Charlie Crist is not ‘for the people’
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 23:09
Former Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist has caused quite a stir.
Whether he is a political opportunist or a man abandoned by his own party, with his recent endorsement of President Obama, Crist has the political world speculating as to whether he will take that final leap into the Democratic Party. There is even speculation as to if he will challenge Gov. Rick Scott for his old job.
But, did the Republican Party truly leave him, as he stated at the DNC, or did he leave the Republican Party?
From the time he began his political career, Crist was deeply entrenched in Republican politics. He served as Sen. Connie Mack’s state director upon graduating from law school and would eventually run for the state senate.
His most significant post prior to his election as governor was as attorney general. This provided him the opportunity to build the name recognition necessary to mount a run for governor. With such an extensive resume in the Republican Party, Crist must have known what he was getting himself into as he waded deeper into party politics.
In primary races, he had a tendency to come across as more conservative than his opponents.
He did this with Tom Gallagher when he ran for governor and with Rubio when he ran for senate. Most notably, however, was his attempt to “outconservative” Marco Rubio. Somewhere in between being the presumptive nominee and deciding to run as an Independent, Crist tacked to the right of Rubio on a whole host of issues.
When Rubio won the senate race in historic upset, just about everyone in the political chattering class thought Crist was out of politics for good. But now, with a presidential election on the horizon, Crist has garnered the interest of Florida’s politicos by endorsing President Obama, and Democrats and Republicans alike are exchanging whispers of a party switch.
In an interview during his race against Rubio, Crist stated, “I’m a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax Republican. I’m about as conservative as you can get.” So what changed between then and now? Surely the Republican Party is still a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax, conservative party.
It seems now he has caught the itch to run for elected office once again and needs a home.
With his endorsement of President Obama, Crist will be able to complete his metamorphosis from a Republican to an Independent to a Democrat. And once he emerges from his cocoon, he will be able to spread his wings and comment to the people of Florida that this is who he has been the whole time.
Unfortunately for him, both Democrats and Republicans will have plenty of ammunition to use against him.
In the words of Tampa Bay Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat, when asked about Governor Crist’s speech at the DNC: “Charlie is an opportunist. If this were a vegetarian conference, then Charlie would be a vegetarian.”
Charlie Crist is not “for the people,” as the Morgan & Morgan commercials may suggest. He is for himself.
Ralph D’Elia is a senior majoring in political science.