"The people" versus the Republican legislature?Charlie was stung by Bush's pronouncement that his (Crist's) support of the Stimulus bill was "unforgivable".
BY John McCormack
On the same day that Marco Rubio announced he raked in a whopping $3.6 million in first quarter, Charlie Crist offered the latest signal yet that he may drop out of the Republican primary and run as an independent. Crist is "making noise about a possible veto of the bill that abolishes teacher tenure and tying teacher pay to test scores," the St. Petersburg Times reports.
Crist said he "would absolutely agree" that he is now setting himself apart from the Republican-controlled Legislature, saying: "If there are things that are happening that you don't think are in the best interest of the people of Florida, you know, I stand up for them, and that's what I'm doing," Crist said.
The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Thomas adds context: "Charlie goes nuclear on Republicans"
[Crist] vetoed a political fund raising bill sought by legislative Republicans. He has joined the call for a federal investigation into abuse of the state party’s AMEX.
He has pledged to veto an insurance regulation bill sought by Republicans.
And now in a major “in your face” to Jeb Bush and state party chairman John Thrasher, he says he may veto a merit pay bill for teachers, along with an end to tenure. Bush is the driving force behind this bill, and has enlisted Sen. Thrasher, a longtime ally.
If Crist carries through with the veto threat, Jeb will endorse Marco in short order and Charlie will have no friends left in the party’s hierarchy. That means no money, no endorsements, no nothing. His odds of winning in August will go from real slim to less than none barring some major revelation about Marco.
He had counted on Jeb to let the Stimulus screw up to pass without comment. But Bush didn't, and now Crist is hitting back by trying to torpedo Bush's pet project, education reform and in doing so Crist is trying to curry favor with Florida's very powerful Teacher's Union just in case he decides to run for Senate as an Independent.
Crist has no more chance of winning as an Independent than he does as a Republican but an Independent run would make it more difficult, though certainly not impossible, for Marco Rubio to defeat Democrat Kendrick Meek. Crist decision comes down to one thing-how vindictive does he want to be? Crist had expected a cakewalk in to the Senate. When Rubio emerged as the new darling of the Republican Party despite the NRSC's backing of Crist, Crist was caught flatfooted.
With no chance of winning, Crist may well decide to put his pride ahead of his party.