Devastating: Charlie Crist Endorses Obama, Will Speak at Democratic Convention

Devastating to Barack Obama, that is.

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he’s backing Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

The former Republican made the announcement in an op-ed piece published in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times. The endorsement came as Republicans are gathering in the Tampa Bay area for the GOP convention. It also came amid preparations statewide for Tropical Storm Isaac.

Crist left the Republican Party during his unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 and is currently registered as having no party affiliation. He was elected governor of Florida as a Republican in 2006.

Yes, that “unsuccesful” bid, where as a sitting governor he netted a whopping 30% of the vote and lost by 18% to Marco Rubio.

So after being humiliated in the general election by Rubio, Crist has decided to take his marbles and endorse President Obama. Hmm, where have we seen this act before? A person’s ambitions for greater glory are thwarted, and he decides to simply switch allegiances in an effort to suck up to Barack Obama. I really feel like I’ve seen this play out before. Hmmm.

Crist will be speaking at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. I’m sure the Democrats are excited that a former Republican governor will be addressing their convention. Actually, they’re probably excited that anyone is speaking at their convention at this point.

As for Crist’s endorsement, it is interesting that the man who once claimed that Sarah Palin was more qualified to be president than Barack Obama is now endorsing the latter. What changed Crist’s mind? Well, let’s look at his op-ed

We often remind ourselves to learn the lessons of the past, lest we risk repeating its mistakes. Yet nearly as often, our short-term memory fails us. Many have already forgotten how deep and daunting our shared crisis was in the winter of 2009, as President Obama was inaugurated. It was no ordinary challenge, and the president served as the nation’s calm through a historically turbulent storm.

Yes, the calm of a nearly trillion dollar “stimulus,” financial regulatory reform, and a health care bill that fundamentally transforms health care in this country – and likely not for the better.

The president’s response was swift, smart and farsighted. He kept his compass pointed due north and relentlessly focused on saving jobs,

Yes that laser-like focus that made him concentrate on health care reform for the overwhelming majority of his first two years in office.

creating more and helping the many who felt trapped beneath the house of cards that had collapsed upon them.

Creating more? Ah yes, Obama has helped lower the employment rate from 8.3% in February 2009 to 8.2%. And of course it’s only that low because milli0ns of Americans have simply given up looking for a job, and thus are no longer factored into the unemployment rate. But at least he has helped those who feel trapped by, err, umm, uhhh, giving nice speeches I guess.

Do you get the tiny feeling that even Crist realizes he has nothing to work with, and he’s just vamping so he can collect his paycheck make his case?

Eventually even a politician as vacuous as Crist runs out of platitudes, so he just resorts to flat out falsehood.

And the president invested in our retirement security by strengthening Medicare. The $716 billion in savings his opponents decry today extended the life of the program by nearly a decade and are making sure taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted in excessive payments to insurance companies or fraud and abuse. His opponents would end the Medicare guarantee by creating a voucher that would raise seniors’ costs by thousands of dollars and bankrupt the program.

Let’s leave aside the fact that the Ryan proposal would not impact those who already are on Medicare or who are close to retirement age. Crist’s rhtetoric about “savings” doesn’t even pass the smell test. Take it away, Heritage.

 According to the CBO, the payment cuts in Medicare include:

  • A $260 billion payment cut for hospital services.
  • A $39 billion payment cut for skilled nursing services.
  • A $17 billion payment cut for hospice services.
  • A $66 billion payment cut for home health services.
  • A $33 billion payment cut for all other services.
  • A $156 billion cut in payment rates in Medicare Advantage (MA); $156 billion is before considering interactions with other provisions. The House Ways and Means Committee was able to include interactions with other provisions, estimating the cuts to MA to be even higher, coming in at $308 billion.
  • $56 billion in cuts for disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments.* DSH payments go to hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients.
  • $114 billion in other provisions pertaining to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP* (does not include coverage-related provisions).

*Subtract $25 billion total between DSH payments and other provisions for spending that was cut from Medicaid and CHIP.

In total, Obamacare raids Medicare by $716 billion from 2013 to 2022. Despite Medicare facing a 75-year unfunded obligation of $37 trillion, Obamacare uses the savings from the cuts to pay for other provisions in Obamacare, not to help shore up Medicare’s finances.

And unlike Ryan’s proposal, these cuts will affect those already receiving Medicare.

The impact of these cuts will be detrimental to seniors’ access to care. The Medicare trustees 2012 reportconcludes that these lower Medicare payment rates will cause an estimated 15 percent of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies to operate at a loss by 2019, 25 percent to operate at a loss in 2030, and 40 percent by 2050. Operating at a loss means these facilities are likely to cut back their services to Medicare patients or close their doors, making it more difficult for seniors to access these services.

In addition, as MA deteriorates under Obamacare’s cuts, many of those who are enrolled in MA (27 percent of total Medicare beneficiaries) will lose their current health coverage and be forced back into traditional Medicare, where Medicare providers will be subject to further cuts. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief actuary predicted in 2010 that enrollment in MA would decrease 50 percent by 2017, when Obamacare’s cuts were estimated at only $145 billion. Now that the cuts have been increased to $156 billion (or possibly $308 billion, as the Ways and Means Committee estimates), MA enrollment will surely decrease even further.

And how does Crist explain his abandonment of the GOP? Before even reading the paragraph, I’m going to take a wild guess that Crist uses the “e-r” term, and I don’t mean “elegant RINOs”.

But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they’ve proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.

Can I call it, or can I call it?

This is a tired mantra of disaffected former Republicans as well as so-called moderates. We hear time and again how far to the right the Republican party has grown. We’ve become so extreme that we’re even calling for a constitutional amendment banning abortion even for rape victims, an amendment to the platform that was evidently offered by Todd Akin. I had no idea that Todd Akin had played such an instrumental part in crafting the Republican platform.

Indeed it is dangerous for a party to move so far in one direction ideologically. A good model for the Republicans would be 1984, a year in which Ronald Reagan carried 49 states and defeated Walter Mondale by nearly 20 percent – a number Crist should be intimately familiar with. Anyway, let’s look at that 1984 platform.

 The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We therefore reaffirm our support for a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose the use of public revenues for abortion and will eliminate funding for organizations which advocate or support abortion. We commend the efforts of those individuals and religious and private organizations that are providing positive alternatives to abortion by meeting the physical, emotional, and financial needs of pregnant women and offering adoption services where needed.

Hmmm, I don’t see anything here about exceptions for rape or incest. Well, it referenced a Human Life Amendment. In 1984, the Hatch Amendment would have been what was under consideration. What was the language peculating at that time?

“A right to abortion is not secured by this Constitution. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to restrict and prohibit abortions: Provided, That a provision of law of a State which is more restrictive than a conflicting provision of a law of Congress shall govern.”

Seems to me that the abortion ban would be fairly absolute. In fact that Republican platform has consistently called for an absolute, no exceptions ban on abortion. Now, individual presidential candidates have indicated that they would make an exception for rape, including the current (well, technically, soon to be) nominee. Yet the official party platform has not changed an iota. So kudos to Todd Akin, who obviously traveled back in time and got the Republican party to adopt his position nearly three decades ago.

How about immigration. How far to the right has the party moved on this issue?

Our history is a story about immigrants. We are proud that America still symbolizes hope and promise to the world. We have shown unparalleled generosity to the persecuted and to those seeking a better life. In return, they have helped to make a great land greater still.

We affirm our country’s absolute fight to control its borders. Those desiring to enter must comply with our immigration laws. Failure to do so not only is an offense to the American people but is fundamentally unjust to those in foreign lands patiently waiting for legal entry. We will preserve the principle of family reunification.

With the estimates of the number of illegal aliens in the United States ranging as high as 12 million and better than one million more entering each year, we believe it is critical that responsible reforms of our immigration laws be made to enable us to regain control of our borders.

The flight of oppressed people in search of freedom has created pressures beyond the capacity of any one nation. The refugee problem is global and requires the cooperation of all democratic nations. We commend the President for encouraging other countries to assume greater refugee responsibilities.

A call for greater border security and enforcement. What a complete shift over 28 years, huh?

What about students?

Education is a matter of choice, and choice in education is inevitably political. All of education is a passing on of ideas from one generation to another. Since the storehouse of knowledge is vast, a selection must be made of what to pass on. Those doing the selecting bring with them their own politics. Therefore, the more centralized the selection process, the greater the threat of tyranny. The more diversified the selection process, the greater the chance for a thriving free marketplace of ideas as the best insurance for excellence in education.

We believe that education is a local function, a State responsibility, and a federal concern. The federal role in education should be limited. It includes helping parents and local authorities ensure high standards, protecting civil rights, and ensuring family rights. Ignoring that principle, from 1965 to 1980, the United States indulged in a disastrous experiment with centralized direction of our schools. During the Carter-Mondale Administration, spending continued to increase, but test scores steadily declined.

This decline was not limited to academic matters. Many schools lost sight of their traditional task of developing good character and moral discernment. The result for many was a decline in personal responsibility.

The key to the success of educational reform lies in accountability: for students, parents, educators, school boards, and all governmental units. All must be held accountable in order to achieve excellence in education. Restoring local control of education will allow parents to resume the exercise of their responsibility for the basic education, discipline, and moral guidance of their children.

. . . .

We have enacted legislation to guarantee equal access to school facilities by student religious groups. Mindful of our religious diversity, we reaffirm our commitment to the freedoms of religion and speech guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and firmly support the rights of students to openly practice the same, including the right to engage in voluntary prayer in schools.

So in 1984 the Republican platform was discussing school choice, local control of education, and advocated voluntary prayer in private school. That’s just radically to the left of the modern GOP.

As for the elderly, I think that has been sufficiently covered.

Of course political platforms do not tell the whole story, and individual candidates are not obligated to stand for every single jot in a party’s platform. But they do provide a sense of where the party stands, and an examination of the party’s 1984 platform indicates that the  Republican party has hardly moved so far to the ideological extreme as its opponents have caricatured. If anything, it is the Democrat party that has moved to the extreme left: doubling down on abortion, advocating far greater government interference into the private economy, and now pushing for gay marriage.

But I think that Charlie Crist knows that. When you’re a political opportunist and you are essentially irrelevant, politically speaking, you’ll be happy to take whatever crumbs you can get.

I hear Malta’s nice, Charlie.

20 Responses to Devastating: Charlie Crist Endorses Obama, Will Speak at Democratic Convention

  • Mandy P. says:

    I’m not sure who the DNC thinks this will sway. Here in Florida folks on the right (and a lot in the center) dislike Crist because he was a sore loser, and folks on the left dislike him because his refusal to get out of the race in 2010 effectively torpedoed Kendrick Meek’s campaign. Until that point Meek was considered an up-and-coming star in the Florida Dem party and his loss to both Rubio *and* Crist tainted him here. Sorry Charlie has stepped on a lot of toes here.

  • Mandy P. says:

    Oh, and I should mention that he now works for the local ambulance chasers, so he’s not exactly done anything stellar recently to endear himself to the public.

  • T. Shaw says:

    In 2008, Charlie said that Sarah Palin is more qualified han barry Soetoro to be president. And, he was right.

    What’s Charlie gonna say now?

    Roger Kimball: “High up along one wall at the Forum is a huge digital display on which the federal debt ticks its way toward $16 trillion. That by itself ought to be enough to assure the defeat of Barack Obama, but in really it is merely one data point in a litany of failure. . . . By any factual measure, I said, Obama’s administration had been an extraordinary failure. Median household income had plummeted nearly 5 percent since 2009, the year Obama promised that, if only Congress would approve the stimulus package, he would have the unemployment rate down to 5.6 percent by now, the summer of 2012, by which time he would also have halved the annual deficit. Et very much cetera. The only promise I can think of that Obama has kept is to make energy prices ‘skyrocket.’ That he has well and truly accomplished.”

  • Scott W. says:

    A person’s ambitions for greater glory are thwarted, and he decides to simply switch allegiances in an effort to suck up to Barack Obama. I really feel like I’ve seen this play out before. Hmmm.

    I had to process this for a moment to get it, but it also reminded me of that wife-killing Schiavo guy who campaigned with various Dems in the mid-terms and he was like the kiss of death and people asked him to stay home.

  • Jerry says:

    I was an EMHC at a funeral for a Tampa cop a few years ago. The Governor was there with other political luminaries and was in the communion line of one of my friends. He approached and tried to grab the Precious Body from the ciboria. My friend covered the ciboria and stepped back. She said “Governor, only Catholics can partake.” He became quite indignant and offended and said, “Is that so?!” and hurriedly walked away. Now as a politician you know he’s been to Catholic funerals, but I suppose perhaps he’s never been refused before and didn’t know better, but his reaction was quite telling.

  • I see others already commented on the comparison Crist had made once upon a time between Sarah Palin and Barack Hussein Obama. Indeed, Gov Palin would have made a far better President that the Teflon coated jerk who currently sits in the Oval Office.

  • T. Shaw says:

    Devastating: Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, the national average price of gasoline was $1.87 per gallon. Today, it’s near $4.00 per gallon.

  • Michelle says:

    it’s upsetting that Obama got Crists’ endorsement but I’ve never really liked Crist because he doesn’t listen to the people. back in high school i wrote a letter to him about some laws that needed to be reviewed. (and still do i might add) and i had called his office three times. with the letter i got a mailed-out response basically saying ‘thanks for your concern but your underage you can’t do anything about it.’ in truth i was fifteen. but i had a problem with the Florida school system so if i didn’t talk to him when i was STILL IN SCHOOL then i would’ve gotten a letter stating ‘thanks for your concern but where are you in relation to this?’ i called his office three times in one week and each and every time he couldn’t take a call from me. okay; he’s a politician he’s gotta be a busy guy right? well i left my name and number for them and i didn’t get a call about my problem. but i did get a call next week from his office telling me not to call them ever again because i was bothering them. i didn’t call- but i did send an e-mail to the man telling him what i thought about that as a citizen. i got a call two days later from the legislator of Reading in Florida telling me Crist went to his office and told him personally to call me and he read my original letter to the senator, and my e-mail. he was nice about it but he told me that at the moment there was just nothing in his power to do.i have nothing against the legislator of reading (as i had already KNEW he could not help me which is why i went to Crist.) so knowing this- yes- THIS is the type of man I’m going to trust and follow who I’m going to vote for. :P

  • JDP says:

    thank you for writing this

    honestly, this is part of why the phony Democratic nostalgia for dead Republicans (to paraphrase Jonah Goldberg) is so annoying to me: the two parties, to my knowledge, have generally been ideologically consistent since the ’80s. sure, new issues have come up (even certain liberal Democrats may’ve looked at you funny if you’d suggested same-sex marriage to them in the ’80s) and old issues have died (Cold War) but the general themes are the same. and the rewriting of Reagan as someone who’d be too “moderate” for today’s GOP, when if you look back at it he was villified for the same nefarious Southern strategy/not caring about blacks/not caring about poor people/not caring about AIDS/etc. etc. stuff libs still hurl at the Republicans today (well OK, maybe not AIDS,) is just dumb, also considering he was the most conservative Republican president of the post-WWII era.

    i’ll admit, conservatives play this game too sometimes, but at least they reach back as far as JFK so it makes marginally more sense (Rachel Maddow saying she agrees with the “Eisenhower platform,” while goofy-sounding/silly since if she lived then she’d likely consider him an Evil ’50s Conformist, similarly i can at least take a little more seriously since he’s a relatively nonideological president in the scheme of things.) well i suppose Bubba Clinton gets props for his compromises sometimes too, not a sentiment i really share though.

    sry, rambling.

  • JDP says:

    i suppose you could say the _emphasis_ on certain issues has changed — i don’t recall a Reagan speech like the one Buchanan gave at the 1992 Convention for instance. but changing emphases is a bit different than changing substance.

  • Mike Petrik says:

    i agree that the GOP has been pretty consistent since the 1980s. The only example regarding a more rigid GOP might be the loathsome Grover Norquist’s pledge. Reagan appreciated the art of compromise, even if he never lost sight of the ideal. People like Norquist make it impossible. A budget deal that includes massive entitlement cuts combined with a small tax increase would likely not secure GOP support because of Norquist.

  • Spambot3049 says:

    I dislike the Grover Norquist pledge for a different reason. It enabled congressional Republicans during the Bush administration to offer their constituents a “best of both worlds” approach to governance: federal-funded pork without a tax increase.

    We can’t do this forever. We can’t keep passing the bill on to future taxpayers on the premise that growth and economic recovery will flood the federal coffers with enough money to pay off the debt. I don’t doubt that works for small, manageable debts, but there has to be limit, some point of no return. Our nation’s workforce is growing with the population, but I suspect not enough to keep up with the debts.

    So, as Mike P. suggests, perhaps small tax increases might be one way toward fiscal responsibility, but that is not what I am not after right now. Right now, I would like the threat of a tax increase to use against any Republican who refuses to abstain pork barrel spending for his or her own district. Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge stands in the way of that.

    The problem with my approach (sorry for the run on), is that this is viewed by many voters as the equivalent of “unilateral disarmament” against Democrats who promise spending (within the district) and taxes (on other people). That’s just tough. If you are not principled, that is, you are not preprared to lose, then don’t run for office.

  • JDP says:

    i actually love Buchanan’s speech as a piece of rhetoric for how brutal it is (contrast with the relatively generic Romney speech…of course he’s the nominee and you obviously don’t expect speeches like that from them,) wasn’t critiquing it. i have no idea if the CW was right about it being a net negative for Bush-Quayle cuz i was five at the time lol.

  • Donna V. says:

    So, the Dems got Orange Crist. The GOP got Artur Davis, the co-chair of the 2008 Obama campaign.

    Since I had CSPAN and not MSNBC or CNN on, I got to watch Artur Davis speak at the RNC.

    I know who came out ahead in that trade.

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