Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Alex Sink: “Lawton Chiles Meets Minnie Pearl”

Dan Ruth of the St. Pete Times has a rather interesting column about Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate for Governor.  He looks at Sink’s efforts to portray herself as a folksy daughter of a farmer in an effort to head off Republican criticism of her banking career:

Until she retired some 10 years ago with a pot full of farewell money, Sink was a bare-knuckled, hard-charging, body-part-crunching executive who eventually rose to become Florida president of Bank of America. She knows her way around a boardroom as well as Rambo knows how to snap a windpipe.

And yet since she announced her gubernatorial plans, Republicans have tried to suggest by virtue of Sink’s banking background she’s responsible for the Great Depression, the Irish potato famine, the collapse of Zimbabwe’s currency and the nation’s current economic crisis.

That is even more disingenuous than blaming the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Bill McCollum, for being complicit in the Guantanamo torture memos simply because he was a former judge advocate general lawyer as well as a congressman before he left office in 2001. After all, McCollum did suggest last month at a Suncoast Tiger Bay meeting that he doesn’t consider waterboarding to be torture.

Now it is understandable that Sink would want to introduce herself to voters as a doting mother and wife. But her decades in the financial community are also a significant part of who Alex Sink is as a person — the parent who may have kissed her son’s boo-boo in the morning as well as the bloodless suit who cut the knees off a corporate foe in the afternoon. Think of June Cleaver morphing into Joan Crawford.

For the record, I consider attacks on her banking career to be rather lame.  (I know, what a surprise coming from another banker.)  They also have the potential to backfire.  Jeff Atwater, the GOP’s current candidate for CFO is a long-time banker, and one whose bank has received a bit of unwanted publicity as of late.


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