Kendrick Meek: Movin On Up

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Whenever I think about writing, for some reason the soundtrack of my mind comes up with something apropos. I heard a familiar sitcom jingle and concluded that Kendrick Meek is synonymous with the iconic TV Negroes we came to know as The Jeffersons. ¬†While Kendrick ain’t looking to snag him a dee-lux apartment in the sky, Carrie Meek’s baby boy has clearly been dreaming of movin’ on up to the Senate for sometime and has positioned himself accordingly. ¬†His personality is best described as more Wheezy than George ¬†because he is both humble and sophisticated. ¬†Possessing a common touch that belies his power and status, Kendrick has always struck me as more of a regular everyman than a silvery tongued pol.¬†¬† More Forrest Whitaker than Denzel Washington, Meek has a fierce battle to convince a skeptical electorate that he is the right man to represent them in ¬†the patrician Senate.

Until a few months ago,¬† Meek thought he had a clear field and would coast to the general election facing the winner of a bloody and protracted GOP primary–then everything changed.¬†¬† Gov. Charlie Crist’s statehouse rival, Marco Rubio, made the Governor’s centrist politics a centerpiece of his strategy to seduce the right-wing and hit paydirt. Mired in second place in the polls, the GOP Governor bolted the party and started wooing Independents and Democrats.¬† To add insult to injury, Meek picked up a ¬†credit default swap billionaire as a primary challenger, Jeff Greene.¬† Meek suddenly had to tap his carefully husbanded $4 million dollar bankroll to defend himself against a fusillade of negative ads.

What looked like a competitive ¬†but uphill two-party contest has degenerated into a three-way free for all. ¬†A carefully orchestrated whisper campaign to challenge Kendrick’s electability caused White Democrats to defect en masse to Crist or remain neutral. ¬†Meek is polling a very weak third place and was until recently in second place in the Democratic Primary. ¬† What looked like a handkerchief head move to endorse Hillary and cozy up to the Clintons in 2008 looks shrewd today given the weakness of the current president’s poll numbers and the universal popularity of Bill Clinton. ¬†Slick Willie has been down to the Sunshine state several times to fundraise and politic with his boy Kendrick and will be back again sometime in the future. ¬†I heard tell last week that Obama is fixin’ to go down shortly. ¬†Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s right hand, recently headlined a fundraiser as the Administration looks to be step up it’s efforts to help a brotha out.

Kendrick’s polls improved once he made it clear that his opponent was not a real Democrat and that the source of his money is proof of the adage: behind every great fortune is a great crime.

I am convinced that Kendrick can win this thing if he woo’s back White Democrats and unifies the Democratic Party behind his candidacy. Some folk don’t believe that Kendrick is worth voting for. ¬†For example, the bloggers over at Down With Tyranny have their boxers in a bunch over a few bad votes Kendrick cast over the last eight years. ¬†I acknowledge their legitimate concerns and their distaste with his fundraising from lobbyists–black lobbyists in particular have rallied around him. To borrow a phrase from The Lady Chablis in Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil: ¬†if Clinton and Obama can pull one over on progressives¬† by openly colluding with the corporate power structure, then Kendrick’s little corporate whoring around in Washington, DC, is not going to mean anything to good Democrats in Florida. Especially not when the alternatives are a wingnut, a soulless opportunist or a damn crook.

House Ethics Committee Outlines Charges against Waters

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Hat Tip:  JIM ABRAMS Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) ‚ÄĒ The House ethics committee on Monday announced three counts of alleged ethics violations against California Democrat Maxine Waters, including a charge that she requested federal help for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on its board.

Waters, a 10-term representative from Los Angeles, has denied any wrongdoing and had urged the committee to come forth with details of the charges so that she can defend herself in a trial expected to take place this fall.

That trial would be the second handled by the ethics committee this fall. The report says Waters asked the Treasury Department to meet representatives from the National Bankers Association, a trade group representing minority-owned and women-owned banks. The discussion at that September 2008 meeting centered on OneUnited Bank. OneUnited eventually received $12 million in bailout money.

She petitioned to have the charges dismissed, but the ethics committee rejected that request.

The first count said she violated House rules that members “shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect credibility on the House.”

It said that her husband’s financial interest in OneUnited had declined from $350,000 at the end of June 2008, to about $175,000 in September, and would have been worthless if OneUnited had not received federal funds.

The second violation pertains to the use of improper influence that results in a personal benefit. It cites the failure of Waters to instruct her chief of staff to refrain from assisting OneUnited after she realized she should not be involved in the case.

The third count relates to the dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone, whether for remuneration or not.

I’m still making up my mind about the seriousness of these charges and will wait for more definitive information. What’s your take?