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The GOP must embrace change

Florida Voices
Published:   |   Updated: March 12, 2013 at 12:58 PM

"I don't know why," Gov. Rick Scott said recently, "anyone is not a Republican."

Has he looked in the mirror?

His is the face of a party that puts politics over people, caters to the rich, kicks the poor when they're down and forces their religion on the rest of us.

Florida's Republican lawmakers scream limited government but forced women seeking abortions to have unnecessary ultrasounds. They worship free enterprise but want taxpayers to fund private schools. They tout the U.S. Constitution, then legislate school prayer.

They refused federal cash to implement the Affordable Care Act, but accepted money for abstinence-only education that's done nothing to reduce teen pregnancy or abortions.

They slashed $1.3 billion from K-12 education. They then restored $1 billion of that to help boost Scott's approval rating — it hasn't worked so far — but also took $300 million from higher education.

The GOP-dominated Legislature has given $2.5 billion in tax breaks to corporations, yet made it harder for the unemployed to collect needed benefits.

Mitt Romney dissed the 47 percent at a fundraiser in Florida because he expected it to play well here. Is it any wonder, given how the state's Republican leaders have treated Florida's 47 percent?

Romney got a bad rap for saying out loud what many Republican elected officials believe. They prove it in Tallahassee and in state houses across the country with the laws they enact.

Instead of widening their tent to appeal to African Americans, Latinos, women and young people, Florida's Republican lawmakers passed a law designed to keep minorities who traditionally vote Democrat from the polls.

It was an epic failure. President Barack Obama became the first Democrat to win Florida twice in nearly seven decades.

During the four years since the nation elected its first African-American president, Republicans, Florida's lawmakers included, doubled down on policies that alienated African-Americans, Latinos, women and gays.

That is why someone wouldn't be Republican.

Rhonda Swan is an editorial writer for The Palm Beach Post.

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