Gov. Jeb Bush had no problem jumping in with his brother to protest a race-based admissions policy at the University of Michigan. Would that he had shown the same sort of principled fortitude here at home where race obviously has everything to do with retaining Broward County’s black Elections Supervisor Miriam Oliphant.
In trying to placate minorities, the governor has discredited himself by thwarting the will of the Broward County Commission. The commission wants this six-figure paragon of incompetence, gall and entitlement gone, preferably last year. But it requires the governor’s help. He must do the actual pinkslipping.
Filing an amicus brief is easy. Firing a high-profile minority is hard.
Bush, however, is not without cover. He is thwarting the Broward County Commission because, he says, there is no hard evidence that Oliphant — a national embarrassment and a statewide scandal — engaged in any INTENTIONAL wrongdoing. “I will not suspend Ms. Oliphant prior to the upcoming municipal election cycle unless she is indicted or I am presented with specific, concrete evidence that she has engaged in criminal or ethical wrongdoing,” said Bush in a letter to the commission.
The precedent couldn’t be more clear. Merely being very bad at a very important job isn’t cause for firing. You have to be a certified saboteur or criminal to get canned.
Bush, however, may be getting what he deserves in Broward. Minorities can differentiate principle from pander, and everyone can see a governor trying duplicitously to insulate himself from any possible blacklash.
The residents of Broward County, however, are not getting what they deserve. They’re still stuck with a supervisor of elections who is lousy — but apparently not on purpose.