It appears Charlie Crist has chosen George LeMieux to replace the now retired Mel Martinez and I feel like a little senate career retrospective is in order.
Martinez won his senate seat (just barely). First, he beat out his republican rival Bill McCollum in a nasty campaign that included calling him “the new darling of the homosexual extremists” for supporting hate crimes legislation. Then he eeked out a victory over his democratic opponent, Betty Castor, by accusing her of coddling a USF professor accused of supporting a terrorist organization. (No jury ever convicted Sami Al-Arian, but he eventually plead to a lesser charge to get out of prison.)
Mel’s very first piece of legislation in the senate was The Incapacitated Person’s Legal Protection Act of 2005. That was the legislation introduced to prevent Terri Schiavo’s husband from being able to put his brain dead wife out of her misery. An aid from Mel’s office wrote a talking points memo for republicans that said it was “a great political issue.” The memo was a scandal for Mel and the aid resigned.
Soon afterwards, Martinez was plagued with fundraising scandals. The scandals resulted in $100,000 in fines for excess campaign contributions. I wouldn’t feel too sorry for him though. He still has several hundred thousand in his campaign fund (for the upcoming campaign that he is not running in) and he seems to be having no trouble finding ways to spend it.
Most distressing, I worry about the essential legislation Mel has sponsored and which hasn’t yet been passed. He’s sponsored 10 bills since he’s been in the senate and cosponsored 94 more, yet only two of the cosponsored bills have gone anywhere.
Who is going to shepherd through S. 261, the bill making sure business travelers can bring their “wives” with them on business trips and write the expenses off on their taxes? And which fiscal conservative is going to make sure that S. 1530 gets passed?
To prohibit an agency or department of the United States from establishing or implementing an internal policy that discourages or prohibits the selection of a resort or vacation destination as the location for a conference or event, and for other purposes.
And, my god, who is going to make sure S. 1401 is passed. It may very well be the most important bill in the senate right now
To provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Arnold Palmer in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf.
Oh Mel, Arnie Palmer and I will miss you terribly.