Many Republican activists toss around the term RINO – “Republican In Name Only” – to describe fellow Republicans with whom they disagree on a few issues. Yes, I said a few.
Take Florida’s Republican Governor – Charlie Crist.
During his tenure, he decided to be a vocal leader on issues that are clearly not part of the Republican party’s core beliefs:
- He led the effort to make it easier to restore civil rights, including the right to vote, to convicted felons who have served their time.
- He supported efforts to reduce Florida’s dependence on fossil fuels by requiring 20% of our electricity produced in 2020 to come from renewable energy sources, from solar to wind to nuclear power.
- He understood the Federal stimulus bill pushed by President Barack Obama, borrowing money by selling bonds, could patch some glaring holes in the state’s budget. This includes money to pay for major capital projects that would otherwise be cut.
- He indicated during the 2006 campaign that he supports a form of civil unions, but does not support allowing same-sex couples to marry.
But at the same time he has supported issues that are core Republican principles:
- He pushed an effort to reduce property taxes. In 2008 Amendment 1 expanded the homestead exemption, granted portability, and capped value increases on non-homestead property. This year he pushed the legislature to lower the non-homestead property cap and create an additional exemption for “first-time” home buyers.
- He supports efforts to expand safe exploration for oil, including waters off the coast of Florida. New sources of oil would reduce our dependence on foreign sources, and improve our national security.
- He has publicly supported changing the Federal income tax, replacing it with a flatter, more fair tax system.
- He strongly supports our Second Amendment rights, including signing legislation expanding our legal rights to carry a concealed weapon
- He helped hold the line on state spending, before the economic downturn affected Florida’s budget. As such the CATO Institute gave him an “A” on their 2008 fiscal report card, one of only three governors to earn such a grade.
- He supports the TABOR bill to limit and cap future government revenue. The bill failed to pass the legislature in 2009.
Former Speaker Marco Rubio recently (before today’s announcement) said that when Republicans start acting like Democrats, Republican’s fail. Sure, but look at the list – is Crist really that much different from most Republicans?
We never agree 100%.
You may not agree with Crist’s decisions on some issues, but clearly he is more Republican than some will admit.