No Time Like Present for Crist to Come Out of Closet | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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No Time Like Present for Crist to Come Out of Closet

If Charlie Crist is closeted gay -- and New Times' Bob Norman has compiled lots of circumstantial evidence to suggest that's the case, despite Crist's past denials -- then his departure from the GOP removes perhaps the biggest political obstacle to coming out of the closet.

In fact, a dramatic announcement might have "game-changer" potential in what now appears to be a very tight three-way race for U.S. Senate.

Let's assume that Crist gets a small bump in the polls after announcing his independent bid, enough to where he's neck-and-neck with Rubio, while Meek trails the two by a few points.

Rubio's supporters are a fairly devoted bunch. But the former Florida Speaker is now a little hemmed in. If he continues to be billed as the "tea party candidate," he could have a hard time winning enough swing voters to reach the decisive 34 percent.

Meanwhile, Meek has been lurking.

For all the talk of his slow-starting campaign, Meek's got the most growth potential. If he energizes Florida's somnolent Democrat voters, he could take advantage of how Rubio and Crist will split the Republicans and blow right past.

Which takes us to Crist. With yesterday's announcement, his path to victory is to give up courting Republican voters -- most have already decided they're voting Rubio anyway. Rather, Crist will have much better luck going after the same voters who are leaning Meek's way.

If by August or so, Crist hasn't been able to make a move in the polls, then imagine the impact it would have for him to announce that he is in fact gay. It would be one of the most spectacular political moments of the year, meaning tons of free publicity. It would also dovetail nicely with the narrative Crist launched yesterday about the Republicans being a party of intolerance. And it would be a sneaky brilliant way for Crist to increase his appeal to socially progressive moderates and Democrats, at Meek's expense.