Megan McArdle recently wrote a post that offered measured praise for David Paterson, the governor of New York who has decided against running for reelection. Paterson made a number of bad calls, but as Megan notes, he also did things that Crist did not.
But when the state had a crushing budget deficit, he made some hard choices. Unpopular choices, which a better politician wouldn’t have made—but which are ultimately the reason that New York is not yet California.
Or, for that matter, Florida, where Crist’s approach threatens the state’s long-term fiscal health. Rather than see federal stimulus funds as a one-time injection that could spare the state pro-cyclical cuts while creating room for a long-term plan to reduce the size of state government in line with revenues, he seemed to think that it gave him an opportunity to permanently ratchet up spending while also cutting taxes. No wonder he embraced the president…
Basic point: the opposition to Crist isn’t coming out of nowhere. Charlie Crist isn’t a brilliant, capable, principled executive who has run afoul of crazed ideological extremists. He is completely clueless, and if David Paterson were to move down to Florida to run against him, I’d have to give serious thought to whether Crist was the least bad choice. Full story here.