Friday, October 29, 2010

Crist, the Independent, for Florida

Sending the somewhat moderate Crist to Washington would send a powerful message to those in both parties who tout the party line.

When former Senator Mel Martinez (R-Florida) announced that he was going to resign from the senate last year, many journalists expected Senator Charlie Crist to appoint someone who had no intention of staying. Christ didn’t want to face an incumbent when he launched his campaign for the senate seat during the mid-term elections. Most expected him to cruise to victory but anything can happen within a year. An incumbent governor who is well-liked one year can see his or her public approval polls go down one year later.

No one expected State Speaker Marco Rubio to come out from nowhere and force the governor to withdraw from the Republican primary and run as an independent to win this seat. Voters, however are angry and they are frightened. They saw their retirement funds wiped out when the stocks and.many lost their jobs and are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their homes out of foreclosure. They want to make a statement and come election night the state that went for President Barack Obama last year appears to be sending the Republican to Capitol Hill.

Rubio had proven himself to be the articulate, likable and thoughtful conservative that the Republicans should be nominating in primaries across the country. Voters deserve to have (and should be presented with) a choice between two or more eminently qualified, individuals who can make well-informed decisions when casting votes on war authorization and funding bills, and government programs.

The Republican nominee presents his appealing message of tax cuts, less [economic] regulation, and limited government cogently and has held his own in spite of some rigorous and not-so-rigorous questioning in the debates, including one held on “Late Edition” with Candy Crowley. Some media personalities on the left have unfairly but perhaps only unintentionally lumped him in with the Republican Party’s less-than-stellar nominees like Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell.

Mr. Rubio’s problem has nothing to do with his acumen as a debater or on the campaign trail. We have heard of no gaffes coming out of Mr. Rubio’s mouth. He, unlike Sharon Angle, spoke of no “Second Amendment remedies” should he lose his election nor did he take the more conservative approach adopted by one Tea Party gubernatorial candidate who merely threatened to “take” one reporter “out.” He did not, as another Tea Party-backed candidate claim, that scientists have created mice with human brains.

The Republican candidate doesn’t have any “issues” that would suggest he should be checked into a psychiatric ward. He is just wrong on the issues. Like the other Republicans running for the senate, Rubio’s campaign is focused on tax cuts, coupled with unspecified cuts in government spending designed to pay off this nation’s debt. Mr. Rubio would vote to make the Bush tax cuts, including those which primarily benefit the rich, permanent even though this would add to this nation’s deficit.

He would eliminate the economic stimulus program and use the remaining money to pay down the debt.The Republican nominee says the program isn’t creating jobs. It is, but even if accepted his claim that it isn’t producing any new jobs, the stimulus bill staved off further cuts in public-sector jobs and vital government services. Ending the program now can slow our paltry growth down even further and prolong the suffering felt across the nation. If anything we need someone who would vote for a new stimulus package, not one who would eliminate the one now in place.

Mr. Rubio offers no specific cuts to offset the revenue lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Mr. Rubio offers some intriguing ideas to force Congress to cut government spending (allowing taxpayers to dedicate 10% of their taxes to pay off the debt and then forcing the federal government to match that figure) but the legislature ultimately would have to decide what government programs have to be cut and by how much. His support for the Iraq and Afghan wars, which has not waned, undermines his claimed support to keep spending under control since both have proven to be costly.

On the cultural issues, the Republican nominee clearly aligns himself with the theo-conservative wing of the party. He opposes abortion rights, stem cell research, and every gay rights measure that has been voted on in Congress.

U.S. Representative Kendrick Meeks, the Democratic candidate in the race, has a solid, progressive Democratic voting record who would vote with the president on most if not all of the issues facing this country but the country is in need of a course correction, albeit one far more moderate than the one proposed by the conservatives. The Political Heretic can think of no issue where the Democratic candidate breaks with the Democrats.

Hence Charlie Crist. The governor ran a disappointing and cynical campaign by disowning every Republican position he held one year ago. He voted against a perfectly good bill that would have reformed Florida’s public tenure system in order to court the teacher unions’ favor. He flip-flopped on gay adoption and civil unions (albeit my way). And he flip-flopped on abortion rights. One can’t say if these changes were real or designed to win the backing of some powerful Democratic constituencies that might otherwise back U.S. Represenative Meeks

Floridians nevertheless should overlook Mr. Crist’s flawed campaign and look to the governor’s display of bipartisanship as a governor when the overwhelming majority of Republicans on Capitol Hill were giving the president none of that. The governor supported the economic stimulus package and has kept the door open on future stimulus programs. Though he, like Rubio, says we extend the Bush tax cuts, Crist said he would compromise with the president in order to obtain at least a source of public income. Mr. Crist promises he’ll behave in Washington like the pragmatic centrist that he governed like in Tallahassee.


Solomon Kleinsmith said...

Just stumbled across your blog today... like what I see and would love to subscribe, but something is broken with your RSS feed. It goes to a link that is pretty clearly not an RSS feed link ( and when I click on the button to add the feed to Google Reader directly, it only picks up on posts written before... Jan 17, 2008

I know how to work around that, but you probably want to fix that.

Will be watching!

Solomon Kleinsmith
Rise of the Center
Vanguard of the Rising Moderate and Centrist Independent Opposition

TheHeretic said...

oh I'll have to look into how that problem is solved. Thank you for the complement.