Green Room

The New Bellwether for 2010

posted at 10:51 pm on May 11, 2009 by

There is a new Senate race to watch for 2010.  Benedict Arlen ended the previous Race To Watch by crossing the aisle after discovering that he’s polling 20+ behind Pat Toomey.  You know what’s funny?  Jumping parties in order to avoid getting stomped in a primary, only to face a bruising primary anyway.  After refusing to submit his Congressional record to the scrutiny of the Pennsylvania Republican electorate, he could potentially be forced to subject himself to the scrutiny of Pennsylvania Democrats…who regard him with the all the authenticity of John Kerry’s cheesesteak (make mine a Wiz wit, but I digress).  Thus fizzled what was supposed to be a bellwether primary, in which a conservative faced off against a moderate.  At stake, not just a chance to run for the U.S. Senate, but the very, very soul of the GOP.  Well, hold on now…because with the drama sort of over in the Keystone State, we’re about to see that fight move to the Sunshine State.   

Governor Charlie Crist is expected to announce for the Senate as early as Tuesday, potentially setting up a moderate vs. conservative primary in which he faces off against a staunch conservative, former House Speaker Marco Rubio.  Crist’s special brand of squishy centrism is a matter of public record.   Crist, among other things, reversed himself on a conservative Supreme Court appointment, blocked a coal-powered plant due to environmental concerns, and was the state’s largest (and most vocal) Porkulus supporter.  It should be noted that this is Crist’s second run at the Senate (he lost to Bob Graham in 1996).  Since then, Crist has undergone more reinventions and makeovers than Madonna, with the sole intent of raising his profile for his next shot at the Senate.  His assumed personae have run the gamut…from hard-nosed “Chaingang Charlie” as AG, all the way to his current iteration, which I choose to name Skinny Arnold.  Pretty much everything we need to know about Crist can be summed up in this bon mot from state GOP chair Jim Greer (emphasis mine):

Crist has “concluded that the problems and issues that Floridians are facing high unemployment and the economy can’t be solved in Tallahassee, they need to be solved in Washington, and I believe that’s what he’s going to do.”
If his ham-handed attempts at controlling home insurers are any indication, then I’m pretty sure we can do without Crist’s special brand of problem-solving.  Luckily, the Florida Legislature stepped in and deregulated large carriers such as State Farm before they went Galt.  Thanks, Jimbo, but no thanks.  We don’t need Chaingang Charlie wreaking RINO mayhem in the United States Congress, where other people’s trillions are currently thrown around like Mardi Gras beads.  “Washington” got us into many of the problems we face today, and we expect the states to provide leaders with a fresh perspective instead of gleefuly aggravating the problem.  
The key to this primary, of course, is one John Ellis Bush.  Does he endorse his successor and continue along his recent slouch towards pragmatism, or does he endorse his disciple Rubio as a strong stand for the kind of confident fiscal conservatism he displayed as Governor?  Marco Rubio is not a household name yet…but he is an unvarnished conservative.  More importantly, he is a conservative who can carry the state.  Here’s hoping John Cornyn doesn’t pick a loser.  
Pennsylvania wasn’t in play until Arlen Specter jumped ship.  This is the bellwether race for 2010. 
UpdateIt’s official.  And Cornyn, predictably, has already crapped the bed

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Crist ought to follow Arlen’s example and join the Dems.

erp on May 12, 2009 at 9:22 AM

Why exactly did Cornyn feel the need to endorse Crist immediately? There are several conclusions I’m desperate to leap to, but I don’t know enough about Cornyn, Crist, or Rubio to feel confident about them.

CK MacLeod on May 12, 2009 at 11:32 AM

I support Rubio for his positions on taxation and spending. I’d vote for near anyone against Crist for his past actions on global warming, Porkulus, and the judiciary.

Kid from Brooklyn on May 12, 2009 at 12:25 PM