We all know Charlie Crist. We’ve seen him govern, and we’re familiar with his genial personality. He has an extensive record in public office.
If you’re in the Republican camp, Charlie Crist is a wishy-washy turncoat, a man of no convictions, a human weather vane and a shameless opportunist.
If you’re a Democrat, you can say that Crist is a pragmatist, a realist, adaptable, nimble, flexible, moderate and above all, not an ideologue.
Rick Scott has some heavyweight supporters in his corner, like Andrew Jackson, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and others whose mugs grace our currency. Though deceased, these gentlemen will play a critical role in helping Gov. Scott and his team paint an early, unflattering portrait of his opponent.
There are some potential speedbumps in the Scott strategy, which worked swimmingly three years ago simply because the seat was open and Alex Sink was somebody most Floridians hadn’t heard of — and frankly, still haven’t. First, Charlie’s no slouch in the fundraising department. While he doesn’t possess the personal wealth of Scott and his wife, he does muster the enthusiasm of some very hungry Dems who’ve been out of power a long time and miss being invited to soirees at the mansion.
Second, in Scott’s case, the so-called power of the incumbency is also an albatross. The guy’s so unpopular that recent polls show Charlie running away with the election, and he hasn’t even declared yet. Crist’s reputation has settled into a warm, comforting place in the memories of Florida voters; Charlie harks back to a less ugly time, when people got along, relatively speaking. The feelings about Scott are fresh, immediate, and in some cases painful.
Our current governor doesn’t need that much defining. He’s been a businessman tending to business interests, not a leader of people. Even those gents on the banknotes have more charisma.
Finally, Charlie Crist offers the prospect of divided government, which, considering the recent excesses of our Legislature, might be considered a blessing.
Yes, Charlie’s tanned, rested and ready. Especially the tanned part.