The climate change crowd did not have a good morning yesterday. Well, at least those who pay attention to grass-roots politics in a bellwether Florida congressional district. But if the global warmers have any sense at all, they should pay careful heed to what happened in Tuesday’s special congressional election in Florida’s 13th District because it very well likely could be a harbinger of things to come in this year’s mid-terms.
With the passing of Bill Young (the longest serving Republican Member of Congress) last October, his recently re-districted seat was up for grabs. The 13th District now encompasses the entirety of Pinellas County (just south of Tampa), an area that has been in Republican hands since 1954 when William Cramer (the first Florida Republican elected to the House since Reconstruction) unseated Democrat Courtney Campbell.
Despite the county’s Republican track record in Congress, it has in recent years become more competitive. In 2000 Pinellas County went for Al Gore over George W. Bush 51%-49%, and Barack Obama carried the county in both of his presidential bids, albeit by a very slim margin.
With this in mind, the Democrat candidate for Young’s seat, Alex Sink, was considered by pollsters and pundits to be a sure-fire winner. A professional politician by trade, Sink has tremendous state-wide name recognition. Besides narrowly losing a gubernatorial bid against now-Governor Rick Scott in 2010, Sink served as Chief Financial Officer of the State of Florida from 2007-2010 during the tenure of politically schizophrenic Charlie Crist. (Remember ole “Good Time” Charlie? He’s the one who was elected Governor as a Republican; then he turned Independent mid-term in office; now he’s turned Democrat and is running for Governor again! Let it go, Charlie! Please! How can anyone possibly believe you stand for anything when you have zig-zagged across the political spectrum like a pinball? But I digress…)
In planning her campaign strategy, Sink decided to counter anti-Obamacare sentiment against her by attacking the Republican former off-shore drilling lobbyist David Jolly as a climate change skeptic. Sink outspent Jolly by more than 3 to 1 on television advertising, and the Sierra Club produced a grossly overplayed video that excoriated Jolly for being a global warming skeptic.
In deciding to become a shill for the fashionable (to the left anyway) mantra that man-made global warming is gonna kill us all, Sink made a calculated guess that the threat of rising waters would hit home with coastal Pinellas County voters. (Good God! Everyone knows that warming of the Atlantic and Gulf waters will spawn more killer hurricanes and make it impossible for ANYBODY to get homeowners insurance in Florida again EVER! Never mind that Florida hasn’t had a major storm event since the triple whammy of 2004. But I digress again…)
From an utterly objective, political science perspective, one would think Sink had a pretty good strategy going. The 13th District is urban and decidedly moderate. For goodness sakes, the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party barely exists over there. Furthermore, a large portion of the electorate comprises 6 month +1 day northeastern and Rust Belt snowbirds, i.e. generally liberal voters. But here is where I think Sink made her fatal error. This special election took place in March, when the snowbirds are in residence at their Florida homes blissfully watching on TV from their tropical living rooms the unrelenting snowstorms that have pelted their northern residences this winter. It’s kind of hard to convince voters such as these that global warming is gonna get ‘em when their grandkids up north are racking up snow days.
So what did Jolly do in response to the unrelenting onslaught against him for being a climate change denier? A big fat nothing. That’s right. He just let it go and let Alex sink herself with her apocalyptic global warming drivel.
Beating the drum of this mythological, man-made Armageddon and condemning with fiery rhetoric all those “heretics” who might be insufficiently orthodox in their climate theology may serve to whip up the passions of the multitude of deluded “intellectuals” that the US Democrat Party has the dubious honor to count as one of its major voting blocs. But American voters both on the right and in the broad middle just aren’t buying it anymore. And until and unless the advocates of anthropogenic climate change start making predictions that bear at least a passing semblance to reality, that’s not going to change. And those misguided pols seeking reelection on this nonsense will share Alex Sink’s fate.