The Great Crist eBay Selloff!

Courtesy of <a href="http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2010/04/masterstrokes-the-rpof-oil-paintings-of-charlie-crist-greer-delmar.html">the St. Petersburg Times</a>.

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Two things you can always count on Republicans to do with astounding alacrity: Burn bridges and turn a quick buck. And thanks to the party defection of moderate Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, GOPers plan on doing both in one swift move!

Crist, of course, announced yesterday he’d run for senator as an independent, sidestepping what by all accounts would have been a GOP primary face-smashing at the hands of babyfaced archconservative and Tea Party darling Marco Rubio. The state Republican apparatus, which had recently been purged of its Crist-friendly chairman, wasted no time in implementing its omerta code against the sitting governor, announcing that they’d take down an oil painting of Crist at the party headquarters and dump it for a quick sale on eBay. “He’s been gone a long while,” state party commissar chairman John Thrasher complained of Crist, after saying he’d sell the painting. [Full video is below.]

This is no small stunt, mind you. That portrait—a $7,500 rendering of the governor who was once called “Chain Gang Charlie”—is actually the focus of a possible probe into financial misappropriations by the state party. And it’s tough to tell whether state GOPers were being sincere, or if they were just trying to fit their size 10s into their mouths as usual—like RNC Chairman Michael Steele did yesterday when he blustered: “There will be no senator Crist.” Which, of course, could look really bad if Crist wins…and the GOP seeks his vote in their caucus.

As of this writing, there’s no oil painting of Charlie on eBay. But there’s lots of great other stuff, forming a fungible, melodramatic narrative of the governor’s political life to date: the many faces of Crist! Here’s a brief selection:

  • An autographed “Charlie Crist: GOVERNOR” business card, along with some cards signed by some other shlubs who run some other states, but who cares about them? The top bid thus far is $9.39, which is slightly more than a buck per governor!
  • A campaign button from Charlie Crist’s gubernatorial campaign, reminding conservatives that he hates crime. “You just can’t chain a good man down,” it reads, along with a shot of the guv, a set of shackles, and a quote from Crist himself: “Let’s bring hard labor back to the penal system.” [UPDATE: Sold for $11.61!!]
  • A “John McCain/Charlie Crist” button from the 2008 presidential campaign. Has a reserve price of $1.99. No bids yet.
  • A button calling Crist “The Right Choice” for president in 2012. Available for instant purchase in bulk quantities!
  • Then there’s the seller who claims to possess “PICS of FL GOV CHARLIE CRIST snorting lines of COCAINE!” (Why not? After all, he is a graduate of that esteemed party school, Florida State.) They can be yours for a starting bid of $600,000. Hey, the seller’s got a 100 percent positive rating. So buy with confidence!

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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