Monday, December 22, 2008 at 9:59 a.m.
Florida Dems, let us share a bit of well-known advice that helped your national party unseat a seemingly unbeatable Republican incumbent back in '92: It's the economy, stupid.
After re-electing party chairwoman Karen Thurman this weekend, the state Democrats vowed to continue their crusade against "Empty Chair Charlie
"We know that we hit a nerve with that," Thurman said to the AP
A nerve, really? Why, then, do Charlie Crist's approval numbers continue to be quite enviable? Why, then, when the state overwhelmingly changed course and went for Obama in November, did the Democrats make so little of a dent in Tallahassee?
This is not news, but it certainly strikes a nerve: The economy sucks, and Florida is taking it harder than any other state. The reasons for this aren't all political, but certainly the budget hole crises; the cuts to education, Medicaid, and other programs; and the continued tendency to slash taxes while barely trimming spending are political, and there's no one to blame for that but the Republicans. I don't mean that as a partisan attack; I mean that they've pretty much had oppressive control over Tally since 1998. It's time someone held them accountable.
So cut it out with this Empty Chair Charlie stuff. The public doesn't care where Charlie Crist's butt happens to be, and he's such a skilled media whore (Dems, you need some media whores of your own) anyway that most Floridians are going to be like, "Empty chair? I see that weird little white-headed dude in the news all the time." Don't attack him for what he's not doing; attack him for what he is doing -- mainly the lackluster handling of the budget and economic crises. Because what Floridians see in the news even more than Crist's super-tan self are headlines like "Education Budget Cut," "Foreclosures at All-Time High," and "Unemployment at 7.3 Percent"
Plus this line of attack can be carried over to state reps and senators, and even Ol' Jeb Bush, who is as much to blame for Florida's economic mess as any politician.
Or whatever -- continue striking that nerve with your neat-sounding "Empty Chair Charlie" war call.