In theory The One’s all set to parachute into Florida at the opportune moment and hit the trail for likely Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek. And yet … I sense hesitation.
President Barack Obama’s top political adviser declined to say Tuesday whether the commander in chief would campaign for Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek — even amid reports that Vice President Joe Biden may hit the trail to assist the fourth-term Democratic House member.
“We’re going to campaign for Democrats all over the country,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod said when asked whether Obama will show up in Florida for Meek.
Pressed a second time on Meek’s race, specifically, Axelrod replied “We haven’t worked out the whole schedule.”
Two possibilities. One: Axelrod’s hedging only because it’s still unclear whether Meek will beat eccentric billionaire Jeff Greene in the Democratic primary. If Greene pulls the upset, the Dems may decide that he’s a lost cause in the general and cut a deal to back Sunshine Charlie. Two, more frighteningly: Axelrod’s hedging because he’s worried that Meek can’t get traction in the polls, even if he does beat Greene and emerge as the nominee. Rubio’s counting on Crist to fade as Dems start to rally around Meek and the lefty vote splits between the two of them, but maybe Axelrod’s thinking that Meek smells like a loser, in which case he’s not worth rallying around. And indeed, in today’s new PPP poll, Meek’s still spinning his wheels at 17 percent while Crist leads with 35 percent; in fact, Crist is up since March among Democrats, independents, and even Republicans(!), no doubt thanks to the free camera time that the oil spill has given him. Supposedly Biden will start campaigning for Meek “soon,” but I wonder if that’s some sort of experiment to see how Florida Dems react once a prominent Democrat is in town and stumping on his behalf. If his numbers are still flat after Biden departs, do they start pressuring him to get out in the interests of having Crist lead a united anti-Rubio front?
The only good news: Given that The One’s endorsement is now ballot-box poison, whomever he ends up campaigning for is bound to lose a few points to Rubio over it. Exit question: Crist says he’s spoken to Harry Reid about caucusing with the Democrats but Reid says he doesn’t know what Crist’s talking about. Laying aside the conundrum of deciding which of two shameless liars is telling the truth, assuming Crist’s right, isn’t that another key sign that the national Democratic leadership is worried about Meek?