I’m inclined to believe it, and here’s what I’ve seen that backs this up.
- The veto of the education bill so beloved by the Republicans in Florida. If it was a spite veto, it’s the dumbest thing he could have done to retain his party’s goodwill for another run in two years. If, however, he was trying to gain backing of the teachers’ unions and gain the appeal of moderates and independents, it would be a solid move. At least, solid by the standard McCain operating procedure of appealing to them, which is by thumbing conservatives in the eye.
- He ignored a call from Cornyn asking him to simply drop from the race and not go independent. This isn’t a good way to stay in the good graces of an NRSC that originally backed him, unless it doesn’t matter because he’s leaving the party.
- And in some conjecture, what does he have to lose? As “maverick” John McCain spent eight years demonstrating under Bush, Republicans don’t deal with their betrayers. There may be a few mumbled protests of “we’re a big tent” in the offing, but little else. The way the NRSC has been recruiting lately, they may even grant him preferential treatment in a couple of years if he does this.
These observations and my inconsiderable powers of amateur punditry lead me be believe Crist will go independent. Either that, or he’s a world-class fool trying to win a primary by infuriating the people he needs to finish it. I honestly don’t think he’s that stupid.