Charlie Crist pushes theme to ‘bring back good’

Charlie Crist
'We have a Governor who acts like Trump. It breaks my heart.'

U.S. Rep. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist on Wednesday defined Gov. Ron DeSantis as someone belittling respect and human dignity, and promised to “bring back good.”

During a whirlwind four-stop tour of Democratic base groups in Orlando Wednesday, Crist bemoaned that politics and society, particularly in Washington and Tallahassee, have taken on a coarseness and a meanness “that’s unattractive and unjust.”

He attributed that to the leadership and rhetorical styles of former President Donald Trump. He said DeSantis practices them as well — to the detriment of Florida.

“We need somebody who can bring back good, as corny as that sounds,” Crist told an Orlando gathering of labor union leaders Wednesday morning. “We have a Governor who acts like Trump. It breaks my heart. It does, because that doesn’t look like the real Florida. Floridians are good people.”

Later, speaking to an Orlando woman’s group supporting his candidacy, Crist said, “Just be decent. Be kind, and be gracious. You know, be good. Simple, right? Apparently not so simple for some people to carry out. And it’s important that we get back to that.”

And at a third stop at a College Dems gathering at the University of Central Florida, on a panel discussion of HB 1557 with Orlando Democratic Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna V. Eskamani, Crist accused DeSantis of opposing “human dignity” because he thinks the tactic will help him win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Crist, in a Democratic Primary election battle with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Miami Sen. Annette Taddeo, also made it clear his tour was about winning the Florida Democratic gubernatorial nomination. At the union gathering, hosted at the Communication Workers of America Local 3108 headquarters, he openly pleaded for their support.

“I want you all to endorse me. Now. What are you waiting for?” he told leaders from more than a half dozen unions, including two which already have endorsed him. “And give me all the money you can.”

The topic of bringing back “good” may be a rhetorical high-wire act in today’s culture. How do you accuse someone of being mean-spirited without sounding mean-spirited about it?

As a theme, it could play for Crist, the former Republican Governor seeking his old job back as a Democrat. Crist long has been known for offering smiles and handshakes to everyone in a room, contrasting with DeSantis, who lately in public events has frequently directed his ire at critics.

Crist mostly accused DeSantis of cultural warfare in general terms, though he offered one specific instance as an example of coarseness: when DeSantis dressed down high school students for wearing COVID-19 masks at a March 2 press conference in Tampa.

At UCF, Crist contended that people should not have to be protesting for “simple human dignity” from the state government.

“It’s not just ‘Don’t Say Gay,'” Crist said, using Democrats’ name for HB 1557. “It’s a big deal because it’s a reflection of what is coming out of Tallahassee today, of what this Governor is trying to do to our beautiful state today.”

Crist also hammered at DeSantis all day over two other broad themes: freedom and respect. He accused DeSantis of distorting the concept of freedom to mean only freedom for some, and only on some issues; and of abandoning the concept of respect.

“We all love freedom, and we all believe in it, if anybody needed a reminder of how cherished true, actual freedom is, not the kind the Governor is talking about,” Crist said at the UCF forum.

“He says we’re the freest state in America? Well, apparently not if you’re LGBTQ+. Apparently not if you’re a woman and you want the right to choose. Apparently not if you’re African American and would like to be able to vote and not be suppressed,” he added.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


23 comments

  • tom palmer

    March 23, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    yeah, get rid of the bully boy’

    • Grant Vinson

      March 24, 2022 at 2:55 am

      Crist said, “Just be decent. Be kind, and be gracious. You know, be good and gay like me!

  • Go at it

    March 23, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    Without his power desantis is a navy lawyer drop out who eats everything he sees and visually is not much to look at. And His glory days are past him.

    • Tom

      March 23, 2022 at 10:31 pm

      What a dumb ass you are who used his hands to wipe his ass. Your ignorance stains your pants. Wash your hands. Glory days past him, he is a navy drop out.

      Where do you get off, moron fake moniker, loser. He left navy as counsel to seal team.

      When crap like you has nothing to say but crap, you need to be flushed.

      Toilet guy.

      • Ocean Joe

        March 24, 2022 at 10:45 am

        Frankly, it does look like the governor should watch his weight instead of constantly throwing it around.

        • Tom

          March 24, 2022 at 7:33 pm

          Nothing like you ocean Joe and insults. I don’t know, he’s Gov of the 3rd largest state. He’s dwelt with a 100 yr pandemic highly effectively. Wife had a yr of cancer. Stress pretty high, travel demand 5, 6 days a week. He’d be better off dieting for his health overall.

          Kept Florida’s economy humming, pre pandemic, current jobs report at 3.5%. Schools remained open, parents and families happy with America’s Gov. Best Florida Gov on environmental policy. Desantis The best. Fraud or Camillion don’t have chance.

      • Edward Lyle

        March 27, 2022 at 11:36 am

        There’s that tolerance we’ve come to expect from progressive pinheads.

        Bitter little troll you are.

    • Impeach Biden

      March 24, 2022 at 5:47 am

      DeSantis attended Yale University. He was Captain of the baseball team there. Then he attended Harvard Law, and became a U.S. Naval Officer. You call him a dropout. Let me guess, you think Gillum was a genius. Never mind his taste for drugs and male hookers.

  • Brandon

    March 23, 2022 at 10:36 pm

    Only Florida Politics and Never Trumpers get a hard on for Charlie Crist.

  • Antonio

    March 24, 2022 at 1:03 am

    “It’s not just ‘Don’t Say Gay,’” Crist said, using Democrats’ name for HB 1557. “It’s a big deal because it’s a reflection of what is coming out of Tallahassee today, of what this Governor is trying to do to our beautiful state today.”

    And with that, he buries himself with normal voters by assuming we aren’t paying attention. There is no such bill and by using that quote he insults our intelligence.

  • just sayin

    March 24, 2022 at 8:02 am

    So by “good” you mean bringing back masks, vaccine passports, and closing the beaches?

  • Tom

    March 24, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Crispys Camillion assertion to be good is fine.
    To suggest the status quo is not nice is offensive. What is nice and more important is the Govs decency, honor, good deeds, and most importantly his efforts to help all Floridians with good policy.

    Biden is at 34% approval in Florida. Camillion wants to desperately get this off of Biden/Dems.

    Florida’s 3.5 unemployment rate offers all
    residents the opportunity to work and produce.
    His ability to allow all Floridians to live and prosper is second to none.

    Crist is a Camillion. No one trusts him.
    Crispy or N Fraud lose. America’s Gov wins re-election. Tallahassee to WH.

    • anthony metty

      March 25, 2022 at 1:27 pm

      Great read! Thank you

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    March 24, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    He was Chaingang Charlie” Then he was an “Independent”. Then he was a Democrat. He’s a weak reed that sways with the wind.

    • Jennifer

      March 26, 2022 at 9:59 pm

      No he was a thoughtful, considerate man who tried to do what he thought was what the majority wanted. We did want accountability for criminal actions. Until it went too far. He saw what happened to some in florida, in the republican party after obama was elected and the ideology of the old republican was still there, he learned that our younger citizens wanted something different and he saw the tired racist rhetoric from the new tea party republicans and he wanted no part of that. It’s in his book if you care to read it. If you CAN read it, that is. It’s at about an 8 to 10 grade level read, so it might be too hard for you. Big words you know.

      • Tom

        March 26, 2022 at 11:15 pm

        Jennifer, your political convictions are your character. If you throw them to the gutter, and self proclaim new philosophy and extremism,
        It’s a poor reflection. His character is not worthy. Repub. Will reject him 95% to 5. Independents will reject him 60% plus, Dems will not fully embrace as he does not profess the extremism they want. Either way, even with Fraud leading ticket, it’s a blow out. America’s Gov will win bigly.
        Sorry! Ron’s going to Oval Office after re-elect. Enjoy.

  • Leanne Woodall

    March 24, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    Silly but very fun to watch.

  • Common Sense Voter

    March 25, 2022 at 1:50 am

    Ron DeSantis raised taxes on internet purchases. A vote for DeSantis is a vote for higher taxes. I’m voting for Charlie Crist to oppose DeSantis tax hikes.

    • Tom

      March 25, 2022 at 8:42 pm

      Laugh my ass off.
      You don’t gotta buy on internet.
      Do it’s ok for store fronts to charge tax on purchase but not internet.

  • LM

    March 25, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    Crist was a vocal supporter of the constitutional ban on same sex marriage in Florida. So not much credibility on LGBT issues.

  • LM

    March 29, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    Let’s be clear. Charlie Crist was a big supporter of the successful anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment in 2008. He came around to gay rights only after polling on the issue improved and Obama started to support. He gets the lifetime achievement award for flip-floppery.

    I will vote for Taddeo in the primary and then — for some complicated reasons — DeSantis in the general.

Comments are closed.


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