As we have now passed the halfway point of the 2013 legislative session, are Democratic state lawmakers in Central Florida proving to be a thorn in the side of party leadership?
And if so, is this a residual effect of an internal struggle among Orange County Democrats that we saw come to a head during the election of a new state chairman — a battle for power that still simmers beneath the surface.
There have been two examples this week of the Central Florida delegation not being in sync with the rest of the Democratic caucus.
The first centers on legislation referred to by an opportune Democratic Party as the “anti-sharia” bill, which passed another committee Monday in the Senate on a slim 5-4 vote. The surprise being that Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, voted in support of the measure.
Displaying common sense often lacking on her side of the aisle, Thompson, who is married to a senior judge on the Fifth District Court of Appeal, said she voted for the proposal because it would only come into play if a foreign law was in conflict with U.S. law, according to the Miami Herald.
“It’s not a blanket prohibition against international law,” she said.
The second example occurred on Tuesday, when freshman state Rep. Mike Clelland, D-Lake Mary, announced that he will break with the House caucus and vote for the Republican’s proposed budget, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Republican voters far outnumber Democrats in Clelland’s district and his eye is on the 2014 election, as former state Rep. Scott Plakon has already filed and is expected to present a formidable challenge for the first-year lawmaker.
Ironically, state Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, D-Maitland, the individual who bested Plakon in 2012 and a teacher herself, will vote against raises for teachers if she fails to support the proposed budget.
As for Thompson, in response to her clear thinking, far-left activists have now launched a campaign of intimidation through social media, an effective bullying tactic used to keep Democrats on the reservation.
As is a common practice of the far-left, the play on words in the image above grossly misrepresents the true nature of the bill. This effort being a means to create a “wedge issue” where none exists.
The bill does not mention sharia law and is actually titled: Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases.
The reference to a “pink slip puppet” is patterned after Susannah Randolph’s “Pink Slip Rick” campaign targeting Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
The focus on wedge issues proves invaluable for the Democratic Party and this bill serves as an opportunity to bring race into play, aided by media allies such as the Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell, who recently defined the effort as a “crusade against all things Islamic.”
In the end, it remains to be seen if Central Florida lawmakers break from the party on other issues, however, should leadership borrow from the very tactics “radical” grassroots activists use to keep them in line, the odds of it happening are in their favor.