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Charlie Crist comes back from the political dead

Remember when Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) was left for dead -- politically -- when he dumped the Republican Party to become an independent in his race for the U.S. Senate? Well, this headline over at The Atlantic Wire caught my eye: Why Crist Now Leads Rubio in Florida Senate Race.

Pollster.com puts support for Crist at 38.5 percent. Tea Party darling Marco Rubio pulls in 32.8 percent. The accompanying graph shows support statewide for Crist steadily climbing just before his party switch in late April. One of the reasons cited for the governor’s improved fortunes is the oil spill. Samuel Jacobs at The Daily Beast does a great job making the case.

But I also think it says something about how Crist views President Obama. Despite watching Obama endure a torrent of criticism for his and his administration’s handling of the aftermath of the BP oil rig explosion and the ensuing spill, Crist has not shied away from the spotlight that came with Obama’s four visits to the gulf region. In lauding Crist earlier this month for doing so, I wrote “Political opportunism? Perhaps.” Looking at this change in political fortune for Crist, the answer now is a definitive yes.

By Jonathan Capehart  | June 21, 2010; 5:08 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

He was never dead. It was the right-wing noise machine and the gullible MSM that was hyping the tea-party and proclaiming the End of Obama.

In fact, Crist is doing now what the rest of the country will do in November, run as fast as they can from a Party driven over the edge by its extremist hatred of the very idea of an Obama presidency.

They get a lot of press, their quitter-in-chief Sarah gets front-page coverage of her tweets but, come ballot day, the nutjobs are going to find themselves wondering, "Where is everyone?".

Posted by: thebobbob | June 21, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Crist hugged Obama, and Florida got a big stimulus check which kept a lot of Floridians employed, much to the dismay of republicans. Tea party darling Rubio, proclaims less taxes, smaller government, yada,yada,yada, while falling into foreclosure on his own property. Rubio’s “drill,baby, drill,” wanting to raise soc. sec. age to 70,and cut benefits, plus his credit card abuse, and being Jeb Bush puppet make him undesirable! How about kickbacks from F.I.U., Jackson hosp., and the tollway deal, where he approved money as a political legislature and got well paid off! I will vote for Crist

Posted by: roosboys | June 21, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I called this back in April.

http://www.policywank.com/2010/04/30/crist-the-independent/

Posted by: dcartwright6 | June 21, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

As I've always said, is the Tea Party ready for when they are the object of the GOPs Night Of The Long Knives?

FYI - that is what people who believe in fancy book learning call a "metaphor."

Posted by: BurfordHolly | June 22, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

I like how Rubio brings in the threat of Cuba into all of his arguments. I wonder if he is trying just a bit too hard to secure a certain group of voters while forgetting about the rest of Florida's non-Cuban residents.

Are most Americans still worried that our biggest threat is a military and economic invasion by Cuba? That somehow Cuba is going to have instant access to all of our off shore Gulf of Mexico fields and the means to produce these fields when they haven’t even touched the fields right off their own coastline because of lack of financing and equipment?

The idea that we are pointing fingers of blame at Cuba when they are about to be covered in American-British oil and lose their entire fishing industry is just a bit crazy.

Rubio belongs in an asylum which probably makes him perfect for Florida voters.

Posted by: Southeasterner | June 22, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse

CRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD!

: P

Posted by: herzliebster | June 22, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Easter in April?

Posted by: cautious | June 22, 2010 5:02 AM | Report abuse

32.8% for Rubio? And all I read is that the Tea Party is dead. That's not a bad showing. Again, the Tea Party influence goes well beyond candidates of successful or unsuccessful outcome. Obama is now preparing 5% cuts scenarios although with Obama you cannot tell policy from public relations from trial balloons. AS a rudderless ship, you can never tell where the boat is going, it is at the mercy of currents, winds, etc.

Posted by: hz9604 | June 22, 2010 5:17 AM | Report abuse

Crist will not win. The REAL poll numbers have the two tied, and Crist changes his stand on issues like a chameleon. He isn't a bad guy, but he also isn't electable any longer, and will join the Meeks in the "also ran" list after the Midterm.

Posted by: Realist201 | June 22, 2010 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Polls are nothing but snapshots in time. A few weeks ago, Harry Reid's obituary was being written and Mark Kirk was a shoo in. Why do the chattering classes keep treating polls as the gospel?

Posted by: BrooklynDemocrat | June 22, 2010 5:58 AM | Report abuse

For more on the ground coverage of Charlie Crist's campaign, please visit saintpetersblog.com.

Posted by: saintpetersblog | June 22, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

The only question is why Meeks is not makeing more of this. Too funny that the tea bagger is getting creamed by the moderate. Crist will now have no reason whatseover to tow the party line, which is good since the gop is now a repository for the worst lunatics stalking the earth.

Posted by: John1263 | June 22, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Crist came back from the political dead but he is now a zombie.

Check that fake tan.

Posted by: mlemac | June 22, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Crist will not win. The REAL poll numbers have the two tied,

Real poll numbers, huh? Wait, don't tell me, Rasmussen, right? Or is it a Fox News Insta-Poll you're betting on? You tea-baggers are a joke.

Posted by: dnahatch1 | June 22, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

As a politician, I am sure Governor Crist can be found guilty of political opportunism. I personally haven't known any who weren't occasionally guilty of that. But in Crist's situation, not making an enemy of the President, who owns the keys to federal largesse for distressed areas, is also smart.

Posted by: sailhardy | June 22, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Crist is intelligent - the far right has declared intelligence and moderation in decibel level to be vices. If God had wanted people to be smart, he'd have made the teabaggers smart, dontchaknow.

Now, if he could just be smart enough to insist that the gulf coast is owned by everyone, not just oil drillers and the peoplethey employ, he might be able to get the green evangelicals to help him clean up Florida's schools, healtcare, water -- and also save the planet for his grandchildren.

Posted by: practica1 | June 22, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Crist and Lieberman will hold the balance of power in the next Senate. I wish more independents ran and busted up the stalemate. At least they are free to vote on each issue on its' own merits.

Posted by: MHawke | June 22, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

How are things in Bizarro World today, Surrealist?

Teatard Rubio is a dead candidate walking.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 22, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

first of all crist will NEVER have grandchildren.
the teabagging hate-filled racist could not tolerate the florida governor hug the 1/2 black president of the united states.
although that one embrace netted the state millions in federal $ for it's residents . the repugs has consistently voted against it's own best interests. i predict the same in november.

Posted by: ninnafaye | June 22, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

So FLA voters are moving toward Crist? Well, it appears to be true that "stupid is as stupid does". Poor FLA and poor USA.

Posted by: segeny | June 22, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

As registered Democrats, Crist has my, my wife and my daughter's vote! He is by far the most qualified running for the Senate in Florida. Many in my city feel the same way.

Posted by: ginger470132 | June 22, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

It was only a matter of time. When the "heroes" of the Tbaggers began letting the people know where they are really coming from - they are as said all along; a small group of old dumb, selfish gripers! Get them ALL aout now. Hear that Palin!

Posted by: utahmink | June 22, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Whenever you see Obama do his photo ops on his trips to the Gulf Oil spill between his rounds of golf and going to sporting events, Crist is right there with him. If he stood any closer they would be siamese twins. Crist is a political hack and turn coat. I hope the people in FL wise up.

Posted by: joanz3 | June 22, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Crist is benefiting from the oil spill with a bump in the polls - he is the face of Florida in this crisis. If he does win the Senate seat, it will because of face recognition and not his performance as Governor of this state.

There's a lot of folks who have yet to renew their Drivers Licenses and be hit with the more than doubling of its cost (during high unemployment) or perhaps renew their car tags and experience the almost doubling of that fee (again, in a recession with high unemployment). And it coming up on "seasons" for fishing where now we have to have licenses for places where in the past we did not and the fees? Well, guess what - they almost doubled as well. And let's not even go into the unemployment tax increase of 118% on our employers...way to support re-hiring laid off employees....! (granted the legislature fixed the increase - temporarily).

Crist is an opportunist who may win the seat but it will be through face recognition and unfortunately not through an informed citizenry if he does....he is a flip flopper....I hope Spector's fate is HIS fate.

Posted by: LMW6 | June 22, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

“Crist will now have no reason whatsoever to tow the party line, which is good since the gop is now a repository for the worst lunatics stalking the earth.”
“Crist and Lieberman will hold the balance of power in the next Senate. I wish more independents ran and busted up the stalemate.”

Could this be the beginning of a third party?
Will more candidates run as independents?

If TP’ers show “ANY” independence, republican leaders will assign them to the least influential committees, broom closet offices, no staff or financial backing to insure they are one-term office holders. Leaving them to run as independents in two years.
If TP’ers tow the republican party line of “HELL NO” TP voters will make sure they are one term office holders. If they do not the TP will evaporate.

Posted by: knjincvc | June 22, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Rubio has the Republican baggage to overcome and I am a Republican. Republicans are against immigration reform, repeal of don't ask, don't tell, repeal of Cuban embargo and are letting a foreigner act as president. The only good thing Rubio may do is to stop the mindless spending by Dems wherein our tax income of $2.1 trillion is drowned in a $3.7 trillion Dem spending spree which will destroy our dollar and our investments. I want to vote for Rubio but he has these Rep opinions that I am against. Crist is more pragmatic.

Posted by: mascmen7 | June 22, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

NOT CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: I think Republicans are in for a much harder night in November than most assume.

I think Rubio in Fla., Paul in Ky and Angle in Nev. all are defeated. Kirk in Ill. is going to have a tougher race than most thought. I'm not so sure Repubs can get more than 25 House seats.

Yes, this is an inhospitable time for Democrats, but Republicans keep shooting themselves in the foot. The Tea Party phenomenon is not sustainable as an offshoot of the Repub Party. The candidates the Tea Party folks think are pretty aren't going to attract moderates. Moderates are not going to inspire Tea Party folks.

Tea Party loyalists either will form a separate party, or (more likely) they will sink back into the ranks of Repub voters, and that percentage nationally remains well below 50%.

I keep hearing pontificators and prognosticators suggest that Dems cannot win because of the economy. I don't buy that. I think elections are local affairs, and if the candidate is problematic, voters go elsewhere, no matter their economic situation.

Posted by: GoneFromTexas | June 22, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

mascmen7 Posted June 22, 2010 1:08 PM
“Rubio has the Republican baggage to overcome and I am a Republican. Republicans are against immigration reform, repeal of don't ask, don't tell, repeal of Cuban embargo and are letting a foreigner act as president. The only good thing Rubio may do is to stop the mindless spending by Dems wherein our tax income of $2.1 trillion is drowned in a $3.7 trillion Dem spending spree which will destroy our dollar and our investments. I want to vote for Rubio but he has these Rep opinions that I am against. Crist is more pragmatic.”


Sooo … were you in agreement with Reagan leaving office with a $4+ Trillion dollar debt and trillions in projected deficits?
When Jimmy Carter left office the debt was $904 Billion and projected deficits were declining.
Bill Clinton inherited Reagan’s deficits but managed to leave office with a projected surplus.

cheney (deficits don’t matter) and bush left office after adding another $5 trillion dollars to the debt and projected deficits of $8-12 trillion dollars over the next ten years.

At the same time republican governors like Tim Pawlenty, running for POTUS, were letting their states infrastructure (I-35, 13 deaths) collapse.

Reagan raised taxes on the poor and middle class to fund tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans (deficits don’t matter).

Cheney/bush cut taxes for the same people without any increase in revenue.

But Hey! The U.S. still believes embargoing Cuba is a good thing and you are right, republican don’t support immigration reform because doing so would eliminate cheap labor.

But hey, keep spewing nonsense, why worry about facts.

http://zfacts.com/p/318.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms#

Posted by: knjincvc | June 22, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Rubio has a host of problems that Crist doesn't have. #1, as a candidate of Hispanic origin, he has to really walk a tightrope on the whole immigration issue, which has been red meat to the Republican base. #2, as a candidate of Cuban extraction, he is a reminder of how the Cuban exile community has had a disproportionate impact on Florida politics for years. Castro's army took Havana in 1959--that's 51 years ago, if anyone's counting. #3, Rubio seems to have put tens of thousands of personal expenses
on a Republican Party charge card and a house he co-owns went into foreclosure. Okay, so I lot of folks in Florida could forgive the latter transgression, but not while he was livin' large on party money.

Posted by: jhpurdy | June 22, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Crist would have easily won the election as the Republican nominee. Instead, the Southern GOP is succumbing to the Teabaggers, who are despised by 3/4 of the American electorate.

Crist probably would have gone away quietly if Cheney hadn't endorsed Rubio. After Crist supported the Bush Administration, Cheney went out of his way to stab him in the back.

Crist will likely caucus with Democrats after Republican leadership went out of their way to snub him.

Florida is just a prime example of how the teabaggers insistence on ideological purity is going to cut Republican gains in half this year.

Posted by: AxelDC | June 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

What most Republican posters do not understand is intellectual work can be done while playing golf. Intellectual work is not like digging ditches or laying brick. Good minds can work through different scenarios while while the body gets its exercise and and pumps blood to the brain. Obama is good! And he knows how to keep his opposition focused on things that will not matter in November. And it doesn't hurt him when Republicans like Joe Barton gives him a free pass.

Posted by: Thependulumswings | June 22, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"Florida is just a prime example of how the teabaggers insistence on ideological purity is going to cut Republican gains in half this year."

Don't forget republican sterling leadership ... Boehner, McConnell,Palin, Cantor, Ryan, Kyle, McCain, Leader Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Really, Steele, Colburn and the other "C" Street'ers.

Posted by: knjincvc | June 22, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Crist will pull centrist Democratic and Independent voters, as well as moderate Republicans who would have voted for him in the primary. Barring some bizarre October surprise, Crist will win roughly 45% of the vote in a three-way race.

Posted by: pepperjade | June 22, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Crist will get some republican votes, large portion of Independent voters and enough democrats to win the election. Go Charlie democrats for Crist.

Posted by: KevsWorld | June 22, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Dream on -- Crist will soon be able to spend all his time on the sand and get a real tan.

Posted by: BadNews | June 22, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Like a Specter. Get it.

Posted by: carlbatey | June 22, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse


I'm a liberal Democrat who lives in Tampa, and I plan to vote for Crist at this point.

Posted by: MadamDeb | June 22, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I am fascinated by the majority of comments here....all I can say is dream on......

Posted by: Keeptrying | June 23, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

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