In recent days, national commentators, looking at recent three way polls on the U.S. Senate race and seeing Charlie Crist ascending, have reported that the Governor is prospering by looking strong during the Gulf oil spill.
That's interesting, because while the governor has looked good on television and has been supportive of the federal government's actions, it's actually been Alex Sink and Bill McCollum who have been more decisive in calling for certain actions to be undertaken.
But there is one place where Crist can legitimately start earning his spurs. In leadership.
Florida House Democrats Rick Kriseman from St. Petersburg and Keith Fitzgerald from Sarasota, along with state Senator Dan Gelber from Miami Beach, are once again calling on the governor to convene a special session of the legislature to pass legislation calling for a constitutional amendment to go on this November's ballot banning offshore drilling in Florida waters.
I renew my call for Governor Crist to summon the legislature back into a summer special session to confront head on solutions to these complex challenges, said Sen. Gelber. The special session must include aggressive measures that protect Floridians by ensuring that the state has the proper laws in place to hold BP and others accountable coupled with a constitutional amendment to ban near-shore drilling.
The three lawmakers called initially for such a session in the first week of May, approximately six weeks ago. The Governor immediately said he was in favor of such a session, but then said that there didn't appear to be the votes in the state House.
There still may not be the votes there, but shouldn't we get every member of the Legislature to weigh in? I can understand the reluctance to call a special session, since they reportedly cost some $40,000 a day to hold.
And no, a ban on offshore drilling in state waters wouldn't have prevented everything that is happening in the Panhandle from going on right now - the Deepwater Horizon spill was in federal waters, close to Louisiana. But we've seen the literal sea change in attitude amongst Floridians when it comes to drilling in state waters (a 48 point swing).
Florida is not Louisiana. There is not the clamor to have drilling off our shores. So, Governor Crist, what are you going to do?