Are you, or a loved one, suffering from an extreme case of the has-beens? Symptoms include desperate pleas for attention, foolish pronouncements designed to provoke controversy, and a complete betrayal of whatever the afflicted claims he used to stand for.
Imagine a little sad piano music playing the background as we introduce our poster child for this terrible disease: former Florida governor and former Republican Charlie Crist, whose erratic behavior paved the way for the rise of Marco Rubio to the Senate. It’s easy to forget now, but Crist was once the heavy favorite to win the Republican nomination for that seat. Rubio was a dark-horse success story, propelled by grass-roots energy to win over the “establishment choice.”
Now Crist spends his days pumping out ads for trial lawyers in Florida, but he wants everyone to know he still sees himself as a prominent Establishment figure… for the Democrat Establishment.
Crist wrote an embarrassing Tampa Bay Times op-ed on Sunday in which he endorsed Barack Obama for President. Here’s a taste: “As America prepares to pick our president for the next four years – and as Florida prepares once again to play a decisive role – I’m confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation. I applaud and share his vision of a future built by a strong and confident middle class in an economy that gives us the opportunity to reap prosperity through hard work and personal responsibility. It is a vision of the future proven right by our history.”
A vision of permanent double-digit unemployment, Medicare collapse, skyrocketing taxes on job creators, and $20 trillion in debt? No thanks, Mr. Crist.
The world’s sorest loser goes on to swallow Obama’s “Bush did it” excuse whole, and fawns over the Lightworker in terms that even his own campaign staff might hesitate to deploy: “The president’s response was swift, smart and farsighted. He kept his compass pointed due north and relentlessly focused on saving jobs, creating more and helping the many who felt trapped beneath the house of cards that had collapsed upon them. He knew we had to get people back to work as quickly as possible – but he also knew that the value of a recovery lies in its durability. Short-term healing had to be paired with an economy that would stay healthy over the long run. And he knew that happens best by investing in the right places.”
Most amusingly, Crist applauds Obama for massive infrastructure investments, apparently unaware that Obama thinks our national infrastructure is a blasted wasteland that needs another $650 billion in roads and bridges: “He invested in our runways, railways and roads. President Obama knows a reliable infrastructure that helps move people to work and helps businesses move goods to market is a foundation of growth.” So where did all the money go, Mr. Crist? If Obama did all that, why does he run around pretending that our beyond-bankrupt government needs to pour another half-trillion into all the “road work” that somehow didn’t get done last time?
Crist even parrots the Obama team’s brain-dead defense of the ObamaCare raid on Medicare: “And the president invested in our retirement security by strengthening Medicare. The $716 billion in savings his opponents decry today extended the life of the program by nearly a decade and are making sure taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted in excessive payments to insurance companies or fraud and abuse. His opponents would end the Medicare guarantee by creating a voucher that would raise seniors’ costs by thousands of dollars and bankrupt the program.”
Crist is doing more than writing op-eds for Obama. He’s agreed to speak at the Democratic National Convention… which could be just a wee bit problematic, because Charlie Crist has exactly the same position on abortion that Todd Akin does. He not only opposes gay marriage, he even signed a Christian Coalition petition in favor of banning civil unions. And he held an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.
Of course, the endlessly “flexible” Charlie Crist could simply jettison all those positions, perhaps crediting Barack Obama as the messianic figure that led him into the light. He once described himself as a “Reagan Republican” who believed in “less taxes, less spending, less government, more freedom.” Obviously that’s no longer operative, so it shouldn’t be too hard to jettison all the other “convictions” he transparently held as matters of political convenience.
The search for relevance can take has-beens to some interesting places. Florida Republicans chose very, very wisely when they put Charlie Crist on the path that led to the Democrat National Convention. They didn’t reject Crist due to a lack of conservative credentials – as noted above, he had some. The problem was the mounting, and entirely accurate, sense that Crist had no real core beliefs, and would be happy to shred those conservative credentials when they became politically inconvenient.