Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Remembering the Great Olga Guillot, una gloria de Cuba

Olga Guillot

When I was sixteen years old, I was talked into "dancing" a "quinces," which to those of you non-Cubans reading this, is the equivalent of a sweet sixteens, but for a fifteen year-old and much, much tackier. The dancing part of it is a uniquely tacky (again) Cuban tradition where thirty of the birthday girl's closest friends (15 guys and 15 girls) do a few routines to usher in her grand entrance. The choreographer hired to put this hilarious production together is usually a recently-arrived flamboyant middle-aged Cuban who at one point or another claims to have danced for the famous Havana Tropicana Night Club before emigrating.

But I digress.

So, I was talked into making a royal fool of myself by a high school friend of mine way back in the day because I figured that every good Cuban teenager should be subjected to this unique form of humiliation. The last few weeks before the party, the rehearsals were held at the venue where the party was slated to take place: the Four Ambassadors Hotel ballroom. Next door to the ballroom was an upscale dinner club called Scala.

During one of our long, annoying rehearsals, I snuck out to take a break and heard singing coming from the Club next door. It was Olga Guillot.

Most 16 year-olds wouldn't know who Olga Guillot was, much less sounded like, but I knew. I've always been an old soul, as most of my friends would attest. So I peaked into the front door of the club, and apparently the crack of the door threw Olga off, she stopped, and said, "eh, pero quien esta ahi?" (who's there?)

So I came in, introduced myself, and she asked me to stay for the remaining minutes of her rehearsal because she wanted to talk to me afterward. So I did. Meanwhile, the rehearsal for the "quinces" was going on next door, sans me, which I'm sure relieved the choreographer I made a habit of publicly mocking.

After Olga finished rehearsing, she sat with me, asked me who I was and how a sixteen year-old like me would know who she was. So I explained that I have always held Cuban tradition and culture close to my heart, grew up listening to her music, was essentially raised by my grandparents, etc.

The result: we stayed there talking for nearly two hours, and the only reason I cut it short was because my ride was there to pick me up at a time certain.

We talked about everything from my family, her story, to even politcs. Back then, Bill Clinton was president, and she had very few nice things to say about him. She said she loved and missed the great Ronald Reagan and lamented the fact that we would never see another one like him. Not only was she a Cuban patriot, but she was also a solid, bedrock conservative who was able to articulate conservative principles better than most politicians.

My favorite story she shared that day was how she was performing in some Latin-American country, and thinking that she would be honored with his presence, the owner of the place she was performing at excitedly told her that the ambassador of Cuba was in the audience. Upon hearing this, she informed him in no uncertain terms that she would not perform so long has he was in the audience. Mind you, this was in the early days of her exile from Cuba when she was not exactly financially set and every gig was vital to make ends meet. But she would not relent. The result: staff had to ask the communist ambassador to leave so Olga could perform.

There were similar stories to that, including ones where agents of the Castro dictatorship actually plotted to assasinate her several times unsuccesfully, of course.

I saw Olga socially several other times after our initial meeting at the Four Ambassadors, including at Republican fundraisers and patriotic rallies, but mainly at Versailles Restaurant in Miami, where she was a regular patron.

If you were ever having a meal at Versailles and all of a sudden the entire restaurant burst into applause, it is very likely because Olga Guillot walked in. I have eaten there more times than I care to recount, and have seen everyone from politicians and prominent journalists, to Grammy Award-winning superstars (i.e., Gloria Estefan). The only person whose entrance would provoke spontaneous applause in that Miami landmark was Olga Guillot.

And every time, I would go up to her, I would say hello, and she would remember me.


There are going to be countless obituaries and honors written to this grande dame of song, about how she was a pioneer at a time when no female artist could sell records in Latin-America, about how she was and always will be the queen of Bolero, and how she was a stalwart Cuban patriot and defender of America, which is all an understatement.

I just wanted to honor her in my own way by sharing my personal story about this great lady. May the Lord bless her soul, and may her music and love for liberty endure forever.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Florida's Public Policy Vacuum

(Originally published 5/4/10 on

Allow me to talk shop a little bit to set up my point.

My job in Florida is to promote free market reforms to the property insurance system that Charlie Crist largely socialized when he became governor in 2007. Without entering into specifics of his ill-conceived reforms, Crist basically imposed a "public option" type system of property insurance on Florida that essentially transferred massive liabilities from private property insurance companies to the state-run property insurance company. This means Florida taxpayers have assumed those massive liabilities.

Just like Obama's true motives were to drive health insurance companies out of business when he tried to impose a public option on the country's health insurance system, Charlie Crist's public option has driven away most of the state's large private insurance companies. Coverage by these has largely been replaced by the underfunded state-run insurer and small, untested, fly-by-night insurance companies most of which are sure to go bankrupt if even as much as a weak hurricane hits the state. In short, Florida is one hurricane away from either going bankrupt or facing the very real possibility of having tens of thousands of its storm-ravaged citizens not having their claims paid.

Think about that for one second: the state goes bankrupt and/or an entire region of the state can't recover from a storm because claims can't get paid, which eventually also bankrupts the state.

The good news is, the legislature is beginning to notice the importance of this issue, and there have been attempts by statesmen to address it (yes, some politicians are actually statesmen).
The bad news is, as usual, Crist.

Last year the Legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill that would have largely addressed Florida's insurance crisis. Among other things, it would have allowed companies to charge rates based on the free market and risk. Opponents demagogued it saying that it would drive up rates, obviously omitting the fact that it would lure more competitors into the market, spread the risk, and ensure solvency so people could actually get their claims paid after the storm. Crist's response: he vetoed it.

This year, a similar bill, albeit a weaker version of last year's, was moving through the legislative process. The bill was changed to address the concerns Crist had raised in last year's so-called "veto message." But as anyone in Florida's legislative process can attest, any "substantive" reasons Crist may cite in a veto message are mere excuses used to justify a veto done only to score cheap political points with the interest group or demographic du jour.

Crist acted like a grade school student who stuck his fingers in his ears and repeatedly yelled "rate incrase rate increase!" as others were trying to reason with him.

In short, there has been a complete lack of public policy gravitas in the governor's office since Jeb Bush's departure. For Crist, no serious policy issue is serious, no potential consequences are of consequence, and every official decision that has to be made must be weighed against the interests of his own political career. Anything that is bad for Charlie in the short-term must be treated as bad policy and must be rendered moot no matter how vital or beneficial it is to the state and its citizens in the long-term.

Issues unrelated to property insurance do not deviate from that narrative. For example, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 6, a teacher merit pay bill favored by many teachers, legislative leaders, Jeb Bush, and education reformers nationwide, but vociferously opposed by the teacher's unions. As the bill moved through the legislative process, Crist had explicitly indicated he would sign the bill through personal conversations with legislative leaders and even through public declarations by his official representatives at hearings where the bill was being debated.

Despite his stated support for the bill, Crist vetoed it after the loud minority opposition reached a fever pitch. Devoid of a core support base, Crist killed the bill hoping the teacher's union would fill the void Republicans across the state left when they abandoned him after years of throwing in with Democrats on issue after issue. He hedged his bets and figured the union would rescue his fledgling US Senate campaign. This morning I saw an ad paid for by the Florida Education Association (the state's teacher's union) thanking him for vetoing SB6.

This is the Florida of Charlie Crist's cyncism and opportunism, where an outright and proven lie in the form of a veto earns him in-kind paid media today, and another veto will plunge the state into an unprecedented financial catastrophe that will adversely impact every Floridian tomorrow when Crist is not around to deal with it. Both, however, are the result of Charlie Crist's desperate confusion about his role as governor as he continues in his schmaltzy dither to govern with his eye on the next office.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Veto illustrates Crist's self-serving, deceitful nature

For the record, I favored the passage of Senate Bill 6, the so-called teacher "Merit Pay" bill, also known as "SB6." However, I will not get into a policy discussion or any of the particulars of why I supported it. Instead, let's pretend for the remainder of this column that I opposed SB6 and wanted the bill to never become the law in Florida.

With that said, I am happy that Governor Charlie Crist vetoed the bill.

But that's it.

I'm not going to organize a rally in his honor at my local high school during school hours before throngs of gushing parents, teachers, and students eager to skip an hour of class. I'm not going to put one of his bumper stickers on my car. I'm not going to donate to his campaign. And I certainly am not going to vote for him in the August primary or in the November general, should he decide to run as an independent, NPA, or so-called "Independent Republican."

To do any of those things requires a certain level of admiration or respect for the man, of which I have none.

I opposed SB6 and favored its veto, so I'm happy Crist decided to veto it. But do not confuse my happiness over the death of a certain piece of legislation with admiration for the person who killed it. Would you love your sworn enemy just because he killed another one of your enemies? You may be happy at the outcome, but it wouldn't change the fact he's still an enemy.

Someone just doing something that I happen to like or favor does not earn that person my admiration or respect, especially if they did it for the wrong reasons. And Crist certainly vetoed SB6 for the wrong reason: political expediency.

Although I am happy Crist vetoed SB6, I also realize he lied to lawmakers while the bill was being debated and moving through the legislative process. Not only did he personally assure lawmakers in private conversations that he would sign it into law, but his chief-of-staff did too. And the reason we can rest assured these claims are true is because Crist's official education policy advisor from Crist's own Executive Office of the Governor went on the record as supporting SB6 during committee hearings. So while I'm happy Crist vetoed SB6, I can't admire nor support someone who gives his word about something so important and then lies like he did.

He's a liar, plain and simple. I can't admire or support a liar.

Furthermore, I also understand that Crist had ample opportunity to threaten to veto SB6 or otherwise express concerns with provisions in it while it was still being debated in the Legislature. Had he done so, the bill likely would not have gotten very far. Instead, Crist and his representatives expressed support for the bill.

The fact he didn't express any concerns while the bill was being debated proves to me that he really didn't care about the particulars of the bill or its policy implications, but rather vetoed it only out of political expediency thinking that those of us who wanted him to veto the bill would come to rescue his failing US Senate campaign. In short, he views us as a bunch of malleable, useful idiot footsoldiers.

Sorry Charlie. Although I'm glad you vetoed the bill, I know you didn't do it for the right reasons. Although I'm glad you vetoed the bill, I can't overlook your horrible--or nonexistent--record as governor. Although I'm glad you vetoed the bill, I know that if the bill were popular or would have earned you political points, you would have signed it instead of vetoing it.

And most importantly, Charlie, if you betrayed so many of your friends and longtime loyal supporters in the legislature and in your party, I know you will not hesitate to betray those of us who are happy that you vetoed SB6 the moment it suits you.

In short, Charlie, you are nothing more than a self-serving political opportunist, and the how and why of this veto illustrate it. So although I'm happy you vetoed SB6, I still can't support you because my word, my loyalty, and my principles can't be brokered.

Unlike yours.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Greer : Crist : : Sansom : Rubio? I don't think so

I just had a pleasant series of exchanges with one of Charlie Crist's few non-staffer supporters on Twitter. After several exchanges, the gist of the argument was this:

@Reaganista: Crist handpicked Greer and stood by him through the very end despite deafening calls for his resignation or removal. Crist is a disgrace.

@UmarSattar: Crist didn't handpick Greer. He was elected by the State GOP committee. Sansom was the one that was handpicked by Rubio to be his budget chief, and Rubio stood by him.

Because Twitter limits its users to 140 characters per update (or "tweet"), it is nearly impossible to coherently argue an issue such as this. So I would like to establish here why the comparison between Crist/Greer and Rubio/Sansom is an invalid and unfair one.

First, let's discuss how both Greer and Sansom arrived to their positions.

Yes, it is true that Marco Rubio appointed or "handpicked" Ray Sansom as House budget chief during Rubio's '07-08 term as speaker. By this time, however, Ray Sansom was a well-known and respected State Representative whom his Republican colleagues had elected as Speaker of the House for the '09-10 term. He was not only vetted by Rubio himself, but by the entire Republican caucus.

Jim Greer, on the other hand, was completely unknown to Republican activists, fundraisers, and elected officials alike when Charlie Crist handpicked him to be chairman of the Republican Party of Florida in January 2007. In fact, Jim Greer was ineligible to run as chairman because he was not even a member of the state committee Crist wanted him to lead. So Crist personally called Seminole County's state committeeman and asked him to resign so Jim Greer could fill the position and qualify as a candidate for RPOF chairman. Charlie Crist then personally nominated Greer in 2007 and 2009 for chairman and whipped votes for his election. So although Greer was elected (by a very slim margin in 2007), it was exclusively because Charlie Crist wanted him there. He would have never won that position without Crist. Ever.

Now let's discuss the differences between Greer and Sansom's corruption and responses by Crist, Rubio, and others.

When news of Sansom's misdeeds made headlines in November 2008, he was already speaker, and Rubio had been out of office, not to mention in no position to demote, discipline, or otherwise do anything about Sansom. Yes, when asked by a reporter, Rubio did publicly express "support" for Sansom after the news of his alleged mischief broke out, saying that he was a nice guy and hoped allegations weren't true, but this needs to be put into further context. First of all, he wasn't in office or in any position of authority to do anything to or about Sansom. Secondly, he wasn't going to publicly condemn the man whom his Republican colleagues had entrusted as speaker, at least not until all the facts were out and any investigation complete. To do that would not have only undermined any pending investigation and thrown Sansom under the bus, but his former colleagues and then-leaders in the House as well.

Crist, on the other hand, was in a position to launch an investigation, but when asked to do so, all he said was "next question." And when asked about the overall Sansom scandal, he dismissed it as merely "a perception problem." Maybe he and Ray Sansom became close friends during their European "junket." But that is neither here nor there.

In contrast, Jim Greer's case was a situation where there were not months, but YEARS of not just allegations, but PROOF that Jim Greer was engaging in mischief and misusing party funds to benefit himself. The first article on Jim Greer's abuse of his position came in December of 2008, which exposed his lavish lifestyle at the expense of the party. Charlie Crist had the opportunity after early complaints by party officials of Greer's financial mismanagement and after the publication of that article IN DECEMBER OF 2008 to discipline or otherwise rein-in Jim Greer behind the scenes and restore things at the RPOF, which would have avoided the near demise of the party we are witnessing today. But he did not, which indicates to me that he either didn't care to or was himself promoting, encouraging, or benefiting from it. I think it's the latter, but I digress.

Greer ultimately shot himself in the foot when he injected himself in the Rubio-Crist primary race, which opened up a Pandora's box. Outrage from his meddling in the primary encouraged critics to dig into Greer's pattern of abusing his position, the party's funds and other corrupt behavior. And when it all came to light and despite raucous calls for Greer's resignation, even then Crist refused to ask him to step down. In fact, he did the opposite and ordered him stay his ground and not resign. And even following Greer's resignation, Crist continued expressing "unwavering support" for Greer.


Unlike Rubio during the initial revelation of Sansom's mischief, Crist was always in a position to discipline, demote, or remove Greer either by ordering him to resign or publicly calling for his ouster or resignation. Had Crist done that early on and forced Greer out, it would have avoided the consequent damage to the party.

And all this begs the question: Why did Crist want Greer to stay put despite mounting evidence of Greer corruption and calls for his resignation reaching a fever pitch? Since Crist did not want Jim Greer to resign despite all this, he MUST have known that he was engaged in all sorts of illegal, corrupt behavior to the point that it would hurt him politically at best, or criminally implicate him at worst.

If Crist feared Greer's departure for what it could have done to him politically, he's a coward who put his political career before what's right.

If Crist feared Greer's departure because he could have been criminally implicated in everything going on, he's corrupt.

Either way, it is unacceptable, and Charlie Crist bears most, if not all of the blame for Jim Greer's corruption at the RPOF.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Someone tuggin' at Charlie?

Since realizing that his US Senate opponent Marco Rubio would attack him from the right, Charlie Crist has had numerous opportunities to govern like a Republican. Bizarrely, he instead proposed a budget that increases spending, returned to embracing the Obama stimulus, gave a State of the State Address that only Democrats loved, and has recently run a gutter dirty trick campaign against Rubio by leaking his private credit card statements and creeping people out by randomly accusing Rubio of waxing his back using Republican Party of Florida donor money.

In short, he could have tried to move to the right as so many predicted, but instead has stridently moved to the left.

Is there something afoot? Are the Democrats tugging at him to join their ranks? Are the White House and Democrat Senate campaign apparatus assisting in an effort to cut Rubio off before he stands up to them in Washington? If Crist loses anyway, will the administration offer a cabinet position to Crist to guarantee him a major position no matter what in 2011?

Is Crist setting up a move? If he is, expect him to empty his campaign coffers over the next four weeks with scathing negative attacks against Rubio using Republican primary money. If the polls do not strongly reverse themselves, he may very well switch parties, and just tell angry donors that all their money's been spent when they ask for it back.

Then, Crist can start over with the Democrats after bloodying the Republican nominee with Republican donor money

If recent polls are to be believed, Charlie Crist, who has a pattern of putting his political career above all other considerations, would have nothing to lose.

Under Florida law, Crist would have to change parties by the April 30 qualifying deadline, so he only has until then to make what will probably be the most important decision of his political career.
Maybe another breakfast with Joe Biden might help him make up his mind.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Apartheid South Africa Kills Nelson Mandela!

How would the world react to such a headline if South Africa's unjust apartheid system were still in effect today? How and to what extent would the mainstream media report this news? What would the United Nations say? How about the United States administration or congress?

Well, obviously that did not happen. South Africa eventually transitioned into a Democracy, Nelson Mandela was freed, and he even served as president of the nation that once imprisoned him.

Although South Africans deserve a great deal of credit for the democratization if their country, there is little doubt that international efforts aided in that transition.

The United States, for example, passed the Comprehensive Antiapartheid Act. The legislation was an embargo of sorts that banned trade and investments in South Africa as a punitive measure against the government's unjust institutional racism. Direct flights between South Africa and the United States were also banned.

Sound familiar?

It should. The embargo that resulted from the United States Comprehensive Antiapartheid Act is very similar to the Cuban embargo.

The Antiapartheid Act was controversial at the time, since the United States was embroiled in a Cold War, and although it was an unjust regime, the Apartheid government was generally anti-Soviet. Regardless, the embargo legislation passed with support from both sides, especially from the Congressional Black Caucus. And rightfully so.

Yet today, most if not all the members of the congressional black caucus deride the Cuban embargo as unjust and want to see it lifted. Others in congress do, too.

They call for closer economic and diplomatic ties with the Cuban government as it commits acts eerily similar to the fake Mandela headline above.

Case in point: a few days ago, a Cuban political prisoner, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, was allowed to die when he went on a hunger strike to protest the repeated beatings and other blatant abuses by Castro's thug prison guards.

According to reports, the black Cuban was denied liquids by his captors as a punitive measure for daring to go on a hunger strike, and in the ultimate act of cruelty, his family was denied the opportunity to visit him during his final days.

After his death, supporters and friends were forbidden from paying their last respects at his funeral.

Meanwhile, nowhere outside Miami has the mainstream media reported this, the Castro-friendly Congressional Black Caucus and other congressional so-called "leaders" continue calling for the lift of the embargo on Cuba, and countless other political prisoners, including the black doctor Oscar Elias Biscet, continue rotting in Soviet-style Cuban gulags--not in some faraway continent, but in our very own. 90 miles away.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Republican response to Gov. Crist's State of the State Address

MARCH 2, 2010, 6:45 pm (approx)

Good evening fellow Floridians,

We meet during unique times, the second year of the deepest recession in generations. It is anticipated that this week, the unemployment rate in Florida will be the highest ever recorded. Record numbers of Floridians left the state last year. Property values are down, way down. Taxes and fees are up. Our reserves are drained. As bad as things are, next year things will be will be even more challenging. Florida is facing a $3.2 billion deficit for fiscal year 2010-11.

In this difficult environment, our lame duck governor has told us that ideology is wrong and that we should seek pragmatic solutions to our problems... like gambling.

Yes, gambling.

Governor Crist's state of the state address this year, which ran more than twice as long as years past, offered no solutions--just hollow platitudes and vague allusions about how he is a problem solver. Given the fact that he is governor and that Florida has problems, one should be safe in assuming that he has solved our problems?

Um, perhaps made a dent in our problems?

No, our putative Republican governor, Charlie Crist, has caused our problems. He has been asleep at the ship of state.

You may recall that following 9/11, Florida's last Republican governor to date, Jeb Bush, convened a special session to tackle the economic effects of the attack. The tax cuts and other policy objectives that then-Governor Bush actively pushed through the legislature allowed Florida to weather the aftermath of 9/11. Why did putative Republican Governor Crist not call the legislature back into session this past summer to cut unnecessary regulations? To cut taxes and improve the environment for businesses? Where has he been? Does he have no ideas?

Instead of steady conservative leadership for the last three years, we have had an absentee governor who hasn't been to work on a Friday in who knows when. He has abused the office we have entrusted him to by neglecting its duties and distracting himself with running for Vice President and now US Senate. He has been by all accounts, the worst governor in America.

Gov. Crist's idea of solving problems involves offering politically expedient, poll-driven short-term solutions that will cost the state in the long run well after he's no longer around to deal with the mess. He would allow Florida to wallow in a morass of red tape while he is off gallivanting in Washington, pining for the next political office.

And when anyone has the temerity to call him on this, well, of course, they speak from the cheap seats, "where wisdom is not required and nothing is either risked or gained," according to the putative Republican governor.

Well, the good news is that the end is near. Finally people are standing up to putative Republican Charlie Crist and saying, "Enough!" Standing against the stimulus package does not make you an ideologue. If it did, every Republican in the United States congress, sans three notoriously disloyal Republicans, would be ideologues.

Republicans deserve better; Florida deserves better. Republicans are sick and tired of politicians with no guiding principles, no ideas, no solutions but lots of talk about problem solving when problems abound.

A great Republican, Barry Goldwater, once said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice...and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Well, defense of the stimulus is not a virtue, it is unforgivable.

Putative Republican Gov. Crist derides all Republicans who stood on principle by saying, "...a few governors may have rather loudly condemned the stimulus money, but that did not stop them from quietly accepting it."

The debt of the United States represents a clear and present danger to our children, our nation's stability, and the world's economy. If Crist wins election to the Senate, he will continue to support policies that will harm America. As Republicans, we must stand up to this, otherwise these "compromises" will be the standard for years to come and our "Shining City on the Hill" as described by our great president and mentor Ronald Reagan will stand less secure, less prosperous and more vulnerable than ever before.

See, putative Republicans like Charlie Crist called Ronald Reagan an ideologue and an extremist. But to that, Reagan said: "You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, 'There is a price we will not pay.' There is a point beyond which they must not advance."

The Republicans in the Florida Legislature now know for certain that the Emperor has no clothes and we stand ready to pass our agenda and formally dare the governor to veto our cuts in taxes, fees and regulations, and our market-freeing reforms to the property insurance system he socialized.

Crist is wrong. Thankfully, he is almost gone, and if Republicans across Florida stand up and make it so, he will really be a lame duck in about five months.

Thank you for watching. God bless Florida.

****UPDATE 3/4/10 2:10pm****

Here is an excellent editorial by the Panama City News Herald that discusses Crist's State of the State address titled "The Cost of Crist."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No hole deep enough for Jim Greer and Charlie Crist?

A prediction I made a few months ago became reality tonight. I said that when Charlie Crist's handpicked chairman, the disgraced and recently-ousted Jim Greer was forced out, he would try to take others with him. Specifically, I predicted he would do so by leaking Marco Rubio's Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) American Express statement.

Today the media reported it had obtained a copy of Marco Rubio's AmEx statement, and I know my prediction came true because no one at the RPOF had access to these records except the detestable Jim Greer and those in his inner circle.

So why would Jim Greer (illegally?) leak these records to the press?

The short answer is, to embarrass Marco Rubio and try to derail his surging campaign.

Jim Greer has always been a hardcore Charlie Crist loyalist--after all, Crist forced him on us. He was such a loyalist that he blatantly threw his supposed impartiality as party chairman to the curb and actively promoted Charlie Crist's candidacy in a contested Republican primary. He went so far as to attempt to waive "RNC Rule 11," which would allow the RNC to formally throw its support behind Crist in the primary. This action is usually reserved for those rare cases where the candidacy of a fringe Republican is likely to bring harm, disrepute, or embarrassment to the party (i.e., a David Duke candidacy). Thankfully, Florida's National Committeewoman to the RNC, Sharon Day, stopped Greer in his tracks.

Although failed, the attempt by Greer to essentially bully Rubio out of the primary race was what set off the firestorm that eventually led to his resignation. First came indignation from party activists around the state over his attempt usurp the voters' will by anointing Charlie Crist, followed by outrage over revelations of gross misuse of the party's financial resources to fund his lavish lifestyle (including private jet charters, spa treatments, presidential suites, fine cigars, expensive dinners, and limousine rentals for himself and his family). Throughout all these scandals, Charlie Crist remained loyal to him and even instructed him not to resign. For more on the utter disgrace that is the detestable Jim Greer, please read my previous blog post on the matter.

So needless to say, Greer had an axe to grind with Rubio, which explains why he would leak this confidential information to the press (or to the Crist campaign, who turned around and leaked it to the press).

All this goes to show that the Crist campaign will stop at nothing to distract the electorate from the real issues at stake in this campaign. There is no limit to the depths the Crist campaign and his corrupt inner circle will stoop to try to politically destroy anyone in Charlie Crist's way, even if that person is another Republican.

So here's another prediction: Charlie Crist and his minions will undermine the Republican Nominee Marco Rubio when he defeats Crist in August.

Just when you think these people have stooped to new depths, they find a deeper hole.

Cool it with the Marco for VP, Prez, or whatever...

I've been noticing some premature chatter on Twitter and elsewhere about Marco Rubio joining up with Jim DeMint for a possible 2012 presidential ticket, as well as other unfounded rumors.

As cool as it would be to imagine Marco Rubio as the Republican nominee for vice president in 2012, the presidential nominee in 2016, or King of Narnia in 2020, remember that he has to defeat a hack politician (and formidable adversary) this year to capture the GOP nomination for US Senate.

One of the many arguments those of us critical of Charlie Crist have used against him is his perpetual candidate status. First, he was State Senator, then unsuccessful candidate for US Senate, then education commissioner, then attorney general, then governor, then vice-presidential candidate (in his mind), and now US Senate candidate again. Except when he was State Senator many years ago, Crist has never sought reelection for any office he has held, nor accrued a list of accomplishments in any of those positions. Instead, he has used those offices as a springboard to the next higher office, neglecting the duties and responsibilities he was entrusted to.

Nothing's changed, I know.

So to all of you who are touting Marco Rubio as our party's next nominee for this or that with the best of intentions because you truly admire him, please consider the implications. You don't want to give the Crist campaign any fodder to say that Rubio is planning to use the US Senate to jump to another position, even though Crist's career is one long pattern of doing exactly that.

Let's keep our eye on the ball, get Marco Rubio elected to the US Senate, and give him a chance to work for and represent the people of Florida.

And if God opens other doors for him down the road, he can proudly run on his record of accomplishments as a Florida legislator and a US Senator as well.

Mark Levin chimes in on the Florida US Senate race in his notoriously hilarious way

Here is a hilarious collection of sound clips where syndicated conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin rips into Charlie Crist and endorses Marco Rubio for US Senator from Florida. Enjoy!

Here, Mark rips into John McCain and other RINOs for supporting the consummate RINO, Charlie Crist; endorses Rubio:

Marco Rubio on the Mark Levin Show:

Mark Levin comments on Rubio's surge in the polls:

Mark Levin reacts to Charlie Crist calling Ronald Reagan a RINO (yes, you read correctly!):

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Ron Paul scored a win at CPAC

There has been much controversy surrounding Rep. Ron Paul's straw poll victory in CPAC this past weekend. Many have asked how Paul, who many in the conservative movement reject, could have won a plurality of the CPAC straw poll, which has traditionally been a generally reliable gauge of mainstream conservative sentiment.

Originally, I was not going to address the issue. But following the results, a handful of Crist hacks used Ron Paul's straw poll victory at CPAC to downplay the significance of Rubio's 23 consecutive straw poll victories around Florida. Even worse, solid bedrock conservative friends of mine questioned CPAC's legitimacy over it.

So, as someone who was there to cast a vote and witness the results, I now feel a need to shed some light on why Ron Paul won, and what the reaction of those present was.

Over 10,000 people registered for, and attended CPAC. As the poll results show, 2,395 of those participated in the poll. Almost half (48%) of the straw poll participants were students, which is representative of the conference as a whole. The reason such a large percentage of CPAC attendees were students can be attributed to the low $25 registration fee. Registration fee for non-students was $150 (or $175 for late registration).

Regardless of registration status, over half (54%) of those who participated in the straw poll were college-aged (18-25).

With that said, Ron Paul garnered a plurality, although not a majority of the straw poll (31%), followed by Mitt Romney at 22%.

It is no secret that Ron Paul has an active, extensive, and very aggressive network of activists throughout college campuses. These activists descended upon CPAC and were actively campaigning for Ron Paul during the conference to influence the results of the straw poll. I witnessed it myself as I strolled through the corridors and halls of the venue. This, plain and simple, explains Ron Paul's straw poll victory.

In fact, I was in the bloggers lounge just outside the main hall when the results were announced. The loud boos from the overwhelming majority of attendees in the hall, as well as my fellow bloggers in the lounge snuffed out those cheering for Ron Paul when he was announced the winner. In contrast, when Mitt Romney was announced as second place winner, the cheers were deafening.

So, to say that CPAC was a gathering of Ron Paul supporters who most CPAC attendees consider out of the mainstream would be inaccurate. CPAC was attended by solid philosophical and movement conservatives, but unfortunately there was evidence of coordination to benefit Ron Paul in the straw poll. I did not see any other candidate or campaign do this.

As for you Cristonistas slobbering all over yourselves trying to use Ron Paul's straw poll win to discredit Marco Rubio's 23 straw poll victories, I would prefer that you continue lulling yourselves into a false sense of security, so stop reading here. You may leave the room now.

To everyone else I would like to point out that almost every straw poll Marco Rubio has won was conducted by county Republican executive committees throughout Florida. These committees consist of longtime members and activists of the Republican party, not some single-issue, hit-and-run participants. Not only do these people vote in primaries, but these are the activists that volunteer for campaigns and who friends and family members go to for advice on whom to vote for. Charlie Crist has not won A SINGLE STRAW POLL. He has lost every straw poll by landslide margins. In fact, he deservedly faced the ultimate indignity when he lost his home county's republican executive committee straw poll--the same group of people that endorsed him in 2006 during his primary race for governor.

It's nice to see some groups don't make the same mistake twice. Too bad the NRSC isn't one of them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Florida Republicans Take Back the Fort

Today the Republican Party of Florida elected a new Chairman in Senator John Thrasher, at long last bringing to an end the disgraceful 3-year administration (a term I use lightly) of Crist's hand-picked chairman, Jim Greer.

But his departure was anything but smooth. Despite countless Republican activists, party officers (and more party officers), donors, (and more donors), elected officials, and concerned Republicans calling for his resignation, Jim Greer dug in his heels and defiantly refused to go for months. He declared he was being set up by people intent on destroying the party, and even had his minions publicly blame the Marco Rubio campaign. Despite all the intra-party division, negative press, and fundraising paralysis generated, Crist's handpicked Chairman wouldn't budge. He had no qualms about extending his cancerous presence even if it meant the destruction of the party.

But why? Why was Greer so willing to oversee the destruction of the RPOF after his predecessors had struggled to build what was once a nearly nonexistent minority party into the most powerful state party operation in the country?

Those of us critical of Jim Greer knew all along that it was his blind devotion and commitment to promoting Charlie Crist, and Crist's need to control the party to benefit his campaign. Jim Greer himself validated our belief when he confirmed that Crist had instructed him not to resign.

They inherited a strong party from leaders with a vision toward the future. For Crist and his handpicked chairman, the party was merely a vehicle to advance Crist, enrich his cronies, and toss aside once it was no longer useful.

Thankfully, legislative leaders and the candidate with the most to lose by a fractured party--Bill McCollum--stepped in and forced Greer to resign. Even then, he could not go gracefully, so he took the opportunity to blame others for his downfall.

With Greer expelled and today's elections of Senator John Thrasher as chairman and Deborah Cox-Roush as vice chairman, it seems the fort may have been recaptured just in time for it to be rebuilt before the battle in November.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crist responds to Rubio's CPAC speech

***Not prepared for Delivery, Not Embargoed Until Delivery***

It's great to be here in beautiful Florida. Isn't she great, folks? We have such a lovely state, and we are all so very blessed to have her. (wait for applause)

I know many of you are thinking about that CPAC meeting going on up in our nation's capital, and while I love Washington and can't wait to get up there to represent (pointing) you, and you, and you, and all the great people of this beautiful state, I have to admit that our state is much more beautiful than Washington, isn't she? (wait for applause)

So I wanted to talk with you today about the so-called CPAC meeting. I really wish I was there to speak to our nation's conservatives, but I was not invited after I was booed last year and came in dead last in a straw poll. I desperately wanted to go this year, but by them not inviting me, I guess they were saving me from a terribly embarrassing situation. So instead, I am here with you today sharing this beautiful, crisp, February north Florida weather in this, our Republican Party of Florida Headquarters parking lot to address all of you loyal supporters on our brand of "conservatism." On what it means to be a Charlie Crist Republican.

Can you all hear me okay? I'm sorry if you can't. Since we weren't sure whether or not the Republican Party of Florida headquarters would have its power cut off, we decided against renting a sound system for today's event. Speaking of which, let's all give my friend and soon to be former hand-picked RPOF Chairman Jim Greer a round of applause (point to JG, wait for applause). Hey Jim, thanks for everything you tried to do for my US Senate campaign as RPOF chairman. I'm proud to have stood by you despite everything you did to the party as a result of helping my campaign. Hopefully next time, if we have a sound system, you can serenade us! (wait for laughter)

Well my friends, I know I am not as popular as I used to be, which is surprising given that the only time I ever took a stand on anything meaningful was when President Obama came down to our beautiful state to promote a trillion dollar spending bill called the "stimulus." I always knew that all the darned thing would do is stimulate our national debt, but hey, Obama and I were pretty popular back then, and I sure as heck wasn't about to put my approval numbers in jeopardy by cutting state spending to what I should have. I can't stand having people angry at me over a tough decision like that, you know.

So yes, I courageously went against every Republican in the country and campaigned for the stimulus so the federal government would give Florida some borrowed money from China to make my last two years as your governor a little easier on me. That helped me keep my focus on raising money for my Senate race instead of all that governing stuff. I know the stimulus money runs out after I leave the governorship, but I'm fully prepared to let Bill McCollum deal with it. I have full confidence in him. Or Alex Sink. Or whomever.

So while people are in Washington yapping about what it means to be a conservative, I would rather talk about what it means to be a Charlie Crist Republican.

And what, you may ask, is a Charlie Crist Republican?

A Charlie Crist Republican cares about today and not about tomorrow, when he will be in Washington and not have to deal with the consequences. A Charlie Crist Republican fights against tax increases, but supports fee increases. A Charlie Crist Republican acts tough on corruption, unless the corrupt happen to donate to, or run the RPOF. A Charlie Crist Republican appoints liberal, anti-gun, ACLU-backed justices to the Florida Supreme Court, but talks tough on crime.

Caputo, thanks for coming out today with your camera. Good to see you.

A Charlie Crist Republican criticizes socialist policies, except when it comes to property insurance. A Charlie Crist Republican is willing to reach across the aisle--often--and is proud to put on the other team's jersey. A Charlie Crist Republican hosts global warming conferences--on non-primary election years. A Charlie Crist Repub... Gary! Great to see you! Thanks for your RT the other day!

As I was saying, a Charlie Crist Republican thinks cap and trade is great, unless he has a primary challenger who puts the breaks on it. A Charlie Crist Republican chooses good Republicans to fill vacancies around the state--only during primary election years. A Charlie Crist Republican embaces and welcomes the President of the United States, unless the president happens to be a Republican. A Charlie Crist Republican says he's against the expansion of gambling until he's for it. A Charlie Crist Republican is pro-life, but is against enacting laws that protect the sanctity of human life. A Charlie Crist Republican is for traditional marriage, but is against the Republican Party funding any marriage amendment campaigns. Lastly, a Charlie Crist Republican campaigns for his party's nominee for president, unless passed over for vice president.

In short, on a host of issues, a Charlie Crist Republican says one thing and does another--and accuses his opponents of the same thing, even when he knows it isn't true.

In conclusion, I want to thank all seven or eight of you for showing up here today. Even though there are several thousand people up there in Washington, please don't believe the cockamamie stuff coming out of that phony conservative get-together. We're the real conservatives gathered here today, and Marco Rubio is a lousy human being for having the audacity to run against me. So please, vote for me, a Charlie Crist Republican--for the future of our party!


Of course, this speech is a parody.