Jack Latvala may be a lot of things, but you’ve got to respect a guy who tells it like it is. When asked recently if he had a propensity to act like a jerk, Latvala countered with this: “A lot of people will tell you that I’m an assh…, but they’ll also tell you that I’m their assh…!” Such vulgar and self-deprecating talk is rarely the mark of a candidate for public office, but Jack Latvala is, well, different.
Then there is Adam Putnam. Putnam’s recent campaign performance represents everything that is wrong with American politics. He ponders, he panders, and he politicizes everything in such a way that one wonders if Putnam may be an evolutionary miracle; the first man to stand upright without a spine.
For a man who reportedly has spent his entire life running for Governor, we see someone who knows not who he is or from where he came. Putnam’s early campaign has proven him to be quite capable of raising money and gratuitously good at sucking up to moneyed, influential special interests. His regulatory actions and inactions as Agriculture Commissioner show a man who lacks any semblance of the moral character so necessary to assume the state’s highest office. No wonder he is the Establishment’s boy.
Since declaring his candidacy for Governor, Putnam’s stumbles include revelations that he hid and reclassified negative inspection reports for a major grocery chain that had donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Putnam PAC, allowing records of concealed weapon permit holders hacked from his public office’s computer network, and declaring that he was proud to be a “Sellout” to the NRA.
Putnam is tacking so hard to the right that he seems oblivious to his own record, one that he is, perhaps, doing all he can to forget as it includes multiple votes to support increases to the debt ceiling, raising his own pay, votes for Cash for Clunkers and other “establishment” type programs necessary for those in power to support to the get along and go along culture in the cesspool of Washington politics.
Yet it is Putnam’s most recent actions that trouble us most. His sense of entitlement to hold the office of Governor, as it has been pre-ordained by the Establishment, is so great that Putnam is willing to do just about anything to hold a lead he has earned simply by being there.
Putnam is not the first entitled politician to be blinded by ambition, but he is certainly the most recent shining example of this phenomenon.
What makes Putnam’s effort so disgusting isn’t that he is ambitious, but that he doesn’t have the fortitude or courage to do his own bidding. Putnam is like the smart aleck punk in the back of the pack talking trash while the big boys stand in front of him readying for a fight. In this case, Putnam hired a local political hack to do his bidding from a PAC that unleashed a load of misleading social media ads suggesting that Jack Latvala was wrong to accept union endorsements and give funds, on occasion, to unopposed Democrats.
Such a cowardly approach isn’t new, but Putnam’s fecklessness as a leader is highlighted by the incompetence of his hired hands. Putnam’s hired goon foolishly suggested that Latvala was wrong to accept Union endorsements because, well, Republicans don’t do that!
Stunningly, this criticism came on the very same day that Adam Putnam announced, gasp, an endorsement from a Union and less than a year after President Donald Trump celebrated his own union endorsments on his way to a GOP Presidential victory.
Putnam’s contributions to Democrats were noted by news reports after ads sponsored by a Putman third party group erroneously suggested Latvala had given to Hillary Clinton – which was simply not true.
Then there is the moniker of “Liberal” that Putnam seeks to hang on Latvala. The torrent of negative comments for this absurd approach shows voters are not as ignorant as Putnam’s team hopes and also shows that after years of supporting liberal programs and bailouts in Washington, in addition to being an admitted “Sellout,” Putnam should also claim the mantle of “Hypocrite” too. Even more humorous than this and Putnam’s union support was that Putnam too, had given funds to Democrats!
Latvala, to his credit, seems comfortable recognizing the support of unions, especially those made up of first responders, just as Ronald Reagan did many years ago and Donald Trump did in 2016. The irony here highlights the arrogance of Putnam’s sense of entitlement.
While Adam Putnam was in diapers, likely born to a family of Southern Aristocrat-Democrats, Latvala was building the Florida GOP into the powerhouse it is today enabling the likes of Adam Putnam to enjoy the spoils of majority status.
Latvala is certainly the grown up in the room of these two contenders. His response to Putnam’s cowardly attack was simply to ignore them. Living through the Reagan years may also remind Latvala of Reagan’s 11th Commandment: Speak not ill of a fellow Republican. Putnam must not know who Reagan was or learned anything from the Gipper’s teachings. In one full day of being opposed for the GOP nomination, Putnam has lied and distorted the record of his primary opponent and ignored his own, pathetically liberal Washington record.
This shows that Putnam lacks the courage and moral clarity to stand on his own, fight his own fights and own what he says and does as an elected official. If there is a woodshed in this GOP Primary, someone should take Adam Putnam there and remind him of what public service is all about and remind him that it’s NOT about Adam Putnam’s ambition.
Let us be blunt, we agree that Jack Latvala can be an ass…., but Adam Putnam is a coward and a hypocrite. The voters of Florida will see this very clearly in the year ahead, and they must decide which vice they prefer and which style of leadership they wish to have lead them.