Charlie Crist Thinks Opposition to Obama Might Be a Little Bit Racist

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 7 2014 6:44 PM

Charlie Crist Thinks Opposition to Obama Might Be a Little Bit Racist

My latest piece is a read-through of Charlie Crist's new memoir, which is ... not the most exciting journey through a life in politics. Crist is oddly gentle about his old enemies, not even naming some. The worst anyone comes off? Karl Rove, when he calls Crist a "chickenshit" for not appearing at an appearance with President Bush in Florida, before the 2006 election. Honestly, of all the things that could have made Rove angry, doesn't that seem a little fair?

The closest Crist gets to controversy, something I left out of the review, comes in a collection of musings about the rise of the Tea Party. Crist has trouble understanding the alacrity with which anti-Obama anger became so mainstream.

"Sometimes," he says, "the public's feelings seemed partly racial. Sometimes, I'm sure they were not. But Barack Obama was the first African American in the White House. Florida had helped to put him there. And it was impossible to imagine an equal measure of virulence for any politician whose skin was white."

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But this is based on TV reports and angry reactions to his embrace (literal and figurative) of the president. Crist leaves the circumstancial evidence on the page, and moves on.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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