A year ago, when Barack Obama needed some bipartisan cover for the Porkulus package that got written without any Republican input, he headed down to Florida and got Charlie Crist to appear on stage to give him a boost. Now, Charlie Crist wants to dump the GOP and run as an independent, with an announcement expected later today, and he needs a big boost to get taken seriously by Sunshine State voters. According to Marc Ambinder, Crist tried calling his friends in the Obama White House — who refused to take his call:
Here first: Charlie Crist, soon to be independent Senate candidate from Florida, tried to reach White House chief of staff Emanuel through intermediates. WH refuses to take the call. Dems plan big talent/money blitz for Kendrick Meek. BTW: Obama’s approval rating in FL is in high 40s, per internal Dem polling.
We should make clear that a Democratic White House really has no business supporting an independent against a credible Democratic candidate, so this isn’t a knock on Rahm. Had he decided to pick up the phone and offer Crist help, that would have all but ended Meek’s bid, with little hope of success for Crist to overtake Marco Rubio in a general election anyway. Rahm’s smart enough to know when to let the phone keep ringing.
However, this demonstrates the desperation and the naiveté of Crist and his team (assuming, of course, that Ambinder got this right). Did they really expect to get a friendly ear from Obama’s team? Obama used Crist to get what he wanted — but Crist was using Obama, too. Obama had just won Florida for Democrats for the first time in a few presidential cycles, and Crist wanted to climb aboard Obama’s bandwagon. That’s one of the reasons why Crist finds himself over twenty points behind Rubio now.
That also shows how desperate Crist has become. It was Crist’s embrace of Obama that torpedoed his bid for the GOP nomination. The hair of the dog is about the last remedy anyone with any sense would prescribe, but it may be all Crist has left when his donors abandon him and the center sticks with Rubio.