Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos may be a lot of things, but politically unsavvy is not one of them.
The senator called me today to say hello and inquire about some of my concerns with the issues I have been hitting him on for the last few weeks.
He addressed most of my concerns, though we remain in disagreement on some of those issues.
By directly engaging one of his critics (me) directly he opened up a new line of communication. Mike took the high ground without being self-righteous. And for both of us, that is smart and helpful to the goals we seek to accomplish.
In as much as most politicians don’t get it when it comes to issues like apologizing for errors, or engaging your opponents, Haridopolos does. Further showing his savvy, Haridopolos did not yell or scream, express offense, or even remotely suggest that he wanted me to stop being irreverent. Establish a line of communication was all his call was about.
Mike’s manner of engagement serves him well. He’s agreeable and non-confrontational. It is easy to see why voters have repeatedly elected him to serve. Resume and accomplishment may mean something, but being a “nice guy” will carry you a lot farther in politics.
Taking advantage of our conversation, I took the opportunity to suggest to Mike that he look into supporting Rep. Rick Kriseman’s bill to provide a recall provision of state elected officials. I also suggested the Legislature should impose a rule requiring an oath of truthfulness by anyone testifying before the body — which it currently does not require. He said he would look into both issues.
We concluded our call with an agreement to keep the lines of communication open.
And then Haridopolos showed his sense of humor.
He invited me to get together with him if I’m up in Tallahassee, adding, “so we can sit down with a box of crayons and go over policy.” Touché.
When I told him I’d be on vacation next week with my kids on Spring Break he jokingly suggested he hoped I’d remain with them on Spring Break through the end of the session.
No such luck senator, but thanks for the call.