Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Florida Juice?

A little just-for-fun oddball speculation...

If you're Charlie Crist, and you're (about to be?) running for Senate as a third-party independent, where do you want to be on Wall Street regulation?  Seems to me that you want two things; you want a centrist position that includes lots of bank-bashing, and you want to show that you can be effective as non-partisan Senator.  It sure would enhance those credentials if you could swoop in and pick up three to five GOP votes (LeMieux, Corker, Collins, Snowe, Voinovich) for some compromise.  Two questions: would Corker, Collins, Snowe and Voinovich be willing to be associated with indy candidate Crist?  Note that if Crist can threaten to deliver LeMieux to the Dems, it gives the others an incentive to buy in.  And, would the Dems be willing take the deal -- help Crist and get the bill, vs. don't help Crist and get the issue? 

If I was advising indy candidate Crist, I'd look into whether both sides would go for it...maybe see if the Governator (another indy-like GOP governor of a state devastated by the real estate collapse) would go in on it with him.  It'd be a hell of a roll-out for his third-party campaign.


  1. You've mentioned this several times before, and maybe you've explained it elsewhere, but I'd be interested to know why you're so sure that Crist has so much influence over LeMieux that he can dictate his Senate votes. I understand that Crist appointed LeMieux, and that he is in some sense his flunky, but what's the incentive for LeMieux to stick with Crist, rather than the Senate Republican leadership?

    After all, if Crist jumps ship, won't everyone with a political pulse realize that if you ever want to work in conservative circles again, Crist is poison? What kind of leverage does Crist hold over LeMieux? They may be good friends, but you know what they say about having friends in Washington.

  2. Yeah...I can't prove it, but I think it's very likely. It's not just that Crist appointed him; LeMieux's worked for Crist on and off for almost twenty years; his whole political identity to now is tied up with Crist. Moreover, if Crist jumps, and given LeMieux's moderate reputation before the appointment, he has to know that he'll never earn the full trust of Florida Republicans, and after knocking off Crist you have to assume they'd go after LeMieux next.

    Granted, he could stay as conservative as possible, hope that no one primaries him, and if he does get beat in a primary he could go on and make a lot of money as a DC lobbyist...but I'm not sure that's cut off for him if he supports Crist and then doesn't run for re-election. Plus, if Crist wins and then caucuses w/the GOP, perhaps LeMieux winds up OK, anyway.

    It's definitely not a sure thing, but it's a solid possibility (as opposed to if Crist stays Republican, in which case I'm certain that LeMieux will stay conservative.


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