Crist, you know it ain’t easy

There was an interesting discussion in Bernard’s anti-Hagel post about whether or not someone’s party affiliation matters as much as someone’s stated views on policies and issues. Personally, I feel that when it comes to Congres, party affiliation is all that matters, but for cabinet nominees, I care more about policy positions. I’d take Chuck Hagel over Chuck Schumer as Secretary of Defense (or anywhere else related to foreign policy) any day.

I wonder how people feel about the related questions of embracing party switchers like Charlie Crist. I’m for taking them, as long as they aren’t ridiculous Blue Dog types (I don’t think Crist is). If Crist becomes governor as a Democrat, it sends a message to other non-crazy Republicans that they can leave the teahadists behind and still have a viable political career:

Crist would start out as the favorite in a showdown with Scott. He leads 53-39, most notably taking a whooping 29% of the Republican vote. He still has some residual appeal to Republican voters. Crist isn’t the only Democrat who could give Scott trouble for reelection though.

143 replies
  1. 1
    redshirt says:

    We should be as welcoming as possible to any Repuke who wants to switch parties. But, only to the extent that they’re willing to support the majority of the Democratic Party’s positions. Blue Dogs can suck it.

  2. 2
    aimai says:

    I guess I’d take Crist over Scott, sure, and its not that I hate a turncoat or a visionary or a maverick–but I do dislike an opportunist. If we accept Crist to we do so believing that all his sucking up to the right wing when he was “officially” heterosexual and “officially” a Republican was some kind of piece of performance art?

  3. 3
    SatanicPanic says:

    But they’ll drag the party to the right! /Firebaggers

  4. 4
    Egypt Steve says:

    Didn’t you mean “send a message to the non-crazy Republican” (singular)? I’m not sure who that is, but I can’t believe there’s more than one.

  5. 5
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I wonder how people feel about the related questions of embracing party switchers like Charlie Crist.

    We told Snarlin’ Arlen to go get fucked; we got Pat Toomey for our pains. I think you take them and take them even if they’re Blue Dogs, because you don’t generally get these kind of converts out of states where Dems can win outright.

    In Crist’s case I think he was always pretty “Republican Lite” at his worst anyway – I think he’d work well in the party.

  6. 6
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    You take the best you can get. I’ll take a conservative Dem in Oklahoma…what are the alternatives?

    There’s also an extent to which switchers alter their positions once they’ve made the official switch. (Maybe John Cole can tell you about that.)

    I suspect Crist as Dem will be more liberal – although still not a true liberal – than Crist as GOPper. Hell, I’m more worried that long-term Dems ware always trying to prove that they’re not really ‘one of those’ Democrats.

  7. 7
    jayboat says:

    Doesn’t Christ’s record show a moderately reasonable human being? Anything will be better than the pond scum we have now, but I’m with redshirt, we need another blue dog like we need more anthrax.

  8. 8
    Raven says:

    The way things are going they’re gonna crucify me. . .

  9. 9
    Raven says:

    And independents?

  10. 10
    MattF says:

    @aimai: I have mixed feelings about that. It’s a good sign that opportunists are flocking to the Dem banner, certainly better than the alternative. OTOH, it’s a bad thing that politicians will generally do whatever they can get away with to get elected. Maybe you just have to look at it case-by-case.

  11. 11
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MattF:

    OTOH, it’s a bad thing that politicians will generally do whatever they can get away with to get elected

    Are you new to America?

  12. 12

    If the choice is between a recently converted Charlie Crist and known felon Rick Scott, Florida voters should consider themselves lucky at the chance for redemption.

  13. 13
    Jack the Second says:

    @redshirt: As long as the Blue Dogs are displacing Republicans and voting for Pelosi as Speaker, I’ll gladly take 30 new Blue Dogs in the House.

  14. 14
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Not that I want to give Phil Graham too many props, but I think party switching ought to be done the way he did: Resign, and then run again as your new party. As for those switching, sometimes the party changes beyond what you thought it was. A lot of Democrats became Republicans for that reason after Civil Rights legislation, though, because they remained a pro-business party, there weren’t a lot of defections in the other direction. I suspect that is finally happening now, and if Crist gets elected as a Democrat, I would not be surprised if others follow.

    As for them being opportunists, they’re politicians, it’s what they do. Hell, one of our complaints right now is that Republicans are refusing to be as opportunistic – paying attention to polls – as we think they should be.

  15. 15
    redshirt says:

    @Jack the Second: Me too. I spoke too broadly. It’s when the Blue Dogs align themselves with the Repukes do I have a problem.

  16. 16
    halteclere says:

    Give my anyone who can win without having a “R” attached to their name. Obviously the bluer the better, but I want any D in Florida before that state tries to pull a Pennsylvania with the electoral college distribution

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I know, it’s a quaint thought, that politicians should believe in something. And, um, not be thugs.

  18. 18

    There are two situations where I’d want GOP cover at DoD:

    1) To get out of a war
    2) To cut the defense budget

    Otherwise, I’d want a Dem at DoD. But both (1) and (2) apply here.

    And while the right-wing noise machine can usually paint any Dem as the equivalent of Dennis Kucinich, it’s gonna be just a little bit tougher to do that with Chuck Hagel.

    And yeah, I’m good with Charlie Crist. The history of party-switchers is that once they switch, they usually become pretty orthodox members of their new party.

    I can understand why we primaried Snarlin’ Arlen, and I think it would have worked out OK in a year that wasn’t 2010. But it was hard to realize ahead of time just how bad 2010 was going to be, and that we really might need Arlen if we wanted to hold that seat.

  19. 19
    eemom says:

    Crist, you know it ain’t easy

    Awesome. Sauce.

    Sir, you have outdone yourself. I do believe this is your best since “Lady of the house wondering where it’s gonna stop” back in the glory days of Speaker Nancy (sniff).

  20. 20
    Fwiffo says:

    I’ll take Crist. I mean, if we want a majority of whatever, being welcoming to defectors is sorta a good idea. I mean, after some pokes in the eye, we eventually accepted John Cole, and he was an even bigger toolbox as a Republican than Crist was (sorry, but he’d be the first to admit it.)

    Current polling suggests he’s likely to win a Democratic primary, and his approval rating among Dems in Florida is sky high. But everybody loves somebody who rags on their own party, regardless of their actual positions on anything.

    On the other hand, voting in the primary, I’ll have to do my homework on the other candidates. I want to pick the best Democrat that can win, and while I would welcome Crist, he doesn’t automatically get to jump to the head of the line ahead of life-long Democrats who have earned their spot.

  21. 21
    JPL says:

    Crist is popular in Florida and if he campaigns for the Democratic Party in Florida, that’s enough for me.

  22. 22
    GregB says:

    Charlie Crist, superstar.

  23. 23
    Pooh says:

    I’m a little jaded on party switchers just now since my state rep just switched from D to R 6 weeks after being reelected Ina solid Dem district. Coincidentally, she got a plush committee assignment while giving the R’s a supermajority.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Not that I want to give Phil Graham too many props, but I think party switching ought to be done the way he did: Resign, and then run again as your new party.

    Yeah, a horrible and not very bright human being (I think Molly used to drawl that he was “actively stupid”, which always made me chuckle), but I like the way he did that. Also, too, I like that Crist is getting back in the arena (political ambition being a disease cured only by embalming fluid notwithstanding) as opposed to primaried losers like Bennet and Ingliss, and I expect before too long Lugar and Snowe, who will now moan on the sidelines about “the extremists on both sides” who made it so hard for them to toady to McConnell and Norquist et al.

  25. 25
    SatanicPanic says:

    @redshirt: I wonder how much incentive there is to be a blue dog anymore, outside of the South anyway.

  26. 26

    We’re all just trying to get some peace, no? But you know how hard it can be.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    If they join the Democratic Party and pull their weight, cool. If they are opportunists and then act as a drag on progress, I am less enthused.

  28. 28
    Amir Khalid says:

    @eemom:
    I’m hoping to see, someday soon, a post about John Boehner headlined “Hypocrite, Toady and Inebriate”.

  29. 29
    Ash Can says:

    @aimai: I wouldn’t categorize Crist as an opportunist the way I did Arlen Spector. Spector always seemed like a moderate Republican overall, but his conversion came when a primary defeat was clearly looming. Crist changed parties some time ago, after a fairly prolonged period of him on the outside looking in WRT the GOP in general and the FL GOP in particular. If he had changed parties going into the gubernatorial election just to run against Scott, that would be one thing (and, for the state of FL, probably not a bad thing). But I see Crist’s conversion as more of a prolonged process than Spector’s, and therefore not anywhere near as opportunist.

  30. 30
    Citizen_X says:

    Ah, Crist is too easy an example. Would you accept Governor Christie as a Democratic convert?

  31. 31
    Narcissus says:

    @SatanicPanic: You don’t have to be a firebagger to be worried about things getting more conservative

  32. 32
    Todd says:

    @Jack the Second:

    As long as the Blue Dogs are displacing Republicans and voting for Pelosi as Speaker, I’ll gladly take 30 new Blue Dogs in the House

    Stop it, or you’ll make Jane Hamsher cry.

  33. 33
    burnspbesq says:

    “More Democrats” is a necessary condition to “more and better Democrats.”

  34. 34
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I find the purity police rather tiresome, didn’t someone say that politics was the art of the possible? I have no problems with either Hagel or Crist.

  35. 35
    JPL says:

    @Citizen_X: NO.. He reminds me of a bad Alan Grayson. His treatment of teachers turned me off.

  36. 36
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Crist sucks, but what’s the alternative? At least he’s a human being. I think he’s more liberal on social issues than Sink. He’s compassionate. I think he’ll suck on insurance, taxes, anything with dollar signs attached. Although FEA says he blocked the anti-teacher bills when he was in office. Good luck getting that crap reversed, though. Maybe they can brand it as “let the school district decide” to roll back that idiotic merit pay mandate.

    (Merit pay = pay the teachers at the upper middle class schools better)

  37. 37
    brettvk says:

    @Pooh: Damn, I wish this sort of clever twostep was forbidden by law. How is it not bribery? I presume she’ll be strongly challenged to keep her seat in 2016.

  38. 38
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Citizen_X: Fatbody would have to change his train hating and union busting views, then we can talk.

  39. 39
    Hoodie says:

    I don’t understand the problems some seem to have with folks like Crist or Hagel, who seem to have come by their conversions somewhat honestly. People change and there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious if you end up doing positive things. They came up in a particular environment, and it turned toxic on them and a lot of the stuff they did go along with when they were Republicans was out of tribal custom and loyalty. Crist was willing to buck the party and work with Obama when he was governor. I don’t think he’s particularly any more of an opportunist than any politician, and he paid his dues helping Obama in Florida. I’m sure there are some good loyal dems that could be gov, but they’re not near sure locks to win like Crist. Winning does matter, and it wouldn’t be compromising any principles to support Crist. Hell, I might be talked into accepting Christie if he wanted to become a dem, it might make him less of an asshole.

  40. 40
    PaulW says:

    Crist as GOP Governor was more moderate to be sure than his predecessor Jeb Bush, and definitely an improvement over Rick “Worse Than Romney If You Can Believe It” Scott.

    The best things about Crist’s tenure is that he refused to purge the voter rolls the way Jeb did – think this is a new tactic? The Republicans have been trying to deny minority voters for years – and he pushed for a decent eco-friendly stance on Everglades preservation. If anything, by running against Scott, all Crist has to do is campaign on the fact he actually did his job well the first time around and Crist can win 60 percent of the voters just on that.

    I believe Crist lost the Senate race in 2010 because he split the vote with the Democratic candidate. As a Democrat now, there shouldn’t be a split vote. Not unless Scott’s doctor buddies revive the zombie corpse of Lawton Chiles…

  41. 41
    Ash Can says:

    And PS, I don’t see how the matter of Crist vs. Scott could even be a subject of debate.

  42. 42
    Kadzimiel says:

    Can’t say I feel the passion for the Crist, but it’s well worth encouraging sane Republicans to jump ship in return for visible benefits.

    I admit that I am much more worried about what the GOP are trying to pull in Pennsylvania and other states in the way of rigging the presidential game.

  43. 43
    Emma says:

    As a Floridian, please God, Crist. Or any one else not our current governor. Really.

  44. 44
    EconWatcher says:

    Hagel was a good pick, because he and Obama apparently have a good personal relationship, Hagel is reasonable and relatively dovish, and for bonus points, the Republicans get to look even more churlish than usual for opposing one of their own.

  45. 45
    pat says:

    I’m enjoying the image of “a WHOOPING 29% of republicans”

  46. 46
    burnspbesq says:

    @Hoodie:

    Hell, I might be talked into accepting Christie if he wanted to become a dem, it might make him less of an asshole.

    At a minimum, it would make him our asshole, and even that counts for something.

  47. 47
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: In Crist’s case I think he was always pretty “Republican Lite” at his worst anyway – I think he’d work well in the party.

    Crist got into office with a lot of Democrats’ votes. In the 3-way race he got crushed between 27%ers and yellow dog Democrats. (The Dems didn’t put any money in the race and didn’t really run a serious candidate, either, and the guy he had was badly damaged by a primary race against a Cali Republican who switched parties. He lost bigtime but had pumped lots of his own money into negative ads against the frontrunner, Kendall Green(?).)

    I think he has a chance as a Dem candidate because of Scott’s negatives and his desire to run again. (Scott has big allies in the Florida GOP, meaning he’s unlikely to be challenged as nominee.) But they need to GOTV this time. Dem GOTV sucked during the Scott/Sink race.

  48. 48
    Citizen Alan says:

    You want to talk opportunist? My state senator ran as a Democrat in 2011 in one of the most reliably Democratic towns in the state while secretly cutting a deal with the Republican governor to get his Republican opponent forced off the ballot for dubious reasons. Then, the Democrat switched parties the week after the election shortly before marrying a former aide to the Republican governor. I hate living in Mississippi.

  49. 49
    PaulW says:

    @Hoodie:

    The anger against Crist was truly partisan: the hate among the die-hard Republican voters toward him not because he was running as an Indy but because he wouldn’t stay in the GOP and take his scheduled beating in the primaries like they wanted.

    The GOP Purity Purge is real. I’ve seen it first-hand. I’m seriously amazed they still have that many people left in their ranks by now…

  50. 50
    El Tiburon says:

    The more I read about Hagel, the more I like. One thing about Hagel, I think, is he has nothing to prove. I’m not saying a Democrat in the position would feel he (or she) would have to act like a tough guy (or gal) but…

    So, I think Hagel has the capacity go in and really cause a stink.

    Crist is a good take for sure.

  51. 51
    Cassidy says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Ah, Crist is too easy an example. Would you accept Governor Christie as a Democratic convert?

    Hell yeah. You know why? Tim-fucking-Tebow. You odn’t have to like the guy, but you bring his non-throwing ass to Florida and he’ll drive more ticket sales than the entire Jaguars franchis has this decade. Same with Christie. YOu ain’t got to like the man, but he brings people who will vote for him just because it’s fun to vote for an asshole. You gotta win to be in charge.

  52. 52
    Pooh says:

    @brettvk: she’ll be a corporate VP for an oil services company by then.

  53. 53
    Cassidy says:

    @Ash Can: You haven’t spent much time with my fellow Floridians have you?

  54. 54
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Fwiffo: I want to pick the best Democrat that can win, and while I would welcome Crist, he doesn’t automatically get to jump to the head of the line ahead of life-long Democrats who have earned their spot.

    That’s the damn problem. Have you seen the #s on Sink, who held statewide office? Nobody knew who she was! The Dem Party of Florida is a dysfunctional mess which lacks statewide-known candidates. I mean, there’s Nelson, but he’s staying in the US Senate.

    Dems need to work on their farm team and try to be a real political party again.

  55. 55
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Egypt Steve: There is more than one. They’re meeting at a Starbucks on Saturday.

  56. 56
    Mike in NC says:

    It’s been reported that Mark Sanford is ready to come off of the Appalachian Trail and return to his old job as a Congressman in South Carolina. Those lucky folks.

  57. 57
    Todd says:

    @Cassidy:

    …you bring his non-throwing ass to Florida and he’ll drive more ticket sales than the entire Jaguars

    Point of order – he CAN throw, but he just isn’t any good at it.

  58. 58
    Wilson Heath says:

    @pat:

    Indeed, but I would think the “whooping” Republicans would be anti-Crist. Unless we’re talking Republicans afflicted with pertussis perhaps.

    And when I think of whooping Republicans, I generally think two percent fewer.

  59. 59
    some guy says:

    PaulW beat me to the punch, but Crist was a relatively decent guv, and stopped some of the more egregious bills put on his desk by the band of Troglodytes known as Florida Republicans. He’ll beat Guvernor Batboy like a rented mule.

    But please please please, give me my dream primary matchup, Crist versus the odious Wasserman Schultz. Watching Charlie take out Little Debbie woould be a second Christmas.

  60. 60
    gvg says:

    Its case by case. As for Christ-he would probably be a mixed blessing. Given the choice of Scott or him, no question which is better. It’s maybe not as clear as the choice years ago between KKK David Duke and the convicted felon as Govenor Edwards who had served jail time for things he did in office and was running again for Govenor…Missisippi or Louisiana I can’t recall which it was. Bumper stickers were “vote for the crook, it’s important” Edwards was reelected and caught doing something again too.

    Christ is OK I guess. His party went gradually insane over the gay issue and there have always been the rumors that Charlie was gay. So they kept attacking him-his own party. It always seemed to me that the attackers were the guys running against him for office or party chairs & such. In other words they benefitted by spreading the rumors.
    He got married. Some gay activists really do believe that all politicians who are rumored to be gay really are. They get very bent out of shape about these rumored closeted gays who vote against gay right issues and Christ did vote anti gay.
    There were also some nasty unclear accusations about shady money graft which flew between some other S Florida pols and Christ. It did not get sorted out to where I understood it but the accuessors seemed more clearly shady then Crist. On the one hand they may know, on the other they may benefit by accusing those who were attacking them.
    I am a foster mom too, and Christ was very good on Children’s issues-funding things, modifing laws so kids weren’t in Limbo for years etc. Bush was also incidently, though I hear Christ was even better. Both had the flaw in my view that they thought too many things should be privatized. He was a republican but not crazy, He’ll have to say what his new platform will be and it might be different than he said as a republican.
    Oh he also restored felon voting rights after they served sentance and did not screw with early voting which has good honesty implications to me and definately wasn’t what his former party’s crazies wanted. He can stand up to them if he wants to.
    The Democratic party in Florida seems to have fallen to lame ever since Lawton Chiles died. If Christ proves himself, he could maybe give our herd of cats some direction. The state as a whole isn’t really that extreme, its just a pathetic democratic opposition has become ineffective.

  61. 61
    PaulW says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    I think he has a chance as a Dem candidate because of Scott’s negatives and his desire to run again. (Scott has big allies in the Florida GOP, meaning he’s unlikely to be challenged as nominee.) But they need to GOTV this time. Dem GOTV sucked during the Scott/Sink race.

    I worked on an OFA team here in Florida. One of the first things all the office volunteers did during the office cleanup the day after the election was start a sign-up contact sheet to work on the 2014 campaign against Rick Scott.

    Sad but true: nothing gets the vote out like a hated SOB like Scott.

    You are so right about the GOTV that 2010 midterm in Florida: there’s more registered Dem voters (4.9 million in 2010) than GOP (barely 4 million in 2010), yet Scott won by less than 50,000 votes (2.6 million for Scott, 2.5 million for Sink). Less than half the registered voters turned out man, the Dems had a 900,000 advantage and they couldn’t get 50,000 of those lazy bums out the door to vote?

  62. 62
    EconWatcher says:

    @Mike in NC:

    If Diaper Dave Vitter can still be a family-values Senator, I don’t see what should hold Sanford back.

  63. 63
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @SatanicPanic: You mean West. There is no angle in being a Blue Dog in the South. Maybe Louisiana, it’s kind of perched between South and West.

    That doesn’t mean we don’t have corrupt, gerrymandered machine sorts, but they aren’t really Blue Dogs b/c they have to answer to a majority African-American constituency who may overlook a lot of things but will demand accountability on practical issues that affect them–not really a great partner for Halliburton, et al.

    (Although that guy in Louisiana tried. Again: Louisiana.)

  64. 64
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Christie is Rick Scott with people skills.

    I’m sorry, but it’s true.

  65. 65
    burnspbesq says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Fatbody would have to change his train hating and union busting views, then we can talk.

    I don’t agree with Christie’s decision to kill the trans-Hudson tunnel, but I think “train hating” is an overly simplistic way of thinking about it.

    It was not unreasonable for him to believe that (a) Obama would lose in 2012, (b) a Republican President and Congress would de-fund the project, leaving him and Andrew Cuomo jointly holding the bag for a nine-figure (or potentially ten-figure; name one major construction project in the history of the New York metropolitan area that has come in on time and at budget) funding shortfall, and (c) if left holding that bag, New Jersey couldn’t afford its share of the cost.

    I would still have green-lighted the project, but I would have warned the people of New Jersey that if the Feds ever pulled the plug on the funding, they would be looking at a sales tax increase. That’s the only intellectually honest way to do it.

  66. 66
    Tim C. says:

    Gotta go with what Redshirt said at the top with a solid “It depends” GOPers who simply want to save their skins while doing pretty much everything they’ve always done except for the truly batexcrement insane stuff can take a hike. On the other hand, Crist and others who really were moderate and want to get out of the house of crazy should be welcomed.

  67. 67
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @PaulW: The best things about Crist’s tenure is that he refused to purge the voter rolls the way Jeb did – think this is a new tactic?

    Don’t forget about restoring felons’ civil rights. Crist streamlined the system, and Scott took it away again.

    I have a coworker who did his time literally 20 years ago and is navigating this hazy, confusing mess that Scott put in place… maybe we’ll review your case… we canceled the hearing… wait some more… don’t reapply yet, it’s still under review… wait…

  68. 68
    some guy says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    only somebody who doesn’t live in Florida could make such an asinine claim.

  69. 69
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Kadzimiel: it’s well worth encouraging sane Republicans to jump ship in return for visible benefits.

    Lincoln Chaffee? He was from an old GOP family, right?

  70. 70
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @PaulW: Well, Crist got involved in an intramural battle and he was just plain bad at that shit and got burned.

    He did really shitty in Alachua County (and Scott did real well, for different reasons) because he pocket vetoed something locals really, really wanted just to poke a stick in the eye of the state senator who had sided with the other faction. Just. Dumb.

    I don’t think Crist really knows how to fight down and dirty, so he tended to avoid difficult political issues and then when he was in a corner he made own-goals.

    But can he beat Scott? Yes. Is he better than Scott? Hell, yes.

  71. 71
    Ash Can says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Christie is Rick Scott with people skills.

    I get the same vibe, and this is why I don’t trust Christie in general as a pol and don’t expect him to ever change parties. He did right by his state in the wake of Sandy, but he’s too much of a Republican on just about everything else to either feasibly or reliably be a Dem. I don’t see it happening outside of a Cole-like epiphany on Christie’s part, and the Sandy imbroglio, while significant, was not that.

  72. 72
    Anna in PDX says:

    @Pooh: Wait what? Which state? That really sucks.

  73. 73
    👽 Martin says:

    This is way too simplistic an attitude.

    We need different kinds of politicians playing different roles. However, the majority of office holders serve little more role than tactical set pieces. More important than any individual House member or Senator is control of the chamber. Without that, whatever traits you are looking at in individual members on policy is neutralized. You’re better off filling a shitload of blue dog seats to win the majority before you invest any energy in which of the Dems in the primary are the bluest.

    The most important seats over the last 4 years have turned out to be state legislative seats and the governorships that can support those majorities. The GOP have won majorities in countless blue and purple states and are now dismantling democratic policies. They’re using control of the board to change the rules and keep themselves in power.

    When you look at governors, look at the legislative backdrop they’re working with. A blue FL governor is mostly just going to serve as a check against a GOP legislature. A liberal will be no more effective than a blue dog, so don’t waste your energy going for the most awesome governor, because they’ll be able to do nothing until you give them Dem majorities in the legislature.

    For cabinet members, they’re part of the President’s team. They’re not independent operators like legislators or executives. They work for the President, and while they might disagree with the President, they’re going to do what the President tells them or they’ll be out of that job. There’s no reason to not give the President the team he wants.

  74. 74
    some guy says:

    Crist was solid on fighting offshore oil drilling, solid on civil rights, solid on the environment. he was horrible on gay adoption, a blemish on an otherwise solid score for foster care and adoptions. he most notably stood up to jeb on the Schiavo bullshit. During his tenure as Governor he acted pretty much like a Blue Dog.

  75. 75
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Why wouldn’t Democrats accept Crist? I don’t recall him being a nauseating Republican governor. I wish more Repubs would follow his example as the Republican party continues to drift more rightward.

  76. 76
    Alex S. says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Crist/Christie 2016!

    (Yes, I’m repeating myself.)

    Also, the Florida Democratic Party is weak. Crist can build an organization.

  77. 77
    priscianusjr says:

    “I’d take Chuck Hagel over Chuck Schumer as Secretary of Defense (or anywhere else related to foreign policy) any day.”

    So would I, but you notice that Schumer supports the Hagel nomination.
    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_n.....nt-matters

  78. 78
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Lincoln Chaffee? He was from an old GOP family, right?

    Hard core. The Chaffees are the Brahmins of Rhode Island (as I understand) and Lincoln promised his father on the old man’s deathbed that he would never quit the party while in the Senate, which I really don’t get. I think Lincoln is still an independent. That weird tribal loyalty of old school Yankee Republicans to the party of the Neo-Confederates, many of them now openly advocating nullification and occasionally outright secession is mind-boggling.

  79. 79
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    “The Dem Party of Florida is a dysfunctional mess which lacks statewide-known candidates.”

    That’s the sad truth. Anyone who can fog a mirror can beat Scott in 2014. But sadly, there are few contenders. I’d rather have a Democrat like Pam Iorio, but if Crist is the best shot we have, I’ll damn sure vote for him.

  80. 80
    aimai says:

    @Ash Can:

    I’m so old it doesn’t really seem like a “long time ago” but yeah, I will take Crist if that’s what it takes to beat Scott.

  81. 81
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @some guy: Right, I’ve only lived and worked here for seven years, what do I know?

    Scott isn’t Pat Robertson. He’s a greedy robot who is anti-union, anti-teacher, pro-bidness, pro-regressive-taxation, and wants to keep Democrats from voting.

    Christie is the same except for the vote suppression angle, because I don’t know what’s going on in Jersey. Scott’s GOP super-majority lege rammed that shit through and all he had to do was sign it whereas I doubt that would get out of committee in NJ. They’re both realists. Christie’s an ex-AG so it doesn’t lend one to believe he’s an angel although to be fair he isn’t obsessed with money to the point of breaking federal law like Clown Scott. Scott is just insecure that way.

    They push the same agenda but one has roguish charm and the other gets nicknamed Voldemort. People skills.

  82. 82
    aimai says:

    @Ash Can:

    He’s a fat rick scott and people think fat men are jolly.

  83. 83
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @some guy: But please please please, give me my dream primary matchup, Crist versus the odious Wasserman Schultz. Watching Charlie take out Little Debbie woould be a second Christmas.

    Since I live upstate, not downstate, all I’m familiar with is Wasserman-Schultz’ self-promotion efforts. Aside from spewing the DNC line, what’s so terrible about her?

  84. 84
    priscianusjr says:

    @jayboat: Doesn’t Christ’s record show a moderately reasonable human being?

    You pose a complex theological question:
    Christ’s record = the authority of scripture.
    Reasonable = Faith & reason.
    Moderately reasonable = Reason & the virtue of the mean.
    Human being = Human & Divine nature of Christ.

  85. 85
    some guy says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    are you talking about his veto of traffic concurrency? you really think that’s why he lost Alachua County?

    ummmmmh, no.

  86. 86
    Roger Moore says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Would you accept Governor Christie as a Democratic convert?

    As long as he adopts Democratic priorities as part of the process. If he only changes the letter after his name, not so much.

  87. 87
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That weird tribal loyalty of old school Yankee Republicans to the party of the Neo-Confederates, many of them now openly advocating nullification and occasionally outright secession is mind-boggling.

    Well, there’s the Protestant-Catholic thing to consider. And that’s just for starters.

  88. 88

    I’m sympathetic to ex-GOPers because I evolved from a conservative to a libertarian to a pretty solid liberal over the course of the Bush administration too.

  89. 89
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @some guy: To quote some guy: ummmmmm, no

  90. 90
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I think you might as well talk about Paul Ryan as a Democrat as Christie. I think if CC has a core, it’s anti-New Deal Republican.

  91. 91
  92. 92
    some guy says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    I think you and I live in the same county, actually.

    DW-S loves her some Diaz-Ballarts. She made sure her pals faced no opposition, and actively sabotaged the Dem candidate in Monroe County who was gonna take a shot at one of them. South Florida Republicans have no bigger supporter than Little Debbie.

  93. 93
    Chris says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Exactly my story. The Bush years were a hell of a time to come to political awareness.

  94. 94
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Another Halocene Human: seriously? that’s even more bewildering to me. I recognize I have my own epistemic closure where religion is concerned, but voting for Mitch McConnell because of all those troublesome Irish?

  95. 95
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Another Halocene Human: That could be the case. I’m just having a hard time imagining what the point would be for someone right now to come out and say “i want to sometimes vote with the House Republicans” Why? The Republicans aren’t even all that unified right now. And they’re not popular either.

  96. 96
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Some guy, maybe you could just explain why I’m wrong about Scott and Christie.

  97. 97
    some guy says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    the poll numbers are pretty intersting. Crist would beat Scott 53/39, and Iorio would beat Scott 43/39.

    Iorio’s strength is her support in the I-4 corridor, which was crucial in the 2012 GOTV push, but her name recognition is pretty low. The upside of that is her unfavorability is only at 16%, whereas Crist has a 38% unfavorability score.

    would make an interesting matchup.

  98. 98
    Cluttered Mind says:

    I don’t really see the issue. Charlie Crist was to the left of Ben Nelson and Joe Manchin (among many others) even while he was still a Republican. Also, Crist has the added advantage of being really pissed off at the Republican party that more or less threw him under the bus and then repeatedly backed the bus up and ran over him again. Remember how Lieberman behaved after the Democrats booted him from the party? I can think of worse things than having more elected Democrats with personal reasons to loathe the teabagging right.

  99. 99
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @SatanicPanic: I was thinking of Senators. They can hold up bills for their corporate masters.

    To be fair, Dem primary voters have started taking out the trash but then you have states like Missouri, where you have this ‘electable Dem’ problem.

    The whole phenom depends (as I see it) on a white swing vote. The ‘swing’ in the South has ‘swung’ and it’s done.

  100. 100
    some guy says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Christie hasn’t sabotaged the insurance exchanges. Christie didn’t use $70 million of stolen money to win election. Christie hasn’t committed the largest fraud against Medicare in history. Christie hasn’t used his office to enrich himself and his wife. Christie hasn’t demonized those seeking public assistance. Christie hasn’t refused federal aid.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @some guy:

    Another Halocene Human is talking about Chris Christie in New Jersey, and you’re responding with comments about Charlie Crist in Florida.

    I think there’s a communication problem in there somewhere.

  102. 102
    Roger Moore says:

    Do you accept Crist as your personal State Party’s savior?

  103. 103
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Eff me if I can understand it, but the urban Dem party in New England can be pretty loathsome, so maybe they want to dream that they’re thoughtful, independent, incorruptible solons and the religious right pandering is just a show for the rubes, useful idiots to get the right stuff in office? Dole did it, and he was no right wing nut, Bush sr pandered too.

    It’s clear the rubes are steering the ship now and the “real Republicans” are wondering if they shouldn’t get clear of it before the shipwreck.

  104. 104
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @some guy: Nice. Wow. Well, it’s hardly surprising since we are talking about the Florida Democratic Party.

    She was in Florida Blue Key. I wondered about that.

  105. 105
    some guy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    nope. AHH equated Scott with Christie, my response was that they are not the same kind of R.

  106. 106
    Soonergrunt says:

    I don’t know enough about Florida politics to write intelligently about it, but Crist seems like he’s both not-insane and honest in his conversion, and Rick Scott should be in prison, not a governor’s mansion, so that’s a no-brainer.
    And while I’d prefer cabinet secretaries who do what they’re told, regardless of party affiliation to secretaries who may be Dems but sharpshoot the boss, and I think that Hagel will be a fine SECDEF on the terms of his relationship with the President, I still would prefer a loyal competent Democrat in that position to a competent Republican who is loyal to the President.

  107. 107
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: Er, no we were talking about Crist getting into it with Oelrich in that line of discussion, actually. Remember, he ran for Senate but the State GOP had picked Rubio, so Crist ran as an independent and lost.

    IMO, the Santa Fe vote had a lot to do with it. Aside from other issues.

  108. 108
    aimai says:

    @some guy:
    Christie’s demonized plenty of people especially workers. He used a helicopter to get to his kids games and a limo thereafter because he can’t walk ten feet. The guy is plenty corrupt, just not quite as corrupt as the medicare rip off guy Scott.

  109. 109
    some guy says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    she is the worst. some classic Little Debbie quotes:

    1) George Bush is “the right man at the right time.”
    2) “Let’s put the United States first again, and John McCain is the man as president who will help us do that.”
    3) “There is not a better Congressman in Washington than Chris Shays.”
    4) “I can’t say enough good things about Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; she has been my friend since I was first elected to office.”

    Swing State Project has been all over her bullshit, for a long long time. see here for her support for Diaz-Ballart, but be sure to click on some of their links to see the true odiousness of Little Debbie:

    http://www.swingstateproject.c.....z-and-meek

  110. 110
    catclub says:

    Can I just say that Biden is looking better and better as a 2016 candidate.

    I know he will be pretty old, but he is getting a lot of good press. Of course, a lot of it is stupid good cop/bad cop stuff, but it is still good press for him.

  111. 111
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yes, Linc is an independent, not a Dem. And he is indeed from an old and venerable family, the Lippitts, which produced Governors and Senators in the late 19th century.

    But his only path here is as an independent; the Dems are too old-school Mass-like, and wouldn’t accept him since he hasn’t paid his dues in the party for the last 40 years. Plus he’s viewed as kind of a flake by a lot of people – definitely not his father. I don’t know, maybe like Jerry Brown vs Pat Brown (for older values of Jerry Brown.)

  112. 112
    brettvk says:

    I’ve wondered if Christie would jump if he’s serious about national ambitions; unless something transformative happens to the GOP before 2016, he’s dead in the water for the presidential primaries. All Santorum has to do is flash the picture of Christie and Obama embracing among storm ruins and the base will froth. I don’t like Christie myself but I can see that his personality would be attractive to some Dems and I think he could moderate enough on his policies to transition, while still retaining office running as a Republican this year (IIRC his polls are great). He strikes me as a mean SOB, but his weight might be a bigger problem for office than that. Full-body photos of him next to Obama make him look pretty grotesque.

  113. 113
    some guy says:

    @aimai:

    agreed, I am no Christie lover, but his corruption and bullying is of a whole different order than Batboy.

  114. 114
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @some guy: Okay, so Scott is more corrupt. All that means is Christie hides it better. He’s still beholden to the regular gang of assholes.

    I acknowledge Scott’s open greed and lawlessness. He has this utter obsession with money.

    I don’t know what you mean about federal aid?

    Scott refused HSR money much akin to Christie canceling the tunnel project, for pure ideological reasons but coated in an imaginary fig leaf of fiscal conservatism.

  115. 115
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Another Halocene Human: that they’re thoughtful, independent, incorruptible solons and the religious right pandering is just a show for the rubes, useful idiots to get the right stuff in office

    Well, god knows that’s the VIllage view of Republicans. I couldn’t bring myself to watch Brokaw on Colbert last night. I’m sure he brought up his “have Mitch to the living quarters” theory

    also, on Brokaw, Gregory and a few others, follow the link in this Pierce piece to the latest Pete Peterson-sponsored orgy of Conventional Wisdom. Short version: The poors get even lazier as they get older, and it simply doesn’t do to be sentimental about them.

  116. 116

    Florida: Where humans go to die.

  117. 117
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @some guy:

    “I can’t say enough good things about Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; she has been my friend since I was first elected to office.”

    Oops, I just threw up in my mouth a bit.

    Thanks for the awesome link.

  118. 118
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Some Guy

    Kendrick Meek!

    Okay, that’s it. I’m done giving that guy the benefit of the doubt. (He’s the one who ran against Crist and Rubio. Sorry I mangled his name.)

  119. 119
    artem1s says:

    case by case situation, obviously. But right now, I wouldn’t want to see some crusty old entitled politician get the support of the DNC over cultivating new young blood. So much of OFA has been built from the ground up and the party seriously needs to keep pushing those local organizers up the ladder. You can’t pass them over time and again for not having enough experience or funding support. Ohio has a serious problem on the state level because for just this reason and I seriously don’t know how we’re going to get out of it.

    to think of it another way, would you have the party endorse a Charlie Crist over, say, someone like Julian Castro? Or a young African American community organizer who is running for his first senate seat? Know what I mean?

  120. 120
    MikeJ says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    and Rick Scott should be in prison, not a governor’s mansion,

    You’ll need to destroy all of his horocruxes first.

  121. 121
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Florida Congressional Dems can be aggravating
    They basically have an unwritten policy of collaborating with Florida house republicans to stay out of their races and be content with their little D+15 or higher feifdoms. Most of them couldn’t care less how few Democrats are in the FL delegation so long as they ae drawn districts so democratic they never have to worry about getting re-elected.

    D+20 after redistricting (this comment is from 2008). Arrrghhhhh, it’s so fucking aggravating!!

    random plug: Florida AFL-CIO does good work. Please think about joining Working Families Lobby Corps this year. Defs more focused and effective than the Dem party.

  122. 122
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I agree. There are opportunists, and then there are people who just never get over “The Party Left Me” who are kind of a drag to have around.

    I don’t mind the politicians as opportunists so much as I do the class of lobbyist/activist/strategists. I don’t really care if losers like Pat Caddell and Dick Morris go on the wingnut welfare trough. I don’t want them back because they suck the life out of everything they touch. I don’t think I’d want a hypothetical newly reformed Mary Matlin providing advice to a Dem Senate Candidate.

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @some guy:

    I may be the only one confused, then. Carry on.

  124. 124
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Indeed some of the Dems up here can be pretty loathsome, but “old-school Yankee Republicans” is equivalent to the null set here and now. The only Republicans with any visibility are teabaggers or teabagger-lites, like Scott Brown. OK, maybe with the possible exception of Collins.

  125. 125
    Darkrose says:

    @Amir Khalid: I’m okay with “Comforter, Philosopher and Lifelong Shit” myself.

  126. 126
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Plus he’s viewed as kind of a flake by a lot of people – definitely not his father.

    I can’t think of another politician, maybe Al Gore, who’s more ill-served by TV than Chaffee. I saw him on TV a couple times and his ponderous way of speaking and kind of spacey look do suggest a flake (and a legacy, which I don’t like), but then I heard him in a couple long-form radio interviews, and he came across as not just thoughtful, but sharp. Strange thing, perception (don’t know what your impression up close is, it was mostly when he was still in the Senate I form mine).

    @124: Angus King?

  127. 127
    Darkrose says:

    @GregB:

    Charlie Crist, superstar.

    Do you think you’re who they say you are?

    Seriously, now that you’re a Democrat, you can come out! It’s okay!

  128. 128
    Darkrose says:

    @pat:

    I’m enjoying the image of “a WHOOPING 29% of republicans”

    I like that. It makes me think of whooping cough, and other things I want to avoid.

  129. 129
    Eric U. says:

    I’ve always been happy to vote for a blue dog because the alternative was always worse. A dem can’t get elected in my district here in Pennsyltucky. We have a relatively moderate Republican who votes just like the batchit crazy Republicans.

  130. 130
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Up close he seems curiously detached, like on TV. No question he’s a bright guy, but his old man could walk into a bar and feel at home, regardless of how blue-blooded he was (probably due to the fact that he was a grunt in the USMC in WWII). Linc, no. Lots of old people here voted for him because they voted for his Dad, no other reason.

    Oh, and Angus King isn’t a Republican either.

  131. 131
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Oh, and incidentally, one ‘f’.

  132. 132
    Joel says:

    @aimai: Politicans are, by definition, opportunists.

  133. 133
    Mandalay says:

    @some guy:

    she is the worst. some classic Little Debbie quotes:
    1) George Bush is “the right man at the right time.”
    2) “Let’s put the United States first again, and John McCain is the man as president who will help us do that.”
    3) “There is not a better Congressman in Washington than Chris Shays.”
    4) “I can’t say enough good things about Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; she has been my friend since I was first elected to office.”

    Whoa! Only quote #4 is from DWS:
    – Quote #1 is from Zell Miller.
    – Quote #2 is from Joe Lieberman.
    – Quote #3 is from Harold Ford.

    I’m no fan of DWS, but the truth about her is bad enough. There’s no need for this.

  134. 134
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @burnspbesq: OK it was a tad simplistic, but why are Republicans almost always against public transport.

  135. 135
    PaulW says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    I have a coworker who did his time literally 20 years ago and is navigating this hazy, confusing mess that Scott put in place… maybe we’ll review your case… we canceled the hearing… wait some more… don’t reapply yet, it’s still under review… wait…

    Get the ACLU’s number, see if there’s a action suit against Scott on this denial of his voting right. They’re clearly vote-blocking the guy.

  136. 136
    PaulW says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Because it means government spending for poor people (since the superrich can just jet or copter to wherever).

  137. 137
    alicia-logic says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    but why are Republicans almost always against public transport

    Think about who you might have to sit next to.

    This seems to explain their objection to universal health care as well.

  138. 138
    Goblue72 says:

    If we aren’t willing to work with an opportunist, then we aren’t willing to work with politicians. With rare exception, your average politico us a self-serving opportunist. We need to lay out the welcome mat to every convert and party-switcher tired of the teahads.

    The GOP welcomed a lot of Dem converts over the years. Phil Gramm used to be Democrat before he got kicked off his Committee for supporting the Reagan to cuts and quit to run as a Republican.

  139. 139
    Brachiator says:

    I wonder how people feel about the related questions of embracing party switchers like Charlie Crist.

    If you become a convert, you must be accepted.

    And even though some people may want to treat politics like some religion, when you get down to it, you ain’t born Democrat or Republican.

    People who switch parties can be particularly useful. They know some of the opposition secrets, and where the bodies are buried.

    Democrats should be actively asking moderate Republicans to “come on over.”

    I’m for taking them, as long as they aren’t ridiculous Blue Dog types (I don’t think Crist is).

    All the more reason to recruit moderate Republicans.

  140. 140
    Ron Thompson says:

    I don’t want so-called “moderate” Republicans like Crist, who backed Reagan and Bush and Gingrich and only left the Republican Party when it became apparent that his personal ambition required it (he was set to lose the primary to Rubio), in the Democratic Party. I want a progressive Democratic Party. Let Crist and others of his kind pursue their pro-business, pro-war, anti-labor policies in the Republican Party. Any adult who stuck with the Republican Party through Bush’s reelection is too morally tainted for any progressive to support.

  141. 141
    Brachiator says:

    @Ron Thompson:

    I don’t want so-called “moderate” Republicans like Crist, who backed Reagan and Bush and Gingrich and only left the Republican Party when it became apparent that his personal ambition required it (he was set to lose the primary to Rubio), in the Democratic Party. I want a progressive Democratic Party.

    You seem to be saying that politicians cannot change their minds, can never change their positions. This would be a purity party, not a progressive one. Are you also going to expel moderate Democrats?

    Are you going to poll citizens on their behavior, and deny rights and services to anyone who has not been sufficiently progressive?

  142. 142
    Kadzimiel says:

    @Ron Thompson:

    And when you’ve achieved your pure and virtuous progressive Democratic party, what will the three of you do then?

  143. 143
    chrismealy says:

    Transit and bike activists have been really happy with Transportation secretary Ray LaHood (a former Republican congressman).

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