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Who's to blame for do-nothing D.C.? Maybe Florida

1:28 PM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
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2013 was the least productive year for Congress on record. (Photo: Cliff Owen, AP)

 

Tampa, Florida -- Who's to blame for all the head-butting and disagreement in Washington? Well, there's a fascinating new sign that it's us in Florida.

It's a sign that -- at least, in politics -- Florida is nearly the most disagreeable spot in America.

If I told you the senators from Florida -- Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson -- don't agree on a lot, you'd tell me, "We all know that."

And then you might add, "This is a news website. And that's not news to anybody."

You're right. But what comes next is certainly news. The New York Times did the math on which state's senators disagree the most on what they vote for.

And our guys disagree -- they cancel each other out -- more than almost anyone else. They are at odds nearly 75 percent of the time.

Let me list the states where the senators disagree more. I'm sorry -- the state. Only Wisconsin.

That means there are 48 other states where the senators are more likely to get along on issues, and more likely to team up and vote the same way, than Florida's senators are.

So is that good or bad?

Let me ask USF political scientist Ed Benton.

Does this make do-nothing Washington gridlock worse? Or, since they cancel each other out, does it actually open a bigger door in the middle for people who will compromise on things?

"It's possible, yes, it could open up the door for more people who are more political moderates to help make public policy," Benton said.

"[But it's] nothing more than a mirror reflection of the population of Florida, which historically - 2000, 2004 voted for George W. Bush, last two elections, Barack Obama. On most issues, they're right down the middle. So it's very apropos."

Like it or not, it's a deadlock that'll probably stay in place for at least two more years.

In 2016, Senator Rubio may run for reelection, or he may run for president.

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