Yesterday, Charlie Crist made it official: he’s a Democrat. Earlier this year at the DNC, he said, “Half a century ago, Ronald Reagan, the man whose relentless optimism inspired me to enter politics, famously said that he didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the party left him. I can certainly relate.” So now we are supposed to think that he stood still. I’ve been inclined to accept this narrative in the past. Now I think the process works a little differently. Guys like Crist have just been going along to get along.
I could never be a politician. I’m just no good at the bullshit. I can compromise. In fact, I think I am very good at finding common ground with others. What I couldn’t take is all the bullshit within my own party. I couldn’t support the “continuous war” policies of my party. I couldn’t accept “spare change from the rich” economic policies. I couldn’t go along with the policies claiming to “get tough on crime by destroying the lives of drug users.” I’m not saying that this makes me better; we need people who go along to get along—as long as the going along doesn’t involve too much villainy.
Looking at Charlie Crist’s history, it is clear that there was a lot that he didn’t accept about the Republican platform. Let’s face it, it is harder to be a Republican than it is to be a Democrat. It requires almost unimaginable cognitive dissonance. Look at poor Rick Santorum. (Yes, him!) His impulses on economic matters are populist. I rather like him when he’s talking about the economy. But he suppresses all that for the sake of his hellscape dystopia of God’s kingdom on earth. And if he were elected, he would not govern as an economic progressive. He would go along to get along.
When Charlie Crist was a Republican, he was explicitly a pro-choice Republican. And yet, on his website, there was lots of anti-choice rhetoric. But as soon as he turned Independent, he removed all that anti-choice garbage. I don’t think he did this to pander. What we see now is the real Charlie Crist. He was just going along to get along.
The Democratic platform on economic issues is extremely conservative. The Republican platform, on the other hand, is medieval in as much as it is coherent at all. So it just makes sense for economic conservatives to move to the Democratic Party. The truth is that if the Tea Party really believed in economic liberty, they would have fit at least as well in the Democratic Party as the Republican Party. They would have supported Ron Paul rather than Rick Santorum in the Republican primary. They would have elected representatives who cared about economics more than abortion and birth control. But given who they are, they were right to act as they did. Just don’t call them economic conservatives.
So I’m perfectly happy to welcome Charlie Crist into the fold. But this is not because he’s changed or the Republican Party has changed. Who he is is who he’s been. He should have been in the Democratic Party back at the start 20 years ago. If he had been, he wouldn’t have had to go along quite so much to get along.
H/T The Reaction A.M. Headlines