Cerabino: Florida needs more of Bondi’s off-the-job adventures


I like it when Florida Attorney Gen. Pam Bondi is out auditioning for a new job.

It’s a relief when she’s off the clock and out of pocket.

Most recently, she’s been doing an ad for a Trump-friendly Super PAC that is urging people to call their U.S. senators to support the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court due to his legal acumen.

“But he’s an even better person,” Bondi says, “devoted to his faith, family and friends.”

As if she’s some Kavanaugh soul mate. But, hey, like I said, it’s good to have her thinking beyond Florida.

Getting involved in Congress’ business is just harmless nest-feathering for Bondi, who will be term-limited out of her Florida job this year. So it doesn’t hurt to get some face time with the Washington lobbyist crowd.

And speaking of face time, Bondi disappeared last month to go to New York to be a guest host for three days on the Fox News panel discussion show called “The Five.”

At this point, appearing on a Fox News show is essentially the way you interview with President Donald Trump.

While on the show, Bondi got to dodge work days back home by adding her two cents on a variety of weighty topics, such as Delaware State University’s decision to ban snowball fights on campus due to safety concerns.

“I haven’t had that much experience with snowballs,” Bondi said on the show. “But as a prosecutor, we can only go so far. We’re taking the fun out of everything and we’re going over the top. It’s just snowball fights.”

See? Is there anything more frivolous than getting a born-and-raised Floridian to comment on snowball fights?

And the way she inserted the unnecessary phrase “as a prosecutor” into her answer sounded like a blatant attempt to pitch herself as Jeff Sessions’ replacement for U.S Attorney General — or even better, as a potential show host for her own Fox News show.

The “Prosecutor Pam Show.” Let’s face it, Judge Jeanine isn’t getting any younger. There could be a Plexiglas desk in Bondi’s future.

If only she could be this easy to ignore on the day job she still holds.

Unfortunately for millions of Floridians, Bondi wasn’t off in New York auditioning for work last February.

That’s when she recklessly threw Florida into a federal lawsuit with 19 other Republican-controlled states. The suit, which is being supported by the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice, aims to derail the Affordable Care Act by invalidating its most popular provision — requiring insurance companies to offer insurance to those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Florida is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this provision in the Obamacare law. Also, about 1.7 million Floridians have policies under the law through its health insurance exchange, and 90 percent of these Floridians rely on subsidies to pay for their insurance.

If the lawsuit succeeds, it would suddenly create a legion of medically uninsured Floridians.

It’s not everyday that a state goes out of its way to make lives miserable for such a large number of its citizens.

“We’ve got to reward people for caring for themselves,” was how Florida Gov. Rick Scott once put it earlier this year, doing his best Montgomery Burns impression from The Simpsons.

But Scott’s no longer talking about the liberating freedom of losing your health insurance now that’s he’s trying hopscotch from the governor’s mansion to a seat in the U.S. Senate.

He’s finding it best to play the role of innocent bystander, by pretending that the lawsuit aiming to kill Obamacare that Florida is waging isn’t his Florida, it’s some kind of other Florida that doesn’t involve him, its chief executive.

He’s putting it all on his attorney general Bondi as “an independently elected official.”

With his own election two months away, this is no time to rile up the sick, who might still be strong enough to hobble their way to the polls.

Better to mumble something to absolve yourself of having anything to do with the lawsuit against Obamacare, the health care law that so many Floridians rely on.

“That’s a decision of the attorney general,” Scott told reporters in Washington last week. “From my standpoint, I want to make sure that you can get health-care insurance. If you have a pre-existing condition, you still have to be able to get health care, and you ought to be able to stay on your parents’ plan.”

So to recap: He’s against Obamacare, but not the parts of it that are very popular.

It’s reminiscent of his nonsensical opinion on gay marriage: Against discrimination, but for the ban on gay marriage.

So for now, the Obamacare lawsuit that Florida signed onto is all Bondi’s work.

“That’s a separate … my office is not involved in that,” Scott said.

Hearings in the case started this past week in a federal court in Texas. Bondi and the other Republican attorney generals are asking the judge to do what the Republican-led Congress failed to do: Put a halt to Obamacare.

If it succeeds, Florida will have a disproportionate share of the casualties.

But by the time that happens, Bondi’s forays into future employment may have taken her elsewhere.

Maybe where people have snowball fights.



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