Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) Does the Right Thing
Since I am critical of the Republican Party on most issues, and of the conservative base of the GOP even more, I have made it a policy on this blog to note and praise every time I see something done by a Republican politician of which I approve. I have been accused of “knee jerk GOP hatred” which is not true.
Today, Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) signed legislation increasing FL’s tobacco taxes by $1 per package of cigarettes. Excellent! It will help curb teen smoking and addiction and it will add $900 million per year to FL state revenues–which will offset the state’s Medicare costs and will help fund research into cancer cures! Well done, Gov. Crist!
I especially highlight Crist’s actions here because they take some political courage (a virtue always in short supply in either major party). You see, Gov. Crist is running for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and this action is bound to be used against him–not by his Democratic opponent in the general election (which increasingly looks to be Rep. Kendrick Meeks (D-FL) ), but by his Republican primary challenger, Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is more conservative than Crist. The rightwing of the GOP hates any and all taxes. Crist is very popular in FL and will probably win the primary, but he is not all that popular with the conservative GOP base. Rubio has been endorsed by national conservative Republican Mike Huckabee (formerly Gov. of Arkansas and former presidential candidate who is now a Fox News pundit) and by Jeb Bush, Jr., son of the former FL Gov. and nephew of George W. Bush. There is no doubt that the GOP right will use today’s signing to brand Crist as a terrible tax hiker! He had to know it, too.
So, here’s my hat tip to Gov. Crist for doing the right thing REGARDLESS of the risk. Politicians of all parties take notice: This is what a spine looks like!
Update: Of course, Crist had to follow this good deed with a kick in the teeth to injured workers! Nice, Governor Suntan. I sure hope that your Democratic opponent for the U.S. Senate (probably Rep. Kendrick Meeks) highlights this nastiness in the general election!
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