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Christ Leaves

Charlie Crist has decided to run as an independent for the Florida Senate.  The usual suspects are crying that this proves the GOP are a bunch of crazy fundamentalist lunatics.

And the message from the GOP couldn’t be clearer: all moderate Republican politicians should leave now - before it gets even uglier. As for the gay ones: run, don’t walk.

This is, to be frank, bullshit.  The GOP may be run by fundamentalist lunatics or not, but that has nothing to do with the surge in support for Rubio over Crist.

After earning an “A” for fiscal responsibility from Cato, Crist quickly went off the deep end, passing massive tax hikes and spending increases.  When the stimulus was passed, Crist didn’t just accept the money; he used it to start new programs rather than simply shore up Florida’s finances for one year and get things in order.  This has jeopardized Florida’s long-term fiscal future by, among other things, expanding hurricane insurance.  Recently, he vetoed a plan to put a few cracks in the cartel that is Florida’s pubic education system.  He did this not out of principle but to curry favor with the teachers’ unions in preparation for an independent run at the Senate.

Crist isn’t losing the Senate race because he’s a moderate or because he’s gay.  This state elected him governor, for Christ’s sake.  He’s losing because his record has devolved into pure fiscal recklessness and pandering.  His independent run is the apotheosis of a career defined by opportunism and self-promotion rather than principle.  He’s not Lindsey Graham; he’s George Bush with better hair.

Rubio has some stands I don’t like, including some support of creationism.  But he takes budgets seriously, including a potential fix to Social Security.

Moreover, Florida is a state where a conservative can win.  The place to run moderates like Crist, if you want to pretend he is one, is the northeast or the midwest.

Update: THIS:

Many observers see Charlie Crist as a patron saint of Republican moderation, a sensible pragmatist who has been driven out of his party by frenzied Tea Partiers on a jihad against common sense. Some even suggested that Crist should join the Democrats. This is, in my view, a baseless smear against Democrats, who deserve better than to be associated with the likes of Charlie Crist. Consider Crist’s reaction to President Obama’s health reform effort. Instead of defending the effort as a sensible measure that would improve the deficit while delivering a massive coverage expansion, he seemed to argue that he liked every part of it except for the fact that it would, in his words, “raise taxes significantly, it would raise rates significantly and it would take half a trillion dollars out of Medicare.” We can debate the merits of the Affordable Care Act backwards and forwards, but surely Crist understands that paying for a coverage expansion requires either raising taxes, finding savings in the Medicare program, and probably both. But rather than make the case for, say, a less expensive approach to coverage expansion that would require less in the way of revenues or spending cuts, he wished away the problem, as he so often does.

Read the whole thing.  I’ve talked about my concern that the GOP is drifting into Obama Derangement Syndrome.  But the support Crist has found among liberals and defected conservatives is a sign of Tea Party Derangement Syndrome.  They think that if the Tea Partiers hate Crist, he must be a wonderful moderate sensible conservative.  He is anything but.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/29/10 at 08:26 AM in Elections Election 2010 • Permalink

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