Mike Haridopolos book deal haunts Senate presidency, campaign

March 9, 2011

BY MARC CAPUTO, The Miami Herald

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos doesn’t always agree with his own advice.

In his now-controversial book Florida History & Legislative Processes, Haridopolos warns that campaigning will “occupy every moment of the candidate’s life” when he runs for office.

“Perhaps the most critical personal lesson that campaigning has taught me is this,” he wrote. “A campaign cannot be compartmentalized.”

Haridopolos emphasized that last line by repeating it.

But this week, he gave a different answer when asked if he can “compartmentalize” his Senate presidency from his U.S. Senate campaign.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think I’ll be successful or unsuccessful based on my performance as Senate president. And my goal these next 60 days is to improve the business climate in Florida.”

But Haridopolos’ Senate presidency and his campaign have started inauspiciously – with Haridopolos’ $152,000 book deal at the center of his political troubles.

Political observers and critics question whether the senator deserved to get paid so much money by Brevard Community College, which required him to spend little time teaching to write his manuscript from 2003-2007. In that time, lawmakers cut the budget in a flat-lining economy. Universities — especially community colleges — seldom pay teachers to write books.

The book, which provides a rare glimpse into the mind of a top legislator, became an instant target of derision from the left to the right on Wednesday when it was made available online at Amazon.com for $9.99.

Liberal New York Times columnist Gail Collins mocked the common-sense advice the Merritt Island Republican gave — “most importantly, a candidate should avoid wasting money on useless novelty items such as wooden nickels.”

Then, a conservative blogger with the highly influential Republican blog, Red State, savaged Haridopolos as a “a creature of the inbred Tallahassee Republican Machine. He represents the ‘The Getting Elected Trumps Principle’ school of politics.”

Haridopolos has dismissed the criticisms as the worn-out product of political foes.

To read more, visit: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/07/2102807/mike-haridopolos-book-deal-haunts.html#ixzz1G6JZYnAY

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