Ben Smith, in Politico late-breaking today: Bill Clinton pushed Kendrick Meek to quit Florida race
Bill Clinton sought to persuade Rep. Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race for Senate during a trip to Florida last week — and nearly succeeded.
Meek agreed — twice — to drop out and endorse Gov. Charlie Crist’s independent bid in a last-ditch effort to stop Marco Rubio, the Republican nominee who stands on the cusp of national stardom.
Me, on this very blog, on July 28, 2010, in a post entitled: Kendrick Meek Ad Strategy, Revisited
...I think Kendrick and his team have taken their eye off the real prize. And while they're fucking around with some two-bit money-bags recession pimp mama's boy, Charlie Crist is actually securing enough of the Democratic vote to win the general election.
I'm going to mention one last thing, here, and it's really a troubling piece of this. One name: Bill Clinton. Everyone who reads this blog at this point knows I worked in the Clinton Administration. Let me tell you a little something about what he does now. He is, in addition to being a grand elder statesman of the Democratic Party (not to mention the world), a messenger of sorts.
Imagine the scene in a nice hotel room in downtown Miami. It's President Clinton and Kendrick. They're alone. There's a phone sitting on the table between them. It's on speaker, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Rahm Emanuel are on the other end of it.
I go on to game out a sort of silly apparently-not-at-all-fictional play in which Rahm Emanuel, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Clinton urge Kendrick to drop out of the race.
Look, I came fairly close to casting a vote for Charlie Crist. Had I known that, things might've been different... at least for me. If the Clinton camp had leaked this earlier, I'd have very likely voted for Crist, following the obvious Clinton strategy.
I did get one aspect of this whole deal wrong, though. Ben Smith:
Clinton did not dangle a job in front of Meek, who gave up a safe House seat to run for the Senate, but instead made the case that the move would advance the congressman’s future prospects, said a third Democrat familiar with the conversations.
Well, I'm not so sure about that. If there's no concrete incentive to walk away, then why do it? Something had to have discussed -- maybe not a specific job, but Meek is leaving behind one of the safest Democratic congressional seats in the country. He'd have to have something locked down for the future.
Which may have been the dealbreaker, here. To wit:
Clinton campaigned with Meek in Florida on Oct. 19 and 20, and thought he had won Meek over. But as the week wore on, Meek lost his enthusiasm for the arrangement, spurred in part, a third Democratic source said, by his wife’s belief that he could still win the race. Clinton spoke with Meek again at week’s end, three Democrats said, and again Meek said he would drop out.
Ding ding ding: marriage factor. Hey, I understand Mrs. Meek to be a lovely person. But nothing will cloud your mind more in the political arena than your significant other.
It's tough. Rally after rally of true-believer Democrats who tell you that you can do it! And they believe in you. And they need you, want you, know that you can reach the mountaintop. And no one is more out front of those emotions than your spouse. They can be your greatest cheerleader just when you need them most.
But they can also steer you the wrong way -- or wrong-ish at the very least. Look, the Meeks have a couple of young kids to raise. If President Clinton really didn't bring an offer to the table, then why drop out? I mean, yeah, the good of the party, not to mention the good of the country is really something. But the cataclysmic disappointment your supporters mixed with an uncertain financial future don't exactly make for a clear path.
Anyway, if this all came about because Doug Band read the Spencerian back in July, the least he could do is leave a "thank you" for the inspiration in the comments.
On second thought, nevermind, Doug. Please do give my best to President Clinton.
h/t to Pushing Rope for the breaking news and links.