Monday, November 16, 2009

Charlie’s Troubles

You know things are going to get interesting when the New York Times picks up the story, and the race between Gov. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio for the open Senate seat in Florida is doing that.

Republican pragmatists argue that to take back its majority, the party has to appeal to a broader range of voters, even if it means running candidates who might stray from the party orthodoxy.

Conservatives counter that Republicans have become Democrats’ enablers in bigger deficits and bigger government, and that the way to win is to sharpen the distinctions between the parties.

A raft of conservative groups, commentators and politicians are supporting a primary challenge to Mr. Crist by Marco Rubio, a telegenic former speaker of the Florida House christened a Reaganite’s answer to Mr. Obama by The National Review.

Mr. Crist, who has been endorsed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is seen by these conservatives as too moderate — even liberal — in his judicial appointments and his support of policies like cap and trade for emissions that contribute to global warming and restoring voting rights to ex-felons.

“Florida is a hill to die on for conservatives,” said Erick Erickson, editor of the conservative blog RedState.com, which leads a daily drumbeat against Mr. Crist. “This is the clearest example we have of these two competing concepts.”

While it may be fun to watch the GOP and the conservatives beat the crap out of each other, and while it may garner national attention and bring in some much-needed tourism dollars from the punditocracy, what they’re seeming to forget is that what they’re fighting for is a seat in the United States Senate.

That’s what pisses me off the most about stories like this; neither of the candidates seem to give a rat’s ass about what happens after the election. Once that election is over, we need someone there who will do the job because they’re the one we want in Washington doing our business, not the one with the cleverest or snarkiest bumper sticker or the backing of whack-job bloggers from outside the state — or in it, for that matter.