This has been a year of strange and often rightening political happenings. From the summer of angry town hall eetings to Glenn Beck’s seudo-religious, pseudo-political rally last week, the stories that permeate cable news cycles have turned American politics on its head. The trend will intensify as the midterm election cycle begins, and has already hit close to home.
Last week, Rick Scott won the Republican gubernatorial rimary election in Florida. However, he has a questionable history of unscrupulous business practices, and Florida voters should reconsider their political support for him.
Who is Scott?
Using his private ealthcare fortune, Scott waged arfare against the entire Florida GOP to defeat the status quo candidate. He utspent state Attorney General Bill McCollum $50 million to $14 million, using much of the money on relentless attack ads.
Scott, a Naples businessman, has never held public office. His apparent qualifications for governor seem to rest on his experience as a business leader, which is extensive.
For 10 years, he was CEO of one of the largest health care companies in history. olumbia/HCA, was named by Business Week as one of the 50 Best Performing Companies of the S&P 500 in 1997.
But also that year, federal agents seized documents from Columbia/HCA. The overnment used those documents as the basis of an investigation for various offenses amounting to Medicare fraud.
In the end, Columbia was forced to pay a record $1.7 billion in fines to the government. Scott was forced out of his position by the company’s board of directors.
Scott went on to invest in Solantic, a chain of health clinics, but bad press seemed to follow him there. The chain was the target of several discrimination allegations, some of which originate from a hiring pattern that was supposedly Scott’s doing.
His history of involvement with questionable business practices doesn’t reflect well on him and his capacity to lead the Sunshine State. Indeed, many would be hard pressed to imagine his campaign website says he “believes that our healthcare system should focus on choice, competition, accountability and personal responsibility.”
Scott, despite his faults, stands a significant chance of becoming Florida’s most powerful politician. In fact, a new Rasmussen Poll shows him with a sizable lead over his Democratic rival Alex Sink. These are trying times indeed.
Florida voters need to become more thoroughly acquainted with Scott’s colored history before Election Day.
Vincent Defrancesco is a junior majoring in mass ommunications.