John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


A Test for the GOP

Posted on May 12, 2009
A Test for GOP

Charlie Crist’s decision to run for Senate represents a true test for the Republican Party.

Crist is a popular politician in Florida. He has governed the State in difficult times with great agility and with a positive attitude that is infectious.

Some conservatives don’t like him, but that is not too surprising. They don’t like anybody who has to make tough decisions that keep the trains running on time.

Democrats are certain to go after the Governor, probably with a pretty vicious campaign. But Democrats know that if Crist wins the primary, he will be unbeatable in the general. So they hope that Republicans will do their dirty work for them, and they will aim their attacks to influence Republican primary voters.

Senator John Cornyn, the man in charge of the strategy to win back a Republican majority in the Senate, knows the stakes. That is why he is taking the unusual step of endorsing Crist in the primary.

As Cornyn points out, Crist has received an “A” rating from the CATO Institute ( a libertarian think-tank that has impeccable credentials when it comes to fiscal responsibility) for his fiscal management of Florida, one of three GOP governors to get the rating.

Cornyn also points out that should Crist win the primary, the state goes from the “toss-up”category to “strong Republican advantage”.

Crist has made some tough calls that have angered some of his constituents. For example, he took the stimulus money from the Federal government, and actually had the temerity to appear with the President in an event promoting the economic stimulus package.

But that decision has not only helped Crist politically with general election voters, it has also helped Florida by giving the governor more leverage with the White House when it comes to other issues.

In full disclosure, my wife works for the governor in his office in D.C. But I am not writing this piece for her. I am writing it because I believe that when Republicans have a chance to win a Senate seat, they should do every thing in their power to not screw it up.