It may have gone relatively unnoticed during last week’s Special Session, but the Senate Democrats finally have a leader who is going to aggressively define party’s positions. Additionally, Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson isn’t going to be swayed by the “charm offensive” of Governor Crist.
For two years the Democratic Party stood impotent in opposition to a Governor whose moral fabric is weak and who lacks any courage in his convictions to lead. Thus was found ourselves in a budget crisis as the “me too” rhetoric of Democrats matched the adrift boat of the GOP Leadership and the Governor.
The Democrats have been lap dogs for too long in the Legislature. Allowing personality to dictate whether to engage on an issue or not is quite frankly pretty silly. But yet the Senate Democrats have picked their fights, and sometimes the wrong ones for years now. Rather than engaging on the economic issues which clearly separate the parties, the Democrats have either cut deals or been swayed by the assurances from Republicans.
This has left the Democratic Party in the Florida Senate without a clear ideology or set of defining principles. Senator Lawson’s decision last week to step out of this mold and call upon the Governor to veto significant portions of the budget which the Legislature passed indicated a positive posture for the party. Going forward this will not only serve the Democrats well at the ballot box but will serve the citizens of Florida positively as we will the sort of vigorous debate on critical issues that has been lacking in the state recently.