Charlie Crist

Ties That Bind

On April 19, Republican Senator Marco Rubio appeared at a policy breakfast in Washington. The ostensible topic was his proposal for a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act, but it wasn’t long before the conversation drifted to vice presidential talk. Since the start of the Republican primary, Rubio has been named at the top of nearly every short list of likely running mates—and for good reason. He is young, charismatic, and popular with both the Tea Party and the GOP establishment. He has a reputation for being serious about policy.

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I saw him last night. I saw Senator Marco Rubio in person as he delivered a speech at the Ronald Reagan Library outside of Los Angeles. I saw Marco Rubio catch Nancy Reagan as she stumbled.

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Conservative Crosshairs

Republicans are poised to take over the U.S. Senate in 2012. This isn't contingent on a GOP presidential win, or even a particularly good campaign year, but rather on the extremely tilted Senate playing field created by the 2006 Democratic landslide. Yet, oddly, that is no comfort for many sitting Republican senators, who may face savage primary challenges if they are even perceived to slight the conservative base.

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George F. Will is one of those conservatives who demands a high standard of proof when it comes to accusing white people of harboring racial prejudice against minorities: STEPHANOPOULOS: We -- we heard President Obama say he thinks that a lot of anti- government feeling, the idea that the government can't do anything right, is behind all this. What's your theory? WILL: The president's right about that. What we're hearing is the liberals' McCarthyism, which is, when in doubt, blame people for racism. Litigators have an old argument: When the law's on your side, argue the law.

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In the Florida Senate race, you have Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek splitting the left-of-center vote, allowing Marco Rubio to run away with the race with just 44% support. Democrats should be desperate to get Meek out of the race, right? Not necessarily. Markos Moulitsas explains the logic: The truth is that Democrats aren’t just happy for Meek to stay in the race, they are actively boosting what is pretty much a hopeless candidacy. Why? Because Meek’s presence on the ballot helps Democrats in the governor’s race.

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Christine O’Donnell is not someone you’d expect to be a Republican nominee for a competitive U.S. Senate contest, particularly in the staid state of Delaware, and particularly as the choice of primary voters over Congressman Mike Castle, who up until yesterday had won twelve consecutive statewide races. O’Donnell is a recent newcomer to Delaware and, since arriving, has managed to get into trouble with her student loans, her taxes, her mortgage, and her job. She also unsuccessfully sued a conservative organization for gender discrimination.

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Oy Bai

[Guest post by Jonathan Bernstein:] Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist.

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I've always thought that you can understand about 90% of what you need to know about a politician's beliefs by looking at who advises them. Charlie Crist now has a lot of Democrats working for him: Two of the major power players now steering the Crist ship are Eric Johnson, who was chief of staff for former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and Josh Isay, the former chief of staff to Sen.

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I have a soft spot for bluntly transactional politicians. I like Mitt Romney because, even though he pretends to hold principles,the pretense is so transparent it's barely different than simply admitting he'll say anything to get elected. Charlie Crist, who's veering sharply leftward in an attempt to win a Senate election, is becoming another favorite: Mr. Crist has made other policy shifts. Despite pledging as a Republican to help repeal President Obama's health-care overhaul, Mr. Crist now says he does not support such a move.

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One interesting sidelight of the current election cycle is that there are several races in which the Republican establishment has either lost control of the race or lost any sense of its own partisan self-interest. The Nevada Senate race is a prime example. Harry Reid, once a dead man walking, is now sitting on a nice lead because Republicans nominated a lunatic to oppose him. "A total f*** up by the state and national Republicans to allow Angle to get nominated," a source notes to Ben Smith. But of course there are numerous such fuckups.

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