Regular readers of this blog are no doubt aware that I haven't always agreed with Charlie Crist in the past. When he was governor I didn't like everything he did, but I gave him credit where it was due, examples being the BP oil spill and his support for the much needed stimulus from President Obama for high-speed rail. The latter would have brought much needed jobs, and contrary to dishonest reporting from some news outlets recently, Florida taxpayers would not have faced extra costs. (See 22 Tampa Tribune articles between Oct. 11, 2009 - Oct. 30, 2013 for quotes from state and federal officials differing with Rick Scott's rationale and eventual rejection of federal funds, along with recent opinion writers who continue to promote misinformation on high-speed rail.) Others remember Crist's stimulus support as simply "the hug."
Yes, he hugged President Obama and dared to do something that was good for the state. That was when his own party turned on him. Because everyone knows if something's good for the state and everyday citizens, the Republican Party, both in Florida and nationwide, run from it. Especially if it comes from President Obama.
I haven't been extremely vocal in my support for Crist recently, but whenever I have, I've come under attack from Nan Rich supporters. Rich has sold herself as the only "true Democrat" in the race, and early on I defended her when the GOP attacked her, but that was a long time ago when she first entered the race. After Scott officially declared he was running for reelection as "CEO" of Florida, Inc., that changed. Suddenly the GOP loved Nan Rich. Why? Because they thought they could beat her. But here's the thing, instead of going after Scott, she embraced their support.
Think about that. Would the "true Democrat" in the race say something like this?
Little-known and struggling financially, Nan Rich might get some help from the unlikeliest of places during the Democratic primary race for governor: supporters of Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott’s top political advisor and pollster Tony Fabrizio hinted at the scheme late Tuesday night in a rare appearance at the Women’s Republican Club of Miami.
Team Scott’s ultimate goal: vex Charlie Crist, a well-known former governor and Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat who might run against Rich to unseat Scott.
“I don’t know if Charlie Crist wins the primary against Nan Rich. And that’s not saying that Nan Rich wouldn’t have help,” Fabrizio said with a smile. “You never know. There could be interested citizens that like to help Nan Rich… Nan Rich is the true Democrat.”
Said Rich: “I’ll take all the help I can get so I can then beat Rick Scott in the general election. And I agree with Tony Fabrizio: let’s have a real Democrat face Scott so we can have a real debate.”
Coincidentally, the legal-lobbying firm of Becker & Poliakoff is fundraising for both Rich and Scott.
She would welcome help from the party that thinks she's the weakest candidate and the easiest for Rick Scott to defeat? That ended it for me. With all due respect to Rich, that sounded to me like she was in it for Nan Rich, not Floridians. If she managed to beat Crist in the primary, she would hand another four years to Rick Scott.
After two years in the race, nearly all we know about her views is she's pro-choice, pro-women, and that she wants to debate Charlie Crist. We need someone to fight back against the "War on Women," but we need more than just that.
A while back, a group called Progressive Choice, who refuses to say who's behind them and who's funding them, began saying similar things as Rich against Crist, and there was much speculation that the Rich campaign might be working with them. In April I wrote to the campaign to ask if they were involved with Progressive Choice. They said they weren't, but she shared their views, and pointed out that they agreed there should be a debate.
Many would have liked to see a debate between Crist and Rich, but it didn't happen. Now, it's the day before the primary. Voters shouldn't have to wait for a debate to find out where a candidate stands on the issues.
Wanting to debate isn't a plan. Welcoming help from the enemy isn't either. Nan Rich stated that she would welcome help from those who knew Rick Scott had the best chance to beat her. She was willing to sell herself out, and voters in the process, to give Scott another disastrous term. That's hardly being a "true Democrat."
Voters in Florida are tired of watching Democrats act like Republicans, and work with them to destroy anything that's good in the state. Under GOP control, Florida is fast becoming something no one recognizes anymore. Since Scott took over, we're at the top of the lists for poverty, low wage jobs, and letting people die without Medicaid. We're paying what amounts to corporate welfare to companies like Duke Energy who are also big polluters along with Big Sugar, and as we've seen recently, Scott and Republicans are profiting at our expense. Too often Democrats don't stand up for the rest of us, and some even join the Republicans in the same game.
I'm sorry, but Nan Rich told us early on where she stood: “I’ll take all the help I can get." from the Republicans who would work for her defeat at the hands of Rick Scott.
Charlie Crist tried to do the right thing for Floridians and Republicans turned on him. Crist stood up to the Republican Party, and still does to this day. Nan Rich, on the other hand, was willing to join them. If that meant Scott would win again, so be it.
Being a "true Democrat" means actions speak louder than words. Charlie Crist stood up for Floridians in the past, and he's standing up to Republicans destroying the state now.
For that reason, I'm standing with Charlie Crist.