Rick Scott, Florida
US Senator Rick Scott speaking with attendees at the 2022 Student Action Summit at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flick (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Like many Republicans, Rick Scott seems to believe that just about any government program that helps people is “socialism”: health care, food stamps, libraries, roads… you name it. In the case of his constituents, however, he appears willing to make some exceptions.

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Until recently, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) was not a fan of socialism. To be fair, based on things he has said and written, he does not actually seem to understand what socialism is. However, he is hardly the only Republican who uses the term incorrectly.

For example, when Scott put out a 12-point plan to “Rescue America” as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) prior to last year’s midterms, he made it very clear that what he understood to be socialism is “un-American and always leads to poverty and oppression.”

The senator also wrote that “socialism will be treated as a foreign combatant which aims to destroy our prosperity and freedom.”

In addition, last month Scott, who represents a state in which the livelihood of many people relies on tourism, issued a stark warning “to socialists and communists not to travel to Florida. They are not welcome in the Sunshine State.”

Like many Republicans, the senator seems to believe that just about any government program that helps people is “socialism”: health care, food stamps, libraries, roads… you name it, and some GOP lawmaker will call it socialism.

Sometimes, the results are hilarious, such as in this clip from this weekend in which Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) accuses President Joe Biden of wanting to finish what former President Franklin D. Roosevelt started. She then rattles off a bunch of incredibly popular initiatives, such as Medicare and Social Security.

But back to Scott.

His socialism-hating bona fides have been taking quite the hit recently because he wants the federal government, i.e., the socialists, to bail out his state’s citrus farmers.

“With the lowest production levels in nearly a century, Florida’s citrus industry needs help NOW,” Scott tweeted last night. “I’m urging my Senate colleagues to pass my Block Grant Assistance Act and send this good bill to [President Biden]. It’s the best way to rebuild our citrus industry for years to come.”

Well, guess what, according to the GOP’s definition, helping these farmers is socialism. It is not, of course. Instead, it is the government stepping in to help a struggling industry hard-hit by a couple of hurricanes last year.

That way, people can keep working, companies can keep producing stuff and, as part of the deal, they all pay taxes to help the next person.

In his 12-point plan, by the way, Scott says the only acceptable way for the federal government on state and local projects is disaster relief.

Here, the case can be made that this would qualify. However, it is more of an indirect relief and, if anybody else were in need, then he would likely sound a very different tune.

After all, the citrus farmers could pick themselves up by the bootstraps or they could have been more responsible and taken out better insurance or hedge funds could take over now that they are down.

But, seeing how they are his constituents (and possibly donors), Scott is choosing to turn to “socialism.”

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