Friday, December 16, 2011

Rick Scott's Guide to Unpopularity

by Doug Foote    Posted on Wed Dec 07, 2011


Florida Governor Rick Scott has achieved a historically low approval rating of 26 percent. How did he do it? Here's our guide to being an incredibly unpopular state executive:

1.) While campaigning, make sure to promise to take action on the most pressing issue on the minds of Americans: jobs. Declare unequivocally and repeatedly that you will create 700,000 jobs in 7 years, and make "Let's get to work" your campaign slogan. That way, voters can feel a sense of betrayal and disappointment when you do nothing to follow through.

2.) Start breaking promises right off the bat -voters love initiative! Despite a historic high level of unemployment in construction, reject federal money for a high speed rail project that would employ thousands of construction workers and engineers. Don't give a good reason for your actions. That way, voters can assume you are killing jobs for political reasons.

3.) Has your state experienced a huge economic hit because of a man-made, preventable disaster recently, perhaps an oil spill? By all means, do not make any effort to hold the corporations behind that disaster accountable. Even if other governors of your own party are making such an effort, continue to have more sympathy for those corporations then your constituents.

4.) One of the keys to being an unpopular governor is to demonize huge segments of your state’s population, and then watch it backfire. Here's a good list to start from:

  • Firefighters and police officers
  • Students
  • College professors
  • Welfare recipients
  • People who want to vote
  • Teachers
  • People who enjoy parks
  • People with preexisting medical conditions
  • "Government"

5. Related: Fire lots of teachers. Voters love crowded classrooms.

6.) Display your callous disregard for working families by raising the salaries of your personal staff while slashing wages for state employees.

7.)Continue to tout your business background while doing everything you can to seed doubt about your understanding of economics. Bonus:Fail at basic math and attack public workers simultaneously.

8.) While you're ignoring the jobs crisis, try addressing some imaginary problems. Let your imagination run wild! Don' stop at fighting imaginary voter fraud, that’s just Bad Governor 101. Search for oil in the Everglades! Fight imaginary drug use among welfare recipients! Spend as much taxpayer money as possible.

9.) Establish a "jobs agency"  that can't keep track of its own spending. Voters love irony!

10.) Make lots of statements that are demonstrably false. These statements should concern topics a governor should be familiar with: regulations, budgets, spending, transportation, health care, and the geography of your state. (Bonus: Racial insensitivity.)

11.) Don't forget your role: serving the needs of corporations and the super-wealthy. For instance, pass $2 billion in tax breaks targeting the wealthiest and lift regulations on property insurers. Announce plans to privatize as many things as you can. Make sure your campaign donors coincidentally benefit from your policies. (Bonus: Wink at the taxpayers for footing the bill -€“ they're in on the joke!)

12.) At all times, lack compassion and understanding about the basic needs and priorities of your state. The majority of your constituents just want to find a decent job, put food on the table, afford health care when they get sick, pay bills on time, vote on Election Day, and make sure their children get an adequate education. Your job is to wake up every morning in your mansion, drive to work, and make sure all those things are as difficult as possible.

Got more to add to Rick Scott's Guide to Popularity? Leave your suggestions in the comments, or tweet at us with the hashtag #RickScottFail.

Originally posted on Working America's Main Street Blog.