Florida Governor and one-time leading Senatorial Candidate Charlie Crist is finding that coming out as bi-party is not the cakewalk that he was hoping for – his old friends feel betrayed and confused, his new friends are somewhat fickle, and his enemies are gleeful as he bends and twists to distance himself from the very party whose supporters he must approach if he is to have any chance to win.
Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Crist declined to answer the caucus question – if elected, will he caucus with Democrats or Republicans? As he has for weeks, he evaded the question by asserting that he will “caucus with the people of Florida.” Unfortunately, the people of Florida don’t hand out committee assignments.
A few days ago, he tried to go both ways on healthcare. He stated that he would have voted for healthcare reform then he corrected himself and said he would not have voted for the bill. He doesn’t like it – not one bit! But since it’s already passed and everything, he thinks we should keep it and make it better. Of course, since he wont be sitting on any committees, his opinion may not matter all that much.
And last week in liberal Broward County, he thanked God that he was no longer a Republican then travelled to a much less progressive part of the state and bragged about being a “Jeb Bush Republican.”
But even as Chain Gang Charlie repaints himself as a bi-party milquetoast with compassionate leanings who still enjoys the occasional hippie punching, Kendrick Meek and Florida Democrats are gearing up to remind voters of Crist’s true preferences:
(Click to listen to wav audio file.)
This is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight. I’m pro life, I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program.
The fact that Meek, a real Democrat, won the party nomination over self funding former Republican Jeff Greene will make life difficult for Crist. Democrats will use the boastful conservative’s own words against him again and again and Democratic voters will continue to come home to Meek – Meek presents a clear progressive choice vs. Chain Gang Charlie’s newly found wishy washy middle-of-the-roadism.
Meanwhile, Marc Rub’s (Marco Rubio has had the vowels removed from the end of his name for conduct unbecoming a Hispanic, per Tampa’s La Gaceta newspaper) campaign is hammering Crist as a turncoat and newly enflamed liberal. Crist wont be winning too many votes from this wing of his spurned party.
So far, Crist refuses to pick sides, but he can’t win with independents only, his old party still hates him, and Democrats are warming to Meek – Meek is far and away the best candidate on the issues, and he is, in fact, just the kind of “better Democrat” that we need in DC.
Crist’s approval ratings are dismal and he is a man without a party. Many observers do not see a way for him to win unless he promises to caucus with the Democrats, but just as he missed his oppurtunity to switch parties and clean Meek’s clock in the Dem primary, Crist may again be waiting too long to pick sides.