If you were given license to rummage through the desk of a reporter working the Florida politics beat, inevitably you would find an already-in-the-can column offering “Five Reasons…” why Charlie Crist should run for governor, why he shouldn’t run for governor, why he won’t run for governor, why he prefers grouper sandwiches to hamburgers, etc., etc.
When in doubt, these reporters must think, bang out six hundred words, organize them in some BuzzFeed fashion, and, voila, head for the bar — the day is done.
Terrence McCoy of the Miami New Times must have spotted a particularly generous happy hour special, as his “Five Reasons Why Charlie Crist Will Not Run For Governor” is so slapdashedly explained it’s obvious he was ready to hit the bar.
(Don’t I look like an ass if McCoy is some sort of teetotaler.)
McCoy’s analysis takes a wrong-turn early-on when he claims, rather boldly, “We got to know the guy pretty well” after he interviewed and researched Crist for a 5,500-word cover story on Crist’s likely run. McCoy sounds like the hundreds, no, make that thousands of folks in Crist’s hometown of St. Petersburg who all insist that they’ve known Charlie for years and ‘know the guy pretty well.’
Anyone who asserts that they know Crist pretty well and doesn’t have the letters C-r-i-s-t in their last name simply does not know what they’re talking about and that’s from someone who has worked on-and-off for Crist for twenty years and, well, knows the guy pretty well.
Anyway, McCoy posits that Crist will not run because:
#5, Charlie Crist is all alone: “Though years have passed… and Crist has lured some high-profile supporters — like Barack Obama — they aren’t exactly the most loyal because Crist, himself, hasn’t been loyal.”
#4, His sweet deal with Morgan & Morgan: “Crist has it pretty good right now. He’s has a nice place along the bay in St. Pete, he has a high-paying job that allows him to exercise his high quota of pouts and brow furrows. This job allows Charlie Crist to live out his own caricature. If he ran for governor, he’d give up all of that…” #
3, All the divorce drama: “As I recall the phrase ‘piece of shit’ came up often in conversation. and if Crist decides to run, it will again and again.”
#2, Who the fuck is Charlie Crist, anyway?: ” Though he dismisses the myriad flip-flops — on gay marriage, on taxation, on health care reform — as an evolution of thinking, they speak to a much broader issue in his politics. Voters aren’t stupid.”
#1, He won’t win: “Those [unemployment] numbers are hard, and though Crist is undeniably more likable than Rick Scott, his economic performance has been substantially better…”
Pardon me, while I deconstruct these arguments better than Grant Achatz does a tomato.
First of all, Crist is not all alone. He actually has a better support system in place now than he during his previous campaigns for elected office. If Crist were ever alone, it was in 2006 when, running for Governor, he found himself surrounded by sycophants like Jim Greer, Delmar Johnson, and the like.
Crist’s critics were once so quick to dismiss his marriage as little more than stagecraft. Now those same critics are silent as Carole has become Charlie’s best friend and partner.
Crist has also returned to his St. Petersburg roots, mostly eschewing the Broward Republicanism that saw him turn his back on hometown allies. There are no George LeMieux’s around nowadays. And that’s a good thing. His old friends, like Bernie Campbell and Mike Hamby, are back in the picture.
As for the consultants and staff Crist would need to run a statewide campaign, how quickly would the printer run out of paper from the volume of resumes being e-mailed and faxed in were Crist to say he needed help. Crist has already put Dan Gelber and Steve Schale in his camp. His best political friend, Rep. Darryl Rouson, is the incoming leader of the House Democrats.
He’s also clearly the preferred choice of the last two Democratic presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
Alone, McCoy says. Hardly.
Regarding Crist’s sweet deal with Morgan & Morgan, it’s hard not laugh at the inclusion of this point as a reason Crist won’t run. After all, he joined Morgan & Morgan so that he had a place to hang out while he waited to run for Governor.
What, do you think Charlie’s fielding incoming slip-and-fall cases? Puh-leeze.
John Morgan is going to spend every cent he can to elect Crist, for no other reason than he wants to gut the Republican legislation gutting the state’s PIP laws. That system has been worth tens of millions of dollars to Morgan. Spending ten million or so to elect a Governor who can block further changes to the PIP system is simply a smart investment for Morgan.
One more counter-argument to this point: Say what you will about Charlie Crist, but the one thing he has never been motivated by is the pursuit of money. To think that Crist won’t run for Governor because he needs money to keep up his “nice place along the bay in St. Pete” (it’s actually just a two-bedroom number in the city’s oldest waterfront tower) is to completely misunderstand the man.
McCoy’s #3 reason why Crist won’t run for Governor wouldn’t make it into my own Top 50 reasons why Charlie won’t take the plunge. McCoy describes it as ” all of the divorce drama” and it refers to Carole Rome Crist’s ex-husband, Todd.
Crist has been dogged for thirty years by rumors of closeted homosexuality, so any time a story runs reminding people that he’s actually married to a smart, sophisticated, wealthy, gorgeous woman, it’s not a bad thing. That there is an ex-husband peddling stories about Carole being a subpar mother is the kind of gutter-talk Crist has always risen above.
Besides, the guy he will be running against did this. So if the 2014 election comes down to the word of a disgruntled ex-husband versus Scott’s record of corporate fraud, guess who wins that debate?
The Republican Party of Florida is attempting to already frame the campaign against Crist as an indictment of their former leader for his “myriad flip-flops — on gay marriage, on taxation, on health care reform.”
Well, yeah, sure, Charlie has some explaining to do. Then again, who’s better at ‘plaining than good ol’ Charlie. Dude could talk his way out of a sunburn.
According to the last Quinnipiac poll, Florida voters say 50 – 40 percent that Crist’s switch from Republican to independent and now to Democrat is a positive thing that shows he is a pragmatist, rather than a negative thing that shows he lacks core beliefs.
“These numbers indicate Republicans will have a tough job turning around Crist’s lead over Scott by reminding voters of Crist’s evolution,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The numbers speak for themselves when addressing McCoy’s final point — that Crist won’t win.
The last PPP poll: Crist 52%, Scott 40%; The last Q-poll: Crist 50%, Scott 34%.
Rick Scott and the Republicans will huff and puff and blow the house down with $150 million in attacks on Crist and all this will do is reinforce the negative perception voters have held of Scott since his first year in office.
And therein lies the only legitimate reason why Crist won’t run for Governor. Not because of any of the five or fifteen or fifty McCoy might outline. Rather, it’s the possibility that Crist could very well win that he may not run.
I don’t know if Charlie (or Carole) wants to again live in Tallahassee. I don’t know if he wants to preside over Cabinet meetings with Jeff Atwater and Pam Bondi beside him. I don’t know if he wants to be in charge of DBPR, DEP, DMS and the alphabet soup of the state bureaucracy.
I don’t know if Charlie wants to run for Governor because I don’t know if he wants to govern.
And I say that as someone who knows him pretty well.