Thursday, September 20, 2018
Politics

Romano: Hey, John Morgan, stop dragging my heart around

Clearly, flattery did not work.

The folks who supported him in the polls, the crowds that applauded him at multiple Tiger Bay functions, the social media purveyors eager for his latest snark were not enough to persuade John Morgan to seek the Democratic nomination for governor.

So, should they now try shame?

Because Morgan’s sorta-definitely-maybe decision not to run for governor feels kind of cheesy and self-serving at this point.

In case you missed it, Morgan announced his intentions with a tweet on Friday morning. "Spent all of Thanksgiving with my whole family,’’ Morgan wrote. "While it’s amazing to be leading the polls for Governor without being a candidate I can’t muster the enthusiasm to run for the nomination(.)’’

And, God bless him, that’s a perfectly reasonable choice.

Running for governor would be a huge disruption in both his personal and professional life, and no one can blame him for deciding not to put his family through that hellfire. It was the subsequent messages that were a little harder to reconcile.

"And I can’t muster enthusiasm for any of today’s politicians. They are all the same. Both parties,’’ he tweeted. "I plan to register as an Independent and when I vote, vote for the lesser of two evils. And if I ever ran, run as an Independent.’’

Again, that’s a defensible position to take.

But a little clarification would help.

Morgan has been a big-time fundraiser for Democrats, and has clearly looked for their support on pet projects, such as medical marijuana legalization. He’s also spent months flirting with the Democrats while he mulled a potential gubernatorial run.

And then he forsakes the entire party in a single tweet?

While also continuing his will-he-or-won’t-he teases?

Morgan’s burgeoning political career revolves around the idea of calling BS when he sees it, so maybe he can appreciate me saying this latest move seems less "for the people" and more "look at me.’’

Personally, I couldn’t care less whether Morgan runs as a Democrat, a Republican or an independent. His party affiliation matters far less than his potential policies.

And his ideas on creating a new living wage, supporting stronger public schools and ending the ill-conceived war on drugs with its over-the-top prison sentences look like winners to me.

But he has to follow through.

If Morgan flirts as a Democrat and doesn’t run and then flirts as an independent and doesn’t run, this is going to feel more like a rich man stroking his ego rather than a serious man seeking a legacy.

And I say all of this as a huge Morgan fan.

Two months ago, I wrote that he was the best chance Democrats had in the governor’s race. And with his money, charisma and no-nonsense perspective, I still think he’d have a decent chance of tapping into voter dissatisfaction as an independent candidate, especially when 64.6 percent of Florida’s registered voters are non-Republican and, presumably, less enthralled with the status quo.

On Monday morning, Morgan tweeted that he was now a GDI which, in the G-rated version, stands for a Gosh Darn Independent.

Good for him.

Now let’s hope he’s not also a Gosh Darn Imposter.

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