This Legislature's 'smashing success' story: House Speaker Dean Cannon

I am amused by Rick Scott's claims of victory in this legislative session.

This was House Speaker Dean Cannon's party.

Scott entered the Governor's Office as a wildly firing cannon.

It was Cannon who aimed the cannon at the targets he wanted to hit, while sparing those he did not.

He was instrumental in orchestrating the greatest rightward shift in this state since secession.

Growth management, teacher tenure, government regulation: Gone, gone, gone.

Ultrasounds for abortions, HMOs for Medicaid, tax cuts for homeowners: Pass, pass, pass.

In Cannon's words: "A smashing success.''

He got more of what he wanted than did Scott or Senate President Mike Haridopolos. His only big miss was a plan to split the Florida Supreme Court like an atom at Los Alamos.

I recall when Marco Rubio became House speaker in 2006. He was a youngster with big ideas and a great presentation who got steamrolled by Charlie Crist and the Senate.

Cannon, much more low-key and a much better student of process, learned from Rubio's mistakes.

It didn't hurt that Cannon had a running start. The guy who was supposed to be speaker during the 2009-2010 sessions, Ray Sansom, resigned in disgrace. He was replaced by a cardboard fill-in, allowing Cannon to really run the place for those two years.

And so Cannon had all his House troops marching in lockstep by the time this session began.

When you have that kind of control, you can control a lot of the political process.

Just ask Haridopolos, who is running for U.S. Senate next year. In a sign of solidarity at the beginning of the session, Cannon endorsed him.

And now, at the end of the session, he may well have ended him.

Cannon outmaneuvered Haridopolos, steamrolled him on important bills, and exposed him as weak and inept. Haridopolos played nice and Cannon played to win.

It was the House Medicaid bill that passed, not the Senate bill.

It was the House bill cracking down on pill mills that passed, not the Senate bill.

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