When feminist leaders are discussed, it’s not likely the name Katherine Harris crops up. But Harris wants to be a role model for women in her upcoming campaign. And I have to admit I’ve wondered if the Bushes would treat a man who laid facedown in the mud for them to walk over the way they treat Harris.
St. Petersburg Times political columnist Adam Smith says the Bush machine is moving as fast as it can in any direction but Harris’.
Will Katherine Harris blink?
That’s what a lot of prominent Florida Republicans are asking as they see an extraordinary political drama emerging: the Bush family political machine trying to derail the U.S. Senate campaign of the Republican superstar who helped put George W. Bush in the White House.
“I can’t recall a time when the party felt so strongly that a particular candidate was going to create problems up and down the ballot,” state Senate President Tom Lee said of Harris’ campaign for U.S. Senate.
Lee, who went from virtual obscurity to successful statewide Republican leadership last Florida legislative session, himself decided not to run against U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in 2006. When it became clear that he did not have the support of Jeb or W., he opted to go for the post of state Chief Financial Officer.
His forthright style is one reason Lee, despite his GOP-ness, and Jeb didn’t exactly stroll the halls of the capitol arm in arm this past session. Jeb’s initiatives were underwhelmingly endorsed by the legislature and vice-versa. In fact, the governor is now earning the nickname, “Veto Corleone,” as he systematically decimates the House and Senate’s work.
“Without the backing of the White House, of the governor and the Bush machine, you’re dreaming in Technicolor to think you can take on someone like Katherine Harris,” said Lee. “I’m a businessman, not a suicide bomber.”
W. also refuses to sit next to Harris on the bus, citing cooties as well as B.O. Bush/Rove support is vital, since Florida saw in 2004 what White House backing can do for a candidate with no character, personality, or brains.
The White House last year made clear its preference for Mel Martinez over former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, in subtle and unsubtle ways…Ultimately Martinez won handily after a contentious primary against McCollum.
“But Bill McCollum was no Katherine Harris,” said Pinellas Republican state committee member Paul Bedinghaus. “She’s really an icon.”
We all agree Harris is a symbol, but not of what. Her supporters say she is a strong woman of principle.
“She serves as a role model for all the women who have been told they can’t do something,” [Harris supporter Adam] Goodman said of the Sarasota Republican. “She believes there should be no glass ceiling.”
And no glass walls, either. Read on to see how Harris accepted money from MZM Inc., a defense contractor under investigation for payola to a California state representative.