As of today, 9 May 2010, Charlie Crist is leading in the race for Senator in Florida. The main reason can be attributed to the fact that Kendrick Meeks, a weak opponent to begin with, is imploding and left leaning Independents, Democrats are deserting him for Crist. Crist also has a core of support in the GOP and they are sticking with him. I know November is a long six months away, but the longer Crist remains a viable alternative and IN THE LEAD, the more dangerous he becomes and the more likely he has a chance of winning.
Crist is playing hardball. He is playing to the fears of Floridians about the recent oil spill and is going to call a special session to get the legislature to ban off-shore drilling in Florida. (Just Like California has) and make a push for "renewable" (read Al gore sponsored "green" energy). Here is my Post from yesterday as to why this "knee-jerk" response is dangerous to all America.
With his cynical veto of SB6 (I know it was a sausage of a bill - but don't think for a second Crist would have NOT vetoed that bill if he was winning the Senate GOP primary. If you think that was a principled stand by Crist, I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you), he has seduced the teacher's union to back him and is now playing on the fears of Floridians who depend on tourism. Never mind the fact that Crist's support for TARP, the Stimulus and now his apparent willingness to work with Democrats means bankrupting the country and that means NO ONE will be vacationing away from home much for quite while when the economy really tanks.
The RPOF has put up a Anti-Charlie website: Here is a link: "Can't trust Charlie". My first reaction was, honestly "M'eh...". The page is static in nature and unless you are a political junkie like me, you probably wouldn't have found it.
What Rubio needs is "Boots on the Ground". He needs massive, personal support from all the GOP heavyweights and needs to be holding big rallies with these people around the state. He needs to shore up not the GOP base, but the GOP middle.
The RPOF and other groups, however, need to slam Crist, HARD. He needs to be put on the defensive and if he calls a special session, our GOP lawmakers need to be ready to hijack that session and pass laws that are popular with the Republicans. If Charlie signs off on them, he alienates the left independents and Democrats. If he DOESN'T sign them, then his core republican and Conservative/Moderate Independent voters desert him. I expect the elected GOP political pro's in Tallahassee to prove to me that they know how to play hardball and paint Crist in a corner. If they can't, then what good are they?
Finally, Obama's response to the spill has been anemic. Marco Rubio can make it an issue with the voters and say truthfully, that Crist is an Obama supporter. Rubio needs to tour the Panhandle ASAP and bring some heavy GOP hitters with him. He needs to on the cutting edge of support for is solid Republican voting block and needs to hammer Crist as a hypocrite. Where is Crist quoted as blasting Obama and his administrations response? Why didn't Crist use his influence to get Obama and the administration to act more quickly? Unlike Katrina, when a major Oil spill off the U.S. coast happens, the Federal Government is the first responder, not the local and state authorities when a hurricane hits. Obama and his administration failed miserably and Charlie Crist, by his de facto abandonment of the GOP and by his own actions in the past is now a key supporter of the administration. That is a cold hard political fact that needs to be repeated often and with EXTREME vigor.
Bottom Line: RPOF and Rubio: Don't wait till after the Primary to start hammering the Obama/Crist response to the spill. DO IT NOW.