Monday, April 14, 2008

Crist on the List?

Florida Governor Charlie Crist is being touted by some as a running mate for John McCain.

As the Democratic primary plods on and restless political minds turn to the Republican veepstakes, the affable governor of Florida is routinely on the national media’s shortlist.

For every expert on the vice presidency and every conservative leader who rules Gov. Charlie Crist out, there’s a pollster or pundit who insists he’s in the mix.

Either way, Crist’s political stock rises.

Like a humble actor walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards would say, it’s an honor just to be nominated.

”Having your name rumored for the No. 2 position in the country is very flattering,” said Timothy Walch, editor of At the President’s Side: The Vice Presidency in the Twentieth Century. ”The people in your own state may think they need to be more respectful if the rest of the country seems to think you could be vice president.”

Crist says he’s focused on being governor, though last year he repealed a resign-to-run law that would have made him give up his day job to campaign for vice president.

Wishful thinking.

There are reasons he’s being looked at:

– Florida could be a battleground state in the general election, and anything that gives the GOP an edge in a state that is not reliably Republican — and Florida isn’t — could help.

– He’s a moderate, which could attract people who aren’t spittle-flecked righties but not quite ready to vote for Obama or Clinton.

– He’s not John McCain. He’s young, he’s energetic, and he comes across as a nice guy on TV and in person, and not in a smarmy or patronizing way.

The article also lists some reasons why Gov. Crist is a long shot.

– Experience. John McCain is 72 and Charlie Crist has been governor for sixteen months and has no foreign policy experience. He could wake up one morning as president and be in way over his head.

– Vice presidential candidates are rarely chosen to pick up their home state electoral votes.

– His popularity can only go down as soon as the reality of budget cuts to popular programs and public schools hit the voters. Reality has a way of doing that.

– He’s a moderate and he’s single. Both of those raise warning flags to the right wing fundies, especially the single part. Rumors about Crist’s private life have been around for years, and while it’s completely irrelevant to whether or not he’s qualified to be governor or vice president, the righties are suspicious of anyone who isn’t vehemently anti-whatever their bigotry of the week is. Not being married, for whatever reason, sets them off. Wait until James Dobson gets ahold of that.

My guess is that Gov. Crist will be on the list but will get passed over this time and get bandied about for a Cabinet post if disaster strikes and McCain wins.

The only other Floridian whom they could possibly consider for the vice presidential post is doomed from the outset unless he changes his name to Jeb Lipschitz.