Thursday, September 13, 2012

Charlie Crist, political hobo

The man was once the Governor of the State of Florida. For a time, he was a rising star in the Republican Party. In 2009, he decided to not run for re-election and instead seek a Senate seat (the one being vacated by Mel Martinez) in the 2010 elections. At that moment in time, Charlie Crist was a rock-solid lock for the GOP nomination in the minds of most. State Representative Marco Rubio had announced his candicacy before Crist, but he attracted little attention. Once Crist jumped in, the major players--by and large--flocked to his banner. The race for the nomination was viewed as just as exercise.

All of that changed because of two things: 1) Crist unexpectedly came out in support of Obama's Stimulus Bill, something he had once publicly opposed, and 2) powerful conservative organizations like Heritage began to actively support Rubio. Crist's huge lead in the polls quickly evaporated; he went from leading by 20+ points to a tie in the space of a few months at the end of 2009. By April, 2010 Crist trailed Rubio by over 20 points.

It was a helluva reversal, mostly made possible by Crist's complete inability to graps what was happening, both in Florida and the nation at large. Though a seasoned politico, Crist had deluded himself into thinking the public would follow his lead, would accept his choices as a matter of course. He so terribly misread the Tea Party movement that, in truth, he made himself into the poster-child of everything that movement was against: a political insider with no real loyalties, someone who would change allegiances at the drop of a a hat, all style and no substance, and an entitled mentality that saw political offices as personal property.

Despite all of this, Crist refused to let go of the belief that he still could win the election, thus he withdrew from the Republican Primary at the end of April and ran as an independent. And for a while, the polls gave Crist hope, fed his ego as he actually led the three-way race between himself, Rubio, and Democrat Kendrick Meek through much of the Summer. But most knew it was an illusion; Meek's support in those months was artificially low, owing to a lack of exposure. Those polls gave Meek in the neighborhood of  15% of the vote. Though Meek had no chance to win, hardcore Democrats would ultimately vote for him over Crist and as the months wore on, Meek's numbers improved to around 20%, all at the expense of Crist.

And though Crist had garnered many siginificant endorsements as a Republican hopeful, such support began to errode, as did Crist's warchest. Heritage led the Tea Party charge against Crist, drawing Rubio far more important and meaningful endorsements from people in the national spotlight.

If all of this weren't enough, Crist ultimately sealed his fate by announcing that if elected, he would caucus with the Democrats. Imagine that: a lifelong Republican, a man who had served under Jeb Bush, who had spoken out for the latter's brother through 9-11 and the financial crisis, was prepared to simply jump ship for supposedly greener pastures, for no other reason than to feed his own ego and desire for power. Because Crist had no real platform to speak of, no core issues he was championing, just "I'm Charlie Crist, vote for me!"

Crist lost big in the election, getting less than 30% of the vote while Rubio took in almost half. Had Meek dropped out--as some Democratic leaders had hoped--it wouldn't have mattered. Rubio's landslide would have just been that much larger.

Crist, with no political future in the Republican Party, all but joined the Democratic Party which for some reason gave him a platform at its National Convention. There, Crist made a very pedestrian and largely pointless speech filled with twaddle about how "he didn't leave the Republican Party, it left him." Yeah, sure. Sorry Charlie, you're an idiot.

But Crist is apparently not content with all of this buffoonery. As many may be aware, a Ft. Pirece, Floida pizza shop owner got a little national exposure when he bear-hugged Obama a few days ago during one of the latter's campaign stops:


It's actually a nice shot, an impromptu moment, that's filled with good-natured fun. Regardless of my political opinions about the current President, I can recognize this, even smile a bit from the apparent shock on Obama's face.

Enter Charlie Crist, a man not running for anything, hardly respected in his home State, and basically very much like a political hobo. Yestarday, Crist made his way to this very same pizza shop--photographers in tow--and literally asked the owner for the same kind of hug, who was happy to oblige:


Really, Crist appears to be imitating Obama's pose, to what end I can't possibly imagine. Cabinet position? Aside from Crist's shameless media whoring, the other funny thing about this is that--for the most part--the media happily played the role of a whore, by offering fluff pieces on the incident like the one above. No one bothered to ask Crist what the point of this excursion was or why he needed to bring along someone to photograph it.

What's next, Charlie? You gonna ride the rails to another Obama campaign stop for another reenactment? We can't wait. And you wonder why you lost...

And a hat-tip to Jimmy Cefalo for picking up on all of this silliness.

Cheers, all.

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