Crist Is Maybe Possibly Running for Senate Now?
The world just keeps on changing.
Governor Charlie Crist apparently got the national politics bug when his name was touted as being on the “short list” for the GOP’er veep slot in 2008. No other short-lister seemed so eager to campaign for the job as Crist.
His tune seemed to change when he didn’t get and he watched Florida vote for President Obama and saw two incumbent Republican Congressmen (and one Democrat) lose their seats.
When Senator Mel Martinez first announced that he would not be standing for re-election, Crist seemed genuinely uninterested. Even after former governor Jeb Bush took himself out of the running, Crist did not move. And people believed him, or else we would probably not have seen former Speaker Marco Rubio and Sarasota Congressman Vern Buchanan gear up quite so openly (Jeb even seemed to be giving his blessing to Rubio).
But now, Crist is looking and looking hard and the big question is – what has changed?
There’s no doubt that Crist has presidential fever and is looking at 2012 or 2016 to make his move. But historically speaking, governor is a much stronger platform and he could still run in 2012 as the sitting governor of Florida or in 2016, having left office a mere two years earlier.
One possibility is that he really wanted the Senate seat all along, but didn’t want to appear to have merely been waiting for Jeb to decide and was simply waiting for a decent amount of time to go by after Jeb’s recusal to make his moves.
My conspiracy theory is that the state budget is in even worse shape than we have been lead to believe. We’ll get through this year by raiding trust funds and cutting money from higher education (except for universities that offer Ray Sansom a job). But next year, legislators will have to raise cigarette taxes and slash all capital investments. But even that will be a pathetic fig leaf on the debacle that will occur the following year.
By 2011, in order to balance the budget without raising taxes on rich people and corporations, Crist and the legislature will have to sell most of the Panhandle to Alabama, install slot machines in the state Capitol, abolish high school, and fund the entire public safety budget through a series of bake sales. If a hurricane hits at any time, all he will be able to do is send our out-of-state relatives a form letter expressing sympathy for their loss.
But, if Crist is elected to the U.S. Senate, he can saddle future governor Alex Sink with the mess and explain how, when he was governor, Florida didn’t have all these problems.