What did Florida do wrong that caused us to have to endure watching Charlie Crist run for some political office every 2 to 4 years? Charlie Crist seems to be the herpes of Florida politics; he just never goes away!
I remember sitting in the room with Charlie Crist numerous times as he was fundraising for his various attempts at public office. Charlie was the Bill Clinton of Florida Republican politics. He could look you in the eye and make you believe he was the most conservative politician in Florida and he really cared about you.
Back in the day, he was known as “Chain Gang Charlie” because he wanted to bring back chain gangs to make convicted criminals do road-side work.
Once Crist was finally elected Governor in 2006, he showed that his true political beliefs were whatever made him popular with the public. He nearly wrecked the insurance industry by making the State of Florida assume massive amounts of insurance liability just so he could be more popular. Whatever the issue, Charlie would put his finger in the wind and come out on the side of the issue that had the most support. No one in Tallahassee could take his word for anything. He would be in favor of a bill, but if public opinion shifted, he would switch sides.
Charlie was up for re-election in 2010. Florida was at that time the 4th most populous state in the country. Charlie was the equivalent of a Fortune 100 Corporate CEO.
Charlie had a political problem. While he knew he would easily be re-elected Governor, he knew Florida was facing an economic crisis. The real estate bubble was starting to crash and Crist realized that tax revenue was going to decrease and he would have to make some tough budgeting decisions. Charlie did what only George Costanza would do, he turned and ran. He decided to not seek re-election as Governor but instead run for the US Senate where he could hide from the tough decisions.
What Charlie did not anticipate was that a little known politician named Marco Rubio would also run for the Republican nomination for the US Senate. Since Rubio was a more trustworthy candidate, Rubio won the Republican primary.
After losing the Republican primary, Charlie switched party affiliations to Independent and ran for the Senate seat in the general election. He was running against Rubio and Kendrick Meek, a liberal Democrat. During the campaign a taped phone conversation was released of Charlie Crist urging Ted Kennedy’s widow to endorse him instead of the Democrat Meek. Charlie was heard telling Victoria Kennedy that Crist was the real liberal in the race.
This was vintage Charlie; in August he was telling Republicans that he was the true conservative in the race and two months later he was telling Democrats that he was the true liberal in the race.
Adam Putnam hit it perfectly when he said; “Poor Charlie, he wants to be in the parade so badly, he will put on anybody’s costume.”
Charlie Crist and Donald Trump are similar, they both care primarily about themselves. Hopefully, Florida will soon be rid of both.