Crist: I'll announce my decision Thursday

This almost qualifies as a “so what?” moment, since Charlie Crist faced a deadline of Friday for his decision on whether to run for the US Senate as a Republican, an independent, or not at all.  Instead of waiting until the last moment, Crist promised his Cabinet that he would make his intentions clear on Thursday — which hints at some sort of change of status, at least:

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he’ll decide by Thursday whether to stay in his state’s GOP Senate primary or run as an independent.

Crist told reporters after a Cabinet meeting Tuesday that he’d like to wrap it up. The official deadline to decide is noon Friday.

If he does decide to run as an independent, he’ll need a better campaign slogan than this (emphasis mine):

Asked what’s changed that’s making him consider an independent run, Crist quietly responded that he didn’t know.

To me, that sounds like a man prepared to exit the race. If Crist wanted to run as an independent, he would have seized the opportunity to lay out his beefs with the GOP — although considering the warm embrace he got from the NRSC last year, Crist hardly has any room for complaint. Failing that, Crist could have answered, “No comment,” or “Ask me on Thursday.” An “I don’t know” not only matches what everyone else thinks, it also undermines any argument he can muster in the next 48 hours.

We’ll know by Thursday, of course, but it seems pretty clear that Charlie Crist is finished in this race, especially if he himself doesn’t know why he’d need to go independent.  The big question is whether Crist realizes it or not.