The Florida Republican Party recently began running a TV ad here that attacks former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Republican who left the party and became an independent during his unsuccessful 2010 Senate run. The ad shows old clips of Crist praising President George W. Bush and Sarah Palin and declaring he was "about as conservative as you can get."
That statement turned out to be as true as Mitt Romney calling himself a progressive when he wanted to be governor of liberal Massachusetts. Crist endorsed President Obama and will be giving a speech on his behalf at the Democratic National Convention tonight.
What makes this ad exceptional is that Crist isn't running for office this year. It's the first attack ad I can recall that targeted a non-candidate. There's talk he'll run for governor again as a Democrat, but that wouldn't be until 2014.
Before the ad, I thought Crist was a politician whose career was over. He's been on TV in Florida for a while as one of those "have you been injured in an accident?" attorneys for Morgan & Morgan, delivering his lines with the enthusiasm of a hostage.
But if the Republicans think it's necessary to launch a pre-emptive strike against him, Crist's political fortunes as a Democrat must be stronger than I thought.