Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Crist’
May 9th, 2014 at 1:35 pm
Liberal Pundit Debunks Crist’s Make-Believe Racism Charge

By now you may have heard about Charlie Crist saying he left the Florida Republican Party because of racism.

The former Florida Republican Governor and one-time U.S. Senate candidate rationalized his switch to the Democratic Party this way: “I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there. I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me.”

In reality, what really pushed Crist into the Democratic Party was a 40 point swing in his poll numbers relative to a Republican state representative named Marco Rubio.  In the 2010 GOP U.S. Senate primary, Rubio pummeled Crist with the latter’s liberal gubernatorial record. Crist’s anti-conservative tendencies included voting to increase state spending, appointing liberal justices to the state supreme court and vetoing legislation to link teacher pay to student test scores. All this and Crist still claimed in a debate with Rubio that, “I think we can both agree we’re both good conservatives.”

As liberal pundit Chris Cillizza explains, Crist’s party switch was driven by the failure of his actions to align with GOP orthodoxy, not racism. And lest we forget, Florida Republicans voted for the Hispanic Rubio over the Anglo Crist; hardly the result one would expect if racial considerations dominate GOP thinking.

Fundamentally, Crist is dogged by skepticism that he has any core principles worth fighting for. That, and not some imaginary racial bias, is what made Florida GOP voters reject his bid to go to Washington. Now that Crist is seeking his old job as governor under the Democratic label, Sunshine State liberals should be equally as suspicious of statements that seem to align with their ideology. As Crist has proven time and again, he’ll say anything to get elected.

June 27th, 2011 at 5:42 pm
Tea Party Clash with GOP Establishment Will Continue in 2012
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You would’ve thought that the leaders of the National Republican Senatorial Committee — the Senate GOP caucus’s in-house mechanism for supporting candidates for the upper chamber — would have learned their lesson in 2010. Rather than waiting for Republican nominees to emerge before throwing their support behind them, the NRSC intervened in primaries throughout the nation, opposing such strong conservative candidates as Florida’s Marco Rubio and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey. It should have been a source of public shame. Yet it doesn’t look that way, based on a report in the New York Times’ Caucus Blog:

A group of placard-waving Tea Party activists converged on the headquarters of the National Republican Senatorial Committee early Monday afternoon, demanding that its leaders refrain from supporting incumbents facing primary challenges, and serving as a reminder that the intraparty fight over party purity continues…

One reason the activists are angry with the Republican senatorial committee is that it is holding fund-raisers for [Utah Senator Orrin] Hatch — they waved signs reading “Retire Hatch.” But more generally, they want the committee to withhold political or financial support from any incumbents in the primary.

“It’s like they haven’t learned the lessons of the midterms,” said Brendan Steinhauser, an organizer for FreedomWorks who urged on the marchers.

And indeed, the committee has heard this tune before, particularly in the 2010 Florida primary for United States Senate, when the committee initially backed Charlie Crist, then a popular Republican governor, over a scrappy challenger, Marco Rubio. Mr. Rubio did so well in polls that Mr. Crist abandoned the party, ran as an independent, and lost, badly, to Mr. Rubio, a Tea Party darling.

Of the 47 Republicans currently serving in the United States Senate, none is as likely to someday become president as Marco Rubio. And his ascendancy was nearly extinguished at the hands of the NRSC. If that isn’t a sign that they shouldn’t be weighing in during primaries, it’s hard to imagine what would be.

January 7th, 2011 at 7:25 pm
Rudy Giuliani Preparing to Tempt Fate, Waste Money

Teagan Goddard of Political Wire repeated a rumor going around about former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) getting some of his political hands together for another run at the White House.  Presumably, those are the same people that talked their boss into a suicidal primary strategy: skip Iowa, abandon New Hampshire, and bypass South Carolina for an all-or-nothing shot in Florida.

Of course, by the time the Florida primary rolled around, the GOP nomination was a two-horse race between John McCain (R-AZ) and Mitt Romney (R-MA).  (Governor Charlie Crist’s late support of McCain sealed the deal for the Maverick’s Sunshine State win.)  In the process, Giuliani spent a ton of money effectively not contesting the nomination until it was too late.

And now he wants to do it all again.  I’m sure his “brain trust” won’t mind dusting off the 2008 playbook while cashing 2012 checks.

September 23rd, 2010 at 8:37 pm
Mike Castle Mulling Write-in Bid in Delaware Senate Race

Hell hath no fury like a career politician scorned.  Nine-time congressman and two-time governor Mike Castle (R-DE) will conduct a poll to gauge his chances as a write-in candidate for Delaware’s Senate seat.  If he chooses to challenge the Republican Party’s nominee, Christine O’Donnell, Castle will join Lisa Murkowski(I-AK) and Charlie Crist (I-FL) as moderate GOP statewide elected officials who decided to quit their party rather than their hold on power.

Prediction: If Castle follows through with a write-in candidacy Christine O’Donnell will gain ground in the polls.  Like other Tea Party candidates she’ll be able to attack Democrat Chris Coons for supporting President Barack Obama’s agenda, and charge that Castle is nothing more than a self-aggrandizing career politician.

In this climate, the truth of both of those charges could be enough to give O’Donnelll a Senate seat for six years.

September 17th, 2010 at 6:32 pm
Alaska’s Murkowski is the Last Frontier’s Charlie Crist

Where’s the party unity?  Florida’s Charlie Crist morphed into an Independent when it became clear Marco Rubio would be the Republican Senate nominee.  To date, Delaware’s Mike Castle hasn’t called to pledge his support to GOP nominee Christine O’Donnell.  (Though he did find time to take phone calls from both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.)

And today, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski announced she would reject the judgment of her fellow Republicans and run as a write-in candidate after losing her reelection primary to Joe Miller.

Here we go again.  While the conservatives always fall in line, it’s the Republican Party’s moderates that are refusing to put their own political interests at the service of party unity.

Wake me up when it’s November…

September 3rd, 2010 at 7:22 pm
Tough Primary Fights For Democrats Too

Fresh off home state protests against Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) who, as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), continues to back losing candidates against Tea Party opposition comes a similar bit of news from Florida.  The minority leader of the Sunshine State’s state senate, Al Lawson, just endorsed Governor Charlie Crist (I-FL) for U.S. Senator.  As an African-American and Democratic leader in the Florida Senate, Lawson’s support is a blow to Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), the Democrats’ African-American Senate candidates.

But Lawson’s endorsement of Crist is apparently motivated by the Democratic establishment’s successful moves to defeat his recent primary challenge to Rep. Alan Boyd (D-FL).  That includes strong-arm tactics by President Barack Obama’s Organizing for America campaign operation.

Unlike Tea Party insurgents Joe Miller in Alaska, Rand Paul in Kentucky and Sharron Angle in Nevada, Lawson couldn’t overcome his party’s establishment.  Cornyn’s saving grace is that he still has time to make up with the grassroots voters before November.  Unless Obama & Co. can find a way to unify their base in the next two months, chances are people like Al Lawson will stay home on Election Day; making GOP control of both houses of Congress that much more likely.

June 29th, 2010 at 6:17 pm
Who is Ron Johnson?
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Answer: quite possibly, the margin of victory for Republicans in the United States Senate.

According to a new report from Public Policy Polling today, the largely unknown Johnson (a plastics manufacturer from Oshkosh) is within two points of the Badger State’s liberal stalwart, Senator Russ Feingold.  If the Wisconsin seat flips, it puts Republicans very close to retaking the Senate. Here’s the succint explanation.

Republicans currently have 41 seats in the Senate. Since the tie-breaking vote in the Senate belongs to the Democratic Vice President, Republicans would need a net pickup of 10 seats to retake the majority — an extremely high threshold.

To start with, that means having no Republican incumbents get beat. That shouldn’t be too hard. There aren’t many GOP incumbents around these days, and the ones that are are fairly safe. Only North Carolina’s Richard Burr looks vulnerable this year and he’ll probably be able to ride it out.

The next step is hanging on to the seven open GOP seats: one due to a Republican primary in Utah, the other six owing to retirements in Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Florida, and New Hampshire. Utah, Kansas, and New Hampshire look very safe right now. Kentucky will be close and will likely hinge on how cautious Rand Paul can learn to be. Florida has scrambled into a three-way race with Charlie Crist’s decision to run as an independent, but look for Marco Rubio to make a strong showing as the year continues. Ohio and Missouri will likely stay tight up through election day.

Assuming a perfect defense, then, Republicans will still need to pickup 10 seats on offense. There are a few pieces of low-lying fruit: North Dakota Governor John Hoeven will almost certaintly win the seat being vacated by Byron Dorgan. The odds also look quite favorable for Dan Coats in Indiana and Mike Castle in Delaware to pick up open seats, and for John Boozman in Arkansas to defeat incumbent Blanche Lincoln.

Factor in those wins and Republicans still need six seats for a majority. And with the Wisconsin race competitive, they now have seven prospects. In addition to Johnson’s challenge to Feingold, there are also serious threats to Democratic incumbents in California, Nevada, Colorado, and Washington. With Republicans competitive for open seats in Illinois and Pennsylvania, the Wisconsin race actually gives the GOP an ever-so-slight margin of error for taking back a majority come election day.

And who is this great white hope of the upper midwest? George Will’s profile in the Washington Post last month provides some insight. If he’s right, this may be one more member of an exceptional senate class in 2010. To wit:

The theme of his campaign, the genesis of which was an invitation to address a Tea Party rally, is: “First of all, freedom.” Then? “Then you’ve got to put meat on the bones.” He gets much of his meat from the Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages. And from a Wisconsin congressman, Paul Ryan, whose “road map” for entitlement reform Johnson praises. Health care? “Mitch Daniels has the solution.” Indiana’s Republican governor has offered state employees the choice of consumer-controlled health savings accounts, and 70 percent now choose them.

“The most basic right,” Johnson says, “is the right to keep your property.” Remembering the golden age when, thanks to Ronald Reagan, the top income tax rate was 28 percent, Johnson says: “For a brief moment we were 72 percent free.” Johnson’s daughter — now a nurse in neonatal intensive care — was born with a serious heart defect. The operations “when her heart was only the size of a small plum” made him passionate about protecting the incentives that bring forth excellent physicians.

This sounds like a conservative who nows how to connect first principles to daily governance. Dare we dream such a thing?

June 18th, 2010 at 12:19 pm
America’s Top Three Bizarro Candidates

Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a female wrestler!  It’s a “meltdown mogul!”  No, it’s…Alvin Greene?

Thank goodness for the East Coast and its bipartisan craziness when it comes to U.S. Senate candidates.  In Connecticut former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon is using her millions to batter her Republican primary opponents with the financial equivalent of a conveniently located folding chair.

Florida’s Democratic primary just got more intriguing with the unexpected candidacy of Jeff Greene, a “meltdown mogul” who made a killing betting on the housing market collapse who had Mike Tyson serve as his best man.  The possibility of his beating establishment favorite Rep. Kendrick Meek has some party officials thinking about backing newly Independent Charlie Crist in the general election.

And let’s not forget South Carolina where the still mysterious Alvin Greene (no relation to Florida’s Jeff), was recently allowed to continue as the Democratic Party’s popularly chosen nomineeCFIF readers may recall that Alvin raised no money, did no campaigning, and cruised to a 60% victory apparently because of being listed first on the primary ballot.

CFIF will keep an eye on these and other races for you as the election heats up.

June 2nd, 2010 at 6:39 pm
Charlie Crist is a Crying Shame

Florida’s most infamous party-switcher is realizing the pain of political divorce.  From an interview with The Hill:

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says it is “very lonely” running as an independent.

Since he quit his party, Crist says he has discovered that people he thought were friends turned out to be only Republican friends, who dropped Crist after he left the GOP.

Crist has lost so many campaign staffers that his sister is now running his third-party effort.

“When you’re not affiliated with a party, it can be very lonely, particularly initially,” Crist told The Hill in an hourlong phone interview.

He cannot be serious.  For a perpetual campaign machine like Crist who ran for and won statewide office in 2000, 2002, and 2006, to think that his fundraisers, staff, and get-out-the-vote activists supported him because he’s Charlie instead of because, as a Republican, he (supposedly) championed Republican causes, is comical.  If anything, Crist’s constant appeals to Democrats and Independents probably made Florida Republicans wonder why they worked so hard to advance his career.

Now that Crist has shown himself to be motivated by nothing more than his own ambition, his U.S. Senate race is the truest reflection of his political career: emptiness masquerading as conviction.

May 13th, 2010 at 8:53 am
Charlie Crist’s Dishonorable Act of the Day
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According to, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who started running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican, then switched to Independent when it became clear he would be trounced by Marco Rubio in the primary, has now made “official” that he will not return campaign contributions made to him by Republicans when he was running as a Republican.  A number of significant donors have asked for their money back.

With Crist, it’s always risky to pronounce his dishonorable act of the day so early, but it’s really tough to see how he can top this one by Margarita Time.

April 23rd, 2010 at 2:26 am
Perpetually Campaigning Yourself Out of a Career

It’s hard to believe that Florida Governor Charlie Crist is on the precipice of being a one term chief executive with only a new wife to show for it.  Haled as the difference maker for John McCain’s struggling presidential campaign, he single-handedly decided which Republican candidate would win the 2008 GOP Florida primary.  Yes, he was that popular in a state where he now trails his Republican challenger for the open Senate seat, Marco Rubio, by 20 points.

Aside from doing little more in office than unwind many of Jeb Bush’s conservative accomplishments, Crist is likely to leave office in November without having ever fully concentrated on being the most powerful politician in a crucial swing state.  In stark contrast to New Jersey’s recently elected governor, Chris Christie, whose budget balancing is a model for skillful public policy in action, Crist will be remembered as a politician who couldn’t be satisfied with his current job.  Very soon, Florida voters will relieve him of the burden.

February 19th, 2010 at 6:52 pm
Game On!
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With a growing lead in the polls and a rousing speech at CPAC now under his belt, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate is looking better by the day. And the surging would-be senator proved yesterday that he won’t shy away from taking the fight to his more liberal primary opponent, Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Consider this jab that did everything but cite Crist by name:

2010 will not be just a choice between Republicans or Democrats. It will not just be a simple choice between liberals and conservatives. It will be a referendum on our nation’s very identity.

People want leaders that will come here to Washington D.C. and stand up to this big government agenda, not be co-opted by it. The Senate already has one Arlen Specter too many. And America already has a Democrat party. It doesn’t need another Democrat party.

In the wake of that speech, Crist has now agreed to a nationally-televised debate with Rubio  on Fox News Sunday. That a primary contest is generating this kind of attention shows how important this race is going to be nationally … and how bright Marco Rubio’s future may turn out to be.

January 5th, 2010 at 3:21 pm
Ain’t No Sunshine When He’s Gone
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From the Sunshine State today comes news that Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer (one of the closest allies of moderate Governor — and U.S. Senate aspirant — Charlie Crist) is resigning from his post. The chairman came under fire from the right for his unsubtle support of Crist against the more conservative former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio in the Republican senate primary, as well as for being a bit of a spendthrift.

The delicious irony is that Greer — a man who had been justifying his every action on the basis of creating a “big tent” party — chose to leave office with a scorched earth message:

Greer said his opponents want to “burn the house down and destroy the Republican Party.”

“I am not a purist,” he said in describing his vision for the party. “I have never been a purist. I believe that our party stands for principles and values and that anyone who has an interest in our party should be able to participate.”

Greer’s beauty pageant eloquence aside, these statements are an intellectual schematic of political breakdown. If your party “stands for principles and values,” then you can’t strengthen it by attempting to marginalize those who take those principles and values most seriously. Too many GOP moderates seem to think that creating a big tent means pushing conservatives out of the back end. They’re going to have to learn how to be partners and not adversaries in the future. If they don’t, expect to see more centrists dethroned ala Jim Greer.

December 16th, 2009 at 2:43 pm
Rubio, Williams Could Make Red States Scarlet

Even though there isn’t much hope of Republicans winning a majority in the U.S. Senate after the 2010 election, President Obama may have a few new conservative voices critiquing his administration. Of the four Republican candidates endorsed by the Senatorial Conservative Fund, the two most likely to get elected are running to replace moderate members of the GOP. But while replacing Kay Bailey Hutchison with Michael Williams would be an improvement for Texas conservatives looking for a more aggressive advocate, that scenario pales in comparison to the starkly different paths confronting Florida’s Republican primary voters.

In that race former Florida house speaker and Tea Party darling Marco Rubio just pulled even with Charlie Crist, the current Republican governor and a closet liberal. CFIF has previously covered the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s decision not to endorse in contested primaries. Now, it looks like that decision, coupled with Rubio’s successful linkage of Crist to Obama, is hurting the once front-running Crist. After Doug Hoffman’s narrow loss in the New York 23rd congressional special election, many pundits opined that conservatives like Rubio would be persona non grata in the GOP. Like everything else coming out of Washington these days, the “experts” were wrong about what Americans want.

November 9th, 2009 at 4:56 pm
More Proof Fiscal Conservatism Is Gaining Political Clout

What a difference an election cycle makes. Today, the Club for Growth (CFG), a pro-free-market political action committee, endorsed Marco Rubio for the open Florida Senate seat. Somewhat surprisingly, Charlie Crist, the other contender for the Republican nomination, sidestepped lashing out at CFG. Instead, his campaign played the part of misunderstood statesman, vowing cooperation even though he didn’t get CFG’s support.

While Marco Rubio has a record of raising taxes and spending exorbitantly, Charlie Crist is a true fiscal conservative and looks forward to working with the Club for Growth on their shared goals as Florida’s next US Senator.”

Two years ago, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also failed to get CFG’s endorsement. His reaction wasn’t as conciliatory. Here’s a link to Huckabee defending his views on the “Club for Greed.”

Unlike Huckabee, Crist can’t rely on a background as a preacher with a conservative social agenda to compensate for his fiscal management as governor. As the movement for lower taxes and smaller government picks up momentum going into next year’s mid-term elections, the rhetoric of Republican campaigns will be decidedly more cautious in dismissing fiscal conservatives.

November 4th, 2009 at 5:17 pm
Conservatives Flying South for the Winter?

It looks like retired seniors aren’t the only New York-area residents making an impact in Florida this time of year. After upstate New Yorkers nearly pushed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over the finish line last night, Republican leaders are taking note. One Miami New Times blogger suggests that conservative insurgent Marco Rubio may have a new hurdle to overcome in his quest for establishment credibility and access to GOP moneymen. The argument goes that party big-wigs are likely to be even stingier with their support after watching a red district go blue.

On the other hand, ABC News’ Rick Klein reports that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) will not be giving money to any candidate in an open, contested primary. Sorry, Charlie (Crist)! NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) notes that in the aftermath of NY-23, “[t]here’s no incentive for us to weigh in.”

This is huge. Now there’s every incentive for the conservative grassroots to promote and resource Marco Rubio’s campaign, without the fear of being outspent and undercut by the national party. The big guys are saying ‘may the best man win’ in the Florida GOP primary. Game on!

October 23rd, 2009 at 1:43 pm
A Tree Grows in Daytona Beach
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One of the eternal irritations about mainstream media coverage of conservatives is how often unabashedly liberal journalists are tasked to write “objective” pieces about the political dynamics within the GOP. The results tend to be about as unpredictable as a Horatio Alger story.

The narrative usually goes something like this: Ideological zealots (read: conservatives), abandoning all pretense of pragmatism (apparently it isn’t practical to have principles) are threatening to drive the party of a cliff. Yet one enlightened moderate, free of all that ideological ballast, holds the potential to lead the party boldly into the future if only the flat-earthers would get out of his way.  The moderate is sensible, temperate, and judicious.  The conservative is either mentally unhinged or has sold his soul to Karl Rove.

That’s basically the tact that Time’s Joe Klein (whose consistent ability to be wrong in print deserves a Pulitzer) takes in his profile of the GOP primary contest for the open U.S. Senate seat in Florida.  Klein portrays Florida’s moderate governor, Charlie Crist, as a good-natured centrist being driven to the wall by wild-eyed right-wing activists.  Meanwhile, conservative former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio is shot down on the grounds that (a) the Florida GOP chairman doesn’t like purists (since all of us recognize the unalloyed majesty and power of state chairmen) and (b) Jeb Bush’s decision to create public hurricane insurance half a decade ago proves that limited government won’t work in the Sunshine State.

Of all the candidates aiming to leap onto the national stage in gubernatorial or senate races next year, Rubio is far and away the most impressive addition to the conservative movement.  An enterprising conservative or moderate journalist (or even an intellectually honest liberal) would have seen that the real story here is how a relatively unknown, underfunded conservative has started destroying the lead of a popular moderate govenor in one of the nation’s largest states. That’s not the story that Joe Klein wrote. Unfortunately, it’s probably not one he’s capable of writing.