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Saturday, October 22, 2016

By Marc Caputo, The Miami Herald

Democrat Charlie Crist is offering up a new and inflammatory reason he left the GOP: Too many Republicans oppose President Barack Obama because he’s black.

Crist made the remarks Tuesday in an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos that instantly drew rebukes from Republicans who said the party-switching former governor was playing the race card.

But Crist said the bigotry against Obama was a “big reason” for his decision to leave the party.

“I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there,” Crist said. “I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me.”

Ramos said Crist left the GOP to run as an independent because he was losing the 2010 Senate Republican primary to Marco Rubio. But Crist denied it.

Crist has made race an on-again and off-again theme as he campaigns for his old job back as a Democrat, his third party affiliation. When he left the GOP four years ago, he didn’t mention race.

“Being a flip-flopper is bad enough, but playing the race card to win over voters is pitiful,” said Izzy Santa, Republican National Committee spokeswoman.

Crist, saying he was “liberated as a Democrat,” also bashed the GOP for being too inflexible and for appearing to be “anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-minority, (and) anti-gay.”

Black voters are particularly important to Crist. They comprise 28 percent of the 4.1 million active registered Democrats in Florida, and he still has to beat former state Sen. Nan Rich in a party primary before facing Gov. Rick Scott.

In a general election, black voters are key for Democrats. Along with Hispanics, African-American voters have disproportionately stayed home during midterm elections, allowing more Republican-leaning white voters to dominate and elect GOP office holders. Black and Hispanic voters each account for about 14 percent of all active registered voters.

Crist has generally good relationships with black voters and leaders. He probably had the highest proportion of African-American support of any Republican when he won the governor’s office in 2006 as a Republican. As governor, Crist championed civil rights causes, opposed racial language in the official state song and was called Florida’s “first black governor” by some African-American lawmakers.

In standing with Obama to support the stimulus package in 2009, Crist won a measure of support from black voters but also earned the enmity of the GOP. In 2012, Crist campaign for Obama and boosted his profile further with black voters.

But Crist’s decision to run as an independent, which cost Democrat Kendrick Meek votes in the 2010 Senate race, left some African-American leaders upset with the former governor.

Crist’s comments to Fusion weren’t the first time he used racial imagery.

In February, while plugging his new book The Party’s Over on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, Crist said some Republicans opposed Obama’s stimulus act in 2009 because he was “not just a Democrat, an African-American.”

“Oh, you’re not going to play the race card,” host Stephen Colbert replied.

“I’m not going to play it, no,” Crist responded.

“You just did,” Colbert said. “Would you like to pick it up again and put it in your pocket? Because you just played the race card.”

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

  • Sand_Cat


    • jointerjohn

      That’s right! We all know they despise those who are not wealthy equally.

      • Allan Richardson

        At the top level, they want to enslave working people of all races equally. But to appeal to their voting base of WHITE voters who feel enslaved, they bring out race and lie that the reason WHITE people are poor is because POOR NONWHITE people are taking all the benefits, while the truth is that poor people of ALL colors, but mostly nonwhite because of the inertia left over from Jim Crow, are being attacked economically.

    • exdemo55

      Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bid to squash the charter-school movement never made sense, but new data on students underscores how his policy contradicts his goal of tackling educational inequality.

      According to the Independent Budget Office, whites make up only 3 percent of charter-school students, while blacks and Latinos together account for over 90 percent.

      The mayor’s stance is confounding because the best charters show that poor, nonwhite children can match or surpass whites on standardized tests. In other words, the dream of closing the racial achievement gap is being realized at the schools de Blasio opposes.

      If he were a Republican, he’d be called a racist.

  • jmprint

    The republicans have failed at everything. Everything they touch turns to shit. It is beyond me why anyone would want to associate themselves with that bunch.

    • exdemo55

      As Barack Obama enters the twilight of his tenure, the ­debate over his legacy is ­beginning, but one conclusion already seems certain. It can best be described as “Honey, I shrunk the presidency.”

      Not since Jimmy Carter was held hostage by Iran has the Oval Office seemed so inconsequential against the forces of international darkness. The mismatch is particularly striking because smallness has been Obama’s choice.

      Although he is guilty of executive overreach at home, that bully behavior only sharpens the contrast with a foreign policy that is feeble when it is not comatose. The president’s estrangement from the demands of global leadership is giving a green light to tyrants and malevolent opportunists everywhere.

      His preference for navel gazing over action was on full display last week. As Russia and China menaced their neighbors and Islamist terrorists set off bombs in a half-dozen countries, Obama accepted an award from Hollywood pal Steven Spielberg for fighting genocide. Passing up a chance to give a full-throated defense of freedom and Western civilization, the president lapsed into what The New York Times called a “meditation” on the limits of his power.

      That’s far too kind. It was a white flag of surrender and more proof that Obama lacks the capacity to shoulder the responsibilities that have belonged to the Oval Office for 100 years.

      The speech sounded like that of a man who is shocked to find that evil still roams the Earth, and doesn’t have a clue what to do about it. A long paragraph of his meandering remarks, released by the White House, captures his sense of helplessness.

      “I have this remarkable title right now — president of the United States — and yet every day when I wake up, and I think about young girls in Nigeria or children caught up in the conflict in Syria — when there are times in which I want to reach out and save those kids — and having to think through what levers, what power do we have at any given moment, I think, ‘drop by drop by drop,’ that we can erode and wear down these forces that are so destructive, that we can tell a different story,” Obama said.

      If there was a course of action buried in that litany of woe, it ­escapes me. The sequence amounts to a counsel of defeat.

      Earlier, he had talked about rising anti-Semitism and the spread of sectarian and tribal conflicts.

      “We cannot eliminate evil from every heart, or hatred from every mind,” he said. “But what we can do, and what we must do, is make sure our children and their children learn their history so that they might not repeat it. We can teach our children the hazards of tribalism. We can teach our children to speak out against the casual slur. We can teach them there is no ‘them,’ there’s only ‘us.’ ”

      There you have it. We can teach our children warm and fuzzy things — assuming they and we are not killed by madmen first. In which case, there’s nothing we can do.

      The speech reflects how little Obama has grown in office. He initially viewed American power as a problem that needed to be checked if the world was to find lasting peace and harmony.

      By and large, he followed that bad prescription by deliberately shrinking America’s global footprint, and the result is the astonishing chaos we see around us. The vacuum is being filled not with democratic movements but by al Qaeda, China, Russia and other authoritarian regimes eager to take advantage of our retreat.

      Obama’s view of the world was wrong, and his policies are making it more dangerous and less stable. Yet he is still sounding the call to retreat, proposing new cuts to the military that would shrink it to pre-World War II levels.

      Having failed to listen or learn, Obama surveys the incomprehensible brutality and sinks into an intellectualized self-pity. Indeed, there is special poignancy to the fact that First Lady Michelle Obama joined the Twitter nation over the Nigerian schoolgirl abductions.

      The photo of her holding a sign saying “Bring Back Our Girls” is riveting, but also odd.

      Did she think to push her husband to do something?

      And you wonder whom she expects to save the girls. The United Nations? The terrorists themselves? Nigeria’s government?

      Maybe all of the above, which is to say no one, because, without the leadership of the United States, there is no one who can maintain peace and security.

      This is the result of the choice Barack Obama made. This is what the world looks like when a president laments evil ­instead of confronting it.

  • stcroixcarp

    What exactly is “The Race Card” that the GOP brings out when someone even remotely suggests that the opposition to Obama is race related or that the welfare, food stamp rhetoric is thinly veiled racism? I say that race card is trump and as a civilized nation we need to talk about racism and white privilege openly and honestly.

  • charles king

    Let me tell you my woes about the race problem in America and How? I have tried to get a good point on it from my prespective. I joined the U. S. Navy in (1948) right out of Johnstown, Pennsylvania High School. I was going in for twenty years but I ran into so much dumb-S*** from my white shipmates (Not all) but enough that I got out right after the Korean War. It took me many years to get over that bullyness and I was relieve of my hate by some little white grand children of a white friend of mines anyway they turned my life around, today I am a happy (85yrs young) black man that plays tennis with my white friend. i am saying all of this to say” America has a problem with Race and it is eachone’s problem to solve so get busy People and get friendly with eachother. Shakespears, said,” the good people does live after them, the Evil is interior into their bones”, to me that is a hell of away to leave the party. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING P. S. Be aware of (Capitalistic Pigs, Plutocracts, (Commissioniers with Power in our Government, Who? are these people calling shot on our Democracy)MONIES do not mean nothing against your VOTE, the Vote is still supreme.