Well, he did it. Charlie Crist quit the Republican Party and is now running for the U.S. Senate as an independent. It was down to the wire…he only had until Friday to do it, and he did it on Thursday evening. As you might guess, this is the talk of the town in Tallahassee, his home away from home. He’s from St. Petersburg, where he made his announcement, but while he’s here, he lives in the Governor’s Mansion, which he refers to as “The People’s House”. (Regular readers may remember that one contributor to the local newspaper’s Zing! feature–anonymous one or two-liner comments on local, and therefore State news of interest–asked if Charlie would mind if he showed up one night with his jammies and toothbrush.)
Consider this the obligatory weekend political post by Fakename.
Michael Steele said, “He left us, we didn’t leave him”. Um, no Michael, that’s not what happened. Would you just slink off somewhere and use your RNC credit card to refurnish your office or something? If the stress ever gets to you (which doesn’t really seem possible, given your unique psychopathology), there’s a bar in California I hear will fix you right up.
The Republican Party left Charlie Crist a long time ago. At the point where he started governing instead of campaigning. When he got elected governor and had to look out for the interests of…everybody. How quaint of him.
What Governor Charlie has done is pretty much unprecedented in modern politics. As I mentioned previously, Lieberman left the Democratic party when he didn’t win the party’s nomination, ran as an independent, and won. But you can’t do that in Florida. If you lose in the primary, you can’t run as an independent. You have to make the decision beforehand. Different states have different rules.
Polls have shown that if Governor Charlie had stayed in the primary race, he would lose the nomination to Marco Rubio. The RPOF (Republican Party of Florida) urged him to do it anyway…Stay in the primary race, take your licks and wait two years, then run again for the other Senate seat, and we’ll support you all the way. So tell me they didn’t leave him first. I think it’s like throwing a boxing match: Just agree to lose today, and next week, next month, next year, we’ll make sure you win. Like you can count on that.
What Governor Charlie did was gutsy, to put it mildly. You can say that it was politically calculating, because the polls show that he has a better chance of winning if he runs as an independent. That doesn’t particularly bother me. Winning is very important to the kinds of people who would run for office in the first place. Healthy egos, shall we say, are a requirement.
But Governor Charlie has surprised most everyone, by being so confident that he can afford to compromise and look at things from every angle without feeling personally attacked. What a concept. Last week, even before he made the announcement, I knew he was cooked with the Republican Party for this reason: he went on a helicopter tour of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the position of the Republican Party that opposition to drilling in the Gulf amounts to hatred for America, because what we need is jobs (and/or oil company profits). Drill, Baby, Drill. So Charlie, who was originally opposed to more drilling, had agreed to follow the Republican position, saying he was open to the possibility. After the tour, he said, I’m going to have to think about this some more. No kidding. I knew he was done, right that minute.
So I, and the one other person I talked to about it, agreed that we will vote for him, because we mostly agree with him but moreso because of his courage. At least if he loses, he will have done so honorably.