Columns

Cameras Don't Lie: Charlie's Consuming Washington Itch

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: July 14, 2014 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist selfie

Who knows how long Charlie Crist the Republican hankered to hobnob with the most powerful politicians in Washington.

Five years? Ten years? Since he was a kid?

The thing about Charlie's ambitions is, he never let the demands of his current job get in their way. As soon as voters gave him one job, he was hugging up some celebrity politician for a bigger one.

Democrats -- in fact, all Florida voters in 2014 -- might want to remember that. This is a leopard who changes his positions but never his spots.

Charlie Crist and John McCain

Charlie and John McCain

Look at just his performance as governor. As soon as Charlie got a whiff of what 2008 presidential candidate John McCain was selling -- a shot at the vice presidency -- he didn't want to live in the governor's mansion anymore. He became the highest paid hooky player in Tallahassee, hung out with presidential campaign teams, attended swanky, private parties out of state. And when that didn't work out, he got busy running for U.S. Senate.

In essence, Charlie abdicated long before his term ended.

Charlie Crist and Newt Gingrich

Charlie and Newt Gingrich

In 2006, in his first gubernatorial campaign, Charlie promised Floridians: “I’ll work for you every day.” He even ran an ad using an empty chair to symbolize missed votes in Congress by his Democratic opponent, Jim Davis. You know what happened after that, right? Charlie was sworn into office Jan. 2. Three days later he took the day off. After that, he took another 123 days off and worked 238 half (or less) days (excluding weekends), which is equal to an additional 164 days off.

Some folks in Tallahassee still remember his nickname in 2007 and after. It wasn't "Chain Gang Charlie" anymore. It was "Empty Chair Charlie."

Charlie can call himself "the people's governor" all he wants, but he sure doesn't work like any of the people I know. We didn't have to read Jim Greer's book to know he likes the high life. As governor he enjoyed a jet-setting lifestyle, mixing with celebrities, attending charity balls, staying at grand hotels and relaxing in his new wife's $4 million condo on Miami's Fisher Island. On April 17, 2009, the Sun-Sentinel published an investigation of Charlie's work ethic, "Gov. Charlie Crist's schedule shows many blank days."

I Beg to Differ

Had his term as governor been in good times, his schedule might not have drawn scrutiny. But 2007-2010 especially was not good times for Florida.

Said the Fort Lauderdale newspaper, "Crist, who is paid $132,932 a year, is presiding over a historic collapse of the state's housing market, banking sector and construction industry, and a slowdown in tourism. Lawmakers in Tallahassee are wrestling with a $6 billion budget gap and possible funding cuts for police, schools, health care and the poor."

Charlie Crist and Rudy Giuliani

Charlie and Rudy Giuliani

By June 2009 Charlie had decided to run for U.S. Senate. From this point, fuzzy as his eye on the ball was in those early days as governor, his eyesight worsened the further into the Senate campaign he got. 

But, back to 2008: Before the November presidential election Charlie took time out of his work schedule to campaign for John McCain, appearing at rallies, raising money for him in Texas and California, and visiting the GOP candidate at his ranch in Sedona, Ariz.

"He was with him so many times I thought he was an adopted member of the family," Mitch Ceasar, 2009 Democratic chairman of Broward County, told the Sun-Sentinel.

Charlie loved the attention of Big Party Republicans. All of them. Loved having his picture taken with them, loved putting the photos in frames. He was famous for making promises he couldn't keep to federal-office seekers, perhaps because hoping to win the support of the governor of Florida, they all stroked his ego and he couldn't say no.

Charlie Crist and Sarah Palin

Charlie and Sarah Palin

He angered the Giuliani campaign in the 2008 presidential election by leading it to believe he would endorse the former mayor; instead, he backed McCain. In his book "The Party's Over," he explains this episode by writing that he liked McCain because, while “extremism seemed to be rising inside the party, John was the voice of reason to me,” including on the “red-meat social issues.” Never mind that it makes no sense, that McCain was strongly pro-life and very much against gay marriage. On the other hand, Charlie has changed his mind so often on abortion maybe he's just confused.

It explains a lot about Charlie's ambition that in his after-the-fact book he describes serious misgivings about McCain's vice presidential choice, Sarah Palin. Yet he never expressed them at the time, he kept mum, escorted Palin around Florida like a Dutch uncle. In fact, in one CNN interview he intimated that with Palin's executive experience in Alaska, she was more qualified to be president than Barack Obama. 

There are photos of Crist with his heroes all over the Internet. Had "selfies" been invented in 2007, Charlie would have had himself a hobby, I'm convinced of it. This is a man who needs to hug the next rung and photograph it. Remember, in 2007 it only took him six months after he was inaugurated to set his sights on Washington, D.C.

I just don't want you to think that because he's turned Democrat, he's somehow lost his seven-year itch for the Beltway high-life. 

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. 


Comments (12)

Ana Gomez-Mallada
7:04AM JUL 15TH 2014
Does anyone know where Charlie "the Windsock" Crist stands on "Stand Your Ground"?
JOE KREPS
1:09AM JUL 15TH 2014
Charlie has about as much credibility as a Democrat as Scott has of being a human being.
The Artist Formerly Known as Bill
4:51PM JUL 14TH 2014
Meant to also say the cartoon nailed it!
what difference does it make
3:12PM JUL 14TH 2014
Rick Scott has already got his Mel Sembler sabbatical on April 1st this year. Sembler owns the entire Bush master clan and hoisted Charlie into politics to start with.

Rick Scott works hard alright. Hard at replenishing that $70 million in stolen Medicare money he along with the help of Jeb Bush bought the governor's job with.

As sorry a president as Jimmy Carter was he did do one thing for the USA. He beat Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller and saved the USA from having a Rockefeller (Rothschild) world bankster just one heart-beat from the white house.

Rick Scott has been in the Bush dynasty scheme of things since the middle 1970's and in the South Florida hospital takeover when Jeb's partner Miguel Recarey fled the country in 1987.

Jeb Bush installed one Fulgencio Batista (born in Spain) grandson on the Florida Supreme Court. Now co-governor's Jeb Bush and Rick Scott have installed (born in Spain) Carlos Lopez-Cantera as Lt Governor of Florida.

They also invented political correctness to stop people from telling the truth by labeling them racist or the material containing the truth is copyrighted (orthe truth tellers is disgruntled or something else) anything to stop people from bringing their schemes to light..

Charlie Crist might have been weaned into politics by the master child abuser of all times Mel Sembler. But, this time I will vote for Charlie Because it's the only chance we have to hopefully keep the Cuban-American mob from totally taking over the state of Florida.
James Crawford
8:38PM JUL 15TH 2014
Bob Dole was Gerald Ford's running mate in 1976. Nelson Rockefeller was the current sitting Vice President but was dropped from the ticket.
MILINDA DHAMMIKA RATNASURIYA
1:10AM JUL 15TH 2014
Can The Voters Of Florida Trust A Man Who Changes Parties just For Personal Gains ??? No, I Don't Think So !!!
The Artist Formerly Known as Bill
4:48PM JUL 14TH 2014
Oh man and I thought all the conspiracy theorists were on the right! This character has the tea party crazies beat
Ralph
10:59AM JUL 14TH 2014
Carly Fiorini received a fortune cookie that applies to you both: "Bitter words means weak argument." LOL
Frank
9:03AM JUL 14TH 2014
Such a petty SSN piece . . . . and sad attempted demonization . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Raoul Gallante
1:35PM JUL 14TH 2014
There is nothing petty about the message in this story. The big newspapers had a lot to say about Crists work habits or lack of them when he was governor. Now that he is a Democrat they conveniently forget this sloppy & careless lazy attitude he had towards the people of Florida. You may not like Rick Scott so much but he works hard every day & wants to be our governor. Crist wants to be governor so he has a stepping stone.
Frank
9:21AM JUL 17TH 2014
Criminals also work hard . . . . hard work alone does not a good Governor make . . . . Rick Scott proves that . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Mark
6:27AM JUL 14TH 2014
Wow Nancy. I can't wait to read your articles on idiots like Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, John Mica, and Marco Rubio,(just to name a few power hungry folks). All of these examples hunger for power and run to the more powerful so they can support their own unrealistic dreams!
When, Nancy, will you begin to write in an equal manner? It hasn't happened yet, but I'll hold out hope. I continue to look forward to reading your writings about those I mentioned above and more!

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