Will Rubio Drive Crist So far Right In The Primary That He Loses To Meek In The General?
Courtesy of Free Republic
Every time right wing extremist Marco Rubio wins another Republican Party straw poll, Charlie Crist is forced further away from the political mainstream. At the rate things are going the moderate Republican Florida Governor will be running around in a white sheet and hood before the campaign is over! This morning he was railing against Barack Obama-- someone he once saw as a partner in helping fix Florida's festering economic problems (among the very worst in the U.S.)-- and regurgitating last week's Republican talking points that Obama is Jimmy Carter and would only serve one term.
The problem for Crist isn't Jimmy Carter... or even Obama; it's Marco Rubio, a young, straight arrow, Glenn Beck kind of Republican, darling of the extremists and teabaggers nationwide and beloved of Republican Party activists in Florida. So beloved of party activists, in fact, that he's beaten the Republican governor in every single official GOP straw poll this year-- and it has never been close. Rubio keeps winning landslides against the NRSC-recruited and endorsed "front-runner." This week it was Marion County in North Central Florida, an economically hard-pressed rural area of rolling hills. When the Republican Party County Executive Committee met last week, they gave Crist another severe thumping. Rubio won Marion County's straw poll 40-8 with 4 abstentions. And that wasn't even Crist's worst performance! Here's the list of county executive committees that have voted so far.
Hernando County- Rubio 46, Crist 0
Gilchrist County- Rubio 11, Crist 1
Jefferson County- Rubio 30, Crist 6
Highlands County- Rubio 75, Crist 1
Pasco County- Rubio 73, Crist 9
Lee County- Rubio 60, Crist 9
Bay County- Rubio 23, Crist 2
College clubs and women's clubs are giving the same lopsided margins of victory to Rubio. It's an unprecedented and stunning slap in the face to Florida's highest ranking elected Republican. The coterie of establishment politicians and crooked lobbyists who make up his inner circle dismiss the executive committees as a bunch of lunatic fringe teabaggers out of touch with real voters. The executive committees claim it is Crist and his circle who are out of touch. This morning in his Washington Post column conservative scold George Will came down firmly on the side of Rubio's interpretation of what's going on among Florida Republicans. He predicts that Rubio will "probably win."
Crist appeared at a rally with Barack Obama promoting the $787 billion stimulus that got no votes from House Republicans and only three from Republican senators. He is a climate-change worrywart who wants to cap Florida's carbon emissions. He has chosen his former campaign manager to serve as a placeholder in the Senate during the crucial next 16 months.
And to reduce property insurance costs, especially for Floridians living near the nation's second-longest coastline, Crist expanded, and vetoed reform of, the state's reckless version of a property insurance "public option." It is government-run insurance that, by offering rates lower than rational assessments of risk would dictate, has driven private insurers to limit their business or even stop doing business in the state. When a huge hurricane hits, Florida-- and U.S.-- taxpayers might have to foot the bill, by which time Crist plans to be in Washington.
Rubio, who is 38 and in a decade might look that old, says that Crist will not be there. Crist, says Rubio, "never thought he'd have to run in a Republican primary again." Probably only about 20 percent of Florida's 4 million registered Republicans will vote in the closed primary in late August in a nonpresidential year. So, about 450,000 votes might win it. That many can come from Republicans who are attentive to politics even in late summer because they are ideologically driven.
As is Rubio, which is why National Review, the bimonthly encyclical of the church of conservatism, had him on a recent cover and why the Club for Growth, a group that contributes to Republicans friendly to free markets, should support him. Crist has a large lead in name recognition, and hence in polls. But where Rubio and he are both known, they are neck and neck.
While Republicans argue among themselves about who is best equipped to maintain the status quo and stand in the way of economic and social progress for ordinary working families, Floridians continue to sink into a swampy morass caused by years and years of Republican policies on both the national and state level. While the Bush Brothers ruled in Tallahassee and in DC, "the number of uninsured in Florida has increased from 2.8 million in 2001 to 3.6 million in 2008. The percent of non-elderly adults without insurance increased from 22 % to 26.3%. And of the 10 worst hit congressional districts in the U.S. in terms of home foreclosures, 6 are in Florida, including the worst of all, FL-14 (Connie Mack's district), where 116,979 are projected for foreclosure over the next 4 years. The third worst district in the U.S. is represented by lunatic fringe Republican Tom Rooney (FL-16) where the 4-year forecast predicts 85,003 foreclosures. All of these Republicans have one thing in common; they adamantly oppose government assistance for families in need and are basically unconcerned about predatory corporate practices that are driving hardworking families into financial insolvency.
Last year McCain only managed to take 48% of Florida votes against Barack Obama. And among the counties that McCain did win were all but one of the counties (Jefferson) where Rubio has trounced Crist. Florida Democrats are counting on crazy Republican extremists saddling their party with a kook like Rubio so that their own very weak candidate, Kendrick Meek, can slip into the Senate seat. Unless someone comes up with the pictures, Meek could never beat Crist, but moderate Floridians are unlikely to ever vote for a teabagging extremist like Rubio despite Meek's ethical shortcomings and well-earned reputation as a lightweight shill. Meanwhile Crist has absolutely refused to debate Rubio; I bet even a second place finish in a debate would be better for him than what HBO is about to serve up-- Outrage a film that exposes Crist's hypocrisy as an anti-gay practicing homosexual closet queen-- available all over Florida-- in English and Spanish-- for the month of October: