As a Democrat, I should be happy that Florida Governor Charlie Crist is being forced out of the Senate primary by ultra conservative Marco Rubio, but I’m not. I should be happy because a divided GOP should theoretically help the Democratic hopefuls like Kendrick Meek, but while I wish Mr. Meek and the others vying for the Democratic nomination well, as an American I’m all for what Governor Crist is doing and I kinda hope he wins.
I don’t know what I’d do if my Party moved so far away from my core principles that I felt abandoned by it. My Dad was a Democratic councilman in Woodbridge, New Jersey. He always talked as if FDR was one of the 20th Centuries greatest men. I too have always identified myself as a Democrat, even while acknowledging the truth of Will Rodgers remark, “I don’t belong to any organized political party…I’m a Democrat.”. We’re a dysfunctional party and always have been. The GOP, on the other hand, has always been rock solid in their pursuit of power and controlling their message. But sometimes somewhat stupidly I think, my Party is a bit too inclusive- they actually do try for bi-artisanship and usually end up paying for it. They let everyone from Blue Dog Democrats to Barney Frank to Joe Liberman hang with them. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to shoulder all the blame if things go wrong, or maybe they honestly believe we can actually come and ‘reason together.’
But because Governor Crist ‘betrayed’ his party by supporting some of President Obama’s policies, he’s labled a traitor. “This decision is not about policy or principles,” said former Gov. Jeb Bush, who, by the way, hasn’t actually come out in support of Rubio either (talk about political self-interest). “It is about what he believes is in his political self-interest.” I don’t know much about Charlie Crist…he could just be another self-serving politician; God knows, there are enough of them. But I also take anything a Bush says with as much salt as I can stomach. But given what’s been happening in the Republican Party over the last two years, it’s also entirely possible that for Mr. Crist, or any moderate Republican for that matter, his Party’s betrayed him rather than the other way around.
Who knows, Governor Crist may only become the first of a series of Republicans that decide they’re members of the Party of Lincoln, not the Party of Palin. I certainly hope so. Despite the arguments for it, I’m not a big fan of multi-party systems like they have in places like Italy and Israel, where you have to form coalitions and government’s collapse all the time when those deals fall through. Whatever it’s faults (and there are many; after all, I just survived eight years of waiting out Cheney/Bush, remember, and if there was ever a more revolting time, I can’t remember it; even the Nixon years seemed benign in comparison) a two party system is makes for a stable government.
But one thing I don’t want is the radical wing of either side, Right or Left, to wield actual power. A councilman here, an assembly man there, sure. Even the odd Congressman or Senator. The Dennis Kucinich’s and (I don’t know, I can’t remember a name right now, but pick a real Conservative one) need to be heard too. But I want the control to be with the middle, not either extreme. And I don’t want members of either party to be called traitors just because every now and then they agree with the other side, at least not seriously.
During the Bush years there was a lot of talk about “The Fifty/Fifty Nation”, something that was bourn out by the polls. The thing is, when half the people want one thing and half the people want something else, isn’t that the time for guys in the middle to make the decisions?