p>As a resident of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, I am grateful whenever another state’s political scene is goofier than ours. Florida is one of the states that has a way of equaling our silliness; especially since the advent of Charlie Crist.
Until recently, Florida Governor Charlie Crist was wildly popular. This popularity, however, had more to do with his tan and a pleasant personality than with any accomplishments. Crist is an empty suit but a telegenic one. Initially, his run for the Senate looked sure fire but that was before the emergence of the tea baggers. Crist made the mistake of making nice with President Obama in the wake of passage of the stimulus bill. He hugged Barack and in public too. Florida wing nuts, who never cared much for the mild mannered moderate, erupted and eventually found a credible candidate in former State House Speaker Mario Rubio.
In the latest polls, Rubio is demolishing Crist 60-28, which essentially flips an earlier Crist lead. This poll, however, was taken before Rubio’s spending habits became common knowledge. Mr. Rubio is very fond of using his Republican party Amex Card for personal expenditures while reimbursing a pittance.Carl Hiassen had some fun with Rubio the other day in the Miami Herald:
It must be like a bad dream for Marco Rubio. He goes to bed as the golden boy of the New Right, and wakes up as just another phony with a $134 haircut. And all because he didn’t keep track of whose American Express card he was waving around while he was Florida’s speaker of the House.
He is still leading Gov. Charlie Crist in the race for the Republican Senate nomination, but the gap is certain to shrink unless Rubio tries something bold. Like reaching out to Democrats and independents.
Here’s an offer that might have some traction: Anybody who switches to the GOP in time for the primary receives one of those nifty Republican Party credit cards. In this battered economy, even diehard liberals would be tempted to jump ship. Judging from Rubio’s AmEx bills, Republicans let you spend their donors’ money on just about anything you please. When his family’s minivan got banged up, the former speaker charged the party nearly $4,000 for repairs and a five-week car rental. That’s so much nicer than having to pay for it yourself, the way ordinary folks do.
p>Crist has started to go after Rubio’s spending, which in theory should endear the former to the teabaggers. The problem is that he’s a piss poor attack dog.He went on Fox and mocked Rubio:“Or maybe it was a back wax — we are not sure what all he got at that place,”
Uh, Charlie if I were you, I’d skip things like the back wax reference. It sounds sorta gay to me and may remind people thatyou’re widely considered to be in the same Florida GOP closet from whence came Mark Foley. Besides, the fact that Rubio has a hairy Cubano back could help him in certain precincts. Who among us doesn’t like bears?
If this is the best Crist can do, I think the comeback Hiassen predicts for his campaign is unlikely. Time is running short and once you’re exposed as an empty suit the bell usually tolls for thee. I don’t know what the hell that meant but the Crist-Rubio brawl’s ultimate beneficiary could be the Democrats. In which casethe Meek may inherit the earth, after all…