Well, Charlie Crist is going to make a fool out of me and run for the United States Senate with no party affiliation. As recently as this Monday I was spouting crazy talk about the man just dropping out and doing nothing -- maybe running for governor again. Ah, the perils of blogging while not informed.
Frankly, though, I stand by my logic. I think Crist is committing political seppuku. Former Crist friend and supporter state Senator Don Gaetz said it best:
Said state Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who endorsed Crist a year ago: "If he leaves the Republican party, he has left public office. ... I think it says more about the political opportunism of the candidate than it does about the party."
Wow, hardcore, Brother Don. Anyone else think it's ironic that he's from "Niceville"?
No, I didn't think Crist could really pull the trigger. He wanted that ticket to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue so bad you could feel it emanating from his very soul. I remain confident in saying this: the days of gunning for the White House are over for him. On the off- off- off-chance that Crist pulls this deal out and by some flukey miracle actually wins in November, what even half-sane GOP nominee for president (I know, I know -- insert GOP sanity jokes here) would put him on the ticket in 2012?
Sure, I saw the same polling that Charlie and everyone else on God's green earth saw that showed he could -- conceivably, possibly, maybe, sort of, on a good day, with his finger's crossed, and the right kind of breeze, and a little luck -- edge out Marco and Kendrick. It's nonsense, of course. That he is even in striking distance is a kink in the polling, an anomaly made possible by people who are excited by the idea of a no-party-affiliate Charlie Crist.
But the idea of the candidate and the candidate are two different things. Watch the polling. He'll get a little bump and then... And there's a lot of time between now and November. Look, Crist, as it says in the article linked above, is going to remain a registered Republican. You don't think that is an oversight, do you? Charlie is a Republican in NPA clothing. It's the political equivalent of the fake glasses and moustache, the donning of which does not make you an entirely different person. In the end, he faces the same peril he did when he was in the GOP primary against Rubio. All he's done is bought himself some more time.
I may be wrong on all of this -- wouldn't be the first time, obviously -- but one thing I've picked up on in a lot of the analysis from those with bigger brains than me is this: in order for Charlie to win, one of the big factors has to be that Kendrick Meek runs a bad campaign.
Guess what Kendrick is not doing. He's running a really good campaign, actually. Had Charlie stayed in the primary, he and Marco would have continued to suck all the oxygen out of the race -- and away from Kendrick, who has been doing good, historic stuff like getting qualified by petition to get on the ballot -- but that's all over now. One downside to this whole no party affiliation run for Crist is that now he's sort of de facto invited Meek into the arena. It's no longer a closed battle between the two GOP leviathans. It is about all three candidates. The three men -- Crist, Rubio, Meek -- will enter the political thunderdome, and only one will emerge victorious.
Finally, let me say this. I think Charlie Crist has been a pretty shitty governor. I'm not trying to be shocking or outrageous. His service as governor of this state has been sub-par. At best. His signature issue was a campaign to reduce property taxes at a time when revenues were beginning to fall short. Now Tallahassee can't plug the budget holes... and "the people's governor" is nowhere to be found. He damn well earned the taunting moniker he ironically ran against in 2006, Empty Chair Charlie.
Fair or not, Charlie's run for Senate was going to be a referendum on his service as governor (I don't think Marco gets the same deal with his service as Speaker of the Florida House, nor does Kendrick necessarily for being in the U.S. House from Miami). Charlie was -- still is, I guess -- the face of Florida. And when people walk into that voting booth, they will, for right or wrong, see the name "Charlie Crist, NPA" and reflect on how their lives have been under his leadership... or lack thereof.
I'd wish you good luck, governor, but I don't actually like you enough to do so. And you haven't earned it. See you on the campaign trail. By the way, that dust you're tasting for the first time in a long, long time? It doesn't belong to corrupt Marco Rubio, a thug opportunist of the worst kind without skill enough to even know how to use a credit card -- it belongs to Kendrick Meek, the Democrat. He's going to kick your ass. And you're going to deserve every humiliating bit of it.