Robert W. McKnight: Charlie Crist's unbelievable bipartisanship


Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.

Some of the lasting pictures from the tragic aftermath of Tropical Storm Sandy in the northeast United States are those of Democrat President Barack Obama and Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, standing side by side, surveying the damage. Both the president and the governor offered praise to all those helping in the recovery, and specifically singled out one another. Some have questioned the sincerity and appropriateness, especially of Governor Christie’s praise of his party’s most important election foe.

My take is that Governor Christie’s keynote address at the Republican Convention in Tampa a few months ago was as strong a partisan attack on the president as any I have heard. So, to see him with only a few precious days left in the campaign offering unsolicited praise for the same commander in chief strikes me as pretty believable; sort of this is more important than partisan political bickering. I find myself hoping that this kind of bipartisan cooperation might carry over into the law-making phase of our government going forward on our country’s fiscal plight and other critical issues.

Compare that "cross over" bipartisan support to that of our former Governor Charlie Crist (R., Florida), who has recently been seen in the President’s company and cheering at Democratic campaign events. I recall the governor having a rather acute case of flip flopping during his one term as chief executive for our state; from off shore oil drilling, to abortion, to immigration, and the infamous SB 6 education legislation. To this day, I do not know what the governor’s actual position is on any of these issues, and even more. So, when I saw the governor saying he was supporting the president, because bipartisanship was what America needed today, I was a bit skeptical. After all, Gov. Crist has no support to speak of in the Republican Party, so where else can he go? I don’t really fault the President because he is seeking all the support he can find; particularly in such an important swing state like Florida.

So from my perspective, the bipartisan support shown by Gov. Christie is believable and highly commendable, while the same expression coming from Governor Crist...not so much.

Robert W. McKnight is a former Florida state senator and representative, who represented South Dade County and the Florida Keys from 1974-1982. He has written 2 books on Florida politics and is a political commentator on ABC TV News/WTXL 27 HD. He has a political Blog, www.flpoliticalcommentary.com. He can be reached at bob@flpoliticalcommentary.com.

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