Would Crist Be to Republicans What Lieberman Is to Democrats? | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Would Crist Be to Republicans What Lieberman Is to Democrats?

The Crist-Rubio discussion comes in around the 1:45 mark. There really are similarities between the decision facing Charlie Crist and the one that Sen. Joe Lieberman faced in 2006 after he lost the Democrat primary. Of course, Lieberman opted to run as a third-party candidate, winning the general election thanks to votes from independents and Republicans. Crist's path to victory is the same, except the registered Republican will need to score his decisive votes from independents and Democrats.

Which leads to a question of what happens in Washington if Crist does win the Senate as an independent?

There was a period of great friction between the Democrats and Joe Lieberman, who remained registered as a Democrat despite his independent run. Should he retain his committee assignments? Should he be allowed to caucus with the Democrats?

Ultimately, any animosity over Lieberman's third-party candidacy -- and even his 2008 endorsement of John McCain for president -- was outweighed by Democrat desires for voting majorities, and so Lieberman was allowed to caucus with the Democrats. But to those in his own party, he remains one of the most despised members of Congress.

If Crist goes independent to knock off a Republican golden boy like Marco Rubio, he may become just as loathed by his party as Lieberman is by Democrats.

But that brings up another question. If we can all agree that Crist isn't driven by a particularly strong sense of political ideology, then maybe an independent Sen. Charlie Crist becomes so alienated by fellow Republicans that he would vote like a Democrat.

Morris' fears of "splitting the Republican ticket" are misplaced. An independent run by Crist splits the Democratic ticket.