Americans continue to lose trust in politicians, the polls tell us. Two-thirds of Americans believe the nation is going in the wrong direction, according to an Aspen Institute survey. And half think American values will weaken over the next decade.
If ever there was a politician who should never again be entrusted with power, it’s Charlie “Chameleon” Crist. Crist, up against sitting Florida Gov. Rick Scott, has no core beliefs. He moves whichever way the political wind blows, and he changes direction based on whatever is best for his own career.
One of the common complaints I hear from Democrats and Republicans alike is that too many politicians cannot be trusted to do what they say they will do. That makes me curious about why Democrats or independents think they can trust Crist, the king of the flip-floppers. Here’s a man who ran as a Republican until he could no longer get elected, then he switched to an Independent. When he lost as an Independent, he switched again, this time to a Democrat. It’s a triple-cross that even would impress Benedict Arnold. This sets a record for political flip-flopping. Somebody notify Guinness.
So Democrats and independents must ask themselves: What is more important in a candidate, honesty and ethics or someone who supports my brand of politics? Do I want good government or my party in office? Is Crist worth the risk?
Voters must also question whether a man as elastic and rubbery as Crist can be trusted, regardless of what party letters follow his name. Crist’s actions have never matched his double-speak. Politics is his profession, and he plays to applause and votes. He’s been at it all his life, but along the way, he picked up a lot of bad habits, like saying whatever he needs to say to win today’s battle, then saying something different tomorrow. The old political one-liner fits Crist well: “He’ll double-cross that bridge when he comes to it.”
Crist is running against Rick Scott. The difference between the two is the difference between words and results. As governor, Scott has presided over a government that brought the unemployment rate down from 11.8 percent to 6.1 percent. Florida lost 832,000 jobs while Crist was governor. Since Scott was sworn in with a pledge to re-build Florida, 651,300 private-sector jobs have been added, 205,600 of them in just the past year. That’s a 10.2 percent increase, among the highest in the nation. During Scott’s one term, taxes have been cut 40 times, and 239,000 people moved to Florida just last year. Whether you like Scott or not, that’s what you call results.
Floridians must ask ourselves what we are becoming as an electorate, how much deception we are willing to tolerate in a candidate. We only have ourselves to blame for malignant elected officials.
“A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for its society,” Thomas Jefferson once said. “Without virtue, happiness cannot be.”
If you tolerate empty promises and a man with no core convictions, Charlie may be your choice, assuming you don’t feel foolish betting it all on him. If you like substance and results, take a close look at Rick.
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