Who Wants to Be Vice-President?
The answer is Charlie Crist. Even though the Governor denies that his sudden about face on offshore drilling has anything to do with a desire to be John McCain's running mate.
McCain has been against offshore drilling in the past. The Maverick announced that he is in favor of lifting the federal ban of offshore drilling. All offshore drilling must be approved by Congress and the President; due to environmental concerns. In the past, McCain has been against drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in the Everglades. Where McCain stands now is uncertain.
In 2005, Crist told the St. Petersburg Times, "I don't think it's good for Florida. I have enormous, enormous respect for the governor (Jeb Bush), as you know. But we just disagree on this issue."
Just last week, Crist made his disapproval of drilling off of Florida's coast know. Crist stressed alternative sources of fuel and drilling in the northern states. All this make Crist's recent statements of being open to studying the possibility of offshore drilling laughable. Audio link at The Buzz.
Q: Governor, are you open to drilling off of Florida's coast?
Crist: Well, it depends. It's something I least like to do. But I also understand the economics of what's happening in the country and it would all depend on the parameters. How far off the coast. How safe it would be. How protected our beaches would be. All of these things are very important to me. 'Cause I don't warm up to the idea very well.
Offshore drilling is a political loser in Florida. Even the pro-oil Jeb Bush pretended to protect Florida's beaches until near the end of his second term. Crist has projected himself as a environmentally friendly Republican. Crist's pandering undermines his past positions.
McCain's flip flop is simple. Obama is beating him in fundraising. Energy companies contributed $52,903,640 during the 2004 election cycle. This is McCain's top contributors. Obama and Hillary Clinton raised more money than McCain in 18 of the top 20 industries. Obama's dominance over McCain will increase now that Hillary fundraisers are supported the future Democratic nominee.
McCain only ranks first for fundraising in five of the top fifty industries. I have never seen a Republican nominee do such a poor job fundraising. The finance numbers from previous presidential elections does not bode well for McCain. George W. Bush raised more money than his opponents and twice won the Oval Office. So, don't be surprised if McCain's message his increasingly tilted towards the energy industry.
Update: Jim Johnson writes that McCain might have blown Florida. I don't disagree. I don't think the McCain campaign has a choice. Obama is outraising the Straight Talker over 2 to 1. The Obama campaign will blitz McCain with television ads and has better grassroots organization. McCain has to pander to the energy industry.
Drilling for oil off of Florida's shores and won't solve America's energy problems. It's a bad policy decision. McCain has backtracked from previous stance on the Christian Right, the Bush tax cuts, and campaign finance reform. McCain's sudden love of offshore drilling doesn't shock me. McCain reminds me of the Republican version of John Kerry. Vietnam hero that must play both sides of an issue. Bloggers are already pointing out McCain's past statements. The Obama people should run with it.