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.