Rubio v. Crist - a fight for the direction of the GOP

Erick Erickson of Redstate.com has called for a boycott of the NRSC after that body endorsed Gov. Charlie Crist for Mel Martinez's seat over Marco Rubio.

Crist's popularity makes him as close to a sure thing as the Republican Party can find for an empty seat in the election - but Rubio is much more appealing to the base. Rubio's youth, Cuban ethnicity and Catholicism are also a breath of fresh air in a party whose national figures (McConnell, Boehner, McCain, Romney et. al.) are short on all three of those characteristics.

Rubio might do better do stay in Florida and run for Governor - a successful term in the Governor's office would make him 2016 Presidential timber. But he hasn't stepped aside, which would lead to a primary race that would be a microcosm of the broader fight between Republican moderates and right-wingers over the direction the Party should go in.

I like Rubio. His ethnic and religious background, as well as his outsider status, are both welcome breaths of fresh air in a party that hasn't really produced any new figures that are taken seriously outside the party's base. He'd also be a very competitive candidate in a battleground state, and if he won he'd be a valuable asset to the Republican candidate in 2016. Despite this, I think he should stand down in favor of Crist - he's as close to a sure thing as can be found for Republicans this election cycle. He'd free up money and other resources to help Republicans on shakier ground, like Mark Kirk in Illinois. And his already-high national profile would only be increased by a successful Senate campaign. Coming form what has been the quintessential battleground state in the last three elections, he would be a highly visible spokesman for the Republican platform in D.C.

The NRSC is not backing down on the endorsement of Crist over Rubio, specifically attacking the "30 senators" stance made famous by Jim DeMint. With Rubio not ceding to the will of the party, things could get ugly in Florida. Who do you think will win? Who should win? And will the donnybrook in the primaries give the Democrats a shot at the seat?

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Comments

Rubio shouldn't back down....

...on the other hand, it would be just like Marco to have had this gubernatorial strategy all worked out before he announced his senatorial race.

ex animo

davidfarrar

The Republican Establishment

Liberal ToddLuvsLounging says:

Rubio by a nose, because the Republican base and conservative opinion leaders are so mad they can't see straight and will do everything to sink Crist.

Crist should win because he represents the mainstream values of the typical Floridian.

I don't think the Democrats have a candidate with the appeal to even match Rubio. I think they are shooting for the Gov office, instead.

I have a question for you, RR: The moderates and liberals only represent 30% of the Republican party so at what point does the Establishment Republicans abandon the party and realize they are a better fit in the Blue Dog/New Democrat faction of the Democratic party? I think 2010, after another election debacle, the Establishment Republicans realize the party of Specter, Nelson, Casey is a better fit than DeMint, Vitter and Sanford. I could see Hutchinson, Snowe and Crist coming to that conclusion very easily.

I wish they would hurry up...

...and make the switch. We can't renew the party until the party is cleans of all who supported TARP, the Stimulus bill and Obama's doomsday budget. Then and only then can we hold our heads up high again and tell our neighbors, "I am a Republican. I stand for less government, less taxes and more freedom."

You can do you part by clicking on Old Uncle Sam.

             ex animo

            davidfarrar

Huntsman - New Ambassador to China

....but does he come back as a Republican or Democrat?

link

...and if he comes back as a Republican, is he accepted back in good standing?

 

...or is this the beginning of the collapse of the moderate/liberal wing of the Republican party?

Dave, it looks like your DeMint party is coming true.

I don't think the Democrats

I don't think the Democrats have a candidate with the appeal to even match Rubio. I think they are shooting for the Gov office, instead.

The "Crist is electable" folks need to hear this. Meek is weak and only Crist would sink Sink, so the Machiavellian thing would be to have a switcheroo where Crist goes back to Gov race.

They also need to watch Rubio. He has talent:

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2008/07/rubios-comments.html

Since that is the brilliant thing to do, the GOP elites will do the exact opposite. ;-/

The moderates and liberals only represent 30% of the Republican party so at what point does the Establishment Republicans abandon the party and realize they are a better fit in the Blue Dog/New Democrat faction of the Democratic party?

Those guys already left. 2008 was ship-jumping for Powell, Specter etc.

I think 2010, after another election debacle, the Establishment Republicans realize the party of Specter, Nelson, Casey is a better fit than DeMint, Vitter and Sanford. I could see Hutchinson, Snowe and Crist coming to that conclusion very easily.

The Democrats have moved sharply left, making it impossible for moderates to 'win' by doing that. And Huchtinson is hardly a moderate - look to Carole Strayhorn for the wilderness ex-Republicans end themselves in, she ended up 3rd in a race for Austin Mayor this week.

The best part about Specter leaving the GOP is that if Specter is killed in the DEMOCRAT primary, it will stop any further flips ... yet it still leaves RINOs on notice as unreliable and hence strengthens conservatives hands in the party. And if Specter wins the Dem primary you have a race between a real Republican and a lifelong fake Republican. Losing specter is a short-term loss for GOP but a win/win all around for conservatives long-term.

 

Yeah, But

The Democrats have moved sharply left, making it impossible for moderates to 'win' by doing that. And Huchtinson is hardly a moderate - look to Carole Strayhorn for the wilderness ex-Republicans end themselves in, she ended up 3rd in a race for Austin Mayor this week.

If conservative/moderate Democrats don't vote on liberal bills controversial in their district (cap and trade in coal country), and Republicans offer the same ultra-conservative candidate, I don't see those districts flipping.

As for Hutchinson, she can keep company with Nelson. IIRC, Nelson votes around 55% with the Dems. Not sure if Hutchinson can get away with voting any lower than that, but, hey, Big Tent and not the rhetorical "Big Tent of Freedom."

ToddLuvsLounging...

...good, none too soon. If any of our Republican Congressional leaders who voted for TARP had any political decency about them, they would announce forthwith their intention NOT to seek re-election next term and bow out gracefully, instead of being kicked out by the grassroot of the party for conduct unbecoming.

 

          ex animo

          davidfarrar

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