In an earlier political life, then Republican Charlie Crist made a fuss about being a conservative when that was the label necessary to win Florida primaries and general elections. The most recent example of this being his failed attempt to out-conservative Marco Rubio for a U.S. Senate nomination in 2010.
When elections were not imminent, Crist mostly favored the label of “populist.” He even made up and encouraged the saccharin sobriquet of “the people’s governor” when he, to the surprise of many, held that office for four years. Now that he’s an Obama Democrat and all-progressive all the time, we don’t hear the word populist all that often. But Crist still likes being referred to as having been the people’s governor. And he wants the office back. However, the current Charlie isn’t all that keen on Florida’s people when they get crosswise with leftist orthodoxy.
In 2008, Florida voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution declaring marriage to be between one man and one woman. The language of the amendment is clear and brief: “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”
There could be no confusion about the choice this amendment offered. And 62 percent of Florida’s voters who went to the polls gave traditional marriage two thumbs up. Governor Crist whooped up the amendment. He even signed the petition to get it on the ballot. Where Crist stood on this matter in 2008 was as clear as the amendment’s language.
But now that the ever-changeable Charlie is challenging Republican governor Rick Scott as a Democrat, it’s of no consequence to the people’s governor that almost two-thirds of Florida voters (sometimes known as “the people”) chose traditional marriage. Crist is crisscrossing the state, apologizing to gay and Democratic groups for supporting the amendment. He even went so far as to file an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court filed by a half-dozen homosexual couples challenging the constitutionality of the amendment. He has called on Florida Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi, also elected by “the people” and obliged to defend Florida law, to stop defending the marriage amendment in court.
Apparently to Crist, who has never held any single belief or political position as long as six years, Floridian’s clearly stated preference for traditional marriage is just so 2008. Democratic mayors of Orlando and Miami Beach, who have as much respect for the preferences of “the people” as Crist does, have filed similar briefs.
Crist hasn’t spent all of his time changing his mind about gay marriage. He has also devoted some of his time to changing his mind about going to Cuba during the campaign. With polls showing a majority of Floridians now opposed to continuing the embargo against Cuba, Crist announced weeks ago that he would go to Cuba during the campaign to see matters there first-hand. What exactly he was going to learn being toured around by representatives of that dictatorship, he never made clear. But the proposed trip created loud opposition among Cuban-Americans in Miami, after which Crist discovered he really didn’t have time to visit Cuba.
“I had to make a decision,” Crist told the Miami Herald last week. “We’ve got to win this thing, and we can’t sap any more of my time or staff’s time to the detriment of victory. I need to stay focused on Florida.” I guess Charlie didn’t realize until recently that running for governor can be a time-intensive project.
While we’re on the subject of the people’s governor, who now resides in the party that claims to protect the middle class from the evil one percent, I would be remiss in not pointing out that Crist, like any savvy Democrat, spends much of his fund-raising efforts shaking down the glitterati in Hollywood and the Hamptons. His campaign is the beneficiary of five-digit contributions from Steven Spielberg and his bride Kate Capshaw, as well as from movie bigfoot Jeffrey Katzenberg. Sunshine State News reports that a fund raiser was held late last May at the Hamptons home of Jill Zarin, who stars in something called The Real Housewives of New York. How bout them people?
Consistent with the tone of the Crist campaign, king of daytime bizarre Jerry Springer chipped in $10,000 to Crist’s campaign. Make your own joke here. When Crist is obliged to go hat in hand in Florida, it has been at the digs of salt-of-the-earth types like actor George Hamilton, who hangs his hat in Palm Beach.
Well, it’s not always easy being the people’s governor, or trying to be. Daily Kos, friendly to Crist’s candidacy, opined that what the Crist campaign needs is a staff shakeup. He’s getting bad advice, the folks at the liberal website worry. Those who’ve known Charlie for a good while, as I have, know he makes most of his own campaign decisions. Perhaps a personality shakeup would do Charlie more good.