Politics & Policy

Crist v. Crist

The Charlie Crist of 2010 (left) has leveled serious charges of betrayal and flip-flopping against the Charlie Crist of 2014.
In his current bid for governor of Florida, Charlie Crist is running against himself.

Tallahassee, Fla. – In a development that stunned the Florida political scene and quantum physicists, the Charlie Crist of 2010 traveled forward in time to campaign against the gubernatorial bid of the Charlie Crist of 2014.

The Charlie Crist of 2010, a Republican governor, said he took the dramatic step in response to the positions his future self, a Democrat, has embraced as he runs for governor again this year. In an unexpected press conference in the state capital today, Crist 2010 said he particularly objected to Crist 2014’s dramatic change of position on Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.

“The Obama health-care bill was too big, too expensive, and expanded the role of government far too much,” Crist 2010 said, echoing comments he had made on July 29 of that year. “Had I been in the United States Senate at that time, I would have voted against the bill because of unacceptable provisions like the cuts to the Medicare Advantage program.” He added, in comments that mirrored his assessment of October 20, 2010, “Obamacare was off the charts, was wrong. It taxed too much, has mandates that are probably unconstitutional, and it’s not the way to go. And it was rammed through.”

Last November 17, the present version of Charlie Crist said of Obamacare, “It’s the right thing to do. Our country needed to do it. I’m glad he did it. I’m glad we have it, and it’ll continue to improve, I believe.” A day later, during an appearance on Ed Schultz’s show on MSNBC, he added, “I won’t shy away from it. I think it’s the right thing to do. And I feel that in my heart.”

The Charlie Crist of 2010 also seemed disturbed by the possibility that his future self would raise taxes, breaking Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which he signed in 2005, committing him to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.” The new Charlie Crist told Schultz last year, “I don’t think anyone really enjoys the idea of [raising taxes]. I did it as governor.” In reply to Schultz’s “Would you do it again?” the new Crist said, “If necessary, I would.”

Crist 2010 said he was at a loss to explain how his future self could so vehemently renounce his past work in preventing voting fraud, pointing to his September 2008 signing of the “No Match, No Vote” law, requiring a would-be voter’s driver’s-license number or the last four digits of his Social Security number to match listings in the state database before he could cast a ballot.

The present Crist has been campaigning against such laws, writing in a Washington Post op-ed during President Obama’s reelection campaign, “If we don’t speak out against these abuses, we may soon learn the hard way of the danger of that double standard. . . . These machinations make a mockery of the democracy we put on display every Election Day.”

The Charlie Crist of 2010 concluded by defending himself as a pro-life, pro-gun conservative, and reiterated his past campaign pledge to “support a constitutional amendment that honors traditional marriage as an institution.” Crist 2010, echoing his 2006 campaign pledges, said civil unions are “fine, but I support marriage between a man and a woman.” The Charlie Crist of 2014 has expressed support for a renewed assault-weapons ban, a size limit on ammunition clips, and tougher background checks. He also supports same-sex marriage.

The dramatic visit from the past created a new political challenge for the present Charlie Crist’s gubernatorial bid, in addition to challenging much of what the world thinks it knows about time, space, and the fabric of the universe itself.

Later in the afternoon, Crist 2014 held a press conference to accuse his past self of hypocrisy, pointing out issues on which the old Crist had also reversed himself.

Crist 2014 pointed out that Crist 2010 had sought a special session of the state legislature to permanently ban oil drilling in state waters — whereas in 2008 he had called for ending the federal ban on offshore drilling. “The price of gas has gone through the roof, and Florida families are suffering,” Crist 2014 said, quoting his 2008 self. Crist 2014 also accused Crist 2010 of rank political opportunism in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the coast of Florida.

Crist 2014 also pointed out that Crist 2010 vetoed a bill that would have required most women to pay for an ultrasound before seeking an abortion, accusing his past self of violating his even earlier self’s pro-life promises. As a gubernatorial candidate in 2006, Crist had pledged to sign an abortion bill like one in South Dakota that only permitted abortions to save the life of the mother.

Crist 2014 supporters had begun a chant of “You’re a flip-flopper, too!” directed at Crist 2010, when the press conference was interrupted.

Amid flashes of light and intense wind, a second time portal opened, and the Charlie Crist of 2018 appeared, denouncing Crist 2014 for being “too centrist” and “insufficiently progressive.”

(The time-travel portions of the above article are fiction, but all quotes from the earlier Crists and descriptions of positions held are accurate.)

— Jim Geraghty writes the Campaign Spot on NRO.



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