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The return of "Empty Chair" Charlie, and the ghosts of good economies past

The Florida Dems smell blood in this economy, sending out an email last night calling Gov. Charlie Crist "Florida's part-time governor" for the amount of time he spends fund-raising and politicking vs. governing. The thrust of the attack on "empty chair Charlie:" The diminutive crowds drawn in Jacksonville by Republican prez candidate John McCain. (Note: Crist's camp came up with the empty-chair attack on his 2006 Dem opponent Jim Davis. So the Ds are just attacking him with his own attack).

We were drawn to three* four faces in the front row:

Crist. What state leads the nation in job loss and is number 2 in mortgage foreclosures? Yup. Crist's state. Now that he has been slighted for McCain's vp and the election is about to come and go, Crist will return to the governor's mansion and face one of the worst-ever economies that unfurled on his watch.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush. On the day Lehman melted down, Bush was in attendance and skedaddled before reporters could talk to him. He's a consultant for the troubled financial institution and, earlier as governor, had approved the state purchase of some bad Lehman securities. As gov, Bush used to boast that the economy was good due to his stewardship. Is the inverse now true of Crist? And when McCain bashed the current regulations and the old-boy network, whose brother is in the White House and who benefitted from the old-boys network?

Sen. Mel Martinez. When the housing market that led the financial crash started to explode, who was the lead housing regulator? Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez. In fact, his 2004 campaign was so aware of the stink of sub-prime loans, it tried to leak reporters dubious documents attacking opponent Doug Gallagher (brother of the former CFO who, along with Bush and Crist, approved the purchase of the Lehman securities) for designing computer software used by sub-prime lenders.

*Former Gov. Bob Martinez. Someone just alerted us to the fact that, yes, this Martinez was there as well and, yes, he's a lobbyist. Martinez is head of Holland & Knight's Securities and Public Companies practice, and has speciality in public finance and venture capital, according to this website.

All this probably makes little difference in the election. Same with all the crowing about empty chairs. While Dems boasted of an "enthusiasm gap" due to their candidate's buzz, Sarah Palin helped close it. Also, the most important crowd count/poll is on Election Day. And if past is prologue, McCain will likely win that in Florida (please note the "if") because the Florida electorate outside of South Florida seems to like him more than Barack Obama.