Jim Norman headed to the Hall of Shame
By Scott Factor
Too often we must walk into the ballot box holding our noses, trying to get past the awful stench of those politicians that we have to choose from. Nowhere is this more recognizable than the Jim Norman debacle. In case you’ve had your head in the sand, Jim Norman has been accused of not reporting financial assets during his Primary Election. Although this is normally something that would generate a complaint to and be handled by the State Ethics Commission, a very crafty Kevin Ambler instead filed a pre-emptive lawsuit to remove Norman’s name from the ballot. A judge decided that Norman should not be on the ballot. A later appeal reinstated Norman’s position on the ballot, returning us to square one: the choice of someone with a cloud of suspicion hanging over their head.
Now before you due-process types go spouting off about how Norman should have his day in court, let me remind you that he did. The lawsuit and resulting court hearing gave Norman plenty of time to explain his dubious affairs, and the result was a judge who agreed that those affair were indeed dubious…enough so to warrant pulling his name from the ballot and sparing the voters and the Republican Party from welcoming this morally bankrupt politician to office.
Unfortunately, he found a court with a more dubious nature than his own to over-rule the lower court and place his name back on the ballot. So that brings us to the point of holding our noses in the ballot box. The only problem is the voters seem to be the only ones holding their noses.
The Republican Party doesn’t seem that concerned about welcoming another morally bankrupt member to its ranks. As a matter of fact, the Republican Party has proudly placed the shining star of moral bankruptcy at its helm, the not-so-honorable State Senator Mike Haridopolos. According to the Florida Ethics Commission, which has rules with so many holes it looks like the Swiss Cheese Commission, Haridopolos has set the example for Jim Norman and others to follow. From 2004 through 2008, the ethics panel’s preliminary review said, Haridopolos failed to disclose addresses of employers, bank accounts, stock ownership, car loans, an investment home and a secondary source of income from a consulting firm he owns. And to think that Norman was only hiding a vacation house!
Surely the voters are just as angry about this as they are about Washington politicians and the shenanigans they pull. Surely the voters will show up en mass at the voting booths, venting their anger by throwing these bums out. Surely, something will happen…just not in the next two years. You won’t have a chance to remove either of these two wonderful examples of the best our electorate have to choose from for at least another two years.
Surely, you say, the Party will take steps to hold itself accountable and remove these two from office. Well, don’t hold your breath. Hillsborough County Republican Party Chairwoman Deborah Cox-Roush told the St. Pete Times, “He’s back on the ballot and we’re going to support him.” I guess that means that if we are holding our breath for a glimmer of ethical hope from the Republican Party, we will turn blue and pass out before that happens.
My suggestion? When you go into the ballot box next week, hold your nose…just remember to breathe out of your mouth.
A Floridian, Scott Factor is a graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. and earned his M.B.A. at St. Leo University. He writes conservative rants focusing on the national political landscape. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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