With the RNC kicking off tomorrow -- instead of today (thanks to that freedom-hating storm, Isaac!) -- rumors began to swirl that Charlie Crist was going to formally announce his change to the Democratic Party in an op-ed piece for the Tampa Bay Times.
Crist didn't technically announce his party change, but he might as well have. Because in his piece in yesterday's Tampa Bay Times, not only did he formally endorse President Barack Obama for the 2012 race but he basically told the entire GOP it can suck it.
Crist minces no words in his piece, writing how the Republicans have turned to the far right and making references to Todd Akin and how the GOP's stance on issues hurt immigrants and the elderly -- which, if you haven't noticed, Florida is loaded with:
An element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.
Crist brings up how the media blamed his hugging the president for his ultimately going down in his bid for the U.S. Senate against Marco Rubio in 2010. But, as he explains, getting grabby with the president was less about his political rep than making it clear he wanted to be a team player in helping fix things:
I didn't stand with our president because of what it could mean politically; I did it because uniting to recover from the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes was more important than party affiliation. I stood with our nation's leader because it was right for my state.
I regret NOTHING.
Crist also went full on Robert De Niro with a baseball bat in The Untouchables with the biggest issue in Florida right now: Medicare.
The $716 billion in savings [the president's] opponents decry today extended the life of the program by nearly a decade and are making sure taxpayer dollars aren't wasted in excessive payments to insurance companies or fraud and abuse. His opponents would end Medicare.
All in all, Crist took a bazooka to the face of the current state of the Republican Party, proclaiming that the GOP has gone full-fringe loco and that more level heads should prevail.
He also proclaimed one final FLAME ON! to any bridges with the Republicans he had remaining.
So, no, he didn't exactly change parties. But he basically gave notice.
Charlie Crist may not be a Democrat. But he plays one in real life.