Charlie Crist had a plan. It would begin with trying desperately to smother the career of one of the Republican Party’s rising stars while trashing Democrats so he could prove his “conservative” credentials. It continued by losing to his opponent, Marco Rubio, and then trashing Republicans so he could prove his liberal credentials. It then proceeded to a high-profile speech at the Democratic National Convention, leapfrogging and alienating Democrats to elbow them out of the spotlight in the party he always opposed but now pretends to be a part of.
How would you suppose this plan works out? Now that Crist is expected to run for Florida governor again, this time as a Democrat, let’s take a look at what his fellow Democrats have to say about him:
“I was raised a Baptist, and if you want to leave your church and join our congregation, that’s fine with us. That doesn’t mean we necessarily make you minister.”—Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith. (Politico)
“If he were to run for office, there’d be a lot of explaining to do.”—Former Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink. (Politico)
“If he gets up to speak at the convention, it’ll be a good time to go to the bathroom.”—Florida Democratic delegate Anne Gannon. (Miami Herald)
“He’s a flip-flopper. Charlie is only looking out for Charlie.”—Democratic delegate Karen Cooper Welzel. (Tampa Bay Times)
“Charlie is an opportunist; if this were a vegetarian conference, then Charlie would be a vegetarian.”—Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. (Tampa Bay Times)
That last one is significant, because (despite his recent denials) Buckhorn may want to run for governor and would now have to go through Crist to do so. The Florida Democratic Party probably understands that Buckhorn would be the far better candidate, but again, Buckhorn may very well mean it when he says he’s not running.
But the larger point is that Crist’s attempt to be a man of two parties seems to have resulted in his being a man of no party. Crist’s sense of entitlement was bound to get his marriage of convenience to the Democrats off to a rocky start. If he persists in this quest for power, he could tear the Florida Democratic Party apart. Ironically, that would at least endear him once again to the Sunshine State’s GOP.