First, truth in advertising. I have supported Marco Rubio since last year when he first declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. I have supported him with my keyboard and my checkbook. No doubt it colors how I viewed the debate today.
If I had to summarize the debate: Marco Rubio showed up today to talk about policy and ideas. Charlie Crist showed up to play hardball politics.
Our country is trembling on the cusp of economic chaos. The massive borrowing and printing of money has merely temporarily papered over our economic problems. Our recent bump in GDP is based solely on borrowed money and we have yet to see a true turnaround of the private sector. Marco Rubio talked about serious policy proposals. He took a gutsy (and necessary) stand on Social Security by saying the obvious. In order to save Social Security, major changes need to be made in retirement age and benefits. Charlie Crist opposes such changes. This is not the stance of a serious man. Rubio talked about free market reform of healthcare and serious tort reform. Charlie Crist pointed to his anemic "Cover Florida" program and looked foolish defending it.
Charlie Crist's main goal from the first was obvious to all. He played the politics of Bill Clinton, the politics of personal destruction. He flat out called Rubio a corrupt politician, based on a great part, how his (Crist's) handpicked man (Jim Greer) managed to totally bankrupt and abuse the RPOF budget. I think the word is "chutzpah". Also, you can tell who the desperate man in a debate is by the number of times he interrupts his opponent. When Crist was talking, Rubio took notes. When Rubio talked, Crist interrupted like an overeager schoolboy. Bad form and bad politics.
Worst of all, Crist defended his embrace on the Trillion dollar Obama Stimulus Plan of 2009. Charlie would have gotten a better reception from Republicans by promising to build an Aztec Temple in "The Villages", don a feathered headdress and perform human sacrifices every time the Florida Seminoles or Gators lost a football game. That is how bad embracing the stimulus is for ANY Republican that wants to get elected. Charlie believed the hype about Obama in 2009, did the hug and grabbed the money. This, in hindsight, was political suicide and will go down in U.S. History as one of the worst political decisions ever made. Right up there with "Read my Lips" and asking Monica Lewinsky to fetch pizza for the President.
Finally, there is a lesson here for the RPOF. Complete and make public to all County Party Chairman and State Committee men and women the Forensic audit that is being done on the RPOF budget and funds. The sooner we Florida Republicans put this issue to rest, the better it will be for ALL Republicans running for office. And I condemn Charlie Crist trying to use it to score political points. Remember, he was in charge of the RPOF when it happened.