Billy-Bob Clinton showed up in Miami Friday night to tell Florida Democrats that Charlie Crist’s conversion to the Democrat party and all its leftist delusions is genuine. For anyone who has known Charlie for more than a few weeks, this is itself a delusion. But this is the Democrat establishment’s story, and they’re sticking to it. At least until November 4, or until Crist registers in yet another political party, whichever comes first.
Clinton’s other message was to impress on Democrats how important it is for them to vote in November. Democrats, the party of government, do well at turning out the faithful when there’s a presidential candidate to vote for at the top of the ticket. But they have a history of not reporting for civic duty in off-years. They didn’t turn out in any numbers for the August 26 primary. And, embarrassingly, they didn’t show up Friday night to hear one of the left’s rock-stars perform. Clinton had to deliver his sermon on the importance of showing up to a half-empty hotel ballroom.
“Typically in nonpresidential years, Republicans vote better than Democrats do,” the former president told the thin crowd. “And we’re not going to let that happen, are we?” Only a few hundred whooped their approval.
OK, 6 p.m. on Friday is not the most brilliant time to schedule a campaign event. The Friday happy-hour is just shifting into second gear at six. And it’s almost kick-off time for those high school football games. But Democrat muckety-mucks can’t be happy that so few turned out to hear Clinton tell them how important it is to turn out. If Billy-Bob can’t get the Democrat faithful out, who on earth can?
Black and Cuban-American Democrats have additional reasons for skipping Friday’s jamboree. Doubtless many black Miamians remember the end of the U.S. Senate race in 2010 when Crist got Clinton to pressure black Democrat Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race so independent Crist would have a better chance to defeat Republican Marco Rubio. Meek declined the invitation. Many of Miami’s Cuban-Americans were outraged at Crist’s plans earlier in this year’s campaign to visit Cuba. So outraged that Crist cancelled the trip.
Part of the problem for Democrats is that Crist is a tough product to move. Through luck and good timing, the unremarkable Crist put together a political career as a Republican, first as a state senator from Pinellas County (St. Petersburg), then in statewide posts of Education Commissioner and Attorney General.
In 2006, Crist surprised the politically savvy when he met and exceeded his level of incompetence by being elected governor of Florida. But unlike what Dr. Laurence Peter predicted in his insightful book (The Peter Principle, Morrow, 1969), Crist did not stay in the job to which he was manifestly unsuited due to lack of talent, no clear principles, and sloth. No, he decided in 2010 to run for a U.S. Senate seat, where he came up against Hurricane Rubio. Crist couldn’t out-conservative Rubio for the Republican nomination, so he became an independent.
So there Charlie was without a political job since 2010, and neither the talent nor the stomach for private sector work. He’d burned all his Republican bridges, so he turned in his conservative positions for brand new leftist ones and became a Democrat. Along the way trial lawyer John Morgan of the mega, mostly personal injury law firm, Morgan and Morgan, took Charlie on as a partner and has paid him extravagantly. But Crist does no legal work, though he did pass the bar exam (on his third try). It’s reasonable to wonder how useful Crist will remain to the firm if he does not return to the governor’s mansion this year. So this is an important election for His Charlieness. He’s running out of parties and prospects.
Democrats would really like to win the Florida governorship and the influence they think it has over who wins Florida’s 29 electoral votes in 2016’s presidential race. Florida is the nation’s largest swing state. So look for lots more Democrat household names to come to Florida to croon about Charlie and his assets, such as they’re spinning them.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will both appear in Florida with Crist in September. But the sale isn’t going to be any easier. And if Bill Clinton can’t fill the hall for Crist, how many will these two relative unknowns fetch in? No word yet on whether the golfer-in-chief will make it down.
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