The Senate journey of Charlie Crist seems to be coming to a laughable end. Good. If there was one Senate candidate in a seriously contested race that I could pick to lose above all others it would be him. Other people might pick Harry Reid, and though Reid is a belligerent jerk, he does seem to have a set of economic liberal core beliefs that give him a certain integrity even with all of his personality flaws.
Crist just seems to have a hunger for office and status (I'm not even sure he wants power exactly.) Ever since he went the independent route, it was clear that he was unlikely to win regardless of what the polls said over the summer. Rubio was an articulate and attractive conservative who came across as well prepared on policy. Unless Rubio self-destructed, Rubio was always going to get the 45% or more that makes up the right-of-center vote in Florida. That meant Crist would have to win almost all moderates and liberals in a three way race. That might have been possible under different circumstances. If the economy was in great shape, he might have been able to ride an image as a pragmatic miracle worker, but the Florida economic miracle is a bust and governor Crist is holding the bag. In this weakened position, Crist had to make appeals based on principle and policy as well as his record. The problem was that since conservative voters weren't going to be for him, he would have to move left to capture usually Democratic-leaning voters. This left him vulnerable among moderates because his every move to the left made him look ever more cynical and unserious about governing. And it isn't like ambiguity or support of Obamacare is all that popular among Florida swing voters anyway.
And yet... I loathed Crist but when I heard him talk in a favorable environment he made his evasions and switches seem reasonable. No, that's not it. It was that he projected such reasonableness and sincerity that while he was talking that other stuff didn't matter so much. It took a conscious exertion of will to remember why I was against him. It reminded me of this:
Those who listened unwarily to the voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves...For some the spell lasted only while the voice spoke to them, and when it spoke to another they smiled, as men do when they see through a juggler's trick as other men gape at it...But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it.