Creative Loafing asks Chris Ingram a few questions
CL: Given his low poll numbers and discontent of him within the GOP, what should Charlie Crist do?
Ingram: The best thing Charlie Crist can do at this point is drop out and try to rehabilitate his image. It can be done. But running as anything other than a Republican permanently ruins his chances to run for the White House or vice-presidency – especially if he loses. But Charlie is a political animal and while he has good instincts most of the time, he won’t drop out because he’s too stubborn and has started believing his own press releases, and isn’t listening to anyone.
CL: He’s been abandoned by a lot of people including his life-long mentor, former U.S. Senator Connie Mack. What was up with that?
Ingram: Connie Mack is a politician. He calculated that Charlie can’t win so he used Crist’s veto of SB6 as a convenient excuse to stop supporting him. Mack is shallow and lacks a spine and integrity like most politicians. If he had any real principles and convictions he would have dumped Charlie the day he hugged Obama. But at that point Charlie was about 30 points up in the polls.
CL: Speaking of SB6, you supported Crist’s decision to veto it. Why?
Ingram: It was a bad bill. Look, schools need reform and the teachers need to realize their jobs should not be guaranteed. In Pinellas County – one of the larger counties in Florida by population – last year they fired zero teachers in the whole county. That’s because of these ridiculous guarantees the teacher’s union fights for. As a result, our children suffer. Some useless idiot teacher gets to keep their job so the union can keep collecting dues — that’s what unions are all about today, preserving the union and the union bosses. The unions don’t give a damned about students.
Education is complicated and there are a lot of things going on in the classroom that some jerk legislator in Tallahassee like John Thrasher (the senator who sponsored SB6) who probably hasn’t set foot in a classroom in fifty years knows nothing about solving.
Parents, teachers, and administrators need to be held accountable. It should be easier to fire teachers. But their pay shouldn’t be based on student performance – unless they can fire the students.
CL: Why do you think Charlie vetoed the bill after saying he would support it?
Ingram: His pollster told him to veto it. Charlie is shallow. He probably couldn’t tell you three things of a substantive nature about what was in that bill. All he can do is run around talking about being “for the people” whatever the hell that means.
CL: There has been speculation that Charlie’s appointed senator, and former chief of staff George LeMieux will run for the seat. What do you think?
Ingram: LeMieux is probably the best-suited Florida Republican to enter this race and be a viable candidate this late in the game. He’s got the stature and the connections but it would be a risk. But he’s also very much tied to Charlie Crist, and it will be hard for him to convince rank-and-file Republicans that he’s not still Charlie’s stooge. And every day that goes by he loses ground as Rubio picks up more endorsements.
CL: How did this mess (within the Fla. GOP) happen?
Ingram: The irony of the whole situation is, if Charlie and former RPOF Chairman Greer hadn’t tried to force the state party’s endorsement of Crist over Rubio, none of this would have occurred. The whole uprising against Charlie and Greer and the ensuing disclosures about RPOF Amex cards would likely have never occurred. Charlie and Co. created this mess. He’s scorched the GOP in Florida and looks now like he’ll just walk away from the burning building he set on fire.
CL: Why are people like Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Dick Cheney suddenly coming out and endorsing Rubio?
Most politicians lack spine. These guys are no different. They’ve only come out for Rubio now because they have little to lose at this point.
On Romney, it’s worth noting that he is a bigger chameleon than Charlie Crist. On issues like abortion, taxes, gun control, and health care he has been on every side of those issues. A grown man of fifty plus years ought to know where he stands on these things. Romney is just like Charlie, he sticks his finger up in the air and tests the electorate, and then he takes a stand. It’s kind of funny that Rubio rolled him out as though he’s some sort of conservative champion. The guy makes Charlie Crist’s empty suit look full.
CL: What does it matter that Rubio got a little crazy with his RPOF Amex card?
Ingram: It matters because character counts. I’m amazed at how many Kool-aid drinking Republicans I know who are willing to give Marco a pass on this. These same people were screaming about how important character counts when Bill Clinton was embarrassing our nation with his antics. They’re hypocrites. The world is apparently full of them. The issue is, how do you trust someone to “do right” in Washington as it relates to spending, taxes, and your children’s future when said person doesn’t know right from wrong with something as simple and obvious as how to treat someone else’s credit card? Marco Rubio has repeatedly failed to own up and take responsibility; instead he’s made excuses and blamed others for his problems. He’s a grown man and he should know better. He’s not entitled to live large on other people’s money. That sense of entitlement is what causes most politicians to go wrong.
When we as voters decide we’re no longer going to settle for the lesser of two evils, we’ll end up with better people on the ballot, and in Washington, DC than we’re getting right now.
CL: So, Marco or Charlie – who would you vote for?
Ingram: If the [Republican Primary] election were tomorrow, I’d pinch my nose and vote for Marco, but I really hope someone else gets in it, and I will certainly take a long hard look at third party candidates (other than Charlie) in November. I am almost to the point of voting against anyone who has been in any elective office for more than five or six years at any level. More and more it is apparent that 90 percent of the people elected are clowns, and at least half of them are completely dishonest. This guy Jeff Atwater who is a Republican running for CFO of Florida is a perfect example. He talks about being a fiscal conservative and he’s sponsored a non-binding ballot measure to support a balanced federal budget. Great idea; problem is this guy has voted to balance the state’s budget on the backs of federal stimulus dollars. And he supported federal deficit spending to build a train to shuttle tourists from Tampa to Disney World. And let’s not forget he had over $40,000 in RPOF Amex charges. He calls himself a fiscal conservative, and a lot of stupid Republicans buy it.
CL: Any predictions for November?
Ingram: I’ll probably end up writing in “Mickey Mouse” on my ballot quite a bit.
Hopefully a lot of the people we’re talking about here will be under indictment and headed to jail. Then we can hopefully get a fresh start. You know the difference between politics and baseball is, in baseball when you get caught stealing, you’re out.
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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