November 12, 2008


Can Republican Governors Rebuild Their Party? (Tim Padgett, Nov. 11, 2008, TIME)

Despite his sunny disposition, you'd think Charlie Crist would be feeling a bit down right now. Florida's Republican governor just watched a northern Democrat, Barack Obama, win the Sunshine State in a presidential election for the first time since Franklin Roosevelt did in 1944. Obama also took Pinellas County, which includes Crist's hometown of St. Petersburg. And Obama only lost nearby Sarasota County — which since 1944 hasn't fallen to any kind of Democrat, Yankee or otherwise — by a mere 237 votes.

Certainly Crist isn't happy about John McCain's loss in Florida, especially since he endorsed McCain in the state's primary. But when he convenes the Republican Governors Association conference on Wednesday, which is being held in Miami this year, Crist won't be quite the damaged political goods that many McCain supporters are trying to paint him as. In fact, Crist and other bipartisan Republican governors may well be the model for how the GOP should rebuild itself after the crippling losses of both 2006 and 2008.

Moderates like Crist have long urged Republicans to adopt a more upbeat offensive in the 21st century, especially during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. He and many of his statehouse peers contend that McCain flamed out in Florida and the nation in large part because his campaign followed such a negative attack plan. "Right now people want commonsense answers to problems that are not always ideologically based," Crist told TIME last week. "When it comes to pocketbook issues, I think they want the Florida way, a more bipartisan approach that aims for the sweet spot between hard right and hard left."

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 12, 2008 10:38 AM
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