MIAMI – (CBS4) – There has been much strum and drang regarding the emergence of billionaire Jeff Greene and uber-rich Rick Scott on the political landscape.
Greene, who is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, and Scott, who is trying to be the Republican nominee for governor, are seen as a couple of Johnny-come-lately money bags attempting to buy themselves elective office.READ MORE: Florida City FEMA-Run Site Clearing Up Vaccination Frustration Issues
Both men have spent millions of dollars of their own money mounting a TV ad blitz to get themselves known to voters. And their efforts appear to be working – Scott is closing in on Republican Bill McCollum while Greene is making Democrat Kendrick Meek’s run more difficult.
I’ve heard some decry the influence of money on the race and the ability of a few wealthy individuals to buy public office with the same regard they might purchase a new Bentley.
But I say balderdash.
I welcome Greene and Scott to the wonderful wacky world of Florida politics. I think they are perfect for Florida. Let me go even a step further – Florida deserves candidates like Greene and Scott.
Greene made his fortune capitalizing on the housing market bubble bursting. While everyone was betting on the market continuing to grow, Greene wagered and won that it was all going to come crashing down. He got rich off of the pain and suffering Floridians who lost their homes in recent years.
So it only seems fair that Greene should now spend some of that tear-stained money in Florida on TV commercials and other campaign related expenses. Besides, even if Greene is a heartless vulture who profited on the shattered dreams of others, his 83-year-old mother is adorable.
“My Jeff, he’ll shake things up in Washington and he’ll get results. That’s what he does,” says Barbara Greene who lives in Century Village.
Maybe Greene can do for the United States Treasury what he was able to do for his personal finances. Maybe Greene can guess on the best time to throw Italy under the bus and make a profit on their financial collapse?READ MORE: Fight Over Marijuana Turned Deadly In SW Dade Home
And let’s not forget Greene knows exactly where all of the loopholes and weaknesses in our regulation of the housing and financial industries. He’d be the perfect guy to go in there and point out all of the problems with the system – assuming, of course, he’s done exploiting it for his own personal gain.
And Scott – well where do I begin with Scott?
Florida is the Medicare fraud capital of the country and Scott headed the company that received the largest fine for Medicare fraud in our country’s history. If that doesn’t sound like a marriage made in heaven then I don’t know what does.
Scott doesn’t feature a commercial with his mom like Greene, but he tries to come across like a regular guy in his own homespun way.
“So I bet you’re wondering, ‘Where have I seen that handsome bald guy before?'” Scott says in one of his commercials.
So there you go. He’s not just the CEO of a company that robbed the public blind and was hit with a $1.7 billion fine; he’s also a good-natured fellow with a self-effacing demeanor.
And you would need a good sense of humor as well if you, like Scott, were forced to resign from Columbia/HCA in 1997 in the midst of a multi-state federal investigation that led to four people being indicted and the company pleading guilty to 14 corporate felonies.
Scott was never charged and he claimed he had no idea what was going on inside his own company when all that fraud was taking place. This is yet another reason why Scott is perfect for Florida.
It’s not every day you find someone who touts their own ignorance and inability to manage a complex operation as a selling point for becoming the chief executive of a state with a $70 billion budget. But then again maybe that is part of his emerging wit.MORE NEWS: AAA: Florida Gas Prices Rise Again
Personally, I am hoping that Greene and Scott go far this election season. They will be fun to cover and as a journalist and columnist that’s all I ever want in a candidate. Forget competence; give me colorful hypocrisy every time.