Editorials Lambaste LeMieux, a Week Too Late

The editorial sections of major Florida newspapers are furious about Crist's pick of George LeMieux for U.S. Senate. But in their rage -- or maybe it's modesty -- they forgot to mention how complicit their papers are in LeMieux's selection.

After all, Crist's office was playing by the book, releasing LeMieux's name as a contender for the appointment two weeks ago. As we noted then, it was very obviously a trial balloon. Crist's people waited for the sounds of harrumphing editorial boards and, hearing none, they let word leak that LeMieux was a "leading contender" for the job. Still from the opinion page came the sound of a collective shrug.

So who can blame Crist and LeMieux for feeling blindsided by the nasty editorials that came this weekend? Further, why didn't we naive Floridians enjoy the wisdom of these editorial writers in advance of Crist's making his choice?

The St. Petersburg Times, it seems, was holding back on this sentiment, which it finally expressed yesterday:

An appointee with congressional experience would have hit the ground running. But now Florida's junior senator is a Washington neophyte who will be a caretaker -- and Crist proxy -- in the midst of debate over health care, climate change and a rising federal deficit.

Now you tell us?

Similar points were made in the Palm Beach Post's withering editorial. In Jacksonville, the editorialist detected the governor's sinister motives, only one day too late, saying of LeMieux:

[H]e's never held elected office, is not versed on the issues and knows nothing about Capitol Hill.

There is, however, one area where he's an expert:

Displaying absolute loyalty to Crist to the point of being his alter ego. Someone whose every Senate move will likely be orchestrated with Crist for the benefit of his own 2010 Senate campaign.

Finally, look at all the informed objections that the Orlando Sentinel deprived us of in advance of Crist's appointment:

It's also not hard to imagine Mr. LeMieux lending his ear to some interests more than others. An attorney, Mr. LeMieux's firm represents U.S. Sugar and Florida Power & Light, among other corporate clients. We hope he'll show better sense than extending them carte blanche.

And it closes with this tantalizing bit of 20-20 hindsight about what's best for Floridians:

Their interests could possibly be better represented in the future if Florida held special elections to fill Senate vacancies. It's something the state should consider in light of Mr. LeMieux's star turn.

Nah. I think the state should consider kicking its brilliant editorial writers squarely in the ass so that they can offer their insight when there's still time for it to matter.

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