We've heard a lot of people praising Gov. Charlie Crist for putting aside partisanship and embracing President Obama's economic stimulus package. But wondering what kind of feedback our governor is receiving, we requested copies of the stimulus-related letters and e-mails the governor received over the two-week period after he announced he would join Obama in touting the package in Fort Myers.
It ain't pretty.
"You will never get my vote again. You will get 100 percent of the Democratic vote so I know you are not worried, but I can only HOPE that you are going to have to run against a real Republican," Jim Hill of Jupiter wrote the governor. "Join Obama's team as a Democrat and you will fit in with the Chicago Machine!!!!!!!"
"Embracing national socialism you have made a deal with the devil and cost you my vote in any future election," offered Tim O'Neill of Pompano Beach.
Slightly more kind, Forrest Travis of Jacksonville Beach suggested it would be "great" if Crist moved from the Governor's Mansion to the U.S. Senate in 2010. "You will fit in well with Susan Collins, Olympia Snow, and Arlen Specter. Then we can beat you with a real Republican, not some patsy."
Ouch. It's by no means a representative sample of public opinion, and perhaps only proves that angry people are more inclined to fire off letters and e-mails than pleased people. Not counting numerous spending wish lists from local governments and agencies, and the occasional citizen request for stimulus money to pave their street, 17 people wrote to praise the governor and stimulus package and 66 wrote to vent.
The governor's office says that traveling across the state Crist has received overwhelming praise for his position. Likewise, state GOP finance chairman John Rood of Jacksonville said many Republican activists he has talked to in recent weeks have been supportive of Crist's position.
"People may criticize him for only doing what's popular," Rood said of Crist. "This would have been a lot easier to stay off that stage and sit back and see what happens or be a naysayer, but he didn't. He showed leadership, and the Republicans I've been talking to admire that."
State's first lady reaps some benefits
Buddying up to the president does have its perks. Seated next to the president at the White House's state dinner for the National Governors Association was none other than the first lady of Florida, Carole Crist.
Power brokers talk about legislative session
Check out Political Connections on Bay News 9 today for an hourlong special on the legislative session that starts this week. Guests include state Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, Senate Minority Leader Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, state Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and state House Speaker Pro Tem Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton. The show airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Battle to replace Putnam under way
Democrats are hopeful that Polk County elections supervisor Lori Edwards, a well-regarded former legislator, may run for the U.S. House seat to be vacated by Adam Putnam. Meanwhile, former state Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland, one of the few Republicans to challenge Gov. Crist's approach to the property insurance crisis, formally jumped into that race last week, touting an endorsement from Jeb Bush.
"In a time when far too many politicians go along to get along, Dennis is not afraid to take a stand or make tough decisions, regardless of the consequences," the ex-governor said. "Dennis will remain true to our conservative principles.