I don’t much care for opportunists. When New York Mayor MIchael Bloomberg left the GOP and became an independent, I wrote:
Except for the people who are deliberately mean and hateful, seeking to harm others — and those who are inconsiderate, indifferent to the feelings of others, I find opportunists to be the most irritating sort of human being. They don’t seem to believe in anything but their own advancement.
With his announcement yesterday, Florida Governor Charlie Crist showed himself to be just an individual, putting himself above all else. His erstwhile rival for the GOP nomination (and current rival for the U.S. Senate) Marco Rubio nailed it when he told ABC’s Terry Moran that the switch
. . . has nothing to do with ideas or principles or ideology; it’s about, quite frankly, political convenience. It’s about someone who wants to continue his career in politics and doesn’t believe he can do that this year within the Republican Party.
Former Florida Jeb Bush agrees, “This decision is not about policy or principles. It is about what he believes is in his political self-interest.“
And I don’t think his opportunism is going to pay off. With video clips showing the Governor saying he has no intention of leaving the GOP, declaring to support his then-party’s nominee, he’s going to be hard pressed to justify his move as a matter of principle. Republican policy has shifted significantly in the past three weeks.
If anyone’s changed, it’s Charlie, suddenly vetoing bills he once supported, calling a political system “broken” that once nurtured him. (According to Daniel Foster that was “the one billionth time an American political candidate has used that particular phrase to justify the pursuit of a personal ambition.“)
This year, when people are paying more attention to politics than they have in years past, they will see through Charlie Crist’s championing. And one wonder what stories Crist’s staffers will tell now that they’re exiting his campaign. (And what tips they’ll give Rubio’s team.)
I have heard it said that independent candidates often peak the day they announce. If indeed that it so, then Charlie’s in for some rough sledding. Of the articles linked Memeorandum posts on the announcement, only one could be described as positive, but just barely, four neutral and five somewhat critical.
And it’s only going to get tougher from here.