Monday, December 15, 2008

Profile: Charlie Crist in 2012

Contender: Florida Governor Charlie Crist

Official Site

Wikipedia Page

Why He's Important
: He spurned his national party to support President Obama's stimulus package, and in their anger, it's easy for Republicans to forget how bold a move this was for a potential 2012 contender.

If he can withstand one withering assault, doesn't that mean he can withstand another?

Despite his genial temperament, he's shown the backbone to stand up to both liberals and conservatives with his populist (yes, populist) message.

He's also appointed a pair of pro-life judges in the face of liberal threats, and has worked tirelessly to preserve Florida's natural environment in the face of conservative resistance.

Perhaps that's why his popularity remains undimmed. He's got balls, and he knows when to use them.

Ideology: To the right. He's against partial-birth abortion and successfully defended parental notification rights before the Florida Supreme Court, and has filled that institution with pro-life judges. Favors ending affirmative action. Strong proponent of gun rights; believes individuals have the right to carry concealed weapons. Favors keeping the ban on gay adoption in Florida. Is moderate on the environment -- favored purchasing 187,000 acres of farmland for Everglades Preservation. Received ire from conservatives for not pressing for more government intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.

[For more, see On the Issues, Charlie Crist]

Why he can win
: He's a supremely popular governor of a supremely important state.

I.E. 27 electoral votes.

He speaks sincerely about the need for inclusion and mutual respect in a diverse society. In other words, he's not Tom Tancredo.

He seems the best fit for New Hampshire in 2012.

, Jindal, and Huckabee are too conservative, and Romney didn't win friends from his 2008 gig. That leaves an opening for Florida's governor.

Independents and Democrats can cross-over in the NH primary, and with Obama the presumptive nominee in '12, they could cross over en masse for Crist.

IF he takes NH, anything's possible.

Why he can't win: National party leaders are furious at him for supporting Obama's stimulus, and grassroots' conservatives even more vitriolic.

Current GOP sentiment is that Republicans nominated a moderate in 2008, and look where that got them: with Rush Limbaugh's Palm Beach Mansion as Ground Zero in the conservative movement.

The only way Crist can overcome the prevailing wind is if Obama's stimulus actually works.

Charlie can then hit the campaign trail with a record of principled, yet pragmatic accomplishment.

Ironically, in the event the stimulus succeeds, Obama will be reelected. But if the stimulus fails, Republicans who supported it will have great difficulty succeeding.

That leaves little room in party with little room for Charlie Crist.

For more GOP 12 Candidate Profiles...

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
South Dakota Senator John Thune
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker
Former Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne

More coming soon...