Governor Charlie

The governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, has gotten a lot of publicity nationally for many reasons.  Not the least of which being the fact that he’s the governor of the 4th most populous state in the country.  Currently he’s running for U.S. Senator, and was initially considered a slam-dunk, but shall we say, the mood has changed? 

His opponent in the Republican primary is a guy named Marco Rubio, who is the favorite of the tea partiers.  Florida, already being a red-state kind of place, is now apparently shifting to scarlet.  Charlie’s warm, fair, populist kind of approach seems to have lost favor.  We (Floridians) no longer value those qualities.  We’d rather be mad, or scared, or both.

It always amuses me that in polls, people say that what they hate about Congress is that the people involved can’t seem to work together to accomplish anything.  When it gets down to electing people to go there, what we want is someone who will stand up for our principles and will never compromise.  (Fakename throws her hands up in the air.)  When the Legislature is in session (as in now, right this minute), Fakename is always amused by the proliferation of newspaper and TV ads talking about “those people in Tallahassee”.  As I am fond of saying:  you sent them here, and you can have them back. 

So this past week, Governor Charlie did something  that is widely reported to be his doom.  He vetoed a bill.  A Republican-sponsored bill.  The bill, which I don’t claim to know many details on, had to do with education.  It was rather deceptively named something like “Merit Pay for Teachers”, but was a bit like the definition of justice in the book 1984.  The details I did pick up indicated that it would reduce the number of teachers eligible for merit pay, and would tie it to the performance of their students.  It was a sort of methamphetamine-enhanced version of No Child Left Behind.  As one of the two political reporters for the local newspaper said, it would be like having my pay tied to how many people agree with (or even read) my columns.   

Teaching is not a business.  Nor for that matter, is government.  And in a time long ago and far away I would have said neither are newspapers. 

So back to Governor Charlie.  If he was in trouble before, and he was, he’s really in trouble now.  Immediately after the veto, a poll showed that if Charlie continues to run as a Republican he will lose the nomination in the primary to Rubio.  (Nothing I can do about that…I’m a registered Democrat, and in Florida, we can’t do that bizarre switcheroo thing where you can vote in the primary of the opposite party–in order to pick someone you think will lose against your candidate of choice–then re-register ten minutes later.)

So the polls say that if Governor Charlie runs as a Republican in the primary, he loses.  But here’s the catch.  The polls also say that if he runs as an Independent, he wins the election.  Okay then.  Win primary?  Win the election?  Scratch head.  What should I do?  And here’s the other catch…unlike in Connecticut where Lieberman lost the primary and then ran as an Independent, you can’t do that in Florida.  Governor Charlie has to choose before the primary. 

Seems like a slam-dunk to me.

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16 responses to “Governor Charlie

  1. Love my cigars from Florida, and look forward to Senate race. Everybody goes to Florida to have a couple of years to turn into a raisin, and then go back home to die. Sort of a end of life audience, so it should be interesting.

  2. Hi Hoboduke. I approved your comment in order to say, What the hell are you talking about? In the real Florida, we spend a lot of time trying not to become raisins.

  3. Well I think Charlie did the right thing because it is politically expedient and he will soon announce he is running for Senate as an independent. He might well win with that.

    As for SB6 veto it was the right thing to do. It basically would have held teachers hostage to the lowest common denominator of their student population and discouraged young folks from going into the profession. Merit pay would have been given only to those who had all good students to teach. Biggest losers would have been the special needs category.

    I understand public education in general and in Florida specifically having gone to our schools for 16 years and having 3 kids who did the same.

    The reality is that if the parents aren’t passionately involved in education today kids aren’t likely to get much from the system. Teachers are held hostage to everyone else’s standards and have little or no say in the metrics of success, like SB6, they were not at the table for input into the bill.

    We absolutely do need radical change in education but demoralizing the teachers is definitely not the answer.

    Back to Charlie, I will put up a sign in my front yard for him (not because there are teachers in 3 houses around me.) I believe doing the right thing is important in politics, even if it is for questionable motives.

    I wonder if the Florida Senate pushed this bill through knowing that Christ would be caught between the proverbial rock and hard place and hoping it would assure Rubio the republican ticket for the Nov US Senate election. I personally can’t stand Rubio who lives on the polar right and would be delighted to see him throughly trounced.

  4. pt, I totally agree with everything you said 100%. (We need to mark this day down on our calendars!) And that’s a very interesting speculation in the last paragraph. It never occurred to me, but now that you suggest it, it makes perfect sense.

  5. Glad my comment got approved since you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. It seems confusing to understand if Crist or Christ is running for election. However, my hobo party want Marco Rubio because his grandfather taught him the value of a good cigar, and a good respect for the values that drew lovers of freedom like his family.

  6. > deceptively named something like “Merit Pay for > Teachers”,

    Most bills are deceptively named these days, part of the political PR.

    I wonder if the GOP will support a similar bill for doctors: they don’t get paid if the patient isn’t cured.

    At least doctors have a choice in whether to accept patients; teachers do not.

  7. Interesting point. spencercourt. I’m sure you’re aware there is a sort of movement in that direction being discussed, i.e., moving away from “fee for service” (which, the theory goes, encourages multiple visits and tests which may sometimes be unnecessary) to fees based on outcome. That makes no more sense to me than, as pt points out, shackling teachers to the lowest common denominator. As a doctor, if your patient dies…what? You don’t get paid? You can teach a student all you want, or treat a patient with everything at your disposal, and you still won’t be God.

  8. “I wonder if the GOP will support a similar bill for doctors: they don’t get paid if the patient isn’t cured.”

    Or lawyers that lose cases? What would happen to all the ambulance chasers that fill Clear Channels billboards and ruin dinner time TV.

    • > Or lawyers that lose cases?

      I had that in mind but chose to use doctors instead.

      Because I find it interesting that many, especially Republicans, want to cap contingency case fees when that is a perfect example of capitalism in action. No result, no payment.

  9. Dinner and TV – not!

    Fakesister’s household does make exceptions to this rule but we generally spend dinner-time with each other.

  10. Fakesister, would those exceptions involve hockey by any chance? I notice, btw, that the Stanley Cup is in progress. When will it be over–November? (You do know I like to tease about that.)
    And pt, I’m pretty sure I’ll vote for Governor Charlie myself, but I really hope he runs as an independent, because I think I might break out in a rash if I have to vote for a Republican. Charlie did piss me off over the whole State Farm thing, though. Also, I could never do a yard sign . In my neighborhood I’d be tarred and feathered.

  11. Hockey, maybe. Drag racing, absolutely! Like tonight.

  12. “Hockey, maybe. Drag racing, absolutely! Like tonight.”

    OK so one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I enjoy the network news at dinner time unless it’s a special occasion and then we are quite flexible.

    Or if FSU athletics is doing something on TV everything else is subservient. I am not flexible about that at all. And thankfully I have brainwashed all the little noles to share that passion with me.

    But racing or hockey…..not!

  13. > I enjoy the network news at dinner time

    Me too.

    I liked to watch Peter Jennings and stayed with ABC after he died because I also liked Bob Woodward. Then he was injured and I stayed with ABC out of habit I guess.

    Diane Sawyer’s OK….but she’s no George Stephanapolous.

  14. I also liked Peter Jennings and Stephanapolus and stayed with it. I am not crazy about Diane Sawyer but, having just spent a week at NBC I find that ABC is still the least biased of the “big 3.” PBS is actually a lil better but it comes on at 7. I think I have been hot wired for 6:30 after all these years. It just feels like family……don’t know how to esplain it.

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