Florida Gov. Rick Scott is nearing the end of his second term, and supposedly mulling a run for the U.S. Senate later this year.
But could it be that he's auditioning for another job? Maybe a little something with the Louisiana Republican Party?
Scott announced he's heading our way for what his office calls a "domestic trade mission," a more polite name for a trip aimed at luring companies from other places to his own state's sunny shores. The initial Monday announcement didn't identify target companies, but it did name Louisiana's Democratic governor John Bel Edwards, and take the opportunity to argue that the governor is "continuously working to raise taxes instead of reaching a long-term solution for the state’s financial crisis."
Noticeably absent from the attack is any mention of the deep budget hole that Edwards inherited from former Gov. Bobby Jindal — you know, the one that left his successor no choice but to seek revenue or drastically slash vital services. Nor does it explain that Edwards couldn't have adopted temporary taxes without at least some Republican support, or that he's been the chief proponent of a "long-term solution" but has faced fierce opposition from the more ideological wing of the state House's GOP majority.
I was just kidding about the job with the state party, but give Scott this: If part of his mission is to help the locals paint a negative picture of Edwards as next year's election looms, he's on message.
OnMessage, by the way, happens to be the name of a consulting firm that forms one of the strong links between Scott and Jindal's circle. It has counted both Jindal and Scott as high-profile clients, and lists the former governor's closest political advisor, Timmy Teepell, as a partner. Several other former Jindal associates subsequently made their way to Tallahassee and Scott's employ, including Teepell's brother Taylor.
So if Scott wants to know the real story behind Louisiana's budget woes, he's got plenty of knowledgeable sources. And if he wants to tell a decidedly slanted version of that story — either to sway Louisiana's voters or to benefit from the comparison in front of his own — he's got plenty of motivation.