For Crist's Sake

The U.S. Senate race down in Florida has to be the most fascinating contest in this year’s mid-term elections for me. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently because of these volatile polls that have come out. Supporters of Marco Rubio, the beleaguered Republican golden boy, were first elated when Mason-Dixon and Rasmussen released polls showing Rubio +5. The pendulum shifted again when Quinnipiac released its most recent survey showing Gov. Charlie Crist ahead by 7 points.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Kendrick Meek demonstrates why it’s hard out there for a small-time politician. Ever since Gov. Crist (the orange, unprincipled one, for the casual voters) pole-vaulted out of the Florida GOP to independence, Meek has been a non-entity. And for his part, President Barack Obama hadn’t been showing the brother any love. And while he’s keeping his options open by continuing to flirt with the orange governor, Obama did put on the charm offensive yesterday and ordered a sandwich for the congressman during a trip there.

The Hill:

Even though the president still hasn't headlined a fundraiser or campaign event exclusively for Meek, the congressman's campaign used every chance it could Wednesday to get him close to the president. 

Meek was on the airport tarmac to greet Obama when he arrived, and the two later made a stop at Jerry's Famous Deli in South Beach for corned beef sandwiches.

After purchasing Meek's sandwich, the president joked, "Don't say I never gave you anything."

This race is a welcome, fun departure from an otherwise bitter and depressing political climate.  The two Democrats are both essentially good guys. I can see how some view the White House’s past treatment of Kendrick Meek (an early supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton) as the epitome of its decadence. I tend to cut the president some slack on this one. (We all misread the tea leaves sometimes and have to pay the price, Kendrick!) Besides, Meek’s primary opponent, Jeff Greene, who was once gaining, is a charming politician—a kind of vulgar charm, no doubt. (Jeff Greene is like Bill Clinton with a billion dollars and no Hillary to instill a modicum of discipline.)

The lingering drama between Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist is more consequential. As someone who’s had an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards the Tea Party movement compared most on the left, I’ve been mostly favorable to Rubio thus far. Marco Rubio is sort of like Sarah Palin. Unlike unpolished, and often times hideous, conservatives like Sharron Angle of Nevada and Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Rubio demonstrates why the coming Republican takeover of Congress is not the end of civilization.

Crist, however, is a villain and the worst possible outcome. As a senator, Crist would almot certainly be with President Obama. People who find this preferable must remember that President Obama may only be around two more years or so. I, for one, can easily imagine Crist shamelessly operating for a President Mitt Romney in 2013. I can even imagine him faking his way as a Palin Republican if that whole thing succeeds. (He's like a much grayer John McCain without the ocassionally amusing wisecracks).

(h/t: therealcharliecrist)

If the current situation holds, Marco Rubio will win. Some may disagree but the various arguments proffered by Crist enthusiasts make them sound more than a little bit like the folk that were talking up Conrad Burns and Linc Chafee’s chances back in ’06—and who are those guys, right? There were a lot of attractive, but difficult, races for ascendant Democrats that year; and every one of them broke for the us (Diebold and all) because of the national trend.

But for Crist’s sake... this is Florida we’re talking about.

Tags: FL-Sen, Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek, Jeff Greene (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

Jeff Greene a good guy?

Really?  Everything I 've read about him seems to indiacte he's a total a**hole. 

by Swan 2010-08-19 02:27PM | 0 recs
RE: Jeff Greene a good guy?

I have this thing where I automatically compare these three other candidates to Charlie Crist (because he's the front-runner, he's favored by Obama and the press, and he's a reptile of a person), and Jeff Greene seems like an interesting guy. And he and I are simpatico on the Cordoba Initiative.

by Jack Landsman 2010-08-19 02:49PM | 0 recs
marco rubio

is the anti-christ. Have you seen his 100 bright ideas for Florida? Pathetic. Only conservatives would be impressed by their vagueness, emptiness and puerility.

The difference between him and Palin is that he can speak in complete sentences and he isn't a religious nutcase. Otherwise, pretty much just as vapid. Moreover, he has ties to neoconservatives like Jeb Bush (his mentor), Bill Kristol and Eliott Abrams. He's more dangerous because he's polished and peels back the wingnuttery but it's still there. He's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I know a lot of Floridians, Democrats and LGTB folks, who like Charlie Crist. I agree with you that the Florida race is the most compelling but I'll take Crist over Rubio no questions asked. Rubio is another DeMint/Inhofe, Crist is to the left Lieberman and Nelson.

Just on climate change alone, Crist stands apart. Given the importance of that issue, it is unconscionable to support Rubio.

Not sure how one can have a favorable view of a right wing populist movement but I look forward to hearing your arguments.

 

by Charles Lemos 2010-08-19 03:18PM | 0 recs
RE: marco rubio

Those left-wing types down in Florida that like Charlie Crist, like him for the same reasons they like Barack Obama. And I'm guessing whatever support he gets from the LGTB community is to be accrued to his rumored lifestyle choices, which is fine. But the main problem is that Charlie Crist closely identifies with the sort of Wall Street liberals that comprise the ruling elite du jour. 

This isn't perfect, and we'll deal with Marco Rubio at a later date. But I don't want to be spend the next 6+ years writing about Charlie Crist's preening in Washington, DC, as a senator. No.

by Jack Landsman 2010-08-19 03:43PM | 0 recs
RE: marco rubio

Well I am Wall Street liberal. I worked for Goldman Sachs and spent a decade at various investment banks. The problem isn't Wall Street per se as the engine of American capitalism; it is the morphing from its traditional role of picking winners based on intense research and banking services into a glorified casino based on trading and in particular on derivatives. I've said this before the problem isn't the blue bloods that run the i-bank side, it's the born working class but traitors to their class traders that because they made it think no one else is entitled. Lloyd Blankfein is a case in point. Born poor, he worked his way up on the trading floor. Now he thinks he rules the world. Traders are some of the most reactionary people I have ever met. They were born to Democratic parents and largely the first generation to have "made it" but now that they have the American Dream they want to deny it to others. Rick Santelli whose rant launched the Tea Party Movement is another case in point. This isn't to say that there aren't reactionaries on the banking side, Lawrence Kudlow comes to mind, but i-banking requires an elite education, trading didn't. A liberal education can make a difference. Moreover, the i-bank side is heavily Jewish and thus more liberal while the trading side is the Pat Buchanan subset of white ethnics that in the 1970s were peeled off from the Democratic base over issues like busing and affirmative action but now held in place over low taxes. 

And of course, there is a deeper cultural issue where we have come to put the individual over the interests of society at large. In a nut shell, Thatcher and Reagan did leaving a lasting mark because they changed the culture. Greed became an acceptable human virtue. Gordon Gecko lives. 

Demonizing Wall Street and Goldman Sachs for the sake of demonizing elites misses another point. There are two different types of elites: participatory and predatory. There are elites who realize that a broad-based prosperity is in the interest of society. That they are better off when the wealth is spread around and then there are those who use the state for their own nefarious purposes. Take the DuPonts for example. Their wealth was due to a government contracts and a monopoly over chemical production before WW I. That's a predatory elite. Warren Buffet is an example of a participatory elite.

It will be fun sparring with you on this. Welcome to the front page.

by Charles Lemos 2010-08-19 04:18PM | 0 recs
RE: marco rubio

You're a Wall Street liberal, and yet I couldn't find a great deal there to disagree with it. I think it's because, despite that interesting designation you've embraced, you're a basically a populist liberal with an unfortunate (?) background in Wall Street firms. I've been doing my homework in the past few days, and the fact that you've stuck around with Jerome, who's been about as bearish on Obama as any prominent progressive, puts to lie your literally being a Wall Street liberal, which means something awful (I mean, you had me thinking you were a Reshma Saujani-type or something). Most of the heavyweight lefty bloggers have unfortunate beginnings somewhere; whether it's on some DLC campaign or whatever. 

Lloyd Blankfein and Larry Kudlow perfectly exemplify Wall Street liberals I'm broadly speaking about. Kudlow's someone who's grown more and more comfortable over the years in traditional corporate Republican circles, but who knows, if it hadn't been for the eruption of Monica and Bill Clinton had semented--I really should stop; God knows I still love Bubba for some reason--his New Democrat shtick in the annals of conventional wisdom, Kudlow might have eventually came back into the fold. Blankfein's story is essentially the same. Wall Street liberals are progressive, culturally. They're down with gay marriage. And if voters in California resolve to march ahead of the elite and legalize ganja, opening the way for pot to become commercialized and mass-produced, financiers like Blankfein will be on board with that as well (if he isn't already). 

This has been said millions of times, and it never seems to go away, but it's appropriate: It's the economy, stupid. It's the economic issues that matter most, and that's where the Wall Street liberals break with the more traditional groups in the Democratic Party. Of course, there's never any neat and total cohesion. (For instance, I'm one of those climate change skeptics, or Holocaust deniers, or whatever we're supposed to be; I'm ahead of the curve on this one but eventually grassroots people are going to think twice about jumping in bed with a whole panoply of evil enterprises like Goldman Sachs, British Petroleum, and for a time, Lehman Brothers, over this "green" stuff.) I think there's broad agreement, at least now there is, in the lefty blogosphere about the TARP program; the individual mandate; the non-sequitur solution to poverty of encouraging middle class and working poor people into homeownership when they need full economic empowerment first; and so forth. Wall Street liberals are the sort of people who will sit you down in the hot, stagnant days of this Recovery Summer, go down the list of horribles and defend every one. No regrets. No worry. And why not? Bush, and then Obama (despite the rhetoric), have done exceedingly well by them. 

As far as bashing elites with a mindless abandon, it's not mindless with me. I'm not a cultural populist. I didn't mind it when that millionaire guy who ran for president a couple times shelled out 400 bones for a haircut. Nor was I indignant when that semi-retarded ersatz cowboy spent, like, 99% of his term clearing brush on his spacious estate. It's not necessarily about wealth or lifestyle; it's about carrying out policies that benefit a relatively small clique that runs the society. (And it's not simplistic right and left; both sides are broadly represented.) I'm sorry, but you're not going to convince me that Goldman Sachs really is doing "God's work." 

by Jack Landsman 2010-08-19 06:56PM | 0 recs
RE: marco rubio

Well as an atheist I'd be hard press to make the case that Goldman, or investment banking more broadly, is doing "God's work" but in a country that lacks an industrial policy, the investment banking sector + venture capital sector has largely functioned as our industrial policy.

And we have done well. We especially did well in the period between 1933 and 1980 when under a series of regulatory laws, Glass-Steagall first and foremost, we let banking do what banking need to do. It's in the period post 1980 when the sector was deregulated an inch at a time that we began to get all these periodic financial crisises that included a Mexico peso crisis (twice), a general LATAM default crisis, a SE Asia currency crisis, a Korean banking crisis, a Russian bond crisis, a S&L crisis in the late 1980s, and now the mother of all recessions caused by lack of regulation and oversight over banks that have become glorified casinos.

Gotta run.

by Charles Lemos 2010-08-19 07:26PM | 0 recs
RE: marco rubio

Dude, I'm an atheist, too. "God's work" was a reference to Blankfein's infamous declaration

All of that historical recollection you just laid out is on the money. The only problem, of course, is that we've got to stop laying this stuff on that "stupid lizard" Reagan (as Hitch once called him) and that crowd. The last time we had a real, if terribly flawed, Democratic president was LBJ. Despite their various personal narratives, every one since then has been a Wall Street Democrat. They deserve equal--equal!--blame for the mess you've been lamenting.

by Jack Landsman 2010-08-19 07:37PM | 0 recs
wall street as our industrial policy

well yeah, wall street has taken over as our primary industry:

 

Simon Johnson:

The Quiet Coup:

From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits.

In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent.

In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period.

This decade, it reached 41 percent...

by jeopardy 2010-08-24 02:41PM | 0 recs
RE: wall street as our industrial policy

Basically. That citation right there spells it out as plainly as possible. Simon Johnson is awesomeness.

 

by Jack Landsman 2010-08-24 07:05PM | 0 recs
Jeff Greene

Dude made a boatload by going short. Pretty fascinating haul.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-08-19 08:40PM | 0 recs
RE: Jeff Greene

I don't why I find this Jeff Greene guy intriguing. I think it's because he reminds me, again, of the Big Dog: just a comical horndog sorta hangin' around and stuff.

Said before I'll say it again, Jeff Greene: Bill Clinton with a billion dollars, and no Hillary.

by Jack Landsman 2010-08-19 09:46PM | 0 recs
Disconnect much?

While I do agree that all Dem Presidents since Carter have been Wall Street Democrats, and therefore, not a lot different (except on social issues) than their Republican counterparts, I just cannot see the leap to supporting Marco Rubio as somehow logical. Maybe I need to drink a different flavor of koolaid to understand that one.

by mcarnes 2010-08-19 09:18PM | 0 recs
RE: Disconnect much?

No, since LBJ.

And I'm not supporting Marco Rubio, or any of these Republicans. I just happen to have counterintuitively nice things to say about him. Sorry for the lack of clarity, I suppose.

by Jack Landsman 2010-08-19 09:34PM | 0 recs

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