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Vice President Charlie Crist?

Word has it the assisted-living candidacy of John McCain is so desperate to take back the glow from Barack Obama's latest Rolling Stone act across Europe and the Middle East that it may announce its vice presidential choice early. It may be down to Mitt Romney, the waxy Mormon, and Charlie Crist, who plays a Florida governor on TV. If Crist is the choice, it will be entertaining during the campaign. Jupiter knows the McCain camp can use the injection of political eroticism that Crist likes to project. But it would be a disaster if the act survived the campaign.

 

Remember Chauncey Gardener in Being There? That’s Charlie Crist. I say that having had the chance to observe him as a reluctant Floridian in the last dozen years, interview him a few times, be vaguely seduced by his charms more than a few times, and watching him once in my office go mildly misty eyed as he pointed at a map of Lebanon I have hanging there, looking for Ammoun, the north-Lebanese village his grandmother is allegedly from (though his tan is all Greek), the whole time thinking he was playing me the way he plays every member of the press—the way Paris Hilton plays for the best camera angles.

Moderate? In terms of environmental policies, to some degree, and in terms of open government. Otherwise, even on cultural issues (abortion, death penalty, crime—his original nickname was Chain-Gang-Charlie) he’s a conventional Republican who makes Panhandle Floridians, where the 19 th century persists, praise the Lord morning noon and night. On more substantial issues, he’s a de-tax and de-fund Republican who just finished pushing for the biggest roll-back in property taxes the state has ever known, and who’s now pushing to end the funding of schools through the property tax—this in a state that ranks dead last in per-capita funding of education. Did I mention that he’s getting all excited about drilling offshore? Yeah, he might deliver Florida, and we might be delivered of him, but it wouldn’t be good news for the nation. And if McCain dies in office, a very real possibility even in his first term (a couple of White House quality anger bursts and he might be a goner), well, we’d have Chauncey Gardener as president. With a tan.

 

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