On Morning Joe today (where you go to find out what the left wants to say) there were two stories that seemed unrelated but taken together could mean an awful lot.
The first was a story out of Florida, the Transformation of Charlie Crist is now complete:
Charlie Crist is running for Florida governor as a Democrat.
The worst-kept secret in politics was confirmed Friday afternoon when the Republican Party of Florida spotted Crist’s official filing with the state Division of Elections.
The former Republican governor turned Democrat plans a formal announcement at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Petersburg’s Albert Whitted Park, 480 Bayshore Drive SE, but the state GOP beat him to the punch.
Crist is a poster boy for what I described last week when talking about political parties as fraternal orders:
It’s not the Elks, the Eagles or the Lions club. All are decent clubs that do good things but there really isn’t much of a difference between one or the other,
A political party isn’t supposed to be like that. A party has a platform and a particular beliefs. In theory a person joins and supports a political party because of those common beliefs and values and votes for one party over another because he or she wants to advance those ideas or values.
If people are however in a party because it happens to be the club they joined then belief and principles becomes “flexible” because the purpose is to serve the “club” rather than the people.
Crist doesn’t care what club he belongs to as long as it brings him power and status.
Joe Scarborough is likely right on the money when he said Rick Scott will eat him alive but you never know.
Our second story is not of a governor’s race but of a Senate Race, more specifically a Senate primary in Texas:
Texas tea party activists eager to send another firebrand in the mold of Ted Cruz to the Senate have launched a movement to draft evangelical historian David Barton to run against Sen. John Cornyn.
Barton, who hosts a daily radio broadcast, has wide name recognition and respect on the religious right as a Constitutional scholar dedicated to restoring the America the Founding Fathers envisioned, though his scholarship on that point has been widely discredited in the world of academia.
Given how far left the world of Academia is today that would be a positive plus in a Texas primary
Political analysts doubt he could take down a candidate as well-funded, well-known and widely endorsed as Cornyn. But they’re not willing to count out an insurgent from the right — not after watching Cruz come from nowhere two years ago. Barton has deep political roots, having spent nearly a decade as vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party. He is a skilled orator. And he’s got the stagecraft down pat: He travels the country to deliver rousing tributes to patriotism, often in red, white and blue Western shirts.
Now Cornyn is certainly a lot stronger than David Dewhurst and has a huge power base to draw on so normally this would be not be that bad a situation but there is one piece of his past that is about to be highlighted:
A week after saying he wasn’t taking sides in the high-profile GOP primary in the Sunshine State, Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, endorsed Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
That didn’t sit well with the base and caused at least one blogger to decline an invitation to a conference call when he was informed any question on that endorsement was off limits:
Since that was the case, I declined to attend the teleconference. Going on the line with John Cornyn and not being able to talk about the Crist endorsement would be like doing a teleconference with Blago right after he appointed Burris and being unable to ask him about it.
I included these lines in my reply email to Mr. Cornyn’s staffer,
One thing he might want to think about though: If today, in May, he’s scared to take questions from his own side on this issue, how ugly is it going to get if he lets this build up for a few months?
It’s not too late for him to say it was a mistake to endorse anyone and publicly change his mind. It will save the NRSC millions in endorsements and will make that primary fight considerably less ugly.
It provoked outrage from bloggers
It smacks of a deal cut to get Crist to skip a re-election campaign to go after the Senate seat. While Crist’s popularity is an asset, Crist’s positions on issues are going to give conservatives and even moderates some angst in the party. Crist openly supported the Porkulus plan, which would have put him with Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins as the only Republicans in Congress who did. Cornyn himself fought against Porkulus. So why is the NRSC endorsing Crist over Marco Rubio 15 months ahead of the primary?
The attempt of NRSC Chairman John Cornyn and Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer to fix the Senate primary for their buddy, Charlie Crist, was the last straw in a long series of similar moves by the Republican establishment, which had been meddling in the primary process for years, although never so blatantly as in this Florida Senate race. When GOP insiders think they can hand-pick the Republican candidate 15 months before the primary, something has gone seriously awry in the party machinery.
And when Cornyn was re-elected as GOP chair:
Please tell me exactly what justifies any need “to be fair” to John Cornyn? Thanks to his blundering interference in Florida, Charlie Crist walked off with more than $10 million in GOP donations.Why should Cornyn and the NRSC get a free pass while on their failures, while over at the RNC, political director Gentry Collins resigned and presented a specific indictment of the organization?
That was the last straw.
Now imagine 4 years later a GOP primary in Texas featuring John Cornyn against a strong Tea Party favorite with national name recognition at the same time that Charlie Crist is running for governor of Florida as a Democrat after switching parties and endorsing Barack Obama in 2012.
The ads write themselves.
I’ll give the last word to John Hawkins who Nailed it in 2009.
Mark my words, this is likely to get much nastier over time.
If I was Cornyn I’d be afraid:
Update: And the bad news just keeps coming:
How on Earth does an allegedly seasoned GOP political operator like a Josh Holmes think it wise to run to the Times with what amounts to a jack-booted attempt to stifle both free market capitalism and political dissent? Those are supposed to be core values for the GOP. Yet, here we see a DC GOP establishment on display at its worst—saying, in effect, “If you engage in a form of commerce we don’t like, we will try to destroy you! If you attempt to exercise your First Amendment right to free speech to say something with which we disagree, we will try to destroy you!”
I’m ashamed to think that a party to which I am connected is even thinking in such terms within its inner circles.
THAT is the message Holmes sent to the base here. And whether the Beltway GOP likes it or not, it’s the only one an increasingly restive base is going to take away from all this. And that’s only the beginning of why this is so bad for Mitch McConnell, now likely facing an emboldened and even more empowered primary challenger back home in Kentucky.
This is as stupid as it gets.
I’ve always fallen within the camp that says that reforming the GOP from within, returning it to its anti-establishment roots, has the highest probability of success. There are plenty of other fringe parties afoot in the U.S.; adding a Tea Party to those ranks will succeed in widening the fringe, while simultaneously making the Democrat’s mopping-up operations easier. And that position’s irrefutable, as we watch the elected Tea Party reformers like Cruz, Paul, Lee in the Senate do two things (1) inspire the base, and (2) receive fatwahs from the elite.
It’s really simple, does the GOP want conservative new media writing stories like this or would they rather have us hitting democrats?
It’s Monday and Normally I’d be a tad worried as I’m only $2 on the way to my $305 paycheck.
But last week started the same way and ended with my 2nd best week ever.
Granted by this time next week I’ll have to cover the cost of both Chris & Vin as well but if 15 of you kicked in $20 It would be a magnificent week.