If Rick Scott keeps his word, SunRail's a goner

For rail watchers, this is a suspense-filled week. Will Rick Scott keep or kill SunRail?

Obviously if Scott were a man of his word, he would kill it.

He promised to ax costly government spending. And this is about as costly as it gets.

Fortunately for train supporters, the governor has repeatedly proven that he doesn't take promises too seriously.

More important, with his approval ratings in the toilet, Scott has essentially launched the Re-inventing Rick Tour — where we suddenly see him doing things he vowed he wouldn't … and why we may just get rail after all.

See, if Scott was a man of his word, we wouldn't even be having this will-he-or-won't-he debate. He wouldn't have dragged out the debate for months. He simply would have killed SunRail and moved on.

That's what he did with high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando. There were no months of hand-wringing. Scott simply declared it too much of a taxpayer burden, labeled it "ObamaRail" (even though Florida Republicans touted it long before Obama ever entered the White House) and struck it down.

Which brings us to RickRail.

See, if Scott signs off on SunRail, it will be his project as well.

So why is Scott even considering this project?

Not on behalf of weary Interstate 4 commuters, but rather because Rick Scott's about as popular as a bunion.

He has an approval rating of 29 percent, making him one of the least popular governors in America and in Florida's recent history.

Suddenly, the governor is learning that Tea Partiers alone do not make for a meaningful coalition.

And that an unpopular leader is an impotent leader.

A governor, after all, can issue only so many executive orders. He needs legislators and other leaders help him pass laws.

Yet right now, many politicians would rather be photographed in a compromising photo with a farm animal than shaking hands with Rick Scott.

That's why we're seeing the Reinventing Rick Tour.

First, there was his turn-around on public schools. After proposing a $3 billion cut to Florida schools (breaking his promise to "keep school budgets the same"), Scott did a 180 and called for more money for schools.

To help cultivate his new image, the Republican Party of Florida placed robo-calls to voters around the state, trying to convince them that education was now Scott's top priority.

The governor even penned a piece for this very newspaper, touting his dedication to "world class schools."