Commentary

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott’s epic fail at GOP campaign job: squandered millions, crap candidates

September 12, 2022 7:00 am

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell looks none to happy to share a stage with Florida’s U.S. Sen Rick Scott, who’s blown multiple million dollars as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. They appeared during a news conference after a policy luncheon with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol Building on Sept. 7, 2022. Credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Nobody likes Florida Sen. Rick Scott. Dogs don’t like him. Children don’t like him. Even Mitch McConnell struggles to be civil to the man.

True, Scott’s company defrauded Medicare, though, it must be said, Republicans usually have no objection to robbing old people. He has the charisma of a week-old ham sandwich and the appeal of a palmetto bug. Still, you’d think that would endear him to other charm-challenged senators such as Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Lindsey Graham.

Republicans often have unsavory friends, people like Hungarian despot Viktor Orbán, white nationalist Tucker Carlson, and that petulant Oompa Loompa who kept top secret nuclear documents stuffed in a box at his beach house.

So why is Rick Scott getting hated on?

Cash. Credit: Svetl.
Royalty-free
Collection:
iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Maybe it’s his spectacular mismanagement of Republican Party campaign cash. That and seriously crap candidates.

As head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Scott is supposed to snag donations, recruit likely winners, and run ads. A year ago, he bragged about opening new fundraising sources and claimed “historic investments in digital fund-raising are already paying dividends.”

The NRSC brought in almost $182 million. But, as of early August this year, most of that money had disappeared.

Oops.

Scott blew nearly all of it on digital fundraising, sometimes spending 100 grand a day on Google and Facebook ads. That, and predatory solicitations — the NRSC blasted out tweets to the millions of people on its potential donor list squawking, “This is URGENT! Do YOU support Trump?” or “Should Biden Resign?” then demanded you “Reply YES to donate $25.”

Anyone who had ever given to Republicans through the WinRed site found their credit card had been charged, even though the messages never said to whom the money was going. The NRSC had to fork out $8 million in refunds.

Poor ROI

The upshot is that Scott blew through $172.2 million bucks to net $8.8 million. The NRSC has cancelled TV buys in key midterm states while Democrats, with nearly twice as much cash in the bank, are ramping up their ads. No wonder Republican donors feel burned.

Mitch McConnell is not happy, letting it be known that he was “concerned” about Scott’s disappearing cash debacle as well as what he delicately referred to as “candidate quality.”

He means the passel of cretins, head cases, and oafs who got enough Trumpy votes in Republican primaries to advance to the general election in November.

Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s official address, is located in Palm Beach County. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Scott struck back with the imbecilic fury of a person who’d spent too many hours prostrate on that tacky carpet at Mar-a-Lago. In a Washington Examiner op-ed, he accused “smart guy” party leaders and “the DC crowd” of “trash-talking” Republican candidates. “It’s treasonous to the conservative cause,” huffed Scott.

Yep, Scott thinks the 2022 crop of Trumplet hopefuls are “great candidates,” fine folks like Blake Masters, who’s challenging Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. Masters blames gun violence on “Black people, frankly,” while putting out an ad showing him standing in the Arizona desert brandishing a short-barreled shotgun, which is, he snarls, is “designed to kill people.”

Woke Fed

Masters got himself into a Twitter lather when the AP reported that the Federal Reserve had “more female, Black, and gay officials” than ever in its 109 years. According to him, inflation is caused by the Fed’s “wokeness.”

Speaking of female and Black, Masters assures us Kamala Harris only got where she is because of “affirmative action.”

Kamala Harris, along with AOC, Sen. Cory Booker, and other members of the “childless left” are to blame for, well, whatever, according to J.D. Vance, Senate candidate in Ohio. He likes the way Viktor Orbán gives tax breaks to women who have four or more children.

White Christian children, of course.

Vance has also endeared himself to Ohio’s large Ukrainian-American community by saying he doesn’t really care what happens to Ukraine.

Mehmet Oz speaks at a 3/15/22 press conference in Harrisburg, Pa. Credit: Stephen Caruso, Pennsylvania Capital-Star

Next up, noted quack Mehmet Oz, who distinguished himself in the late, unlamented Trump regime pushing hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID. Oz also owned stock in a company manufacturing, you guessed it, hydroxychloroquine.

Oz is running for the Senate in Pennsylvania, even though he’s from New Jersey. Or Turkey. Or maybe he’s just from TV — it’s hard to tell.

Nevertheless, Oz wants voters to believe he’s a regular guy, so he took himself off to Redner’s, a well-known Pennsylvania grocery, only he called it “Wegners,” to buy some crudités — which is the New Jersey name for raw vegetables.

Incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin loves the American Constitution so much that on the day of the Jan. 6 insurrection he tried to get Vice President Mike Pence to accept a slate of fake electors to overthrow the legitimate election of Joe Biden.

Social Security scroungers

Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes probably can’t believe his luck. Especially since the politically challenged Johnson has suggested old people should be “coaxed” back into the workforce so they can help earn their keep instead of relying on Social Security.

The multimillionaire Johnson seems to find it unreasonable that just because people pay into the Social Security system, they think they’re “entitled” to it.

It will come as no surprise to Floridians that Rick Scott agrees with him, arguing Social Security should be reauthorized every year and maybe Congress could get rid of it. I mean, if Americans just worked harder and figured out how to grift better, they wouldn’t need their money back, right?

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder. Courtesy of the Georgia Recorder.

Then there’s Herschel Walker, bless his heart. He’s running against Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia and has some really interesting ideas. Here’s the Heisman Trophy winner on greenhouse gas emissions (at least I think that’s what he’s talking about): “We don’t control the air, our good air decides to float over to China’s bad air,” he says. “So, when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So, it moves over to our good air space. And now we got to clean that back up.”

And trees: Joe Biden and the Democrats are making taxpayers cough up for planting more of those leafy bastards when, as Walker says, “They continue to try to fool you that they are helping you out. But they’re not. Because a lot of money, it’s going to trees. Don’t we have enough trees around here?”

It’s not nice to make fun of the impaired, but too many of these Republican candidates seem to be reality-challenged.

Dr. Oz doesn’t know how many houses he owns. When asked, he said “two,” but surprise! It’s 10.

Absentee father

Some of Herschel Walker’s children kind of slipped his mind, too. He talks often about his son Christian, a right-wing Tik Tok influencer recently in the news for demanding that a Starbucks take down its Pride flag, as if that’s his only kid.

But he forgot (or something) that he actually has three other young ’uns, by three other women. Walker likes to cluck about “absentee fathers,” even though one of the mothers had to sue for child support.

To be fair, Herschel Walker spent many years getting hit in the head. I don’t know what Dr. Oz’s excuse might be.

I guess if you want to look on the bright side, the 2022 Republican Senate candidates make Tommy Tuberville look better. The senator from Alabama could not name the three branches of government and is under the impression that the U.S. fought “socialism” in World War II.

These are the people Rick Scott thinks should be in the United States Senate — you know, the “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” — passing legislation, confirming judges. He’s not in the least embarrassed by them.

But then, hypocrites are difficult to embarrass. In late August, Scott tweeted some snark about the Bidens “vacationing in Delaware.” At the time, the richest man in the Senate was basking in the Mediterranean breeze on a yacht off the coast of Italy.

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Diane Roberts
Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee, which probably explains her unhealthy fascination with Florida politics. Educated at Florida State University and Oxford University in England, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Flamingo. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the St. Petersburg Times–back when that was the Tampa Bay Times’s name–and a long-time columnist for the paper in both its iterations. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books, most recently Dream State, an historical memoir of her Florida family, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America. She lives in Tallahassee, except for the times she runs off to Great Britain, desperate for a different government to satirize.

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