That's what Gov. Charlie Crist said on this morning's Meet The Press. The more I learn about Gov. Crist, the more I respect him. While other Republicans are wasting their time arguing Obama isn't a citizen and opposing everything he does no matter how unreasonable there seems to be only one sane voice in the Republican Party:
MR. GREGORY: Is there no one national leader right now?
GOV. CRIST: I don't know if there is or is not at this time. And I think--well, there is a national leader, his name is President Obama. And, and the people elected him. And, and I'm willing to give him a good shot and, and try to help make this work. We're in a tough time, as we talked about before. I think we do need to be bipartisan. We need to be, in fact, nonpartisan. We're all Americans. Our country is at a dire point, and we need to do everything we can to work together to get America through this, and I know that she will.
He appeared on the show with Gov. Bobby Jindal who apparently sides with the "no" Republicans. I think Gov. Crist is a refreshing change from the Republicans we normally see on TV. I think in the future he could be a real threat.
The Huffington Post points out the difference between the approach as well as the struggle the Republican Party is having within itself to avoid political obscurity:
JINDAL: "I don't think we expand by becoming an imitation of the other party. I think we expand by standing on principle for what we believe in. I think that attracts voters. They may not agree with us on everything, but they will respect our honesty and will respect the results."
CRIST: "You shouldn't be the party of no. Well, there's a time to say no. But I think you need to be a party that works across the aisle, where you participate. Both [Republicans and Democrats] have to do that. I think it's important for both Democrats and Republicans to work together for Americans."
So Jindal, so I guess is trying to set himself up as the next leader of the GOP (apparently people think he's the "conservative" Obama. Somehow I doubt that) thinks there's nothing wrong with Republican policy, and that we will respect the results of their policy? Umm, their policies over the past 8 years got us into the messes we are in now. It sounds like what Michael Steele said when he got elected as the new GOP chairman, that there's nothing wrong with the policies it's the messaging. The American people saw the results of Republican policies, and resoundingly REJECTED them on November 4, 2008.
Meanwhile Crist is saying what all Republicans (the supposed party of "Country First") should be saying which is that we need to all work together to fix the problems. To me it Crist sounds a lot more like Obama than Jindal. And not only as Crist been saying this, but he's showing he believes it through his actions. He supported the Stimulus so much he was willing to appear at a Town Hall with President Obama to show his support. He's not talking bad about the Stimulus on the outside while privately trying to take credit for and use the money.
Jindal is writing his response to Obama's upcoming speech to Congress already, and I have a feeling he won't say anything we haven't heard in the last 8 years.
I think if there were more Charlie Crists out there, the political dialogue would be much better, and they'd get much more accomplished as opposed to this constant power struggle. If you have different ideas that you think will work, then put them out there, but don't put out the same tired ideas like they are new and fresh and expect people to take you seriously. It's really interesting to see the split in the Republican Party, I remember reading somewhere that the moderate Republicans are scared to stand up to the more conservative/right wingy Republicans, which is really a shame.
I just thought you guys would appreciate knowing that not all Republicans are evil, even though it's so hard to remember that sometimes. . .
Update I'm combing through the full transcript now, here are some more quotes from Crist that have me thinking he's more like the conservative Obama than Jindal (I really think they try to compare Jindal to Obama because he's not a white man, and he's relatively young. Other than that I don't see any real similarities).
MR. GREGORY: *** Why would you buck your own party, which did not vote for this plan in Congress, as you know, to support the stimulus?
GOV. CRIST: It's not a matter of bucking the party, it's a matter of helping the people. I mean, I really view it as an issue of what can I do that's best for the people of Florida? We've got almost 20 million people that live in the Sunshine State now. I think my obligation is in essence the CEO of the state, to do everything I can to help us get through this tough economy. Certainly this stimulus package, about $12.2 billion to Florida, will help Florida an awful lot.
MR. GREGORY: You heard Governor Jindal on the program just a couple of minutes ago. Much different view, thinks they got the plan all wrong. You disagree with the government role that's being exercised here in trying to fix the economy?
GOV. CRIST: I do. I think that, you know, there are times when you're in a crisis and we all need to work together in order to get through those crises. And I think that this is one of those times. It is fundamental to be able to make sure that we help our children in school. This is going to help us in our education in Florida by about $3.5 billion. It's going to help us with Medicaid, the most vulnerable among us who really need help and need it now. That'll be in excess of $5 billion for Florida. It also helps us in road construction and producing jobs. That's almost $1.5 billion for the Sunshine State. It's fundamentally important that we help the people, we reach out to them, we understand they're in a time of need. In the past five weeks, I've visited six unemployment offices throughout Florida. I look into the eyes of these people and I understand that the challenges are serious that they're having to deal with, and I want to do everything I can to help them.
MR. GREGORY: There's no Republican from Florida in Congress who supported the stimulus. One prominent Republican consultant said this about you and your support for it: "I don't think he's helped any national Republican ambitions he may have had by stepping up to the plate and batting for the other team. ... There's a difference between working in a bipartisan way for the common good and switching sides and putting on the other team's jersey. At the one moment when we finally found our voice and remember who we are as Republicans, Charlie Crist forgets. It is stunning." Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, also said nobody thinks you're a fiscal conservative. Are you an Obama Republican?
GOV. CRIST: I'm a Florida Republican. And in the Florida way, we work together in a bipartisan fashion to do what's right for the people. That's really what it's all about. You know, people run for office in order to try to help their constituents, the people of their state or their district or their country. In my case it's Florida, and that's all I care about. And in Florida we work across the aisle. My friends in the House and the Senate that are of the Democratic Party, I reached out to them. People like Robert Wexler. He wanted to have a paper trail for our elections. We had some embarrassing elections in the past in my state. I didn't want my state to be embarrassed anymore. So I'll take ideas from anybody. It really doesn't matter if they're a Republican, a Democrat or an independent; if they're a Floridian and they care about the people of our state, I want to work with them to make sure that we have a better future and a brighter future.
MR. GREGORY: Do you think the president has the right prescription to ease this recession?
GOV. CRIST: I think he's on the right track. I don't think anybody says this is a perfect bill. I don't. I don't think even President Obama says that. But we've got to do something. We are at a time of need, and to do nothing certainly is not acceptable. This is not perfect, but we've got to do something to try to get our country back on track for the benefit of our people.
Seriously, if the GOP is looking for it's own "Obama" they need more Crist and less Jindal.
UPDATE : For more on Jindal, check out this diary from Sand in Florida.
Also, the Governator took on some of the GOP Gov's who are saying they don't want the money:
"Well, Governor Sanford says that he does not want to take the federal stimulus package money. And I'll say to him, I'll take it," Schwarzenegger said. "I'm more than happy to take his money or any other governor in this country that doesn't want to take this money. I'll take it, because we in California need it. I think it's a terrific package. I think if you ask a thousand people for their opinion, what is their ideal stimulus package, you will have a thousand different answers. So everyone's is a little different. I think he's done a great job and I think California benefits tremendously from that $80 billion of tax benefits there, for around $35 billion. There are other advantages: $45 billion of money that go to transportation, to education, to health care, all those different areas. There's even some money that could benefit our revenues or, I should say, our budget itself...."
And Schwarzenegger doesn't have Presidential aspirations because he can't be President.
NOTE: This diary is not meant to glorify Crist's policies. I wouldn't vote for him in office, it's merely giving credit where credit is due because it would be much easier for him, as a Republican, to be part of the "Taliban Mentality" running rampant in that party and oppose everything about Obama. Instead he's respecting the fact that Obama was ELECTED by the people, and he's doing what he can to work with President Obama. I don't think anyone on Kos would actually vote for Crist over a progressive Democrat, with that being said, he's a hell of a lot better than most of the other Republicans we see on TV (although that is admittedly a low bar).