Florida Dems Shouldn’t Put Charlie Crist Over
Charlie Crist is a politico who can’t get over with Florida voters.
And yet, there Charlie Crist is, leading every latest Florida Senate poll in a three-way race with Republican Marco Rubio and that other guy, the Democrat.
Never mind that, in a primary season proving toxic for old, white, male incumbents, both Representative Kendrick Meek and Tea Party firebrand Marco Rubio are young, vibrant candidates who bring the prospect of diverse backgrounds and experiences to the office, with the full backing and deep coffers of their respective political parties.
There Charlie Crist preens in the shadows, with his own deep (and deeply personal) coffers, a variety of recently-altered and Dem-friendly positions, waiting for Rahm Emanuel’s call to narrow the race and face down Rubio head-on in exactly the sort of classic youth-versus-experience, insider-outsider showdown that looks to favor the quietly predictable over the under-conceptualized and patently unqualified:
Wrestling fans of a certain age will recall the quiet tenure of Adam Bomb, professional wrestling’s only radioactive superstar (due to his having allegedly survived the Three Mile Island incident). Bomb wrestled for a decade, making last-minute entrances at the Royal Rumble, briefly winning a tag-team title by default, co-opting Mortal Kombat characters into his act, then finally peetering out in independent circuits.
Despite his various incarnations, and some wrestling skill, Bomb became most famous for getting appendicitis during the WCW-WWE merger in 2001. Looking at their inherited roster, the WWE decided to make a change, and let Bomb go, rather than investing heavily in yet again reinventing his unsuccessful brand.
The Democratic Party would do wise to follow suit in Florida.
Crist is an energetic, charismatic, and handsome politician. He looks the part. He talks the part. For Rahm Emanuel’s 2006 short-term, win-at-all-costs mid-term election strategy, Crist seems to be a natural and easy hold for a quickly eroding Democratic majority in the Senate.
Except this isn’t 2006. In 2010, the Democrats face multiple challenges, but foremost is their lack of ideological cohesion, which gives the voters nothing against which to measure the policy choices of either incumbent or challenger. It makes for great political strategy, in the sense that active misdirection gives voters headaches, but presents little in the way of substantive discussion.
Horse races abound, while majorities and minorities cohere against caricatures of each other.
It’s no wonder that every wacko with a website stands ready to enter the fray, willfully misunderstanding the Constitution, invoking British regal tyranny, ominously photographing old pistols:
Is our political establishment so underemployed that it has to cannibalize itself across political aisles to remain vital?
2010 may prove to be a great drubbing for the Dems, a righting of wrongs for Republicans. However it works out, both sides will claim victory and soldier on to the Presidential Election of 2012, the 2014 Mid-Terms, and the Great Obama-Less Winner-Take-All of 2016.
By then, any number of jobbers will have risen through the ranks by sheer not-disappearing, to remain something resembling viable candidates.
Woo hoo! Somebody won. In the meantime, the current slate of elected officials will do everything except govern responsibly in the face of threats often generated by their own neglect.
In politics, as in gardening, you have to turn over a lot of shit to push the daisies up. Charlie Crist will make a fantastic lobbyist, somewhere. Florida Democrats should stop trying to put over the guy who can’t get over himself.
In the short-term it may mean a drubbing. But, there are worse things than losing. The kind of longview planning–make that “change”–and intellectual foresight that Democrats have clamored for, regardless of the winner, and failed to heed to in the past, remains prescient, 4 or 33 years onward:
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