Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Crist’s Support Sagging Among Republicans

Charlie Crist’s likely run for a Senate could quite possibly turn out to be more difficult than he had imagined a few months ago.  Instead of clearing the field for the Governor as many had expected, Marco Rubio now says that he is open to challenging Crist in a GOP Primary for the Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez.  A new Mason Dixon poll shows that Rubio may not be as crazy as some may think.  According to the poll, which was released just last week, only 23% of Republicans say that they will “definitely” vote for Crist in a GOP Senate primary.  (On the other hand, 66% say they would definitely vote for Bill McCollum in a GOP Gubernatorial primary.)

Crist has maintained relatively high approval ratings in spite of the battering Florida’s economy has taken.  A GOP primary, however, is bound to be dominated by conservatives unhappy with Crist’s embrace of Obama’s stimulus plan and avoidance of controversial issues.


Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, ,

Crist Endorses Gambling

In a move certain to further complicate his position within the Republican Party (as if endorsing Barack Obama’s stimulus plan wasn’t enough), Charlie Crist has bucked the Christian Coalition and endorsed gambling.  Gambling, and the “expansion of gaming” were two things that Crist continually stated his opposition to during his 2006 campaign for Governor—a position that was crucial in a religious conservative-dominated primary.

Those campaign promises have now been thrown out the window.

“You know we’ve had probably the most profound economic change since the Great Depression. We have to adapt and we have to adjust and we have to be open-minded in order to get through this. And that’s what has changed.”

In the Governor’s eyes, convictions aren’t convictions unless they can be tossed aside.  The question is…Will religious conservatives in the Governor’s own party see it that way?

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , , , ,

Crist Bombs with Conservatives

Charlie Crist may have maintained decent approval ratings in Florida, but he’s hardly a hit with conservatives.  At this past week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, which is considered perhaps the foremost school on conservative political thought and one of the most dominant voices in the Republican Party, Charlie Crist bombed.  For starters, he wasn’t invited to speak—hardly a good sign for someone whose future political ambitions include designs on the Presidency.  

In a straw poll held to gauge the party’s frontrunner to challenge Barack Obama in 2012, Crist scored a whopping 1%—well behind Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul and even Rudy Guiliani.  Crist’s name was roundly booed during the balloting and he was later referred to as “Barack Obama’s favorite Republican.”  Conservatives dominate  Republican primaries and no candidate in recent memory has secured the GOP nomination without at least nominal support from CPAC.  If Crist truly has ambitions beyond Tallahassee, he has fences to mend with conservatives.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , , , , , , , ,

Florida’s Republican state and federal legislators – Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde

I guess it’s all a matter of perspective for Florida’s Republican legislators.  While Florida’s state Republican legislators, including Governor Charlie Crist, are busy salivating over the prospect of receiving billions of federal stimulus dollars (approximately $30 billion of them), Florida’s federal Republican legislators are busy just saying no to the bailout in Washington, DC.

The US House is expected to pass the stimulus package today, while the US Senate isn’t expected to receive the package until next week.  And numerous changes could occur in the bill before it reaches the President’s desk for signature.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , , ,

Jeb Bush: plusses and minuses for any run for the U.S. Senate

5 reasons he should not run and 5 reasons he should run according to Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times.

Why Bush should pass

1. Because he’s Jeb Bush. Anybody who watched him govern Florida knows that Bush, 55, has zero patience for the kind of give and take and dealmaking that effective legislating requires. For an impatient executive who lives to take big ideas and implement them yesterday, being a junior member in the Senate’s minority party would be akin to moving into one of Dante’s circles of hell.

2. He’s got some ’splaining to do. When Jeb Bush left office in 2006, about 60 percent of Florida voters were saying he did a good or excellent job, and to this day he can bask in a reputation as one of the strongest governors in modern history. But given the dismal state of Florida today, that image could be dented in a heated Senate race with Bush facing hard questions about what he did and didn’t do to stave off the crises in property insurance, property taxes and the overall economic meltdown inherited by his successor, Charlie Crist.

3. Bush already is an icon. He apparently wants to be the conservative to lead his beleaguered party out of the wilderness, but he doesn’t need the Senate seat to do that. He has a stature few others do even out of office and, if he so chooses, can be a leading voice for reform and bold ideas for restoring the GOP. Joining 99 other Washington politicians in the Senate could actually diminish Jeb to mere mortal status in his party.

4. George W. Bush. Few people loathe Freudian psycho-babble and calls for introspection as much as does Jeb Bush. Does he really want to spend the next few years relentlessly facing comparisons to and questions about his brother, the ex-president, and speculation about his deep-seated motivations? Because that would be his fate, not just during the campaign, but during his tenure in Washington.

5. Business deals. The former governor doesn’t like reporters much, but he especially doesn’t like reporters asking about his moneymaking and potential conflicts of interest. Senate candidate Jeb Bush would face a host of questions about who paid for his speaking gigs at home and abroad, what he said, and what he did/does on his assorted corporate boards, some of which did business with the state while Bush was governor.

Why Bush should run

1. Because he’s Jeb Bush. Jeb would never be just another one of 100 U.S. senators, any more than Hillary Rodham Clinton was. By virtue of who he is and what he’s already accomplished in office, Bush would be stand out as a giant political force from Day 1 in Washington.

2. Public service is in his DNA. There is simply no way someone as passionate about public policy as Bush feels fulfilled biding his time on corporate boards and doing development deals, or whatever it is his mysterious firm, Jeb Bush & Associates, does. Given the deep and complex challenges facing the country, it is the perfect time to add to Washington a leader with the energy, intellect and curiosity that a Sen. Bush would bring to bear.

3. His party needs him. The national Republican Party faces today a profound leadership vacuum, lacking a coherent message or direction. Bush has impeccable conservative credentials, a personal appeal to crucial Hispanic voters and a knack for the kind of ambitious, new ideas missing from the GOP in Washington lately.

“There is an opportunity in the Republican caucus for a leader with skill, vision, command of the issues and a commitment to conservative principles (although Bush could stand to reconsider his advocacy of amnesty for illegal immigrants),” National Review recently wrote, urging Bush to run. “He has the right blend of ideas, and the temperament, to join the ranks of such senators as Phil Gramm and Barry Goldwater — standard-bearers who helped rejuvenate conservatism and the party that remains its principal instrument.”

4. The presidency. If Bush still harbors any thoughts about being the third Bush in the White House, the Senate could be his last, best opportunity for a launching platform. The Senate would put Bush in the center of the major debates facing our country, as well as giving him an opportunity to enhance his foreign policy chops leading up to 2012 and 2016.

5. Regardless of which Democrat winds up with the U.S. Senate nomination, Bush probably would win.

Filed under: Florida Politics, , , , , ,

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