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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Tom Jackson Columns

Jackson: Changeling Charlie: On race, beyond credibility

Tom Jackson’s “The Right Stuff” blog updates throughout the week at TBO.com.

By now, anybody who’s paying the remotest attention to Charlie Crist knows almost nothing tumbles from his mouth except jabber in all its incomprehensible forms. (Not that voracious Florida Democrats, who haven’t supped inside the Governor’s Mansion in 16 years and appear ready to make Changeling Charlie their nominee, very much care.)

Then again, once in a while the famously flexible Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat demonstrates the capacity to babble something that is simultaneously absurd and ultimately revealing, as Crist did when he recently said this to Jorge Ramos’ Fusion TV audience:

“I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there.” Crist added: “I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing; it was intolerable to me.”

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza nails Crist’s rationale for the aggravated nonsense it is, including this from Tallahassee-based GOP consultant Rick Wilson: “Charlie has long enjoyed a magical ability to pretend that his words, his history, and his record are infinitely flexible and subject to redefinition at any moment.”

But while Cillizza capably lays out Crist’s panicky transmogrification, more is needed. This scandalous attempt to create an epiphany where none existed, to recast history while ginning up energy in the sector that believes all Republican and/or conservative critiques of President Obama’s policies are rooted in racism, deserves a proper evisceration.

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Multi-platform pundit Jonah Goldberg delivers. Here are a couple of highlights.

“[T]he defining quality of Charlie Crist is that there’s simply no there there. He is an oxymoron (often with a silent ‘oxy’): He is a man defined by what he is not, including his lack of manhood. ...

“He’s not simply making this nonsense up. He’s actually claiming moral conviction he doesn’t have and bravery he hasn’t earned in order to advance a lie no honorable man would ever utter. ...

“[H]ere we have Charlie Crist saying exactly what the press wants to hear and no one is buying it. Why? Because everyone who knows anything about politics or Charlie Crist knows that when he talks about his ‘core beliefs’ and doesn’t follow with ‘are whatever will get me elected,’ then we know he’s lying. Crist is a mannequin with a pulse who believes that the only storefront window for him is political office, and his core beliefs are whatever wardrobe will get him there.”

Remember, the fellow slinging this latest race-sensitive fabrication was once upon a time famous as “Chain Gang Charlie,” sponsor of the bill that restored prison work crews to Florida’s highways and byways despite “critics [who] cringe[d] at the spectacle of shackled men, most black, stirring images of slavery.” His conscience wasn’t troubled then, and there’s no reason to believe it is now.

Cillizza, in conclusion: “It’s a strategy that could work. But, that doesn’t change history.”

Guess which part interests Crist more.

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Because nothing happens in a vacuum, and because for every economic action there is an opposite and equal reaction, it seems only those inside the Obama administration will be astonished by this news, as reported by the Military Times:

“Four restaurants, including three McDonald’s outlets, will close ... on Navy installations, according to Navy Exchange Service Command officials.

“And two other contractors ... have asked to be released from their Army and Air Force Exchange Service contracts to operate fast food restaurants at two other installations, according to AAFES officials.

“These closings ‘are the tip of the iceberg,’ [an industry] source said. ‘I don’t think anybody has realized what the far-reaching effects of this will be.’”

At issue are a pair of new federal mandates, one requiring “health and welfare” fringe benefits costing $3.81 per hour for fast-food workers, and the other President Obama’s executive order requiring federal contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.10 hourly, both applying to contractor-operated restaurants on military bases.

The kicker: Most of the shops leaving the bases will offer jobs at off-base shops to employees affected by the closures, so the inconvenience for President Obama’s magnanimous gesture (made with other people’s money) will fall squarely on those who work and live on base — the latest example not of unintended consequences, but consequences anyone who’s passed Economics 101 could have predicted.

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