4. Crist’s strengths magnify Scott’s weaknesses. In some stylistic respects, Crist and Scott are polar opposites. Crist is a great communicator who exudes warmth. Scott is aloof and struggles to connect with everyday people.
Whether or not voters view Crist as a principle-free opportunist, he is a poster child for civility, compromise and bipartisanship. Scott has forged a reputation as a partisan ideologue, coveting the support of tea party activists and belatedly embracing more money for public education.
“I don’t know why anyone is not a Republican,” Scott told a Republican gathering over the weekend.
5. Crist’s DNA. He has an all-consuming desire to hold elective office. If he wants to return to it, there may be no better time than now — against an unpopular governor and fresh off helping Obama win reelection.
FIVE REASONS HE SHOULD NOT RUN FOR GOVERNOR
1. Too much explaining to do. Does Crist really want to spend 18 months constantly explaining why he said his role model was Ronald Reagan? Called himself pro-life? Advocated chain gangs for prisoners? Supported a ban on gay marriage and prayer in public school? Signed a bill allowing people to bring guns into the parking lots of the workplace?
Then there’s his once-cozy relationship with former GOP chairman Jim Greer, awaiting charges of defrauding the party of about $200,000, not to mention a couple of Crist fundraisers who went to prison. Crist is an opposition researcher’s dream.
2. It’s not his party. Crist gives long-suffering Florida Democrats the illusion of leadership, but he’s a repackaged Democrat, not the real thing. He’s a drug for some Democrats desperate for relevance and would enable the party to avoid the much harder work of rebuilding from the ground up.
3. Revs up Republicans. First he tried to destroy GOP hero Marco Rubio in their 2010 U.S. Senate primary. Then he threw himself into re-electing Obama. Many Republicans are lukewarm about Scott, but nothing would motivate rank-and-file Republicans in 2014 than the prospect of burying the man they view as a turncoat.
4. Walked away. Crist abandoned the job of governor once before. Assured of reelection in 2010 at a time when Florida needed leadership the most, its economy cratering under the Great Recession, Crist put himself first and decided to run for U.S. Senate. Not to mention, he spent a big part of his gubernatorial term angling to be John McCain’s running mate.
Republicans already are noting that Florida bled jobs while Crist was in charge and gained jobs under Scott.
With a thin record of accomplishment, does Crist deserve his old job back?
5. Too risky. Early polls show Crist either losing to or running neck-and-neck with Sink among Democratic primary voters and essentially tied with Scott among general election voters.
If he loses a 2014 governor’s race, he will have lost three statewide campaigns: one as a Republican (for U.S. Senate in 1998), one as an independent (U.S. Senate, 2010) and one as a Democrat.
That’s the negative hat trick in Florida politics — three statewide losses.
Be patient, Charlie. Make some more money at Morgan and Morgan. You’re 56, and ultimately 81-year-old U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young will retire. Winning a congressional seat in your home turf is a much easier lift than running statewide again — and possibly losing.