Posted by Brad @ 4:15 pm on October 29th 2008

Tip of the Hat to Charlie Crist

Finding diamonds in the rough in the last week of the campaign, can I just give a brief shout-out to Florida Governor Charlie Crist?

I still don’t believe Crist is ever going to get serious consideration with the Republican base—the rumors of his sexuality are just too dogged for him to get around or for Republicans to want to have to deal with in a nominee—but he clearly felt a bit miffed that he wasn’t given very serious consideration as VP. Stories are currently circulating (including by me) that Crist is, in the final weeks, turning the knife a bit in the McCain campaign. And that may be true. But the battles he’s picking are, in fact, battles in which he is entirely, 100% on the side of right.

He was about the only establishment Republican to eschew the talking points on Sarah Palin and admit that she probably wasn’t very helpful on the ticket. He was also the only establishment Republican, in a very critical position, who refused to sip the “ACORN threatening democracy in America!” Kool Aid, acknowledging that in his state, where accusations against them were rampant, he felt that concerns about voter fraud were being overblown for political purposes. He was, of course, correct.

And now that Florida is facing a deluge of early voting, leading to long lines and perhaps a suppressed voter turnout, Charlie Crist decided, undoubtedly to the RNC’s consternation, to ovveride a 2005 Republican law signed by Jeb Bush that curtailed early voting hours. Crist decided to issue an executive order extending them. He said, of the decision, ‘It’s not a political decision, it’s a people decision.”

And so it is. It goes almost without saying that the Republicans would like a depressed turnout. The less voters the better has been the Republican strategy for awhile. And it may well be that, if Crist’s decision adds a significant amount of votes cast, it could well be the tipping point that moves Florida into Obama’s column.

And yet, it was also unquestioningly the right thing to do. In this, he is proving himself to be the anti-Katherine Harris.

I’ve been pretty cool to Crist, but I have to admit I’m warming to him considerably. Maybe it is just a grudge thing, or at least maybe that’s a part of it, but regardless of his motives, he’s resisting the foxhole mentality that most Republican governors would give in to in moments like these, and is instead speaking plainly and with calm principle, and making the right calls.

Good on Governor Crist.

1 Comment »

  1. He’s walking a fine line (for a GOP governor) on the Ammendment 2 (Florida’s Marriage Ammendment) as well, seeking to appear to support it but not support it at the same time. Cowardly, but less so than most Republicans would be:

    “I’ll support it, I’ll vote for it, move on,” the governor said of the Amendment 2 gay-marriage ban in an interview during a trip to tour flood-damaged areas in Central Florida. “It’s not top-tier for me, put it that way.”

    But when asked if he’ll spend time plugging Amendment 2, Crist said, “I don’t think so. I think I will campaign for candidates much more extensively Sen. McCain.” The governor also reiterated his position of precluding the Republican Party of Florida from spending money to support the gay-marriage ban.,0,2718291.story

    Comment by Jack — 10/29/2008 @ 10:12 pm

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