Crist’s pick of running mate a sign of weakness, hubris

CristTaddeoI know I haven’t written here in a while, and that’s because I actually have a life outside of airing my frustrations and smiting my political enemies.

That being said, I figured I’d go ahead and offer my $0.02 about Charlie Crist’s latest antic (they’re all antics, right?).

Giving the media and interested parties only a 4-hour notice, the Charlie Crist campaign cobbled together a press event in Miami yesterday to make what they characterized as an “important announcement.”  It was for Crist to introduce his running mate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein.

Reviews of his pick have been mixed. Some believe it was “solid,” others not so much. Regardless of that, what is striking is the timing.

For the past several weeks, the Scott/Rich ensemble harmoniously calling for Charlie Crist to debate his primary opponent Nan Rich has grown to a full-fledged choir. Democratic Party activists questioning why Charlie Crist is ducking the opportunity to explain his past transgressions, Congressman Ted Deutch, and even some of the state’s influential newspapers, including the Tallahassee Democrat, Miami Herald, and Democratic stronghold Broward County’s Sun Sentinel have called on him to debate Rich.

Polls even show Democrat primary voters overwhelmingly want to see a Rich/Crist debate. The Rich campaign has wisely seized and doubled-down on those growing calls.

Nevertheless, the yellow-bellied orange coward refuses.

But the bad press doesn’t end there for Crist. He’s also being hammered relentlessly by Republicans for his refusal to release his wife’s income tax returns as past governors, candidates for governor and other elected officials have done. Crist who talks a good game on transparency has said that he’s not involved in his wife’s business dealings, but then it was revealed that he did not disclose the sale of the multimillion dollar condo he and his wife owned on the exclusive and private Fisher Island off Miami Beach. So more people are wondering what else is lurking in those financial records.

And then there’s more bad news for Crist. It’s becoming more and more evident that there are fractures growing within the Democratic party as it relates to his candidacy. Liberal blogs critical of Crist including The Florida Squeeze and Women on the Move are hammering him daily and growing their influence among the rank-and-file, and Nan Rich is crisscrossing the state successfully peeling grassroots activist support away from Crist.

There are even signs that Crist’s support among the African-American community is getting shaky. Last week, rapper, Miami resident, former mayoral candidate, and current radio commentator Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell weighed in, declaring that “Charlie Crist is no friend to African-Americans in Florida.” Meanwhile, some still blame Crist for the 2010 loss of Florida’s first African-American nominee to the U.S. Senate Kendrick Meek.

All this, coupled with the constant barrage Crist is getting from Nan Rich, Rick Scott, Republicans who hate him, and liberals who just can’t trust him has taken a toll on his recent commanding lead in the polls. Just a couple of months ago, Crist enjoyed double-digit leads in head-to-head polls against Scott, but they have all but evaporated in recent days with some even showing the Republican incumbent ahead. There have been no Rich-Crist Democrat primary election polls conducted recently, but I would guess those numbers have probably somewhat moved against Crist too.

Given all this bad news the Crist campaign has endured and would like to distract from, it’s no wonder they chose to change the discussion by rolling out his running mate this early.

It’s a major sign of weakness, and quite frankly, hubris.  For Crist to smugly name a running mate 40 days before a legitimate primary is–to borrow Nan Rich’s words–very presumptuous.

But smug overconfidence isn’t anything new for Charlie Crist. The fact he dismisses Nan Rich daily by refusing to debate her or even acknowledge her presence in the race despite her solid bona fides is Classic Charlie Crist.  He did the same thing in 2010–until the underdog Rubio started catching up in fundraising and polls and Crist couldn’t afford to ignore him any longer.

Ultimately, it was the only reason that led him to abandon the Republican Party under whose banner and resources he ran his whole life and made a political career for himself.

Egomaniac Crist even cornered Kendrick Meek at an event and tried to convince him to drop out of the race by offering him his sister’s cross (yes, a cross). This came after days of repeated phone calls, including one at 4am. Around those days, he also lobbied Bill Clinton into convincing Meek to drop out. True to his convictions, Meek refused.

Corner a political opponent at a public event? Call him repeatedly and at 4am? Ask a former president to intercede? Offer him a cross to drop out of the race? What kind of freak engages in such bizarre, creepy behavior? But I digress.

All this should give lifelong, loyal Democrats pause.  This is a guy who just a few short years ago was campaigning as a conservative Republican and who just a month before he left that party, was bashing Barack Obama, congressional Democrats and ObamaCare on Twitter, and separately singing the Republican Party’s praises and pledging to support Rubio for US Senate.

But it seems active, primary Democrat voters are taking notice, which is why Charlie Crist opted to tap longtime party activist and insider Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (whose married–and obviously Jewish–surname is being dropped for campaign purposes).

She has never held public office, but has vied for it, losing a congressional contest against Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in 2008 and two years later a county commission race. She is currently Chairman of the Miami-Dade Democrat Party, as well as Vice Chairman of the Florida Democrat Party, which I’m sure Crist is counting on to help him energize Democrat activists and primary voters.

However, unfortunately for Crist, coverage of his Lt. Governor pick was not reported as widely as one would expect and he would hope. The news was largely eclipsed by the tragic shoot-down of the Malaysian Airliner over Urkaine, as well as a court decision on the state’s gay marriage ban.  As longtime Crist surrogate Peter Schorsch tweeted, Crist’s pick of Taddeo as his running mate did not even garner front page headlines in several of the state’s daily publications, including Taddeo’s own hometown newspaper The Miami Herald.

Not caring that there’s a legitimate primary next month, bosses over at the Florida Democratic Party were quick to tout Taddeo, but in their haste to do so fumbled the spelling of her ethnicity. I’m sure the Columbian [sic.] demographic Crist is trying to pander to appreciate it–as does Nan Rich.

Anyway, I almost feel bad for Annette Taddeo. Given his record of treachery and disloyalty, it’s only a matter of time before the #backstabber Charlie Crist betrays her as he has done to so many others. I’m not suggesting he will boot her off his ticket because such an act would surely hurt him politically, and in Crist world, that is the compass that guides every single decision.

However, come November 7, I hope for her sake that Taddeo stands ready to defend herself against Crist when he blames her for their loss.

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