Thursday, March 4, 2010

March 4: Crist's Double Message: Governor and Campaigner

By Sylvia Gurinsky

At least Florida Gov. Charlie Crist didn't walk on the podium to the theme from "Superman," unlike Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

But unmistakeably, Crist's last "State of the State" speech as governor was also a campaign speech in his U.S. Senate race. The chief message he sent: He's moving back to being the pragmatic centrist who moved to 10 Adams Street four years ago.

He defended the federal stimulus package and his efforts to get an agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida over gambling revenues. He also discussed the need to generate jobs.

He's unlikely, however, to get much help from a Florida Legislature that is still going to be stingy about certain parts of the budget - or from Republicans who are more interested in supporting Crist's Senate opponent, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.

There are thoughts, too, that Crist will be mostly passive in working with the Legislature, and that his lame-duck status as governor won't help.

Here's some advice: Surprise 'em, Governor. Being proactive is essential for the position you still hold. It's even more essential for Floridians, who can't afford to have their lives hanging on political soap operas.

It would be a nice followup for a governor who got back to Florida's business yesterday.

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