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Rick Scott vs. Cara Jennings. THE PERFECT STORM.


A recent viral video shows a woman yelling at Rick Scott at a Starbucks. Sitting Florida Governor Rick Scott, a right-wing conservative republican is faced off in public with Cara Jennings, a left-wing militant liberal. If one was tasked with placing two more politically opposed people in the same room they would probably not be able to come close to these two. LINK TO VIDEO.

WHO ARE THE PLAYERS?

Rick Scott

  • Married to Ann Scott since 1972.

  • Grandfather to three children.

  • C.E.O. of Columbia/HCA in 1997. He resigned four months after the IRS, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services raided Columbia HCA facilities to investigate the company's Medicare billing practices. Columbia/HCA eventually admitted to fourteen felonies. They were fined $1.7 billion but agreed to pay $840 million in fines. This is the largest fraud settlement in US history. Rick Scott was not implicated and no charges were leveled against him personally but his accountant disagrees.

  • 45th Governor of Florida since 2011.

  • Republican

Cara Jennings

  • Former self-proclaimed anarchist.

  • She spent her twenties protesting feminism, environmental justice, and labor rights in an activist performance-art troupe called the Radical Cheerleaders that she founded in the late 1990s with her two sisters, Aimee and Colleen.

  • Controversial Lake Worth City Commissioner from 2006 to 2010 who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance while in office.

  • Low income single mother.

  • Prior to 4/5/2016, Cara Jennings received reproductive health services from Planned Parenthood. Rick Scott later vetoed the Planned Parenthood bill from becoming law.

  • She currently does contract work for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

  • She lives in an anarchist collective house for activists who need a temporary place to stay while in the area.

Stephen Bender

  • Not really a player in this game but he is the customer at the Starbucks in Gainesville, FL who took cellphone video of an interaction between Rick Scott and Cara Jennings. He posted the video on You Tube and titled it “Governor Scott gets an earful.”

  • Self-proclaimed “less monied citizen” who can’t afford home internet so he uses the internet at Starbucks.

  • Starbucks employee from another location.

TIMELINE

3/25/2016 Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law that cuts off state funding for preventive health services to clinics that also provide abortions. The law takes effect July 1, 2016 and it will affect millions of women across the state. This was seen as a direct attack on Planned Parenthood despite the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 case Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

4/5/2016 Stephen Bender posts a video of an argument that seems to begin before the video picks it up. Cara Jennings is seen yelling at Governor Rick Scott as he waits for his coffee at a Starbucks in Gainesville, FL. Jennings calls him an "asshole" and as he walks out she continues to tell him that he "stripped women for access to public healthcare. Shame on you Rick Scott! We depend on those services!" Just before disappearing though the door he raises his voice just loud enough to say through a thin smile “Maybe you should start telling the truth!” and he leaves with his staff in toe. It is unclear what he meant by that. In fact, he has not addressed this comment or any other comment about this incident at all.

4/6/2016 Cara Jennings is interviewed by friend and reporter for The Daily Dot. Here are her words about the events that led up to the outburst:

It started out very calm. I saw his profile and wasn’t sure if it was him. So I just said, “Governor Scott,” and he turned towards me. I asked, "Why did you pass that awful law last week that impacts women’s healthcare choices?" And he said, “I don’t vote on bills,” which is so incredibly disingenuous. If I didn’t understand the political process, at that point I would have thought, "Oh, I got the information wrong," and I would have dropped it. But he didn't even own up to the fact that he passed this bill. So I said, right you don’t vote—but you have executive authority to sign bills into law. And this bill you signed into law is very harmful to women like me, who rely on women’s health services like Planned Parenthood. And he said, go to your county health clinic then. So I have the governor of the state of Florida telling me which healthcare provider I should go to, in a coffee shop. Completely inappropriate. And basically where the video picks up is when I respond by saying, “You’re an asshole.”

4/7/2016 Cara Jennings sends a letter to Rick Scott. She offers to buy him a cup of coffee so they can calmly discuss important issues affecting Floridians. Here is the text of her letter:

Dear Governor Scott,

I am extending an invitation to meet for coffee - my treat at the cafe of your choice. Given the amount of attention our interaction in Gainesville received this week, I feel that it is important for two Floridians to be able to sit down and discuss civilly what is harming working families and the environment in our state. Would you be available to meet in Tallahassee on April 20, 2016? The time is flexible as I understand you are a very busy person.

Following are some of the critical issues I would be interested in discussing:

* Women's access to reproductive health care choices & the de-funding of Planned Parenthood * Voting disenfranchisement * Your plan to increase the minimum wage for the creation of truly great jobs * Climate change impacts for our vulnerable state * High number of deaths in Florida's prison system

Please let me know at your earliest convenience if you will be available to meet.

4/8/2016 Governor Rick Scott does not personally respond. Instead, “Let’s Get To Work, the political fundraising committee affiliated with Rick Scott releases an attack ad on You Tube titled, “Latte Liberal Gets an Earful”. This is a full on attack ad that we are used to seeing against politicians during elections. A nameless faceless male voice basically dismisses Jennings as a liberal lunatic:

  • “..a terribly rude woman at a coffee shop.”

  • “That woman clearly has a problem.”

  • “She is former government official who refused to recite the pledge of allegiance and calls herself an anarchist.”

  • NOTE: Comments on this video are disabled.

  • The narrator responds to the clip of Jennings asking “Who here has a great job?” by stating "Well, almost everybody. Except those who are sitting around coffee shops, demanding public assistance, surfing the internet, and cursing at customers who come in."

Additionally, the narrator makes the following claims about job growth under Rick Scott:

  • 9,300 new jobs were created in the area surrounding the Starbucks in Gainesville. He is careful to not claim that the new jobs were not a direct result of Rick Scott’s efforts but he does state that the jobs were created while Rick Scott was the governor.

  • Unemployment here was cut in half. Again the narrator does not claim that Rick Scott was the cause of this. He merely implies it.

4/8/2016 Cara Jennings posts the video on her Facebook page with the comment, “Hold on to your seats y'all....this just got crazy. The Governor's PAC appears to have put out a video about me. So, if you call out the Governor you get the power of his PAC coming after you. Anyone see a problem with this power equation?”

MY TWO CENTS.

I don’t know if this is the end of this back-and-forth between Scott and Jennings but I do know that although Jennings was confrontational in the video, Rick Scott could have and should have handled it WAY BETTER than he did. At least stay for the coffee, try to calm her down, discuss it with her, whatever, but don’t run away. He could have tried to appear empathetic and not just because someone had a cellphone up in the air. He had a perfect opportunity to show the world he can be quick on his feet and that he won't be upstaged by one person in a coffee shop who was also unprepared but who was able to handle Rick Scott in front of his people while simultaneously handling Starbucks staff all without missing a beat. She is just one person who does not agree with him. He even had the benefit of time but he failed there also. He had opportunity to get on top of this right away and addressed this personally the next day after this blew up but he didn't. He did what he always does, he ran away and answered no questions. In fact, he ran away so fast he left without his coffee!

You may argue that I am Monday morning quarterbacking but he had plenty of time to respond after the incident. Instead, three days after the incident and after Cara Jennings sent him a letter inviting him to discuss the issues, he sends his political henchmen after Jennings and they post a glossy well produced You Tube video response basically dismissing Jennings as a liberal lunatic. She may be a far left-liberal with a controversial background and I am certainly no fan of Cara Jennings but the issues she raised are shared by many in Florida from the right as well as the left. By their own admission she is just a citizen sitting around coffee shops demanding public assistance and being rude to customers but yet they saw it fit to prepare a full attack ad against her that was perpetuated by the governor of Florida. Whether that is abuse of power or the response of a weakling, allowing that You Tube response to air said much more about Rick Scott than it ever did about Cara Jennings. That was just weak.

To date, Rick Scott’s actions have been cowardly and lacking on all respects. I hope he does the right thing and publicly addresses this matter in person but based on his history I won’t hold my breath. Many argue that he is the least transparent governor in this state’s history! Here are just some of his credits on this issue:


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