Forget saying “Sorry Charlie” and start saying “Senator Crist”

Back in February I predicted Mel Martinez would resign from the U.S. Senate.

From my column: My guess is Senator Martinez will soon announce he not only plans to not run for re-election, but that he is going to resign from the U.S. Senate. Then Mel’s pal Charlie appoints himself to the senate seat, thus giving Charlie the power of incumbency when he has to run for re-election next year. You can read the full column by clicking here.

The good ol’ boys have a plan to make it so…

By Chris Ingram

My prediction has now come true. Mel Martinez is resigning his senate seat. Give it a couple of days, and I expect you’ll be reading about our oh-so-tanned governor announcing he is appointing himself to Martinez’s seat because (sorry to John Morgan), he’s “for the people.”

Yes, this is legal.

For the record, our spineless governor has stated he won’t appoint himself. This is the same guy who said he wasn’t going to run for the senate, said he wasn’t interested in being McCain’s running mate, and said he was going to make our taxes “drop like a rock.” You get the picture? His word is no good.

While certainly a political backlash will occur if Mr. For the People appoints himself, it will be brief. A couple of weeks of criticism, slams from the editorial pages, and letters to the editor from people outraged at the selfish opportunism (not that anyone should be surprised at Chuckles’ political opportunism) and that will be it.

Voters have a short attention span, and an even shorter memory. Barring Marco Rubio winning the Power Ball lottery and self-financing his campaign with his new-found millions, he won’t be able to run enough TV ads before next September’s Primary Election to remind voters about Mel and Charlie’s end-around to get Chuckie to the U.S. Senate.

In short, there is very little downside to the Chuckster taking advantage of the opportunity his pal Mel has handed him. Politics 101 dictates being an incumbent rocks when it comes to getting reelected. I’ll bet a case of Starkist Tuna Charlie realizes this and appoints himself.

I expect Too-tan Charlie will argue that in these serious times we need someone who will be the “people’s senator.” He’ll point out that it is in Florida’s interest for him to be senator before the election because he will have a leg up on the seniority ladder compared to the other freshmen senators elected in November.  He’ll get others from the establishment wing of the GOP to help him make his case that “better committee assignments will improve the lives of the people of Florida,” and “Florida needs Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate.” Blah, blah, blah…

The voters may smell a rat, but the real question is will they bring rat poison to the ballot box? Call me a cynic, but I doubt it.

On a related note, someone ought to look into when “Smel” Martinez becomes eligible for the very generous federal retirement benefits graced upon our esteemed former members of Congress. I think we’ll find it is strikingly close to his resignation date.

But regardless of Mel’s pension benefits, it looks more and more likely Charlie Crist will fulfill his life-long dream of being a U.S. Senator. So we’ll be saying “Senator Crist” real soon — instead of “Sorry Charlie” if the people had gotten their chance to have a truly fair opportunity to make the choice themselves.

I’m ready to burn my voter ID card because if what I suspects will happen happens, the casting of a vote in this race will be nothing short of a sham.

At least now maybe Marco Rubio will see fit to drop his longshot candidacy against Chuckles and will take on Bill “Howdy Doody” McCollum for governor. He ought to consider it because the fat lady just walked on the stage.

Now if I’m wrong about all this and Charlie appoints someone else as a “care-taker” senator who might it be? Admiral LeRoy Collins who ran against Katherine Harris in the GOP U.S. Senate Primary in 2006 would be a great call. Collins is intelligent, thoughtful, capable, and competent. I worked on Collins’ longshot campaign and I can say he is one of the greatest public servants I have ever known. And Charlie knows this. Admiral Collins is the governor’s appointed director of the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs.

I’d be happy to eat some crow, and what they heck, I’d even eat a case of tuna if I’m wrong should Charlie do the right thing and appoint LeRoy Collins. But I don’t think it will happen and either way, Charlie will still remain sorry.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at:

5 thoughts on “Forget saying “Sorry Charlie” and start saying “Senator Crist””

  1. By email:

    Of course he will appoint himself; in so doing, he will obtain a life-long pension, life-long Congressional medical insurance, etc., even if he loses the Senate race next year! Another example of our “public officials” again feathering their own nests at taxpayer expense!



  2. By email:

    Hey Chris, Man I loved your “I love Charlie” e-mail it was too much. You’re great and I think you are right as to what will happen but I was LAUGHING all the way through the article. When I heard that Smel dropped out I thought Charlie’s in, then I heard that Charlie said he would not Anoint Himself, then I got your e-mail wow is this fun or what? I called [a friend] who said you gotta remember Charlie is a Politician and is Florida’s answer to Bill Clinton.

    Mike D.


  3. By email:

    You rascal, you’re trying some reverse psychology with hope that CC will appoint himself, aren’t you?

    I hope your plan works because we need help defeating him in the primary, and it would be ironic if it came from him.

    Paul R.


  4. By email:

    Hey Chris,

    I really don’t think he will engineer his own appointment. I am betting on Jim Smith, although my fantasy would be KH (they used to date, remember?).

    Washington, DC


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