Skip to main content

Charlie Crist's difficult June was capped off by a highly critical column from Tampa Bay Times editor of editorial Tim Nickens.

"As we head into July, the race appears essentially tied and Charlie Crist is not maximizing his greatest assets as the likeable guy who understands Floridians and their priorities," writes Nickens. "Instead, the Republican-turned-Democrat is uncharacteristically committing too many unforced errors."

Oftentimes, this blog has the most pointed critic of Crist's unforced errors, despite this author's belief that Crist is the best candidate for governor and our family's relationship with the Charlie and Carole Crist. It's been extraordinarily frustrating to watch Crist's double-digit lead evaporate -- and not just because Rick Scott and the Republicans have hammered him with several million dollars worth of negative TV ads. If that were the sole reason for the tightening of the race -- and it's not -- that still would not matter.

Don't like that your opponent is spending so much money on attack ads? Then raise more money. Spend your money earlier. Do whatever you have to do. But complaining about the other side having more money is like listening to a losing football player complain that the other team has Tom Brady at quarterback.

As Adam Smith likes to say, "Welcome to the NFL."

Crist should still be up about five or six points on Scott. And he would be if had not made so many of the unforced errors Nickens begins to describe.

The problem in Cristworld, however, begins with Crist's staffing decisions. Crist is like a middle-age woman who resists updating her hair and wardrobe because of a nostalgic attachment to a period in her life when she looked good, damnit! Like the woman you see with the Kim Cattrall haircut and the shoulder pads from the eighties, Crist is still hanging on to 2006 when he was at the apex of his power.

Crist is still running as if social media has yet to be invented and a barrage of television ads can save any candidate. He's still cheap. He's still unwilling to trust staff. He's still his own press shop.

All of this is why he's now trailing Rick Scott by two points.

In any other campaign where the candidate goes from leading by twelve to trailing by two, heads would roll. Someone would be fired. Or at least someone with enough self-respect would quietly resign during a holiday weekend (like, say, the upcoming Fourth of July weekend).

The problem for the Crist campaign is that Charlie can't fire anyone.

Crist can't fire his two main advisers because he's married to one of them and son to the other.

He can't fire Jim Messina or any of the Obama acolytes because they're Crist's way of  ingratiating himself with President Obama.

He can't fire Steve Schale because Schale doesn't deserve to be fired. Schale's job has been to navigate Crist through a Democratic primary and, despite Crist trailing Scott, he's won over Florida Democrats. Bill Nelson didn't run. Nan Rich will be easily dispatched.

Crist can't fire his campaign manager, Omar Khan, because, my Lord, would that pour blood into the water after the Bill Hyers debacle.

Crist can't fire Jessica Clark or the fundraising team because they're raising money hand over fist by traditional Democratic party standards. It's not their fault that Florida Republicans have more money than Croesus.

Crist can't fire Kevin Cate because the press shop is small enough already. Cate and Co. are outnumbered seven-to-one by their counterparts in Scottworld.

All Crist really can do is bolster his staff, but since when has Crist a) listened to paid consultants or b) agreed to pay money for mid-level staff?

If Crist wins back the Governor's Mansion, he will look back to the dog days of summer as the toughest moment in his campaign -- that awkward point where the other side was spending money, but he was not.

This past month has been about flip-flopping on Cuba and the Jim Greer book and the calls for Carole Crist to release her taxes.

There's still Nan Rich biting at his ankles. There are too many Democrats still on the sidelines.

This is the moment when Crist stares into the abyss and wonders, as Tampa Tribune columnist Tom Jackson tweeted Sunday, if he has just been fortunate all this time to draw inferior opponents (George Sheldon, Buddy Dyer, Jim Davis).

No one knows what's going through Crist's head right now. It would be cathartic to fire someone ... anyone. But sometimes you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want or wish to have at a later time.

Crist must win this race with the campaign he has, not the one others, including critics such as myself, want for him.

Originally posted to SaintPetersBlog on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Florida.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    Peter Schorsch's is one of the most widely read political blogs in Florida.

    by saintpetersblog on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:28:59 AM PDT

  •  Good advise, as a pal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    markthshark, appledown, Vetwife

    you just did the right thing to confront him with reality, I hope he listens to you so he can dispatch this crook he runs against.

  •  Crist needs to accentuate his differences... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChuckChuckerson, appledown, Vetwife

    from Scott. He needs to talk about his devotion to more education funding and how he's pro-high-speed rail not against it like Scott. And most of all he needs to come out adamantly for issues like legal medical marijuana and Medicaid expansion.

    If he really wants to improve turnout, he must address these issues, relentlessly, especially the latter two. Doing so will allow young people to drive this election. (when's the last time that's happened in Florida?)

    The medical marijuana initiative, especially, is a gift to Crist. He's got to take full advantage of it... and very soon.

    Thanks for the diary

    "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

    by markthshark on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:00:18 AM PDT

  •  He should talk about the 2 billion dollars High (0+ / 0-)

    Speed Rail money Scot turned down when he was elected.
    The failure to expand  medicaid in the healthcare law.

    He needs to straighten out the 15% tuition hike to universities (during the Bush Global bankruptcy).

    He needs to answer Scott' attack and point out the "robbing" of the State employees drop funds (decreased payments) and making the employees pay part of their retirement (which was never done).
     Re posted to DKos Florida.

    "No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar." Abraham Lincoln

    by appledown on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:56:49 AM PDT

  •  alas, if you need a staff shakeup to avoid losing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    . . . then you're already losing.

    If the Florida Dems fuck up this race too, they should just crawl into a hole, pull it in after them, and stop pretending they actually exist.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 02:59:32 PM PDT

  •  Charlie Crist needs to go old fashion all the way (0+ / 0-)

    By that I mean the way Bill Clinton did... Make himself available to anyone who wants to vent about Scott.  He need to preach from a stump and drown the money with truth.   He needs to shakeup the Dem State party and needs and wants a Dean type grassroots movement and he can win but only if he visits EVERY single county and do it the old fashion way.  Call a crook a crook.   A thief a thief..   Illustrate the positive against all the negative we have had and work day in and day out controlling the narrative.   Take over his own campaign and show the people that Florida is not stupid because of their circumstances but their circumstances have made them unaware of just how bad this man Scott is.  
    He needs to bring Bill Clinton to Florida and rev up a crowd and let Bill show him how a Governor becomes a comeback kid,.  After all.. Hillary WAS a republican before she was a democrat too.

    Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 05:22:27 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site