competitors, is what our private corporations are all about. And, now that the expectation that additional competitors would impose restraints has obviously failed, the only solution is to start over and condition the granting of charters on strict limitations and obligations, similar to those which control our public corporations, when they follow the rule of law. The private corporation is a monster. Corrupt public officials count on it to do their dirty work.

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Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."