Rudy has been getting flak from fiscal conservatives (check out today’s Wall Street Journal) for his support of a catastrophe insurance fund for Florida. However, this may have been the price to pay for Governor Charlie Crist’s endorsement. Crist has been hammering away at the insurance industry and quizzing the GOP contenders for months on whether they will help “spread the risk” (i.e. offer up federal taxpayers as the liability backstop) for Floridians who live in hurricane territory.
On the subject of an endorsement, Crist sounds on the fence here, perhaps waiting to see if any other contender will pony up support for the fund. Crist has a 70 percent approval rating, so his nod would certainly help in a close race. But the prospect of a popular governor’s endorsement has to be weighed against the appearance of pandering. It would be nice to say that pandering doesn’t pay, but it seems not to have hurt Romney a bit in Michigan, where the topic was help for the auto industry. Although the Journal praises McCain’s disdain for the Florida venture and scoffs at Romney’s refusal to take a firm position, it is not certain whether McCain’s stubborn refusal to give the people what they want will pay off with the voters. In the end, Rudy’s position may get him some votes but not Crist’s endorsement. Unless Rudy’s poll numbers reverse course, Crist may well decide to remain mum.