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From 'Chain Gang Charlie' to Changeling Charlie, Crist stays ahead of political flip flops


“Chain Gang Charlie” Crist once loved that nickname; it showed he was tough on crime.

That, however, was before Crist left the Republican Party. Before he was an independent. Before he became a Democrat, a party with a significant number of black voters more apt to be troubled by images of shackled labor.

Over the years, along with his party-affiliation changes, Crist’s policy positions have zigzagged, flipped and whirled. He’s no longer Chain Gang Charlie.

Now, as ever, he’s Changeling Charlie.

Last week, the frontrunner for governor hit the trifecta of metamorphosis on three consecutive days — reinventing positions on his own reinventions (Monday), race in the GOP (Tuesday) and Cuba travel (Wednesday).

Conventional wisdom holds that modern-day party-switchers are doomed. Yet Crist leads longtime Democrat Nan Rich and Republican Gov. Rick Scott in polls.

That popularity — coupled with inflammatory rhetoric and a knack for stealing headlines and TV-news broadcast time — outrages many Republicans nowadays.

Crist’s high approval ratings are partly rooted in an irony: His reversals are consistent. Crist invariably moves toward popular positions, making many voters feel as if he’s on their side. That also enables him to contrast his penchant for bending to popular will with what he implies is the rigid ideology of Scott and GOP hardliners.

“If you take in new data, and new circumstances, and you don’t modify, you’re a fool,” Crist said. “And if you have new data or new attitudes and new experiences and open your eyes to a different point of view, then an enlightened man or woman does so.”

Column here


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Give em hell Charlie!

Dr. Kepler

Mr. Caputo:

If you assume Charlie's a psychopath, it all makes sense. He meets all the diagnostic criteria of psychopathy: a lack of true empathy, a sense of grandiosity, superficial charm, manipulative behavior, the inability to take responsibility for his decisions, etc. Look at the human wreckage left in the wake of this silly little man and there is no other conclusion to draw.

Psyche ward

Calling Dr. Kepler; calling Dr. Kepler

It is time for you to return from your day pass and return for lock up!

Nurse Cratchet

Your computer privileges will also be revoked permanently.


Dr. Kepler, haven't you, in a way, described just about every politician ever?

I disagree with you on several points about Charlie Crist's empathy, charm, sense of taking responsibility, and manipulativeness, but those distinctions are less important (to me) than my wondering - if you think this of Crist, who on earth do you think is worth voting for for Governor of Florida, or Governor of any state?

Dr. Kepler

The difference between normal and abnormal behavior is a matter of degree.

Perhaps you think Charlie Crist's behavior is perfectly normal, just like all the other former governors in Florida history who switched political parties and then completely changed their positions on every major defining political issue of their time.

Except there are no other governors who did that.

Nurse Cratchet

Dr. Kepler unless you return to the Sanatarium before midnight your med dosage will be significantly increased to compensate for your deviant behavior.


Hey Doc (can I can you Doc? You can call me Marv);

It seems that Crist's party change is very important to you, but I'm sorry, to me it is not. I changed parties too, long before he did. Some of my positions on issues have changed too, for example, I used to think the death penalty was OK, now I no longer support it (mostly but not exclusively for the reason that having it on the books does not deter violent crimes).

In this day and age, where information (and unfortunately misinformation) comes to us seemingly at the speed of light, people's opinions on things are likewise going to be subject to change at a faster rate.

And you still didn't answer the question. Who can you vote for who doesn't display those things you say are traits of a psychopath?

Nurse Cratchet

Marv don't be an enabler. He always is crying for attention. Shock therapy may be the last resort.

Dr. Kepler

From a political perspective I don't care whether Charlie Crist changed parties. But, if you read press accounts it's obvious he didn't change parties for philosophical reasons. He changed parties because he was losing in a primary to Marco Rubio. Now, like any proficient psychopath, he is inventing an after-the-fact justification for that change; i.e., all Republicans are racists.

Trace the arc of his career and you can easily see the signs. For example, he gets elected as governor then immediately wants to be vice-president. When that fails he wants to be a US senator. Office is a way of feeding his insatiable need for attention, and higher office feeds it even more. He is willing to profess any belief in the furtherance of his ego.

I think Crist is a fascinating study of a high functioning psychopath. Rarely are the symptoms so clear.


Hey Marv, if someone close and dear to you was killed, would you not want the death penalty there? Some may not, I do...

ed jenkins

We have been blessed by a visit from a wise doctor who expresses the opinion that democrat primary voters including this one have been saying for a long time that this scumbag crist is a horrible man and should have his preferred candidate status removed by tone deaf party leaders. The predicted campaign meltdown has begun and now almost all voters have been offended by the scumbag crist with recent actions supporting communist dictators and declaring that the state's most popular senator Rubio believes his race is superior to others. Democrat primary voters at this point will support the nancy lady who can be counted on as a true democrat.

Moderate Republican

Nancy who?


“Chain Gang Charlie” Crist once loved that nickname; it showed he was tough on crime.

And then once he was elected Governor after running as a Jeb Bush Republican among other conservative promises, one of his first acts was to reduce the sentences of criminals by automatically restoring rights of certain felons.


How can anyone take this lunatic for real? He has no passion for the issues. He only has passion for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (The Chocolate Factory in this case being higher office)

He will say or do anything to get back into his narcissistic mode, where his adoring cast will look at his white hair, his fake tan and false smile, and say "oh, look doesn't the emperor have such beautiful clothes."

Standing naked, simply, as a person, to be measured against others on an equal footing will leave him exposed as the fraud he is! Why wouldn't you support Nan RIch over this knucklehead?


Nan who?

ed jenkins

This wise Michael represents the sentiments among democrat primary voters who it has been said for some time plan to vote for the nancy lady, a true democrat over the scumbag crist who party leaders risk their overthrow on if they continue to support such a horrible man.


As much as I like Charlie and believe he did a great job when he was governor, the real issue here is the empty suit who currently leads our state. Stimulus money? Scott said we do not need it. On billion dollar gift from the federal government to give us one of the first high speed trains in the country? Scott said no, "what if businesses in the state do not support it?" More money for schools and teachers? No said Scott.Affordable Health Care Act and all its benefits? Not for Florida said Scott. Why give Floridians more options than they already have? And Scott sure knows about the medical system. After all, his company stole the most money from the United Sates Government in the history of health care.
What he said yes to was placing limitations on voting hours, mandatory drug testing for all state employees, requiring photo identification for all voters and spending another $100,000,000.00 to get himself re-elected (see, those billions he stole from the Federal Government do come in handy, otherwise how could someone like him ever get elected in the first place).


Mark has hit the mark!

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