George Graham

Charlie Crist is Just Too Nice to be a Republican

Welcome home, Charlie. I suspected you would be joining the Democrats. You’ll be a lot happier now. Those Republicans didn’t deserve you.  I guess you made the move in preparation for a 2014 challenge to that unspeakable Rick Scott (photo above, left). And, of course, you can count on my vote. I voted for you once before – when you ran for a Florida Senate seat as an Independent. (It was obvious the Democratic candidate had no chance, and I certainly wasn’t going to vote for Marco Rubio – yech!)

It’s discouraging that some sanctimonious “progressives” (the Tampa Bay Times, for example) are calling you a phony because you used to brag about being a “conservative” and “a Reagan Republican.” As far as I’m concerned, that was then and this is now.

All things considered, you were a pretty good governor, Charlie. And, more important, you seem to be a good-hearted person. That counts for a lot with me. Political dogma is all well and good, but I like candidates who look out for the little guy, who can put themselves in the other person’s shoes, who do to others as they would have others do to them.

What’s also appealing to me, Charlie, is your humility. You don’t pretend to be a know-it-all. You didn’t get all huffy when they ran those “Sorry Charlie” billboard ads about the number of times you had to take the Florida Bar exam before passing it. I imagine you chuckled. That’s the kind of person you seem to be.

But you found out that kindness doesn’t always beget kindness, didn’t you? I bet you thought the teachers would vote for you after you vetoed that lousy merit-pay bill cooked up by the joke of a Legislature we Floridians are lumbered with.

Some folks just can’t figure out which side their bread is buttered on.  A lot of Florida’s teachers voted for Rick Scott. I bet they were chagrined when he handed out all those pink slips.

It says a lot that you were vilified by Republicans for giving President Obama a much-deserved hug (photo above) back when you were governor. Republicans are so mean spirited they couldn’t appreciate how grateful you were for the stimulus money your struggling state received.

It’s fitting that you got a fist bump from the president when you announced at his Christmas party that you were joining the Democrats.

My part of Florida can be stubbornly Republican, Charlie, but I bet a lot of my neighbors will vote for you, especially after seeing how Scott rolls. (They voted for a Democratic governor before – local legend Lawton Chiles, remember?)

That’s one walking train wreck, that Scott.  He is as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside. And he is making a royal mess of our state. The sooner we get rid of him the better.

It is stunning that so many Floridians voted for him. They knew his health care company got caught looting Medicare. He even had to pay a $1.7 billion fine. How sleazy is that?

I know Alex Sink was a banker and that did not add to her appeal. The outrageous bank bailout was still fresh in voters’ minds when she ran against Scott. And every day I read another story about the banks getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar. But she didn’t have to pay any fines, as far as I know. I wonder whether some voters were turned off by the fact that she is a woman? (This is Florida, after all, and we haven’t quite caught up with the 21st century down here yet.) Or do they just dislike all Democrats? I know they couldn’t possibly find Scott attractive.

I’m looking forward to the 2014 mid-term elections when we’ll get the chance to send ogres like Scott packing. The Republicans have bared their ugly souls since they were swept into power in 2010, and Americans are wise to them now. In state after state, they are trying to bust the unions, revoke abortion rights and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

Not even the Koch Brothers and those other malevolent millionaires will be able to keep them in power. And, as they say in Jamaica, we’ll beat  ol’ frying pans and rub ol’ cheese graters behind them as they leave.

Click here to read about Crist’s announcement.

Click here for more on the 2014 governor’s race.

Click here for more on Scott’s Medicare fraud case.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for