My interest in this race has now passed the point of merely wanting Rubio to win — which, by the way, according to Mason Dixon’s pollster, is a take-it-to-the-bank lock even if Meek’s supporters do start peeling off towards Crist. How can it be that Sunshine Charlie might finish even a distant second given the almost pathological cynicism of his campaign? How is there even a single Floridian who trusts him enough to vote for him? If Meek doesn’t beat him, it’s a disgrace to the state.

“Crist is going to caucus with the Democrats,” [Crist advisor John] Morgan said. “I don’t think there’s any ifs, ands or buts about it. It would be, in a very tight year, almost like a Democratic pickup in a solid Republican state.”…

Crist spokesman Danny Kanner has denied that Mr. Crist had agreed to caucus with Senate Democrats as part of any deal with Mr. Clinton or Mr. Meek.

A person close to Mr. Clinton and familiar with the discussions tells Washington Wire that, yes, Mr. Crist had agreed to caucus with Senate Democrats if Mr. Meek bowed out of the race.

So goes the last gasp of Crist’s frantic final-week strategy to muscle Meek out and capture his Democratic supporters ahead of Tuesday. It started on Monday, when, according to Meek himself, Crist approached him and asked him to consider taking the plunge. When Meek didn’t bite, Team Charlie needed a back-up plan to siphon off his support; hence the mysterious leak to Politico yesterday about Meek’s conversations with Clinton, designed to convince Meek’s donors/voters that he himself has all but given up on his own campaign and the only thing to do now is back the guy capable of beating Rubio. Now that that’s turned into a Category Five clusterfark, replete with Crist hint-hinting that Obama blessed this deal even as Crist’s own spokesman insisted that he didn’t, here’s their last-ditch pander to Meek’s base: Yes indeed, Crist will caucus with the Democrats next year. Unless, of course, his career ambitions later require him to caucus with the GOP, in which case he’ll merrily knife Florida’s Democrats in the back and switch parties. Everyone knows it. Or rather, at this point, everyone should.

Here’s Jeb Bush helpfully reminding Floridians of something they should be painfully, and I do mean painfully, aware of already. Assuming that Rubio does go on to victory on Tuesday, this will be yet another parallel between his career and Obama’s: Both strikingly young and charismatic, both with backgrounds in state legislatures, both with irresistible “American dream” storylines as minorities who’ve risen to great success, and both beneficiaries in their Senate campaigns of mind-boggling strokes of luck. In a sane year, with deft Democratic leadership, a Crist/Meek deal would have been brokered weeks or even months ago with an eye to taking down a Republican with national potential. (I’ve been gaming it out for that long myself.) Instead, Marco’s opponents collectively crapped the bed. I don’t believe that it’s better to be lucky than good, but it’s sure nice to be both. Click the image to watch.

Update: Start your weekend off right with this, my friends. Sorry, Charlie. Too late.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Sunshine State finds Rubio picking up 50% of the vote, while Crist, Florida’s current GOP governor, receives 30% support. Meek picks up 16% support, his worst showing since early July. One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, and another three percent (3%) are still undecided.