Day: May 2, 2010

Charlie Crist’s Major Problem As An Independent Candidate For The Senate

Now that Charlie Crist, Florida’s Republican Governor, has declared as an Independent candidate in this year’s Senate race, he faces a major problem!

Unfortunately, it will take major efforts and commitment by Florida voters who wish to vote for him on the November ballot, as his name will be at the bottom or near bottom of all the candidates on the list, the usual place for an independent candidate with no party line!

Since there will be minor parties listed along with Republican nominee Marco Rubio and Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek, there will be growing concern that many voters might be confused by not finding Crist’s name right below them, or even near them on the voting cards!

Will Crist, who is certainly well known statewide, be able to motivate enough Floridians to go out of their way, search for his name, and actually vote for him? Will Crist be able to gain enough of a share of Republican voters? Will Democrats be willing to abandon their candidate, a Congressman in many ways a version of Barack Obama when he ran for the Illinois Senate seat in 2004, all because Crist vetoed a teacher bill that, therefore, preserved tenure and security for educators in his state, people who often would vote for Democrats? Will moderates and independent registered voters come over to Crist in large enough numbers to make him the winner with only 34-37 percent of the state’s total vote?

Finally, will Crist be able to raise enough money as an Independent to run a media campaign, so urgent in a state with so many media markets, and such a wide variety in voter characteristics in north Florida and the Panhandle; Central Florida and the I-4 corridor from Tampa and St. Petersburg to Orlando; and in the voter rich areas of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties in South Florida?

Also, with Florida still in many ways a “Southern” and conservative state despite its large percentage of people who have migrated from the North and from Cuba, will it be willing to elect an African American senator in Kendrick Meek, or a Cuban American senator in Marco Rubio, when they have a chance to support a moderate, white “Anglo” Governor, who was very popular until recently?

It is true that Senator Mel Martinez, who resigned after four and a half years in office in the fall of 2009, was Cuban American, but he only had to deal with a white Anglo woman Democrat as his opponent! With Crist in the race, the whole dynamics of the race changes dramatically!

But again, will enough citizens be willing and able to look hard for Crist’s name near the bottom of the ballots? That is still the leading question of this race, above all others!

National Security Becomes Dominant Issue Again In Different Ways!

In the midst of heated debates over health care and financial reform, that “800 Pound Gorilla”, National Security, has reared its ugly head in recent days!

Not only is the constantly emerging threat of a nuclear Iran becoming more worrisome, but three issues that have shown up in the past ten days add up to an alarming scenario.

First, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which caused the loss of eleven oil rig workers was upsetting, but now the reality is that since the spill cannot be controlled and is spreading to the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast, threatening wildlife, fishing, and beach communities long term, it is a frightening situation. It could be a total environmental, as well as economic, disaster for decades! And to top it off, there is some concern growing that the Gulf Stream could carry the oil spill around Florida’s Panhandle to create tremendous damage to the west coast, the Keys, and the east coast of Florida, and work its way up the Atlantic coast states, making the situation a national disaster of massive proportions hard to fully conceive! This situation is a tremendous threat to our national security, no matter how one tries to portray it in a better light, if that is possible! 🙁

Secondly, the protests against the immigration legislation in Arizona reflect the fears of many of racial profiling and civil liberties and civil rights violations. But at the same time, there is the reality of the porous 2,000 plus miles border between the United States and a very unstable neighboring nation, Mexico, which represents the danger of drug gangs and crime infesting our boundaries, and the reality of terrorists easily being able to cross our borders with impunity, at least in theory, if not reality!

And now, just last night, the shock of an SUV being parked in Times Square in New York City, loaded down with gasoline, propane tanks, and explosive devices that failed, fortunately, to detonate, makes us fully reminded of the fact that we cannot sit back and relax and think we are safe from internal and external threats of terrorism!

But how do we deal with these different aspects of our national security crisis, which makes us more aware than ever before since September 11, to the need to do everything to insure our safety?

How do we give our government at all levels enough authority and power to protect us, and yet not take away our Bill of Rights? 🙁

This is the challenge that may, in the long run of history, be a greater determinant as to the reputation of the administration of President Barack Obama, than health care or financial reform or Supreme Court appointments or anything else imaginable on the horizon!