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.

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