Florida U.S. Senate Debate

After watching Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio this morning on Fox News Sunday, it was clear voters have a choice. Unfortunately the choice is between two flawed candidates, one who is a big-spending liberal when it comes to policy, the other is a big-spender with other people’s money who doesn’t seem to know that’s wrong.

Charlie should re-think further debates with Rubio

By Chris Ingram

After watching Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio this morning on Fox News Sunday, it was clear voters have a choice. Unfortunately the choice is between two flawed candidates.  One who is a big-spending liberal when it comes to policy, the other is a big-spender with other people’s money who doesn’t seem to know right from wrong.

In a nutshell, the result of the first “debate” between Florida’s two main Republican U.S. Senate candidates was, Marco beat Crist but it was a TKO, not a knock-out punch.

Despite being more seasoned in the arena, and having participated in more debates, Crist came across as shallow and desperate. He continues to only speak in platitudes about being “for the people” – so much so I wonder when John Morgan the ubiquitous Florida trial lawyer whose ads run non-stop on television claiming to be “for the people” is going to file a lawsuit against him for trademark infringement.

Crist certainly recognizes Rubio’s greatest weakness right now is the issue of character. Our superficial governor tried to burn Rubio on the issue like UV rays in a tanning bed but mostly came up empty.

Not that Rubio’s explanations were all that believable, but it’s hard to take accusations of flawed judgment seriously from a guy who gave us Jim Greer, the Obama hug, is pals with people like Scott Rothstein, and has questionable Amex charges of his own.

Rubio for his part tried to explain away his issues with credit cards but it sounded to me like more double-talk and a continued failure to own up to his poor judgment.  Marco could have eliminated this issue once and for all by looking into the camera and saying “I was wrong. I made some mistakes. I learned my lesson, and I’m sorry.” The American people are very forgiving. But you’ve got to say you’re sorry to receive forgiveness.

While I have issues with Rubio’s flawed judgment and his inability to discern right from wrong as it relates to credit cards and who pays for his family reunions, from a policy standpoint he came out with probably the most honest statement of the political season when he said unpopular changes to Social Security are necessary if we’re ever going to fix the near bankrupt retirement program.  Specifically commenting about raising the retirement age Rubio said, “I think that has to be on the table. That’s got to be part of the solution — [that] the retirement age [will] gradually increase for people of my generation.”

The only part of this statement Rubio got wrong is the part about “my” generation. Changes in Social Security need to start right now. That is, with the current generation of recipients and everyone after them feeling some of the pain. Future generations’ futures already look bleak with mounting deficits, increased taxes, and fewer benefits. Current generations need to take their share of responsibility for themselves and the mess we’re in and take some cuts and make some sacrifices also.

Of course that won’t happen because most politicians lack the honesty to tell voters that benefit cuts, higher taxes, and a higher retirement age are coming. Talk about making these changes is generally considered political suicide.

So kudos to Marco Rubio for having the courage to admit what every politician in Washington knows but won’t admit. Social Security is going broke and it’s going to be painful to fix it.

Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek are no doubt salivating at the opportunity Rubio gave them to engage in senior-scare tactics by running ads saying Rubio will gut Social Security as we know it.

It’s dishonest for any politician to suggest Social Security will continue without doing a combination of tax hikes, benefit cuts, and an increase in the retirement age.

But that won’t stop them from saying it isn’t so.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of www.IrreverentView.com. 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: Chris@IrreverentView.com

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22 thoughts on “Florida U.S. Senate Debate”

  1. In spite of Rubio’s credit card indiscretions, he is the clear choice. I’m convinced that all politicians are crooked to some degree. I’m not ready to take off the bumper sticker just yet.


  2. I wouldn’t believe anything Charlie Crist says about Rubio. Crist has done a terrible job as governor and Rubio is the one with integrity, even if you don’t believe it.


  3. Someone needs to look into the credit card abuse of Jim Greer , handpicked RPOF Chairman by Gov. Crist. How many times did Greer and Executive Director of RPOF Delmar Johnson pick up Gov. Crist expenses?

    The choice is clear. Charlie Crist will be the 60th Democrat vote on many issues. Marco Rubio will bring conservative principles to Washington. Those conservative principles are in his heart, not just in his talk.


  4. It is clear to me that Rubio is the only choice we have that can be trusted to represent the people of Florida. I have watched Crist through the years and he blows with the wind just like most professional politicians worried only about himself. I even observed him napping in a Cabinet meeting when served with Jeb Bush. Clear choice for me is Rubio.


  5. I have personally known Charlie Crist for more than 20 years. Sorry Charlie, you’ve lost my vote. Our country needs people who will go to Washington and who understands the Constitution and its limited powers on the Federal Government. We need someone who will stand for “Less Spending, Less Taxing, Less Government and more Freedom. Of the two choices we have, I believe that Rubio is that person.


  6. Thanks Chris for sending your thoughts. Here are mine:

    I actually thought the Governor hit a home run! He was confident, relaxed and told the truth about how he would have supported the stimulus and how he thought there were some good points in the healthcare bill that, even if revisited, he still thinks should remain.

    I believe Chris Wallace gave much tougher questions to Governor Crist and he answered them honestly without hesitation. I was impressed. Not sure why Rubio was not taken to task about his lack of action as Speaker especially when he tried to blame the Governor for lack of immigration reform!!

    I also believe Crist was much more confident in his past experience and willing to say, when Governor, you must do what is right for the people and not always follow a party line.

    Now, having said that ……. you know I am supporting Charlie Crist for Senate but these are my own honest thoughts and not a “campaign induced” reply!

    I was pleased and actually surprised how hesitant and awkward Rubio appeared when answering questions……. when he does so well when making a speech.

    I appreciate your comments and wouldn’t it be great if dialog could be decent like this instead of the yelling, nasty demeanor that has replaced the sport of differing opinion!


  7. Chris,
    Your riding a dead horse–if your going to continue to bring up Marco expenses why not look at all the expenses ran up by Crist and paid by Greer or Delmar or Crist running his campaign out of the RPOF office with RPOF staff prior to any primary!
    How about the Crist trip to Europe,accomplaqnied by RPOF staff and their credit cards.


  8. I have to agree with Gregg, The choice is clear and Charlie has proven himself to be unreliable in protecting Freedom and Liberty from the marxist agenda. He has not protected the 2nd Amendment when he appointed an Anti-Gun Rights Judge onto the Florida Supreme Court and by forcing the Light Rail Boondogle (Theft) of the Florida Tax Payers for personal Payola for himself and the “For Sale” politicians in Tallahasse or his personal CSX Lobiest & annointed Senator Peppy LePew (who makes everything he touches stink to high heaven). For those reasons and his affiliation with McAmnesty and LePew’s S3081 bill attacking the 5th Amendment that stips Miranda Rights, includes indefinate incarceration without due process of Law for American Citizens in the United States. Sorry Charlie but you’re a piece of work… Not a conservative and you will soon find the end of your RAIL. I just wish Rubio did not perscribe to the Fox News Foreign Policy.


  9. Chris, you did a great job of selling Rubio and I bought your sell. Now you change your mind, which is OK, but I don’t see a better choice unless there is a democrat out there that you like. No one else in the Republican Party has a chance to win the nomination so we need to decide who to support or get out of the conversation. Hugh Sullivan


  10. Here we go again Chris,
    Do we stay with the devil we know (you can paint over the stripes, but the beast underneath remains) or go with the devil we don’t know?!


  11. We sure need to shape up, decide who to support and get busy
    doing it. My impression is that Rubio was ill-manered and
    rude. He reminded me of Ross Pero who thought he knew everything and could fix all. Rubio interrupted both the host and Charlie numerous times. Today Rubio sold me on Charlie. To Stan: Now we know, secret has been out for awhile
    and retold today.



  12. I understand where you are coming from–sometimes we hold our nose when voting for the Republican because they are the lesser of two evils.

    As a Republican I think my party has a responsibility to promote candidates with integrity and conservative convictions. Neither of the current front runners have both qualities. So if a third-party candidate comes forward who shares my immense fiscal conservative outlook, I’m voting for them.”


  13. Chris I think you made your point when you asked for your money back from Marco last week, which now everyone in the United States may know after being reported in the WSJ.

    There are 2 men who can possible win this Florida Senate seat, Marco Rubio or Charlie Crist. Continuing to tear into Marco and publicly criticize him does not help Floridians or the Republican party. The primary polls overhwelmingly favor Marco as they should.

    I agree 100% with Larry Thornberry’s article today on the American Spectator (in link below). He has given a solid analysis of what took place at the debate on Fox News and is hilarious to boot!

    What a way to start the week; this piece is on the mark and SO funny!




  14. Third party? Please, please! Remember 1992? Remember 2008?
    Either we shape up now, come together for the good of ALL, vow
    to be accountable or get used to living in a third world country with NO freedom. Set a system in motion where a less
    than honest person will be fired and lose his/her priviledge
    to serve. (in other words a liar/crook).


  15. Rubio is the only choice! I am, however, concerned over one of Rubio’s choices that should be “on the table” re. Social Security, i.e., “if they need it!” If “they need it’? Boy, that would kill IRAs and turn the fable of the grasshopper and the ant upside down. If the ants want to salt a little away into an IRA, they should not be penalized for being responsible.


  16. I tended to support Rubio before I really knew much about him. The revelations about the credit card use for personal expenses gave me great pause, but the debate on FOX pushed me back toward Rubio. Today’s revelations about our former chairman has sealed the deal. I cannot support Crist because he and Greer were joined at the hip. It is a sad day to be a Republican in Florida. I am thoroughly disgusted and will be very reluctant to ever give a dime to the RPOF or volunteer any of my time that will in any way enrich that organization. Mr. Thrasher has the power to restore my confidence in the RPOF but it will take some time. I encourage him to take steps to insure that this never happens under his watch.


  17. Rubio is the best choice inthe Republican primary….hence, the problem. Why is it that every election i am forced to choose between the lesser of two evils? WHy doesn’t someone of character and quality step up to run for office? Could it be because they can’t raise the money to compete, because they can’t be bought?
    The voters are victims of the marketing machine, buying everything that’s sold to them…from cheap Chinese imports to cheap candidates. When will it end?



  18. Good stuff Chris. I’ve really enjoyed your insight on this race. Yours was the first commentary I saw about the point on social security. Well done.

    But, since I am still trying to figure out who Marco Rubio really is, I’m going to say the choice is Crist. You just don’t know what you’re going to be getting with Rubio. He says one thing and does another. Like the whole immigration debacle. He said he would work for immigration reform, but as Speaker of the Florida State House he didn’t even hear any of the proposals. He said there wasn’t any support. Generally if you really are “for” something, you garner support for those issues you believe in. And if he can’t get it done at the state level, do you really think he can at the federal? Rubio just seems inexperienced and immature, and as you (Chris) pointed out before, like every other politician that you meet in DC.

    Rubio is definitely NOT a Reagan Republican and I say that with authority! 🙂


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