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From the uber-talented Michael Mayo in the Sun-Sentinel:

Now that he's alienated just about everybody who's anybody in the Florida Republican Party — including Lord Jeb Bush — with his sensible veto of the teacher merit-pay bill, Gov. Charlie Crist has two choices when it comes to his political future:

  1. Fall on his veto pen, stay a Republican and suffer an excruciating martyr's death at the hands of Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate primary in August.
  1. Run as an independent and win.

At this point, I'd pretty much bet my underwater mortgage, the state's guaranteed billions from the Seminole compact and Crist's lagging campaign war chest that he goes rogue by the April 30 deadline.

It would be the best thing for him.

And if he gets to Washington as an independent, it could be the best thing for Florida. (I'll explain that later).

Actually, Michael, the best thing for Florida would be an Alex Sink in the Governor's mansion.

There are twenty consecutive diaries in my recent past that chronicle, in no uncertain emotion, the hellish battle that was waged over Senate Bill 6.  The saga began on March 27th and ended on April 15th. Charlie Crist turned out to be the hero, but he will no longer be around to save us next year.

If Bill McCollum beats Alex Sink, we are sunk.

That battle can wait for another day, however. Today we are talking Charlie.

If Crist ditches his party, he becomes the instant front-runner in a three-way race against Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek in the November general election.

Instead of falsely pandering to an audience that despises him — the conservative base that forms the bulk of Republican primary voters — Crist the Populist could directly go to work on the moderate millions that genuinely like him.

There are roughly 11.1 million registered voters in Florida. More than 7 million aren't Republicans.

In winning the 2006 governor's race, Crist handily carried the state's independent voters (who now number 2.1 million) and he had solid crossover appeal with Democrats (who now total nearly 4.7 million).

Independents and Democrats don't get to vote in Republican primaries in Florida's closed system. But they can put Crist over the top in November.

You should have seen the speed with which the Kendrick Meek campaign cut a ten second snippet from the Tweety Show on Friday when Chuck Todd proclaimed the Democrat the instant favorite in the aftermath of SB6. Michael Mayo disagrees, and my senses say this is currently a three-way. Tie ballgame. Rubio is mad dirty, you just watch.

Back to Charlie...

Crist had his finest moment last week in vetoing the flawed teacher bill, showing that he's willing to change his mind after listening to legitimate concerns.

Charlie the Faux Ideologue was gone. Common-sense Charlie was back.

He did the right thing, not the right-wing thing.

If Crist runs as an independent, he doesn't have to distance himself from all the sensible things he's done, like battling insurance companies to keep windstorm rates in check. His embrace of the federal stimulus package (and sharing a stage with President Barack Obama) no longer would be a liability.

Here's how it could be the best thing for Florida: If he wins as an independent, Crist could find himself the most powerful senator in the country.

Democrats now have a 57-41 edge over Republicans in the Senate, and there are two independents who align with the Democrats, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

With 36 Senate seats up for grabs in November, Democrats and Republicans could end up virtually deadlocked for the majority.

Could you imagine if there was a 49-48 split and Crist were one of three independents?

Anything Florida wanted, Florida would get.

Hoo boy, I like the sound of that. It may be a stretch, but after having my brain sqeezed out of my ears like Sunshine State orange juice over the past three weeks...

Anything's possible.

Originally posted to Rian Fike on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:13 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Since Governor's Mansions do matter (10+ / 0-)

    The 11-D chess approach is not to view the two races (FL-Sen and FL-Gov) as separate, but as inextricably linked via C. Crist.

    Suggest the best thing for the people of Florida is for Crist to skip right over (I) and go full (D). He should drop out of the race, throw his support behind Meeks, and his support to Sink over McCollum.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:23:45 AM PDT

  •  Probably too much c&p from Mayo (6+ / 0-)

    # # Limited copying within the bounds of the doctrine of "fair use" is permitted. A reasonable rule-of-thumb is that copying three paragraphs from a normal-length news article or editorial is acceptable. (This, however, is not a safe-harbor. If even three paragraphs seems like "too much," then copy less or nothing at all.) For more on fair use, please visit this site.

    And this is outright debatable:

    If Crist ditches his party, he becomes the instant front-runner in a three-way race against Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek in the November general election.

    Who knows how Floridians will react until Crist pulls the trigger. A single poll that has Crist up a couple of points in a theoretical match-up doesn't mean much of anything, just that Crist is viable that way. He is no longer viable as a Republican candidate.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:30:30 AM PDT

  •  But Crist IS a Republican, isn't he? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cacamp, Rian Fike, gulfgal98, semctydem

    The last thing we need is an independent like Lieberman or a moderate like Snowe or Collins.  

    Let's try and get the Democrat elected.  

    •  Bingo! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rian Fike, whaddaya

      The problem here is Charlie Crist is a Republican at heart, albeit a populist one.  Everyone in Florida knows that and most of us Democrats are not fooled by it.  

      If Charlie switched to the Democratic party which is doubtful, he would simply be another very blue dog.  More likely, if Charlie goes to Washington as an Independent, my bet is that he will caucus with the Republicans.  The ONLY way Florida gets a Democratic Senator is to elect Meek.

      Mayo's analysis that somehow Florida wins is twisted.  Florida wins best by sending a full Democrat to maintain a Democratic majority.  Just my $.02 worth.

      "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

      by gulfgal98 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:28:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  marlett fucked up the veto stamp (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, abarrenfuture, Jonze


    People are upset Obama hasn't solved all the problems yet. C'mon, he's only been in office one year...the man went to Harvard, not Hogwarts. - Wanda Sykes

    by Cedwyn on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:45:36 AM PDT

  •  All the Rubio ads feature the "kiss" photo of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike, semctydem

    Crist & Obama.  They are trying to brand him as a Democrat, so going Independant may be the smart move.

    I'm not a complete idiot - some parts are missing.

    by Civil Writes Activist on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:11:50 AM PDT

  •  Sorry, but the author even mentioning... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sdf, Rian Fike

    the possibility that the Dems could lose ten Senate seats is pretty ridiculous and makes me question the whole article.  

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:13:21 AM PDT

  •  Crist as turncoat (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sdf, Rian Fike, gulfgal98, semctydem

    as soon as Crist truns his coat he'll sink like a rock in politics. It's very misleading to speak of "power" when refering to a opportunist who does you a favor. He vetoed a bill progressives hated but should that give him credibility to those of us here who seek to elect "better Cemocrats"? To the contrary we should all be writing to the Republican turncoat and telling him to stay with his party, we don't need or want another Lieberman, Nelson or Crist no matter how much leverage some fooled people think it will give Florida.

    Do you know how that works? He would get his "power" by threatening to block progressive legislation and join the rethug mob. How else would it work, that's the way Lieberman has "power" or Nelson and Brown. Elect another turncoat to help stop any progressive agenda left? I don't think so..

    •  I have to agree with this, Rian (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cacamp, Rian Fike, gulfgal98

      I'm ecstatic that Crist showed the good sense to veto this bill, and I suspect that it really does offer him no choice but to run as an independent, but I will be wholeheartedly supporting Kendrick Meek in this race.  Crist showed good judgment here -- but let's remember, just a few weeks ago he came out in support of McCollum's frivolous lawsuit against the HCR law.  Will he suddenly change his tune on HCR when he becomes an independent?

      And Michael Mayo may want a deadlocked Senate being decided by independents, but, as others have said, that's the last thing we as progressives should want -- Lieberman and Crist deciding what does and doesn't get through.  And Lord help us if his dream of the Republicans picking up 7 seats to get to 48 goes through.

      -- Stu

  •  Crist would still caucus with Republicans... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sdf, Rian Fike, semctydem

    And will form a Gang of four+ with McCain, Lieberscum, Graham to try and control the Senate.  

    I'd rather take a chance with Meek vs Rubio.

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:16:22 AM PDT

  •  Elect Meek (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sdf, doc2, Rian Fike

    Kendrick Meek is a viable candidate.  A match-up between Rubio and Meek can be won by Meek.  Rubio is extreme and there are amble instances of his insanity. In a general, if Meek gets a good ground game together, Rubio can and should be soundly defeated.  Independents will not vote for him.  Many 'mainstream' Republicans will not vote for him.  Meek just needs a solid turnout by an energized Democratic base.

    I am tired of people trying to elect Crist to the Senate.  If we didn't have a viable Dem running, I'd feel differently.  But we do, so please stop the energy for Crist and devote it to Meek.  That's what I'm doing...

    •  In a Meek-Rubio matchup, Meek could (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dotster, Rian Fike, Dichro Gal

      win. But Rubio would be the favorite. I don't like the idea of Rubio being a senator (and my senator at that). I'd take door #2 myself - Crist as an independent, if it is more likely to beat Rubio. If Rubio wins, he will be on the GOP national ticket within 6 years IMO. I don't want that. He needs to be taken down now.

      I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

      by doc2 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:27:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I will. (0+ / 0-)

      This is just a tongue-in-cheek riff.

      Kendrick is our man, and we will do everything we can.

      "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by Rian Fike on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:28:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  meek won't win (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    Unless Rbio scares the hell out of seniors I don't see meek winning. He would have to get every AA vote out to vote and Obama is not popular in the state so any democrat will suffer.
    Lemiuex, Crists placeholder was on MSNBC today and denied Crist was going to run as an independent .It's possible that he may wait until 2012 and challenge Nelson but it seems to me his life as a republican is over in Florida.
    I suppose either he is stalling or he may just drop out.

  •  Lieberman is no dem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    Since when does Lieberman align with democrats?
    Check out his co-sponsorship of Senate Bill 3081 and you'll see the party he supports.(Hint all co-sponsors are republicans)

    Lieberman is so afraid of terrorists he'll subvert our Constitutional rights with his right wing bill.

  •  Crist Is In Tough Spot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    He is a geniune moderate running in a tea party crazed Florida GOP.  He will get trounced if he stays in the August GOP Primary.  

    He can drop out and run again in 2012 but the thing is there will be multiple ambitious GOPers running in the 2012 GOP Senate primary.  I can see current appointed GOP Senator George LeMieux running along with GOP Reps Vern Buchanan and Connie Mack, Jr. running. And with Crist no longer being Governor he won't have the high profile he will be just in actually as bad a position in the primary.

    If he runs as an independent this year he at least has a chance to win.  I really see this as his last chance to win elective office here in Florida.  He still has decent approvals...according to the just released Quinnipicac University poll his approval is 49% with 39% disapproval. He has about 8 million dollars to campaign with and already has universal name recognition.  He can get 35% - 40% with independent and DEM votes.

    Will be very interesting to see what my Governor here in Florida does.

  •  Won't let me tip or rec (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rian Fike

    but I'm looking forward to following your diaries as the races heat up. We're all in the same (southern) boat.

    It's not just a zip code, it's an attitude.

    by sboucher on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:42:29 PM PDT

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