Two years ago this month, I wrote an Op-Ed for the Palm Beach Post criticizing many high profile Palm Beach County Democrats for abandoning Congressman Kendrick Meek’s Senate Campaign in favor of newly reincarnated “Independent” Charlie Crist. Some local politicians even went as far as to endorse Congressman Meek at a public event only to reverse said endorsement and jump ship to support the Governor.
For some elected Democrats, the decision to endorse Crist in the 2010 Senate race was a legitimate one- that he was the only candidate who could win, that he was the moderate, that we had to do anything to stop Marco Rubio. But unfortunately, the majority of the electeds made this decision based on politics, personal ambition and polling data. In other words, rather than supporting the policies and principles that make us Democrats, these folks put personal ambition and politics ahead of progress. As we know, Charlie went on to lose by 20 points while Congressman Meek finished third and is now out of politics after Senate Republicans blocked his confirmation as US Representative to the UN General Assembly in 2011.
Rewind to the 2008 Presidential Campaign. Majority of Floridians will remember “the Obama Hug” that got Charlie in trouble with the right wing factions within the RPOF. But they won’t remember that it was Charlie who took to CNN to say that Governor Sarah Palin was more qualified to be President than Barack Obama. It was Charlie who took to Fox News Sunday to say that we should repeal the Affordable Care Act or “Obama Care.” It was Charlie Crist who took to MSNBCs “Morning Joe” to ponder whether Barack Obama actually wanted to lose the Iraq War. And my personal favorite, it was Charlie Crist who took to CNN to argue that President Obama was heading for a Jimmy Carter style loss in 2012 because he didn’t deliver on the change he promised.
Fast forward to 2012. Here we are in the middle of a Presidential election cycle- one where Charlie Crist’s name does not appear anywhere on the ballot. Meanwhile, he’s everywhere. He shows up at the Democratic National Convention to give what was an awkward speech that left the majority of the Florida Delegation sitting on their hands. Less than a week after President Obama visited our area, Crist showed up at Scott Van Duzer’s Big Apple Pizza shop in Fort Pierce with a huge grin and what could only be described as a borderline creepy comment ready in the back of his mind- “You Know What I’m Here For.” Charlie wasn’t interested in hearing about Scott’s business, his family, or his struggles or even his input on how we can fix whats broken. He was there for one reason, and one reason only. He wanted the same bear hug photo that the President took with Mr. Van Duzer not because he cares, but because maybe, just maybe, it would get him some coverage in the next news cycle. My idea for the headline: Look at me, Look at me, I’m pretty too!
Charlie Crist is a self proclaimed “pro life, pro gun, anti-tax Regan Conservative and Jeb Bush Republican.” At the DNC, Crist said that he didn’t leave the GOP, that the GOP left him. The last time I checked Governor, the GOP is as strong a pro life, pro gun, anti-tax party as ever before and they are now run by people that describe themselves just like you did- Reagan Conservatives. Governor Crist, you are Florida’s Mitt Romney, willing to say anything or do anything to get elected- just without the hundreds of millions of dollars Romney made by laying off Middle Class workers and shipping their jobs overseas.
Governor Crist you are the epitome of an empty suit and a perfect example of the type of politician this country needs to avoid if we are ever going to get our state and country back on the right track. You have no central ideological core and your movements, statements, and policy positions are driven solely by your personal ambition for power and celebrity not service and certainly not for needs of Floridians.
Simply put Charlie, your 2014 gubernatorial run would be a trojan horse not just for Democrats but for our entire state. If the Florida Democratic Party sells their soul to you, it will undoubtedly and gradually eat away at their brand. It would bring the FDP down to the RPOF level by allowing empty suit politicians whose only solid plan is to continue to get elected and reelected.
Florida has serious long term structural and institutional problems that require leadership and serious people to fix them. We have one of the most extreme legislatures and the worst Governor in the county and sending a career empty suit that has no loyalty nor a consistent record of progressive reform, would be a victory for Tallahassee insiders and special interests and once again the people of Florida would get saddled with the loss.
Do us a favor Charlie. Stay away and let someone else fix the mess that you left behind.