DeSantis burns Biden AND Crist after Dem candidate’s peak, but weak, debate moment

Another fossil seeking to represent Democratic voters, Charlie Crist tried to look at home debating against Ron DeSantis, his intellectual superior and opponent in the race for Florida’s governor.

He probably thought he looked statesman-like. Ready with his hackneyed gotcha question, he stood up straight and condescended with the most confidence he could muster at any point during Monday night’s one-and-only gubernatorial debate in Florida.

“Ron, you talk about Joe Biden a lot. I understand, you think you’re gonna be running against him, I can see how you might get confused,” Crist said. “But you’re running for governor. You’re running for governor. Why don’t you look in the eyes of the people of the state of Florida and say to them if you’re reelected, you will serve a full, four-year term as governor, yes or no?”

Evidently, this line of attack is considered effective. It must have polled well. In any case, the Crist team probably felt they had to put all their eggs in this basket because the basket is otherwise empty. This one attack was something they knew he could do well.

“Yes or no, Ron,” scolded Crist, trying to make the most of his big moment. “Will you serve a full, four-year term if you’re re-elected governor of Florida?”

The essence of a political opportunist throughout his career, Charlie Crist would run for president in a heartbeat after being elected governor, if he thought there was any chance he could win. For now, though, grandstanding is the best he can do.

There was some awkward silence after the stunner from Crist. Governor DeSantis might have had two reasons for pausing to let the silence speak. First, the candidates had agreed at the outset not to ask one another any direct questions. So, it is ironic that this is the moment Democrats point to as Crist’s finest, considering it was a foul by the agreed-upon terms of engagement. Certainly, DeSantis could have asked some gotcha questions about Crist’s sordid political history, but he honored the debate rules instead.

Second, it was a lame question. Letting its odor linger before responding could be seen as shrewd.

After the silence, DeSantis asked, “Is it my time?”

Crist couldn’t resist another jab: “It’s a fair question, he won’t tell you.”

Mom, Billy won’t share with me. Tell him to share with me.

Pretty childish. Why this is considered a great moment for Crist is one of the great political mysteries.

The governor finally responded, “Well, listen, I know Charlie is interested in talking about Joe Biden and 2024, but I just want to make things very, very clear. The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.”

There was a lot of wishful thinking on display among Democrats after the debate. They trotted out the usual lines: Crist eviscerated/destroyed/dominated/humiliated/owned DeSantis in the debate. But the exchange they’re pointing to on Tuesday is this exchange.

Crist managed to act as though such a thing is unprecedented and unconscionable, but both parties have a long history of running candidates in state races who have ambitions for federal office, whether it’s running for president or serving in a new president’s cabinet. It is definitely a benefit for the party to have a governor or senator leave their post to become president or part of a president’s administration, as they can pick their own successor in many cases.

By the way… is anyone asking Gretchen Whitmer this question? She is running for reelection as Michigan’s governor and has presidential ambitions. Are they asking J.B. Pritzker this question? He reportedly itches to live in the White House come 2025, and yet he’s running for governor in Illinois. Is anyone asking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whether she’s going to be on the campaign trail instead of serving in the House during the term she’s running for now?

This is likely a non-starter for Crist. Besides, voters who believe in their governor are proud on behalf of their state when that governor becomes president. It’s true that Democrat governors become president more rarely than Republican governors. And the reason for this is rather obvious – Republicans run things better than Democrats, who generally prefer to run their senators.

There were actually some substantive moments during the debate, including the DeSantis response to a question about abortion.

Who eviscerated whom? Watch DeSantis on Covid lockdowns:

Fox News contributor Jimmy Failla likened DeSantis’s outclassing of Crist to the governor’s race in Arizona.

The spirit of the age is shouting and violence on the Democrat side. Shout ’em down. Deny them service. Get in their faces. Make them uncomfortable. (Remember Maxine Waters?) Some of these thugs were at the debate.

The candidates gave widely differing answers to questions about Florida’s economy, real estate prices, and inflation. Several times during the debate, DeSantis compared Crist, who was a Republican when he was Florida’s governor, to Biden, particularly on energy policy.

Here is the exchange on Critical Race Theory:


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