Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

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!

May 29, 2009 - Posted by | ethics, politics, taxes


  1. I agree that Crist did the right thing Michael…

    Comment by Paul | May 29, 2009

  2. This post is an example of one of the things I like about you. While you are unashamedly progressive in your perspective you still maintain a strong sense of bifocular circumspection (laugh!). Yeah, you have both eyes open and you seem to take in a pretty broad view of the world around you. Not so at Doug Groothuis’ blog. Pardon me for going off-topic, but his response to my comment that some Christians experienced a degree of dismay at the recent Pew poll indicating about 60% support for the use of torture by Evangelicals was this;

    “I am not “comfortable” with harsh interrogation; nor am I with capital punishment or other hard things in a harsh world. I deem them necessary and fitting, given the abundance of evil in the world.

    Why are Christians more prone to endorse this (if they are)? Perhaps because they have a worldview that takes moral evil seriously: humans are fallen, sinful, and no utopia (apart from the Second Coming) is in sight.”

    In any event, like the Biblical “Good Samaritan” of yore you are a contemporary “Good Christian”. Laugh if you are able!

    Comment by Steve Schuler | May 30, 2009

  3. It is right to present good acts when they occur regardess of political persuasion.

    Comment by Paul | May 30, 2009

  4. Health care costs will go up because of prolonged life and more expensive health care. Increased Social Security payouts too. Black markets for cigarettes or declining revenues from people quitting are also likely. But it’s a nice gesture anyway.

    Comment by stan | June 1, 2009

  5. California’s Republican Governator also did this. He’s been working his ass off to get the budget under control but there are two problems:

    1) California has a sizable Republican population (no matter what Glenn Beck says), so we have considerable Republican representation in our State Assembly and Senate. They won’t budge on new taxes or higher taxes.
    2) California also has direct voting on initiatives, and even liberals vote against any tax hikes.
    3) The Democrats in the Assembly and Senate won’t budge on cutting back spending.

    It’s a huge mess, and we’re now talking about a constitutional convention.

    Comment by Steven Kippel | June 1, 2009

  6. Actually, Steven, the Democrats have nearly a 2/3 majority in the CA state legislature. But, back when the GOP was firmly in control, they passed a ridiculous law saying that taxation couldn’t be increased without a 2/3 majority vote–and they keep coming up short. The liberals were voting against tax hikes that on things that would hurt the poor, more. The direct voting thing does have to go and CA is WAY overdue for a constitutional convention to clear this up.

    As for the Governator, when Gray Davis was recalled he told Ahnold that to be a successful CA governor one needed 2 things: rain during the fire season and a growing economy–and there wasn’t a thing one could do to guarantee either one!

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | June 1, 2009

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