Thursday, April 08, 2010

Why conservatives were right to despise Charlie Crist

I have thought that Crist was a faux conservative and a potential disaster as governor since he put in legislation that destroyed the private insurance business in Florida. He has put the state of Florida on the hook for guaranteeing insurance for property damage by creating Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a state-run institution that guarantees insurance. As the WSJ reported last year,
Citizens is facing more than $400 billion in potential exposure, yet Citizens Chief Financial Officer Sharon Binnun was recently cited in the South Florida Sun Sentinel as saying it had only $3.4 billion in net assets. Anxious to keep voters happy, legislators have frozen Citizens premiums the past three years.
One day there will be a hurricane in Florida that will destroy that state's financial viability because Charlie Crist bought temporary security for long-time disaster. And the GOP-led legislature went along with this mistake. So, as an outsider I was never thrilled with his candidacy for anything.

Now he's in problems that he never expected from the Marco Rubio's challenge in the Florida GOP primary. And we're seeing the real Charlie Crist expose himself. He has attacked Rubio for really minor charges that he was a lobbyist, and used the GOP's credit card for his own expenses. And then he made the bizarre claim or joke that perhaps Rubio spent the party's money on a back wax. NOne of these attacks have registered with people and Rubio is soaring above Crist in the polls.

While Crist continues in his day job as governor, we're seeing the true Charlie Crist. He seems to have given up on winning the support of conservatives and is, as Mike Thomas reports at the Orlando Sentinel blog, trying now for liberal votes.
Perhaps in his political death throes, Charlie is lashing out against a Republican Party that increasingly is abandoning him. He vetoed a political fund raising bill sought by legislative Republicans. He has joined the call for a federal investigation into abuse of the state party’s AMEX.

He has pledged to veto an insurance regulation bill sought by Republicans.

And now in a major “in your face” to Jeb Bush and state party chairman John Thrasher, he says he may veto a merit pay bill for teachers, along with an end to tenure. Bush is the driving force behind this bill, and has enlisted Sen. Thrasher, a longtime ally.

If Crist carries through with the veto threat, Jeb will endorse Marco in short order and Charlie will have no friends left in the party’s hierarchy. That means no money, no endorsements, no nothing. His odds of winning in August will go from real slim to less than none barring some major revelation about Marco.
Thomas speculates that Crist is planning to join the race as an independent. That could really shake things up, but would a governor who had taken the above actions, embraced Obama and the stimulus, steal more votes from the Democratic or Republican candidate? Would some state-wide Republicans support a guy who vetoed merit pay for teachers and an end to tenure? This bill that would really shake up Florida education. Getting rid of teacher tenure is the first step to true education reform. It would be phased in slowly because this would only apply to new teachers since existing teachers have contracts protecting them. But, over time, principals would have more flexibility to base employment on merit rather than seniority. So Crist is ready to make a veto that would anger conservatives but make the teachers' union happy. Could there be any clearer sign that he's given up on the GOP primary and is ready to run as an independent despite his vows less than two weeks ago on Fox News that he would rule out running as an independent?