What Did Mr. Meek Stand to Inherit?
What do Pennsylvania and Florida have in common, aside from the fact that both are poised to send conservative, Tea-flavored Republicans to the Senate next week? Both states may be crime scenes, with the same suspect at work. And that suspect is none other than Bill Clinton, the former president of the United States. Clinton's respect for the law is famously weak: the former president bears the distinction of having had his law license suspended for five years in Arkansas, and was later disbarred by the U.S. Supreme Court for perjury and suborning the perjury of others in the Lewinsky case.
This week we all learned that Bill Clinton and Kendrick Meek, the Democrats' hapless nominee for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retiring Republican Mel Martinez, discussed the possibility of Meek dropping out of the race to make way for Charlie Crist. Crist is of course the current governor, a former Republican who hugged the Obama program when it appeared to be popular, and then dropped out of the GOP to run as a independent when Marco Rubio was about to shellac him in the GOP primary.
Before we get to the potential crime here, it's worth pausing for a second to consider why Clinton is even involved in all of this. The former POTUS' involvement suggests to me something different from his involvement in the Pennsylvania fiasco. In Pennsylvania, the Democrats were trying to protect a newly minted Democratic Senate seat. Florida's is a GOP seat that, if Rubio wins, stays GOP. Meek has never been a particularly strong candidate, and Crist has enough of his own issues to make him very questionable for anyone looking for any kind of loyal or even consistent behavior once in office. Clinton's involvement in PA looked like nothing more than a quid pro quo for Arlen Specter's party switch from GOP to Dem: his new party was rewarding him for his lack of loyalty to his former party.
But Clinton's involvement in Florida suggests, to me, that the Democrats are wildly threatened by Rubio's looming victory, to the point that they'll try to get their nominee, a black candidate, out of the race in favor of Governor Orange, who is white, to prevent a Hispanic Republican from winning. Why would that be? I think it has a lot to do with what Rubio represents: A young, conservative, dynamic, Hispanic senator who may be around and in power for decades to come if he wins this race. This is what they don't want to have to deal with.
I'm going to use the R-word ... that video is Reaganesque. Marco Rubio is Reaganesque. And he's young. The Democrats scuttled Miguel Estrada's nomination to the bench by Bush 43 "because he is Latino" and never paid for that bit of bigotry, so why wouldn't they figure they could get away with it again? The Democrats are banking their future power on locking up the Hispanic vote, and Rubio is a major threat to that. So Clinton and Meek had this odd conversation, in which Meek says they merely discussed a rumor of him dropping out to make way for Crist, and Clinton and Crist say discussions took place over the course of about a week.