Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crist for VP

Desperation abounds in the race for Florida in 2008.

In evidence, Governor Charlie Crist is being courted by several Republican campaigns as a possible VP candidate. Mitt Romney's been more open about it than others but the rumors have been swirling for weeks that some lucky campaign will score Crist as a running mate.

As recently as January, Jeb Bush had been touted as the savior of the Republican party in Florida. Many speculated that he would be someone's running mate. But, two things happened on the way to the party.

First, the Bush name has become absolutely toxic, even in Florida. And, Crist, who has been governor for seven months, is enjoying higher approval ratings than Bush ever did. More importantly, Bush's numbers were propped up by dominate Republican numbers while Crist is enjoying broad-based bipartisan appeal.

Still, it says something that Romney, the conservative before he was a liberal, or anyone who is seeking to up his conservative creds would even consider Crist. He's the least conservative Republican in a leadership role you could pick.

Not only does he support measures to curb global warming, Crist is actually leading the movement in Florida, ahead of even Dems in initiative. But it's his more recent actions that should give social conservatives pause.

Crist has disengaged GOP support of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. During the recent gubernatorial campaign, Crist was hit hard over his alleged support of civil unions. He countered with his support of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Actions speak louder than words, however. Crist wants no more GOP money going to support the amendment. Further, many of his major campaign donors are contributing to or heavily participating in efforts and groups opposing the amendment. They take their lead from Charlie.

But Crist and Romney do have flip-flop in common. Crist was pro-choice before he was against it. Even so, though he would sign it, he will not champion any legislation to change Florida's pro-choice laws.

Crist added, "Promoting a culture of life is preferable to me than passing laws."

That's a pretty moderate stance and it sounds a lot more like Hillary Clinton than anyone running on the Republican ticket.

Yes, he is a Republican. He takes some decidely conservative stances on some issues. But, these two - abortion and gay marriage - are signature themes of the social conservative movement and Crist is not on board.

Crist won the governorship because he presented an image that was attractive to Dems. It was 'wink-wink, but you know how I really feel.' In the past seven months, a lot of his actions are looking like the winks were right and that makes a Crist addition to the GOP ticket a dangerous and desperate thing for Republican candidates.