02 May 2010

Florida Republican: Independents are not "accountable"

Fox News spoke with Florida Senatorial candidate Marco Rubio this weekend and reports an extraordinary comment he made about his rival, Governor Charlie Crist, who has renounced the Republican party to run as an independent candidate. Rubio, who has claimed to represent Tea Party elements within the GOP, naturally thinks that Crist quit the party because he was bound to lose to Rubio in the primary. Rubio would be within his rights to accuse Crist of sour grapes. Instead, he charged that independent candidates aren't accountable to voters because they don't run on a platform.

"One of the things missing in politics today is people that will run on a platform and then go to Washington, D.C. and carry it out," Rubio said. With this much I can agree -- but the problem isn't anyone running without a platform. The real problem is with Democrats actually running on progressive platforms, and Republicans actually running on fiscal-conservative platforms, and then not carrying them out. In addition, Rubio claimed that Crist, as an independent, would "change [positions] based upon what the polling tells him or his political convenience tells him." About Crist personally, Rubio may be right, but that has nothing to do with whether Crist runs as an independent or a Republican. And it's not as if Republicans and Democrats haven't ever trimmed their sails based on pollsters' readings of the political winds.

None of this is meant as a defense of Charlie Crist. I'm not a Floridian and don't know him or what kind of Republican he was. But Rubio's remarks were an implicit smear on any candidate who tries to run as an individual, not a partisan. In effect, he was saying that party primaries, not general elections, are where politicians are held accountable, so that a politician who seeks approval from the general population without first being validated by a party is somehow untrustworthy. Think about that an extra second or so and you'll see how contemptuous Rubio was toward independent politicians and voters alike. He seems less interested in free elections than in ideological orthodoxy enforced by party organizations. Does that sound like Florida or someplace just further south?...


hobbyfan said...

Independents are not accountable? Hello? Someone give this jabroni a reality check. 12 years ago, ex-wrestler-turned-actor-turned-activist Jesse Ventura ran as an indy for governor of Minnesota----and won! He opted against running for re-election in '02, feeling he'd done what he could.

If Gov. Crist has lost faith in the GOP and decided to run as an indy, more power to him. Rubio should be doing his research before putting his foot in his mouth.

ThirdPartyDaily said...

Good catch, Sam. I just linked this at TPID. Republicans have become much more aggressive toward their indy competitors over the last few weeks (RGA against Cutler in Maine and Cahill in MA, for ex.). It would be interesting to see how the various attacks compare.