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.