Yes, he's better than most GOPers. That's not saying much. As a Floridian that has had to live under Crist, it is important that people outside this state understand the type of man that Crist is and why he doesn't deserve our support for his inevitable next stepping-stone.
- First of all, let me state in no uncertain terms that Charlie Crist has flopped as governor of Florida. The GOP governor has a supermajority in both houses, and for some reason is still popular with the masses. Yet Charlie hasn't made good on any campaign pledge, and our state now holds the record in home foreclosures and massive job losses.
- So far, the biggest "accomplishment" for Charlie has been passage for his infamous AMENDMENT 1. He campaigned hard across the state for this -- Floridians got a mild property tax cut but it has cost the state billions and induced trauma on the already bleeding services many Floridians depend on.
- Our school systems are suffering tremendously. Florida ranks next to LAST in school funding per pupil. But Crist wants to push for more property tax relief ala Amendment 1.
- While lecturing Florida that is time for everyone to tighten their belts, he went on a "foreign excursion" which cost the taxpayers about a half a million dollars! That's right, he blew that money vacationing in London, Paris, St. Petersburg and Madrid but laughably called it a "trade mission".
- His Lt. Gov, Jeff Kottkamp, flew to and from Fort Myers 248 times on trips that involved picking up or dropping off the lieutenant governor. Fort Myers is where Jeff Kottkamp and his wife own a $1.4 million house. 208 of those flights occurred before July 1, 2008, when it was against the law to use state aircraft for "commuting purposes".
(By the way, the GOP legislature inserted language in a massive budget bill that no longer makes it illegal for "top officials" to use state aircraft for commuting---nice.)
There is a movement now to get rid of the Lt. Gov. position, since it has no responsibilities. Although cutting everything from teachers to emergency personnel is on the table, cutting this position and saving the state over a million a year is apparently off the table.
- Crist is trying to tap into the Chiles Fund, a fund that was set up to provide health care to children and seniors, to make up for his and the GOP legislature's bad budget decisions. The Chiles family is furious, saying the state sponsored health programs and other services directed at improving the lives of children and seniors have already been cut from the state budget.
- Crist won the race against Democrat Jim Davis partly because he ran misleading "empty chair" ads saying Jim Davis didn't show up to work enough days. (In reality, Jim Davis had a solid record until the year he was running and campaigning). Charlie said in 2006: "I'll come to work everyday!" Like the hypocrite he is, Charlie took off more personal days last year than he has worked--twice the amount of time Jeb Bush did in the first 19 months of office.
- Crist picks EXTREMISTS for our Supreme Court. He was heavily lobbied to pick Charles Canady and Ricky Polston by members of the Christian right and former Bush staffers. Canady (yes, that one from the Clinton impeachment trial) invented the misleading term "partial-birth", has pushed for legislation to end preferential treatment by race in college admissions and worked to allow federal aid to schools only if they allowed voluntary school prayer.
- Crist kept the tradition of picking cronies for top government slots. The most egregious pick was the six-figure dermatology assistant whom Crist said was the "most qualified" person to head up the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC), the most important job concerning our public employee's labor relations and union issues. Her husband was coincidentally the wife of Crist's general counsel.
- Crist supported Amendment 2, which enshrined discrimination in our state constitution against not only Gay Marriage, but also domestic partnerships.
He is nowhere near as corrupt and bad for Florida as JEB was, and we are much luckier than other states (like Louisiana). But he is not a friend to anyone but his own ambition, and despite what you may hear, even from misguided Democrats, he has not been good for Florida.