Charlie Crist should be governor of Florida.

June 8, 2014

Tcristhis is my endorsement of Charlie Crist for governor of Florida. I know such an obscure endorsement won’t carry any weight and will influence no one’s opinion. I know that such influence is the realm of the rich, the connected, and the otherwise powerful. I’m not a politician, not a politico, not affiliated with any candidate, and not part of the one percent. I’m just a guy, a working resident of Florida. Nonetheless, I know at a very fundamental level that Charlie Crist is the best choice for governor. My objective in writing this is to be positive about Charlie and not negative about his opponent although I’m sure that will be challenging as there is so much fodder for the latter. I like Charlie Crist. He seems like a nice guy – a guy I’d like to have a beer with but that’s not why I think he should be governor. I think that can be distilled to two words – he cares. Well, that needs to be clarified- he cares about the people of Florida. I’m sure he’s an ambitious guy. Anyone in politics has to have a certain amount of ambition and ego – it goes with the territory. And I like the fact that he endorsed the stimulus plan AND embraced the president of the United States back in 2009.[1] He took a lot of heat from politically myopic Republicans, but I remember those times, don’t you? The dark clouds of the Great Recession were still forming and it was a time when any partisan politics needed to take a back seat to moving the nation forward. We need more of that, don’t you think? Putting people’s lives ahead of politics by working together regardless of political party affiliation is good for all Americans. There’s only one candidate in the race for Governor who has already demonstrated that he can do that. Crist’s switching party affiliation from Republican to Democrat is a non issue for me. An intelligent leader’s position must evolve as more information is received. If not, the flat earthers of Columbus’ time would have prevented the funding of Columbus trip and there would be no European discovery of America -and coincidentally, no tea party. The point is that I have respect for someone who changes affiliations when their party devolves to the point where it no longer represents their views. It seems that worked rather well for former Democrat Ronald Regan! A change based on new information or new circumstances is what I consider intelligent behavior characteristic of a leader. Is that flip-flopping? I don’t think it is. I guess see a clear and distinct decision between someone changing their position on a subject based on new information or a fundamental change in their perspective. Crist becoming a Democrat is distinctly different from the shape shifting we saw candidate Romney perform in his campaign. In the end, his attempt to be a pleomorphic candidate was his undoing. I really didn’t want to be negative but in the case if Rick Scott that’s really impossible. I can’t get past the fact that Rick Scott has refused federal money for Medicaid expansion leaving 800,000 Floridians uninsured.[2]  And then there is his refusal to accept 2.4 billion dollars of federal funding for a high speed rail connecting Tampa and Orlando. But then I don’t suspect the Governor does much of his own driving on I4. Limos and helicopters tend to skew one’s perspective of the world. We all pay federal taxes and  the responsibility of our representatives is to get as much of that money back to our state. This is not a complex idea. Accepting federal dollars to insure 800,000 more people or accepting billions of federal dollars for a rail project that would employ thousands are short-term issues when compared to the governor’s evasiveness on the cause of climate change. His position has evolved from denying any human contribution to global warming in 2011 and he has recently adopted the evasive answer of ‘I’m not a scientist.”[3]  There is no scientific debate on whether global warming is real and there is no debate that humans are contributing to the problem.[4] If Mr. Scott can’t admit the cause of the problem then how can he take any actions to help find a solution? Rome had Nero; Florida has Rick Scott. Florida is one of the most at risk states for the impact of global warming and we need a governor with vision, leadership and the determination to do what is right regardless of outside influences or special interests. Finally, I really can get past that 1.4 BILLION dollar fine for 14 counts of Medicaid fraud that was incurred by Scott’s company, The Hospital Corporation of America, when he was CEO.[5] I keep asking myself whose interests he sees as most important – mine, the wealthy or his? It’s unfortunate that many people reflexively vote along party lines. Can you imagine a world where there were no labels and candidates could spend exactly the same on their campaigns? In such a hypothetical world I have no doubt that Crist would be the clear favorite. But that’s not where we are. Not in Florida, not anywhere. The only thing we can hope is that people take the time to consider what each candidate represents and vote accordingly. I know that Charlie represents me. Unfortunately, in politics money often talks and there is no denying that Rick Scott has a lot of money, $218 million in 2010 to be precise.[6] Hopefully, the people that voted for Scott the first time will have had enough time to see that he is the Potemkin candidate and behind the façade is merely another oligarch.   [1] http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18701.html [2] http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/gubernatorial/if-rick-scott-is-a-can-do-guy-why-doesnt-florida-have-medicaid-expansion/2180504 [3] http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2014/05/rick-scott-wont-say-if-he-thinks-man-made-climate-change-is-real-significant.html [4] http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus [5] http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2014/mar/03/florida-democratic-party/rick-scott-rick-scott-oversaw-largest-medicare-fra/ [6] http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/jun/26/rich-rick-governor-candidate-scott-worth-218-milli


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