If an employee of yours call you a “douchebag” and a fellow member of your executive team a “whore,” would you find the time to discipline them? Seems likely in most American businesses. Yet, after a disastrous 2017 Session where the Florida House took it to the Florida Senate and following a very strange off-season where one Senator was accused of a host of wrong-doing with a jilted lover, followed immediately by Negron’s bizarre handling of the Jack Latvala matter, we can suppose now why Senate President Joe Negron has not fired or even counseled an employee who called him a “douchebag” and another female Senator a “whore.” Perhaps the truth hurts just a little too much to confront it.
After one of the most tumultuous and disastrous off-seasons in legislative history, Negron kicks off the 2018 Session with very little power and even less credibility. It seems that nearly half his Senate is hunkered down waiting for the next shoe to drop, the next affair to be revealed or the latest Senator to be outed for their ridiculous behavior that results in personal enrichment, if not pleasure. The Romans of Caigula’s era might find themselves quite at home in Tallahassee these days, what with Negron in charge.
While the bad behavior of his colleagues is not Negron’s fault, he only has to answer for his own, his poor judgement in how he handles that behavior certainly lands on him. Amazingly, when two of the most prominent and powerful members of the Senate from opposing parties were outed for having an extramarital affair, one the Democratic leader and the other, the Senate President Pro Tempore and a top Republican ally of Negron, the Senate President accepts them at their word that the affair had no policy or political implications and considers the matter closed. How nice of him. How sad for us.
Let us seek forgiveness in privacy. Yeah, right!
Invoking the “seeking forgiveness from family, friends and God” clause from the Crisis Management Manual followed by a request for privacy, the two Senators, who essentially admitted to their affair, have apparently retreated to restore their home fronts and have not been seen much in Tallahassee. Regardless, when they do reemerge, assuming they do as Senators, Negron’s handling of the matter will only have worsened the terrible crisis in confidence Floridians already have in the Florida Senate.
With rumors of at least four more Senators with “affair” problems circulating Tallahassee, the recent engagement of a long serving Senator to a lobbyist, and Senators appropriating money to their own foundations (which pay them), we can only wonder how anything will get done in the 2018 Legislative Session. Perhaps that would be a blessing in disguise.
Bi-partisanship is strong in Tallahassee after all
Regardless of the other shoes that may drop relating to the behavior crisis in Tallahassee and with the ability to address each of them in time, we remain focused on the matter at hand – the admitted affair between Democratic leader Oscar Braynon and Republican leader Anitere Flores. Affairs are nothing new and frankly, of no interest to us so long as they do not involve the public trust, but when they involve political leaders from opposing sides and opposing agendas, the colleagues and constituents on both sides should demand answers. The unfaithfulness to the spouse is nobody’s business but the married couples,’ but when political duplicity may have been committed, there must be a meaningful review and consequences for the perpetrators, if found guilty.
Like the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” we can suppose things that would have happened had this affair not occurred and had these two not been engaging in pillow talk. Perhaps much worse; protecting one another and generally engaging in political treason to their parties, their colleagues and their constituents: Would Flores had been re-elected if she had a challenging opponent in the last election cycle?
Would Jack Latvala become Senate President instead of Negron as Senate Democrats would have moved and vote for the more moderate views of Latvala? Finally, what about the controversial law passed to increase the homestead exemption that most Democrats normally would have opposed with vigor but just sat silent? Simply put, the “what if’s” run so deep here, we hardly know where to begin our questioning.
The simplest answer for these two Senators would be for them to resign, effective immediately, since neither will have an ounce of credibility ever again. We are not suggesting they resign because they committed a crime or that they should be denied their due process rights. Yet given the totality of the unknown here, that may be the cleanest way for both Senators to exit the scene.
Regardless, since they have admitted to their affair, they must now personally account for their political and policy disloyalty and the betrayal of their principles for their own personal gain, or in this case, pleasure. The elected chairs of both the Republican Party of Florida and Florida Democrats should demand this immediately.
As for the people to whom they swore an oath to faithfully represent, we believe having no representation for a legislative session is far better for their constituents than having representatives whose motivations for self-pleasure outweigh the importance they place on their elected office, their constituents, much less their own self-respect. Florida deserves better.