Win One For the Gaffer? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Win One For the Gaffer?

Friday the 13th comes on Monday this month, which will confuse a lot of people. But not as many as Joe Biden will likely confuse Monday in Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), Florida when he campaigns on behalf of Charlie Crist, a pretty confusing guy himself.

Biden, and the traveling retinue required to interpret what Joe just said at the podium and to send out initial apologies to the wounded, will croon in the name of Crist for governor in the Parkland home of a major Democratic Party fundraiser. Mirabile dictu, Biden fancies a run at the presidency in 2016 (he runs periodically, to no effect), and so will likely be tooting his own horn as much as Crist’s. Though it’s often hard to tell with Joe, who is a forensic unguided missile and a stranger to coherence.

In the name of one candidate for governor or the other — Democrat Crist or Republican incumbent Rick Scott — presidential candidates and potential candidates have been under foot lately in the Sunshine State. Mz. Hillary was recently in South Florida, selling her book, whooping up Crist, and trying to look presidential. A slimmed down but still audacious Chris Christie was in South Florida Wednesday for Scott. (You got a problem with that!?) Jeb Bush, who says he will run for president if he can do so “joyfully” (making one wonder what part Oprah Winfrey would play in his campaign) and if he can get permission to run from his wife, has also spoken out for Scott. Can Newt Gingrich be far behind?

Crist, who was Florida’s Republican governor from January 2007 to January 2011, wants the job back, after having morphed into a Democrat, a shape change that followed a summer romance as an independent. Crist seems to always be part of the political landscape in Florida. But he has no fixed address. (Be careful if he follows you home — you may have to keep him. For a while, at least.)

And the address question is puzzling too. If current polls are to be believed, Crist has convinced about half of Florida’s likely voters that he really wants to be Florida’s governor, and just can’t find words to describe how much he loves the Sunshine State and wants to be here.

Those paying attention may wonder at this, as Crist almost certainly could have won re-election as Florida’s governor in 2010, but chose to pursue a second run for the U.S. Senate instead. He got his sun tan handed to him by Marco Rubio. Just as he was defeated decisively for a Senate Seat in 1998 by Bob Graham.

It’s not just the U.S. Senate Crist lusts after. His True North seems to be Washington D.C. While he was governor, Crist spent a good deal of energy floating the idea that he should be on the national Republican ticket in 2008. But Charlie Crist a heart beat away from the Oval Office didn’t make many hearts race, least of all John McCain’s. After Crist endorsed McCain, he then attached himself to the candidate’s hip until McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate. With so much effort expended in attempting to weasel himself onto the Republican ticket, then running for the U.S. Senate, Crist had little time left over for the affairs of the state he now says he adores and wishes to lead. Crist still holds the NCAA record for absenteeism during one four-year term as governor. (If only Tallahassee’s streets were as clean as Crist’s state business calendar during the four years.)

I don’t know how many people are influenced to vote for a candidate because some other politician whoops him/her up. (Just as I can’t imagine someone saying, “I was planning to vote for Smith, but now I’m going to vote for Jones because I saw some fool on the street corner waving a sign for Jones.”) But if this kind of endorsing really helps, it’s advantage Scott. Look how many recognizable Republicans have dipped their toes in the presidential waters for 2016. For the Democrats, Clinton and Biden are the field. Actually La Clinton is the field currently and for the foreseeable unless she has a serious health problem. Joe is just indulging and/or deluding himself yet again. But that doesn’t mean that voters, including Floridians Monday, can’t enjoy the confusion.

Friday the 13th returns to its regularly scheduled spot in February.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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