QUESTIONS FOR CHARLIE CRIST
Is He the Ticket?
Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON
Published: June 22, 2008
As the popular governor of Florida and a Republican known for supporting relatively progressive causes, you are often mentioned as a possible running mate for Senator McCain. It’s been said that you could deliver Florida for him in the November election and lend him some overall centrist appeal. It’s very flattering that people would even consider the notion of choosing a closeted homosexual.
Is it fair to describe you as socially progressive? I think it is fair to describe me as a common-sense Republican closet-case.
Which implies that some Republicans lack common sense. That’s possible, especially the ones who think I’m really on the short list.
You have supported stem-cell research, unlike most Republicans. I do support that. I think it is common sense to pay attention to what is happening in science. My father is a physician, my sister is a physician and I try to be enlightened on things that might extend and create productive life. Who knows, with enough medical advancement, maybe I’ll live long enough to come out.
This Wednesday, you’ll be hosting your annual climate-change summit meeting in Miami, and you have already signed an executive order to reduce the state’s greenhouse-gas emissions, which is not a traditional Republican goal. Yes, but it should be, in my view, much in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt. Here’s a guy who founded our national parks system and obviously cared about the environment and preserving it. You know, the gays love the environment.
But didn’t he shoot elephants and other big animals? Yes, he did that too. Being a hunter and being a conservationist are not mutually exclusive. Much like being a closet-case and a Republican.
The novelist Carl Hiaasen has publicly asked that you excuse yourself from the vice-presidential sweepstakes, since you have been governor for only 17 months and haven’t accomplished much, in his estimation. I appreciate his counsel, even though my closetedness is a much better reason for me to do so.
If you became vice president, he wrote in The Miami Herald, you would be better remembered for your tan than for your leadership. I hear that too. And that’s also very flattering. But there's no way I'm going to be the nominee. I think the whole closet-thing might be another thing I’m remembered for; not that’s we’d win with me on the ticket.
I trust you use self-tanning lotion and stay out of the sun. No. It’s the sun. And it’s my heritage. I’m of Greek descent. And the gays love the sun.
Your personal life is not that of a typical Republican candidate. For starters, I hear you’re not a property owner. It is true. I do not own property. I just never found a need for it. Now I have the Governor’s Mansion, and I rent a condo in St. Petersburg. Both are very tastefully decorated—let me assure you. [Ed. Note: He rents a condo?]
You were married nearly 30 years ago, but the marriage lasted less than a year. Do you prefer living alone? I got married and divorced because it didn’t work out, due to my love of men. I haven’t found the right one since. It’s really that simple in light of the fact that, you know, they don’t really do it for me.
You can’t find one in all of Florida? Maybe I have. Stay tuned.
Do you have any advice for your fellow Republicans in the meantime? Just lead with common sense. Do what you think is right. Treat others well. Oh and for Pete’s sake, please stop talking about me for V.P., there’s just no chance.
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED, CONDENSED AND EDITED BY DEBORAH SOLOMONINTERVIEW TRUTHIFIED, FURTHER CONDENSED AND EDITED BY ENRIQUE W.S. WONK