Crist almighty

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Florida’s junior US Senator Mel Martinez pulled a Palin earlier this month and resigned his seat. A GWB lackey and RNC chief who had the unenviable task of serving as RNC Hispanic outreach coordinator in the party of Tancredo after the poisonous immigration bill debate, Martinez had previously said he wouldn’t run for reelection but that he’d serve out his term.

His decision to skedaddle early spurred widespread speculation: Was Martinez resigning ahead of a sensational Appalachian Trail-style revelation? Was he intimidated by the ravening wingnut hordes who hate his guts for being insufficiently hostile to Spanish-speaking immigrants, which include Martinez himself? We may never know.

But his abrupt departure sure complicated FL Governor Charlie Crist’s (R-Not Jeb) plans to run for the senate seat. As governor, it fell to Crist to appoint an interim senator. Local pundits speculated that, Goldilocks-like, Crist had to find a seat-warmer who was not too cold, not too hot but juuuuust right in order to avoid conferring a bully pulpit on a prospective rival or a too-obvious toady.

Crist ignored that advice and went full too-obvious toady, appointing his best friend and former campaign manager / chief of staff George LeMieux. That pissed off just about everyone. But can you blame Crist? As Blago wisely said, a senate seat is “fucking golden.” Crist couldn’t just parachute himself in, so he did the next best thing.

Crist walks a fine line in Florida. Hard-core conservatives consider him insufficiently Jeb-like, vaguely gay and too eager to feed at Obama’s socialist stimulus trough. The candidate of that crowd is K-Lo heartthrob Marco Rubio, who is considered Crist’s top GOP rival for the nomination but is running nearly 30 points behind.

Crist is fairly popular despite presiding over imploding housing values and one of the worst job markets in the country. But we’re only one poorly handled hurricane away from a profoundly more sour mood among the electorate, so who knows what will happen.

The consensus among the hard-right, who never trusted Crist anyway, is that this appointment was a bad move that may jeopardize Crist’s formerly near-certain lock on the senate seat nomination. For once, they may be right.

[Cross-posted at Betty Cracker]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 08/31/09 at 01:13 PM • Permalink

Categories: NewsPoliticsBushCo

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Is it wrong that I sort of hope totally-not-gay-because-he’s-married-now Crist finds true love and happiness with SC totally-not-gay lieutenant gov Andre Brauer?

That may be the best post title we’ve ever had here.

Or did Martinez resign early precisely to complicate Crist’s situation, betting (successfully) on an unforced error? Or have I been reading too much Carl Hiassen?

Dave, I’ve heard that theory bandied about, but I don’t personally buy it because Crist and Martinez are generally allies, being what passes for “moderates” in FL GOP circles. I think it’s more plausible that Martinez thought resigning would help Crist somehow and that it went horribly awry.

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