Where's Charlie Crist?
Around the State
Nan Rich showed. She may have flip-flopped on her Stand Your Ground vote in 2005, but at least we saw her there among the protesters at the Capitol, so we know she's agin' the law now. Charlie Crist, on the other hand ...
What does he think?
Does he go along with the Rev. Jesse Jackson? Does he believe Florida, the state he governed for four years, is "toxic" and "the Selma of our time"?
Where did Charlie disappear to?
The whole nation watched as Florida, not just George Zimmerman, went on trial for the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Wouldn't you think Charlie Crist, who is a lawyer, who is Florida's former attorney general, Florida's former governor and everybody's odds-on favorite to challenge for the top office again next year ... wouldn't you think he would want to help Floridians navigate this divisive issue? Surely he's up to his tan line in historic insight and legal wisdom.
Apparently Charlie gets a hall pass, as he usually does on the tough questions. To the best of my knowledge, nobody is asking why we don't hear a peep from him on Zimmerman, Martin or the protest going on inside his former office at the Capitol. I called Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant to find out if she might help me reach out to him. Her assistant said she would get back to me, but she never did.
John Morgan told reporters Thursday it's "premature" to pile gubernatorial-candidate expectations on Charlie Crist because he's not a candidate yet and won't "decide" until September or October. (Really? He doesn't know yet?) Morgan wasn't talking about any particular issue, just the Republicans' fear of him.
Morgan, who is Charlie's high-profile employer, big-time campaign fundraiser and owner of the national law firm Morgan & Morgan, was speaking at Tiger Bay in Tallahassee. Mostly, he was there to throw his political heft behind a constitutional amendment on medical marijuana, but he spent a little time on Charlie.
Charlie, he told reporters, "is still a private citizen and (the Republicans) are falling apart."
So, Charlie gets to be a private citizen when everyone knows he isn't. He gets to hide in the attic or the basement of his new party, the one he calls "my wonderful new home." He gets to scribble his memoirs unencumbered until Morgan, the once-upon-a-time Walt Disney World magician, pulls him out of a hat.
Charlie won't have to worry about money when he declares, Morgan said. He'll be able to match Gov. Rick Scott's $100 million. He's going to reel in a boatful of national Democratic loot, because the party wants to claim a Southern governor and so does President Obama, who credits Charlie more than anyone else with helping him win Florida in 2012. "Charlie would be the first Southern domino to move the South," Morgan said.
Morgan is right. Charlie is definitely getting in the race. The party has no one else and it's crowned him its beauty queen.
But candidate or not, if he believed it was in his best interest to weigh in on Stand Your Ground or Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman, he would be up at the Capitol surrounded by media, in a Dream Defenders T-shirt, passing mock legislation with the protesters. He had plenty to say in a July 2012 Washington Post oped on the Republicans' "voter purge," when he blamed the Florida Legislature for "making a mockery of democracy." That's something he did to whip up the party base in Florida, move voters to the polls.
Not so tricky to speak up then when your president has his arm on your shoulder.
But getting involved in Stand Your Ground in Florida, where polls are working against you and Jesse Jackson's intemperate words have ruffled even Florida Democrats, who may not be entirely sure what you stand for? There's just no percentages in it.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423.