When going gets tough, Scott heads to The Villages

Everyone knows that if you win the Super Bowl, you go to Disney World.

But if you're a wildly unpopular governor, looking for a pocket of sycophants, where do you go?

The Villages!

Yes, with new poll numbers showing that Rick Scott is one of the least popular governors in the United States, ol' Rick headed back to his political security blanket: The Villages.

Sure, only 29 percent of Floridians think Scott's doing a good job. But a whole bunch of them live in the conservative retirement community.

In "America's friendliest hometown," you are free to shortchange public schools and gut the state's environmental-protection program. The crowd will still go wild.

You can even veto $12 million for homeless veterans and $3 million for the Wounded Warrior Project — just a few days before Memorial Day — and everyone will cheer.

"It's always — and always will be — a beautiful day in The Villages," Scott told the supportive crowd.

What do these folks care?

They've already been through public schools. Many already enjoy their pensions.

So now Scott is free to go after everyone else's schools and pensions … as long as he also cuts taxes and leaves their Medicare alone.

Scott did just that Thursday. He signed the very budget that cut funding for public education — which is already below the national average — by more than $1 billion.

I would love to have seen Scott try to stage that budget-signing inside a public high school.

But Scott is not that stupid. Or that brave.

Instead, he selected something akin to President Barack Obama delivering the State of the Union in Chicago.

The Villages has always been a sanctum for conservative politicians.

The mostly white, wealthy and conservative enclave has been a sanctuary for everyone from George W. and Jeb Bush to Sarah Palin and John McCain. The development's founder, Gary Morse, even lets the GOP use his private aircraft for free.

But the difference between Jeb Bush and Rick Scott, who has visited The Villages more than a half-dozen times, is that Bush had the courage to interact with real people more regularly.

Now, admittedly not everyone in The Villages is a Scott disciple. (With a 29 percent approval rating, you're going to have a tough time finding universal support anywhere outside your own bedroom.)

I hear from plenty of readers — Republicans and Democrats — who enjoy The Villages' many amenities without enjoying a thing about our governor.

PHOTO GALLERIES