Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio, and the Florida Senate Race

Florida Governor Charlie Crist has decided to withdraw from the Republican senate primary and run for the senate as an independent.

(One question…Why would any governor want to downgrade to being a senator? Governors actually do things. One day I want to know why Crist chose a brutal senate race over a popular governorship, but that is for another time.)

As a New Yorker living in Los Angeles (I have been in LA for 20 years, would never live in NY again, and yet still refer to myself this way), I do not have an emotional stake in a Florida political race. Yet the decision Charlie Crist made is worthy of some analysis.

The first aspect of this story is the media itself. The disgusting biased slobs that hate Republicans because…well, just because…will decide that this is proof that the “extreme right” has hijacked the Republican Party. Crist will be praised for making a “principled” decision.

Ironically enough, Joseph Lieberman did not get treated with the same respect when Ned Lamont “hijacked” the Democratic Party. The double standard is disgusting.

There was nothing principled about the decisions made by Charlie Crist, Arlen Specter, or Joseph Lieberman. They acted for the sake of political survival. This is not illegal or even immoral, but it is not worthy of praise either. Politics is a business, and Crist made a business decision. He was going to lose in the primary, so he bailed.

As expected, Crist stated that his move to running as an independent said “more about the state of politics and the parties today then it does about me.” This is as phony as when Bill Bradley retired by saying that “politics is broken.” They were going to lose, so they bailed to avoid embarrassment. Most politicians who quit do so because they are about to be fired. Just ask Chris Dodd.

(Sarah Palin and Evan Bayh both get a pass on this one. They were popular in their own states and would have most likely won reelection. Palin benefited from a huge GOP registration advantage while Bayh may have struggled against Dan Coats. Yet Bayh was still liked and formidable.)

I have zero objection to Crist running as an independent. He can run on the Blue Smurf ticket if he likes. If the voters support him, he deserves to win. I respect democracy.

I have met Charlie Crist. I found him very likable personally. He was friendly, intelligent, and just an all around good guy.

(I had his office in stitches when I called up to ask for clemency regarding a speeding ticket. I was concerned that Crist ran on a tough on crime platform. His highly amused assistant informed me that while the governor was proud of his record on crime, he had not resorted to giving out the death penalty for speeding tickets. It was not a capital case, and clemency was denied. I still maintain that the sign said “95.” The Highway patrolman explained that 95 was the highway, not the speed limit.)

As for how good a governor he has been, I have heard two different versions.

(My conversations have been with Republicans. I have zero interest in what the left thinks of him. They don’t seek my opinion for their politicians, nor should they).

The first narrative of Crist is that he has been a successful governor because he is smart, likable, and easy to work with. He is not a bombthrower. He is a good guy doing a good job.

The second narrative is that Crist got lucky in the tradition of George Herbert Walker Bush. Crist followed Jeb Bush, inherited a fabulous situation, and failed to screw it up. He was Jeb’s 3rd term, only more moderate.

The nearly universal consensus among Republicans is that Jeb Bush did virtually everything right, and that if he had any other last name he would be a top tier presidential contender. Even many supporters of Bush the elder and George W. Bush consider Jeb the best of the bunch.

So how did Crist go from being a popular governor to the brink of losing the senate primary?

Marco Rubio came along.

I have never met Marco Rubio, but he has electrified crowds.

(One concern…if he does win the senate seat, I do not want a single article about him running for president in 2012. Don’t put the guy in the half of fame before he plays a single game.)

Crist tried to coast on his likable nature, but being competent and affable is often not as powerful as a person who can light up crowds like Rubio can.

This does not make Rubio a demagogue. A man can be a powerful speaker and still have substance.

I would have stayed out of the Florida primary, because I believe in Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment.

Yet with Crist dropping out and running as an independent, I would support Rubio because he is the GOP nominee. If Crist wins, I would hope he would caucus with the Republicans.

My worry is that Rubio and Crist beat each other up for another six months, and a Democrat gets elected. I do not want a replay of the special election in New York’s 23rd district that conservatives did a fabulous job of screwing up.

I am about winning. If Rubio wins, he was right to run. If he loses, then he should have stayed home and left Crist alone. The same goes for Crist.

I think Crist and Rubio are both good guys, and I wish Crist would have stayed in the Republican primary. The idea that these two men will bloody each other up right into the general election is a terrible scenario for Republicans.

Either Mr. Rubio or Mr. Crist would make for a good senator, but as of today I look forward to Marco Rubio being the next senator from Florida.


One Response to “Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio, and the Florida Senate Race”

  1. Sopmetimes I actually wonder if you’re being serious when you say that senators don’t do anything. But then I think, “Nah, he can’t really think that.”

    And why wouldn’t you live in NY again? C’mon man! That’s not cool!

    “The disgusting biased slobs that hate Republicans because…well, just because…will decide that this is proof that the “extreme right” has hijacked the Republican Party. Crist will be praised for making a “principled” decision.”

    This is just too funny. That is EXACTLY what you righties said about the Lieberman affair – that it was proof that the “far left” had hijacked the Democratic party. you guys have amazingly large juevos.

    Rubio IS a far right screwball. I hope Christ wins this one. I like Kendrick Meek, and I may on vote for him, but I don’t think he projects the gravitas to win a sentae seat. If – IF – it looks like a vote for Meek will become essentially a vote for Rubio, then I will happily vote for Crist. We shall see…


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