This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.
Gov. Charlie Crist has come under a hail of brickbats from his Republican friends for daring to show up in Ft. Myers last week to share a platform with the president of the United States. Cheer up, governor. As John F. Kennedy said, "Sometimes party loyalty asks too much."
In this instance, party loyalty as interpreted by some extreme advocates in Mr. Crist's party would have required the governor to snub President Barack Obama on his first visit to Florida following inauguration – a calculated act of political rudeness. Mr. Crist, instead, welcomed the president in an act of political courtesy. He also thanked him for bringing a message of hope to the people of an area dubbed "the foreclosure capital of the country."
Of course, this was a political event. Everything the president does is political; ditto the governor. The president was trying to win public support for his fiscal-stimulus program, and the governor made the undeniable observation that Florida can sure use the help. But even if anyone thinks his welcome was a little too enthusiastic – how does this become an act of political treason?
The ire directed at Gov. Crist by some in the GOP is a reflection of a time when bipartisanship has become a four-letter word. Mr. Crist is not the governor of a party. He's the governor of Florida. He represents the hopes and dreams of 18 million people, not just those of a single political party.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.