True, he is popular in the liberal cities in the southeast and along I-4. That is because the Liberals have no one to challenge him and he is a liberal in many respects. But the rest of us in the state (strongly conservative) are seeing the softer side of Charlie reveal itself (along with the liberal ideas and milquetoast leadership).
He actually pulled back from McCain after McCain picked Palin and withheld resources from the race for his use in 2012. He knows that he is vulnerable and now that he was unable to line up another gig, or deliver Forida, he is looking to re-election as his primary goal. He can be beat. It remains to be seen if someone will emerge to challenge him. Tom Gallagher is one possibility. To take back Florida is going to probably require different leadership in the Governorship. I do believe that John Peyton (Mayor, Jacksonville), has his eye on Higher office. Peyton is a Republican, I personally hope he runs for governor as a Democrat — easy victory for us then.
In 2012, Mel Martinez will be up. In case you all do not know Mel, he is our Republicrat Senator who is running so hard and fast towards the left (on the bailout, immigration, etc) that he will soon cross over into Demlican territory. He is inviting a primary challenger. I do not know who might emerge to challenge him. We must find a strong contender.
Possible candidates include Gus Bilirakis, Fl-9th, Connie Mack, FL 14th (Great Family Name in politics and Baseball) and John Mica, Fl-7th. It will take some time. It is also a possibility in my mind that if he thinks his shot at re-election as Governor is weak, Crist may take the shot himself. We have a strong history of Republicans challenging incumbents.
The National Party is in such disarray it is hard to know how things will shake out. It seems to me that there is some disarray in the state party internally that will also be playing out over the next year. It will be interesting to see if Crist continues to track left. If he continues to stray, that is a pretty clear signal to me his eye is on the national ball and not Florida.
More to come as we progress.