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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist's fading mojo



Cristnew Charlie Crist has always courted national media attention and lately - for better or worse - he's getting it in spades.

There was the Wall Street Journal piece on disgraced lawyer/fundraiser Scott Rothstein, featuring a front page image of Crist with Rothstein, inscribed, "Scott-you are amazing! -Charlie Crist."

Today's New York Times puts Crist's political troubles on the front page.: As Mr. Crist was introduced at the Ronald Reagan Black Tie and Blue Jeans Barbeque at an open-air rodeo in this Central Florida town this month, hecklers with Rubio bumper stickers on their backs called out, “Go Hug Obama!”

Politico's headline today: Charlie Crist loses his mojo.

Over at CNN David Frum offers a take on Marco Rubio much more sympathetic to Crist: They used to have a saying in Tammany Hall: "It's better to lose an election than lose control of the party" -- and control of the party is precisely what is at stake in Florida 2010.

But here's the most important unasked question raised by the enthusiasm for Rubio among Washington conservatives: What alternative policy should have been adopted back in the spring, when interest rates had been cut to almost zero and the economy was still collapsing? Are vague bromides about big government anything like an adequate response to the worst economic crisis experienced by any American under age 80?

And in CQ, Grover Norquist raises the question of whether Rubio can win the general election : If you’re asking me to boot the guy we expect to win the primary that’s too liberal and you give me someone else, can the somebody else win? And two, is the guy you’re asking me to boot a 90 percenter and just not perfect, or does he just not pass the laugh test for being an R?”

Ultimately, Florida Republicans will have to ask themselves, “Can Rubio win the general? Or is he like Hoffman and cannot win the general?” Norquist explained, adding that he thinks the primary fight could be good for the GOP.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:06pm]


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