Can Charlie Crist Move Right Without It Seeming Like a Blatant Political Ploy?

Poor Charlie Crist. As he tries to make the move from governor to senator, he finds himself in quite the political quagmire. Much of which has been brought on by primary foe Marco Rubio hitting Crist from the right every chance he gets. So in response, Crist, whose reputation has changed from "Chain Gang Charlie" to the smiling, white-coifed face of moderatism, is trying to bolster his conservative credentials. Though that might not be the smartest move.

Today he released a statement critical of the Senate's vote for the Democrat health-care plan:

"I am thoroughly disappointed that votes on an issue affecting 1/6 of the American economy were traded in for sweetheart deals and a rushed vote in the middle of the night. The plan will cripple state economies and add half a trillion dollars in new taxes on top of half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts. All of this translates to increased health costs on the backs of American taxpayers and decreased benefits for our seniors: That is not reform."

So here comes Salon's War Room hitting Charlie Crist, insinuating the statement is just another ploy to place the gov to the right. Man, can this guy catch a break?

We have to wonder, though, if lack of right-wing credibility is Crist's biggest problem. We have our fair share of wingnuts, but Florida politics don't usually bend to their will. Even Jeb Bush once admitted he might have been a little too conservative for the state. Perhaps Rubio isn't attracting only Republicans who are sick of Crist's moderate stance, but also those Republican crowds that might blame Crist for the problems of the past three years or, more interestingly, those who see Crist as a guy who will bounce all over the political spectrum depending on what suits him best at the moment.

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Kyle Munzenrieder