Rick Scott’s Crisis Management Plan: Photo Ops and the Blame Game

September 7, 2016

Gov. Scott’s Hurricane Antics Follow Tried and True Path

As Floridians continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine, Governor Rick Scott trotted out his patented plan for crisis management: 1) look for a photo op 2) blame someone else 3) call that leadership.
“Time after time when Floridians are in need, Governor Scott has offered nothing except a pose for the cameras, empty promises and political finger-pointing,” said For Florida’s Future spokesman Blake Williams. “Right now, the only thing saving Governor Scott’s leadership malpractice is an election season featuring a Senator running for a job he refuses to show up for, and a Republican party led by a loudmouthed bigot.”
Example A: Hurricane Hermine
After making the most of a weekend of photo-ops around the Tallahassee area, Gov. Scott should clearly understand the challenges facing the largest municipality to be impacted by the storm, especially one with a proud history of extensive landscaping with the very trees that can prove problematic in hurricanes. But given the opportunity to praise the work the city was doing, Gov. Scott instead rattled off figures that, surprise surprise, showed the largest town in fact had the most people still without power. On top of that, the Governor even put out a statement trying to pass the blame onto Tallahassee and Leon County officials, claiming they had denied offers of help from the Department of Transportation. The mayor responded to Scott by saying “Your offers of help would be so much more authentic if they also did not come at the same time as press releases were being sent out.”
Example B: Zika Funding
The headline from the Politico article summed it up perfectly: “Scott bashes feds over Zika funding, but slashed mosquito control money.” The only opportunity to play for the cameras on Zika funding was to take a political swipe at Tallahassee on restoring power following the hurricane. Besides that, Gov. Scott hasn’t missed an opportunity to look like he is in charge. And he hasn’t missed an opportunity to try and blame the federal government for the lack of funding when he himself has cut 40 percent of state funding to mosquito control programs. And has he called on his own party leaders to stop adding poison-pill language concerning the Confederate flag and Planned Parenthood to Zika legislation? Nope.
Example C: Toxic Water
The massive algae bloom that has impacted both coasts of Florida may have largely faded from the front pages because of mosquito-spread diseases and hurricane winds, but Gov. Scott didn’t miss the chance earlier this year to go in front of the cameras and say he was going to fix the problem. And, while he was at it, he blamed the Obama Administration for not jumping when he said jump to declare it an emergency. But when the cameras were off, where was the actual hard work to get something done? As the Miami Herald noted in an editorial, “to compound his lame response, he resorted to his usual dodge when problems arise on his watch — blame someone else. Mr. Scott accused the Obama administration of failing to act on this issue, but Mr. Scott himself contributed to the crisis.” How exactly did he fall down on the job while take political pot shots in between photo-ops? As the paper noted, “it was this governor, together with the Legislature, who agreed to a sneaky plan that diverts funding approved by voters to buy land that could be used for water storage to other, non-environmental projects.”

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