What happened to the rebel governor?

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MIAMI - Which is worse?  Political pandering to a group of voters? Or betraying them?

Governor Rick Scott appeared to do both earlier this week as he signed a bill banning state business with companies who do business in Cuba.

Support or oppose Florida's governor, love or hate his politics, the one thing you could always count on was his my-way-or-the-highway approach. 

Remember his self-financed steamroll into office? 

He had (and still has) the resources to overcome the double-talking, support-trading, backroom strategizing that define Florida politics. You just had to applaud him for that one refreshing difference.

That's why it's so difficult to understand the show he put on Tuesday.

Ceremonial bill signings are always dog-and-pony shows.  But we go, and we cover them, because behind the fanfare and speeches and collection of taxpayer-funded blue Sharpie pens, there is a new law created that will affect Floridians somehow.

But the law banning state business with companies doing business with Cuba?  That one won't.  And the Governor knew it when he signed it.

At around noon on Monday, at Miami's Freedom Tower, Scott was getting a standing ovation from the leaders of "El Exilio" who had done a full court press to get him to sign the bill into law. 

At 12:03, in Tallahassee, his office was time-stamping the transmittal letter to the Secretary of State outlining how the law is unenforceable without federal action expressly permitting it.

In the half hour parade of speeches at the Freedon Tower, no one mentioned it.  The room full of celebrating, ovation-giving Cuban-American politicians hadn't a clue at that moment. 

They do now. 

The heartbreaking effects of Cuba's Castro on much of our community make it easy to understand why the effort to choke off that government is priority-one for some lawmakers.  So passionate is the cause, the fact that foreign policy is federal jurisdiction, not state or local jurisdiction, hasn't much stood in the way of their efforts.

Gov. Scott is exactly the kind of guy who had the mantle to say something like, "I support every effort for freedom and democracy but I cannot, in good faith, sign a state law that has no teeth."

It might not have been popular, but it would have been so-Rick Scott.

Is there something in the water in Tallahassee?


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