Monday, August 27, 2012

Former GOP FL Gov Charlie Crist Endorses Obama - GOP Freaks Out at How Insignificant He Is

Charlie Crist: sold-out his native
wingnuttia to a moderate (i.e. socialist)
Cross-posted at

This morning former Republican governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, endorsed the Obama campaign, explaining:
[A]n element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.
 This is the kind of sentiment that one can only wish more Republicans were expressing.  Yet, as you may notice, Crist referred to the GOP as "their party".  Back in 2009, Crist decided not to run for re-election as Governor; instead, he initiated a run for a seat in the US Senate as a Republican.  However, after falling behind eventual winner and more conservative Marco Rubio, Crist ended his affiliation with the GOP to run as an independent.

In retrospect, given the intense backlash of the Tea Party in response to Obama's election, it isn't surprising that Crist has deemed the GOP to be too extreme for his tastes (and that the GOP finds Crist too liberal centrist).  Let's be clear, based on some of his positions as governor, Christ is no great ally of progressives; he signed a provision to prevent employers from stopping their employees from bringing guns to work, he supported efforts to ban same-sex marriage and adoption in Florida (though he later softened).  Yet, credit where its due, Crist did support stricter air-pollution standards, opposed offshore drilling (though later softened), and expanded land conservation efforts.

Its quite clear that Crist wasn't the type of Republican that would scream 'SOCIALIST!!!!!' whenever Obama opened his mouth.  Indeed, Crist tried to steer the GOP away from what would become the Tea Party mentality by what he apparently saw as a shift in American sensibilities upon the election of the US' first black President.  Speaking to the Republican Governor's Association the week after Obama was elected, he said:
This party can no longer hope to reach HispanicsAfrican Americans and other minority groups – we need to just do it. Embracing cultures and lifestyles will make us a better party and better leaders. This desire for inclusiveness is near and dear to my heart.... Last week, the American people made a choice and this week, if we choose to call ourselves leaders, if we truly endeavor to serve with a servant's heart for the people who count on us, then we too must work together, listen to one another and learn from the leaders who made the kind of history the American people deserve.
 Unfortunately, that's not the path the GOP took.  An NBC/Wall St Journal poll just came out last week indicating that 94% of black voters support Obama and 6% are undecided.  0% support Romney.  Considering that McCain was able to get 4% and Bush got 11% in 2004, the trend seems unmistakable.  

I bring up Crist's history because, not surprisingly, the GOP leaders are going out of their way to marginalize the significance of Crist's endorsement of Obama.  Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said today, "Governor Crist's endorsement adds one more vote in Florida and that's it."  Of course, that's silly since its in the news that a former Republican Governor (who enjoyed strong approval ratings) is endorsing a Democrat for President.  If anything, McDonnell is amplifying that message, which in and of itself may not decide an election, but will likely contribute to the background narrative of the GOP in the minds of independents as a party of that can't be dealt with reasonably, even for Republicans.

Finally, I can't help but mention Florida GOP Chair Lenny Curry's par-for-the course lack of self-awareness.
Today we have seen a repugnant display from a self-centered, career politician. While the people of Florida, and thousands of visitors who've traveled here, are facing an emergency, Charlie Crist has demonstrated, yet again, that his political ambition will always come first.
Apparently, as long as anyone anywhere is suffering, politicians can't endorse someone running for office.  But fine, do you really want to play that game Lenny?  Cause if I'm not mistaken, you're a key player in the Republican National Circle Jerk, the embodiment of political ambition (which produces meaningless pablum on par with Mitt's ready-made for SNL quote "I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.").... and which is taking place right smack in the path of hurricane Isaac at a time when thousands of visitors who've traveled there are facing an emergency.  

And how ironic that Curry accuses Crist of playing politics during a hurricane, when the GOP House budget, that Paul Ryan himself authored would require that federal funds for disaster relief would have to be offset by other reductions, thus ensuring a highly politicized batted whenever disaster relief funds are needed, and a likely outcome of minimal and insufficient funds would actually be authorized.

But if the hurricane does cause damage to the Tampa area surrounding the GOP convention, and the convention is cancelled, maybe they can re-purpose the $50 million in Federal funds that were intended to militarize enhance security for the city during the convention.

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