UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

Crist’s cynicism in Senate selection, cronyism at its best

Gov. Charlie Crist’s robust approval ratings are a constant source of bewilderment. Crist shifts his positions with a regularity normally limited to users of Metamucil, and the public just doesn’t seem to care.

Remember when he was against offshore oil drilling? Remember when he was for responsible growth management? What about the time he ostentatiously stood with President Barack Obama, welcoming federal stimulus dollars? All these positions have since changed: he now favors drilling, signed a bill that effectively kills growth management and has distanced himself from President Obama as he gears up for a senate race next year.

Crist espouses an ethos of political nihilism that is at once innovative and insidious. Crist is an amorphous, amoral, unctuous mountebank who does not appear to have any immutable policy positions or compunctions about transparently doing what’s in his best political interests. Which are, of course, subject to frequent change.

Depending on what is most politically advantageous at the time, Crist can be considered in some quarters a common sense conservative, a milquetoast moderate, or — in the alternate universe that former state House Speaker Marco Rubio lives in — a progressive pugilist.

Amidst Florida’s worst economy in over three decades, with double-digit unemployment and the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, Crist still boasts a stratospheric 60 percent popularity rating and is considered the odds-on favorite to win next year’s U.S. Senate race.

While Floridians are struggling to find work and stay in their homes, Crist is seeking a promotion for presiding over some of the worst economic conditions in modern history.

The seat Crist will be vying for is being vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez, who last December announced he would not seek a second term. Just three weeks ago, Martinez decided to push up his departure date, intending to leave the Senate as soon as a replacement could be found.

Enter George LeMieux: Crist confidant, former campaign manager and chief of staff, and now Florida’s next U.S. Senator. Unlike most of the other nine or so finalists that Crist interviewed and asked to fill out senate application questionnaires, LeMieux has never held elected office.

Perhaps the only qualification LeMieux possesses that the others didn’t is an unflinching loyalty to his political sugar-daddy, Gov. Crist.

When asked about his political philosophy, LeMieux said he was a ‘Charlie Crist Republican.’ The Wall Street Journal has put it another way, dubbing LeMieux ‘Charlie Crist Lite’ and a Crist ‘mini-me.’

Crist’s selection of a like-minded politico is not the issue here. There were several well qualified Republican candidates Crist could have selected, including UNF President John Delaney. The blatant cronyism in elevating his concierge to an office of great moment is what is troubling.

LeMieux says his stay in Washington will be short, as he will not stand for election in 2010. See, that would interfere with his old boss’ plans to get out of the economic morass he helped to create here in Florida and move up to the big leagues in Washington. Crist has some extra tanning to do as he gets ready for the national spotlight.

With the appointment of his unqualified lackey, Crist has signaled to the state that cronyism and political expedience trumps principled leadership and problem solving. He has proven Max Linn right, who said during a debate in the 2006 gubernatorial campaign that his opponent Crist was just an ‘empty suit.’

”Are you surprised?” Crist asked at the press conference announcing his choice of LeMieux. What, Governor, surprised that you have chosen a ‘caretaker’ to warm the seat you seek in 2010, rather than someone with the gravitas and qualifications to serve the state well? Surprised that you have chosen what is best for your political ambitions rather than what is best for Floridians? No, not surprised. Just fed up.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Spinnaker intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, slurs, defamation, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and will be removed if they do not adhere to these standards. Spinnaker does not allow anonymous comments, and Spinnaker requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All UNF Spinnaker Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *