You would think a state with 1,200 miles of coastline, most of it on the Gulf of Mexico, would be prudent to convene its legislature to address the impact of the worst toxic environmental disaster in the country’s history. At least, you would unless you were a Republican.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has called a special session of the legislature to consider a constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling. Republicans are crying “foul,” citing the fact that there are already statutes that determine how close drilling can be to Florida’s shores.
“I think it’s completely unnecessary,” said Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, in a view expressed by others. “There’s absolutely no reason we have to go and create a law for something that’s already unlawful.”
What Hudson is saying is that there is no need to add something to the state constitution that’s already been dealt with by statute. Kind of like adding an amendment to the Florida constitution banning same-sex marriage when there’s already a law against it. Obviously there’s no need for that, right?
Hudson didn’t think so in 2008, when he and almost every other Republican politician in Florida, including then GOP-er Gov. Crist, publicly endorsed Amendment 2, a Republican initiative to make same-sex marriage double-triple-really-really-quadriple illegal in Florida.
That kind of hypocrisy will likely be the predominant feature of the special session on oil drilling and disaster, which starts today. It should be interesting, if you find Republicans posturing and blustering and acting out their hurt feelings over Crist’s decision to leave their party interesting. Crist is already anticipating a tough battle.
“They put the interests of special interests or their party ideology ahead of what’s right for the people,” Crist said. “They’ve lost their way. They’ve completely lost their way, and the people know it. And if they go down this path, they’ll demonstrate it in regrettable glory.”
“Regrettable glory” sums up the determination of Republicans everywhere to oppose reasonable debate and consensus building. Democrats agree.
“It’s not about policy right now. They are thinking, ‘How can I embarrass the governor?’ ” said state Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, a Crist ally and candidate for Florida attorney general. “In other years, they may have quietly gone along, but there’s outright war right now. There is no question, they’re hanging him in effigy.”