Some of Rep. Alan Grayson's more colorful comments may get him labeled a "crazy liberal," but what's that old cliché about the true definition of insanity? The one Bill Clinton, of all people, repeated several time during his 1992 campaign? Oh, right. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
But that's exactly what Florida's Democratic establishment is doing by backing Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Democratic Senate primary for Marco Rubio's to-be-vacated seat while trying to run Grayson out of the race.
Of course, the Democratic party hasn't tried to run Murphy over and over again, it's just that the young representative (and former registered Republican until 2011) from Palm Beach County is the latest in a long line of moderate, boring candidates Dems have run for state-wide races. With the exception of the untouchable Sen. Bill Nelson, almost all of those candidates end up losing. Fittingly, Murphy has the endorsement of past Democratic losers Charlie Crist and Alex Sink. Murphy also snagged the endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee before anyone else got in the race.
Today, Daily Beast columnist Eleanor Clift asks the question, "Can Florida Dems squash Alan Grayson?"
The answer seems to be that they're trying their best.
Granted, the fight has already proved something of an idealogical war within the party, but most brass are too smart to enflame it even more by talking publicly. Clift however does get mega-attorney and mega-donor John Morgan on the phone to share his take. Morgan, of course, is best known from being a major bankroller of recent electoral failures like 2014's effort to legalize medical marijuana and Charlie Crist's post-Republican political career. (He's also literally Crist's boss. The former Gov works at his law firm).
“Alan is a friend of mine, he’s a client of mine, and I tried mightily to dissuade him from walking away from a national platform that most congressmen and women do not have,” says Morgan. “He’s like Barney Frank — he was a congressman from Massachusetts and he was America’s congressman, progressive America’s congressman. I told him, I hate to see a smart guy like you walk away from the Congress because I don’t see a path forward for you in Florida.”
Morgan clearly thinks Grayson has no shot of winning the state.
“It’s a tightrope with no room for error, it’s threading a needle with a fine piece of thread,” says Morgan. “You have to be able to do well in the Panhandle. I’m a fan of Alan’s politics but he has a lot of minuses."
Granted, Barack Obama won Florida twice and did absolutely horribly in the Panhandle both time, and even though this Senate election will take place in an presidential election year, that's apparently of little import to Morgan.
Never mind that recent polls show Grayson beating Republican contenders by a healthy margin (to be fair Murphy beats them by a healthier margin).
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Never mind that Republicans continue to dominate state-wide races by not running insurgent candidates like Rubio and Rick Scott from their primaries.
Never mind that Florida appears in recent years to be as much as a "Get your base out to vote" swing state as it is an "appeal to the middle" swing state.
Of course, Grayson isn't a perfect candidate. His loud mouth and hot temper could derail his campaign at any moment. Which almost makes your wonder why, if powerful Dems think he's such a potential train wreck, they're trying to "squash" him from the race instead of just waiting for him to implode.