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Charlie Crist’s Folly

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The Democrats are set to suffer huge losses in the midterms. The biggest loser though, may well be Charlie Crist.

At one point, Crist was a rising star in the Republican Party. His endorsement helped put John McCain over the top in the 2008 Republican primary, and he was touted as a possible vice presidential nominee. Early on in the Senate race, Crist maintained a sizable lead. His name recognition and high approval ratings made him seem unbeatable.

That was before he embraced the Obama stimulus package. That was before unemployment stayed well above the 8% the Obama administration predicted and before the tea party arose to oppose Obama’s health care plan. Crist’s opponent, Marco Rubio, found himself in the lead. Crist left the Republican primary, but entered the general election as an independent. It’s probably the worst decision he’s made in his political life.

There are a couple of scenarios. The first, and most obvious, is that Crist ends up losing again in the general election. A Quinnipiac poll had him trailing by thirteen points. In that case, he’s likely done in politics. He’ll never win a Republican nomination for anything ever again. By bolting the party to run as an independent, he showed that he wasn’t a loyal Republican. He’s exposed himself to charges of political opportunism which will also hurt with independents. And Democrats will have a hard time supporting him when they are reminded of the myriad conservative positions he’s taken on the issues over the years.

The second scenario is that Crist wins. But even under this scenario, it’s hard to see him going appreciably further in politics. There will be immense pressure on Republicans from their base to keep him out of the Republican caucus. He’ll never be a Senate majority or minority leader, or a committee chairman or ranking member. Maybe Democrats will take him into the caucus so they can maintain a majority, but that’s no guarantee that he’ll be reelected; just look at Arlen Specter, who lost in the Democratic primaries to Joe Sestak.

Crist certainly has no chance of becoming president anymore. Independents very rarely have electoral success. When they do, they typically have an issue to run on, a regional base, or a charismatic personality; think of George Wallace or Ross Perot. It’s not clear Crist will have any of these if he ever wants to run for president, which he surely did at some point. Even if he were a successful independent candidate, successful independent candidates simply don’t win.

The best choice for Crist when he began losing the Republican primary earlier this year was to bow out gracefully and throw his full weight behind Rubio. He should have been seen raising money and campaigning for him. Doing this would have given him a chance to win over tea-partiers and conservatives in the years ahead. He would have gained even more goodwill with the Republican establishment by showing that he was a person who really did put party over self.

There is, of course, the possibility that Crist left the Republican Party out of principle, in which case attacks on him as a political opportunist are unfair. Even in this case, the decision might have made sense on principle; politically, it made none.

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About Marcus Alexander Gadson

  • TJ

    I agree on all points, except that if left out of principle then he was not merely a taitor to his party, but his principle made him a taitor to the American People.

    He was for all purposes a Democrat. LOL

  • Arch Conservative

    The only principle that Crist has is that he will do or say whatever it takes to get elected.

    As you point out Marcus, even if Christ gets elected (which is increasingly unlikely) neither party is going to make him one of their own. The Republicans will view him as a traitor and treat him as such. The Democrats may feign acceptance in as far as they can get his vote on issues bills that they need it on but that’s it.

    It would seem that the most likely scenario is that Crist will lose to Rubio by at least 8 – 12 or even finish third behind Meeks. Charlie will be finished in Florida and national politics. He’ll probably end up as the spokesperson for some “Tan in a Bottle” product.

    (Big sarcastic ending) But hey, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

  • cheryl

    Slow down a bit “Media.” The “People” know media,GOP,Tea Party, has had a hate on for Charlie Crist since he said he was running for the U.S. Senate. Ya know I know hmm. People the media, GOP, Tea Party is protecting Rubio and I and many others know what it is hmm don’t I media, GOP, Tea Party.I’ll start off by saying “Abuse of Power” is what is happening here; Rubio and the GOP, Tea Party “abuse of power” can destroy individuals character; as “We the People” has witness how the GOP ridicule a sitting governor (Charlie Crist); this disrespect, “abuse of power” was down online when the GOP sold the governors painting online and then posted his private life style online as well (he who is without sin cast the first stone);this was done online for all to see how the party of “NO” humiliated a sitting governor for switching parties;BECAUSE he had went “Independent”; this was the “BULLY”tactics used by the GOP; also the governor passed a law against “Bullying” but I guess the GOP is excused; this was pure intimidation use by the GOP to force, the Gov. Charlie Crist to return the campaign donations; but when the GOP saw that it was not working; GOP took the governor to court; as it turned out the judge ruled in the governors favor and did not had to return the funds;this made the GOP very angry BECAUSE that is money for their star actor Rubio;this “abuse of power” some how made its way into the “Tea Party Patriots, which I am a member of;I went online into the “Tea Party” chat line and was verbally attack by “Tea Party” members BECAUSE, I was a supporter of Gov. Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate; this was no hidden secret BECAUSE; I has explain this to the “Tea Party Patriots” when I first became a member;a member told me that I had lied about Charlie Crist not switching parties; I then said that even his own family did not know Charlie Crist was going to switch parties and become an “Independent”; I was then told to “SHUT UP” BECAUSE no one wants to hear what you have to say (me)”we patriots will be voting for Rubio; may I dare say “FREEDOM of SPEECH” did not exist in the “Tea Party Patriots” chat line this particular day;I then said okay but I did tell the “truth” and why do I have to prove myself when you all know Rubio has taken campaign donations and the GOP credit card and spent the money on himself his family, his house, his VAN;a member then said so what your jealous BECAUSE he took care of his family! As you can see the “Tea Party is also willing to protect Rubio; the “abuse of power” dosen’t stop there;Rubio worked at the university I once attended and lets just say that is Rubio do not like an individual or student their college records are switch from good to bad;like your given a grade of F for failing a class you never attended int the first place; most colleges usally drop a student the first or second week if he or she is not physically in class, I was told this by a financial aid adviser while attending college in the past ; financial aid refund money is never put into a students acct. before he or she attends class;I remember one summer I was attending a class and I happen to check my student acct. to find out my class was dropped due to no funds to pay for class; my financial aid did not get to the school yet but I was approved for financial aid but funds was not there;all of this was done; and with Rubio having known so many students and their was many students that likes Rubio at the university I attended and Rubio work; but again if Rubio didn’t like a certain individual; that person would soon know and especially if you were a Charlie Crist supporter, don’t I know Rubio? A Rubio supporter goes online into chat rooms, social networks and attacks anyone who even shows support of the governor; Rubio’s supporters are very computer literate; and will block you out of the “Tea Party” chat room, don’t I know Rubio?? “Abuse of Power” continues with the media; once on a very popular cable TV news station Rubio made an appearence on the show; the news anchorman starts off the conversation (control conversation)by mentioning the “stimulus package” that the governor accepted and all 50 states also got as well; anyway Rubio also said he would had also accepted the “stimulus package”; but again media tend to ignore and only “BASH” Charlie Crist;also this popular news station also stated that Gov. Charlie Crist can not be “Trusted”; but yet at the same time the media also knew about Rubio’s campaign donations bing spent on himself; but media made no mention of it; media just continue to “BASH” the governor; the media has all along been dictating elections just look;just look at the 2008 elections; and how the media protected the democrats in the 2008 elctions; now the year 2010 the media protects republican Rubio, hmm don’t I know media the other thing you know about Rubio that some of the public don’t know and then there are some who do know????

  • cheryl

    Finally, “People” media keeps a file of all news coverage from the present to the past; you have to do some searching; and look for the 2008 election and you will see how “Media” does it so smooth; thats if it has not been moved (sneaky); one day I was watching “World News” thats when Charlie Gibson was anchorman; he just happen to be reading an essay that he claims was from the presidential nominee in the 2008 election; “Physical Wellness” in this particular essay I wrote about “Change” and “Obesity”;BUT I wrote this essay while in college; I had not signed a release for this essay; BUT Charlie Gibson goes on to ask the person how many times did you hear “Change”; now if the person who had gotten my essay had just said that he was going to be using my essay in a speech fine; I would had been proud to be a part of this history in the making; but in this case the essay was stolen and that person got the credit and the “Noble Peace Prize which they later returned I wopnder why? Getting back to Charlie Gibson reading the essay; he then said at the end; this person was writing about life; I wonder why he did not say the name that was on the paper; if he claims that it was the president elect who wrote it; BECAUSE they knew but at that time this is who the media wanted to be elected; strange that here where I’m at I had a book bag with all of my college writings and their all gone; the reason I had went to check my bags is BECAUSE I heard these people talking about the bag; “she brought the book bag” and yes I did bring and when I went to check all my baggage is gone; so you see some “People” are doing a lot to protect individuals whom he or she want in office even before you or I cast our VOTE;If the GOP, Media, Tea Party, are willing to do so much to protect Rubio then I really don’t believe in the “Polls” anymore; if any of you can remember after the 2008 election many things came out; that should had been told to the “PUBLIC” by “Media”; but was not the people found out after the fact; Media is suppose to expose these things to us; but now its about who has the most money;this summer I have meant people who have said that their ready to embrace “Socialized Medicine”; need I say more about what media should had told “We the People” I say this our VOTE should only be the one thing that should count in an ELECTION; media, Rubio, GOP, Tea Party, will not dictate who should be “We the People” leader; our VOTE is what will count this NOVEMBER election; “We the People” will stand together and will not ever be divided again as a “People”;media is not telling or being fair to “We the People”; when it comes to Rubio ask the media this; is he Rubio a true “Fiscal Conservative, do he have family values, principles true leadership or do he have that ENTILEMENT theory that plaque 2010???????? Whats the secret that the GOP, Media,Tea Party, is keeping from the “Public” about Rubio???

  • Baronius

    There’s one possibility the author didn’t consider: a tea party backlash. It would require some colossal mistakes by the newly-elected congressmen, national crises caused by ignorance of procedure or uncompromising ideology. The press loves moderate Republicans (as long as they’re not running against Democrats), so they’ll be pushing the “throw the tea partiers out of the GOP” story line any chance they get for the next couple of years. A Castle or Crist could start something like Clinton’s Democratic Leadership Council to move the party toward the middle. I’m not saying it will happen, or it would be successful if it did happen, but that’s Crist’s best chance of national prominence.

  • John P Quinn

    To whomever is a Florida voter:
    Our Nation faces some very diffacult decesions and probable fissures over necessary foreign policy decesions need to be made by men who place principal over”sticking their finger in the wind and seeing which way its blowing”.
    Governor Christ is exactly the kind of Gentleman that makes the United States Senate an entirely different animal than
    the House of Represenatives.
    I appeal to your sense of patriotism to give this great man, who as a young boy learned alot about the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the American people as he made the medical housecalls with his doctor dad.
    Charlie Christ is an honorable, decent, ethical man who stands heads and shoulders above his predessor Jeb Bush, who born with
    (Thank you Governor Ann Richards, RIP)a silver spoon in his mouth.
    The choice is entirely yours but I consider myself an excellent judge of political ability and truly think president Obama needs men around him who arent merely yes men but challenge him to “think outside the box”.
    John P Quinn
    Washington, DC 20019

  • John P Quinn

    Dear undecided voter:
    President Obama made a compelling case last night at the town hall meeting at GWU.
    The facts are these:
    President Obama could have cut and run from the Auto industry disaster in Detroit.
    Innstead, he saw the problem through, slowly, methodically, and deliberatively,
    gave the big three the money they needed to
    write a decades long string of poor mangerial decesions and in the process saved THOUSANDS of Jobs.
    This president has, since President Truman first tried in 1946 to actually reform/overhaul health care and in the process thousands of seniors THIS year who have fallen into the “Donught Hole” will be getting a check for 250.00 to help offset their out of pocket costs and afford their medications.
    Additionally, real reform and financial oversight has finally arrived on Wall streets door and sooner than you think, Oliver Stones movies about “Greed is Good”
    (Wall Street, 1987)will be a distant memory.
    When this president says hes going to get every dime back from Wall street that bailed out the AIGs of the world, hes not merely throwing red meat to the democratic base, he GENUINELY feels its the only decent, ethical, and American way to close the books on 8 years of the Bush administration virtually ignoring ANY kind of financial regulation/oversight and his allowing “Trusts” as president Wilson would
    say, to get a free ride from anti-trust actions by the DOJ was and is a disgrace.
    The bottom line is this president and this democratic Congress are small “d” democrats who truly are innately connected to the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the American people.
    God Bless These United States now and Always.
    John P Quinn
    Washington, DC
    Clinton-Gore 92