Marco Rubio, virtually unknown by most Floridians last year, has taken a stunning lead not only in the Republican primary but also in the general election without spending much on traditional campaigning. It's thanks in no small part to a strong grassroots effort and Internet buzz, and Erik Erickson of RedState.com was one of the earlier national voices supporting Rubio.
RedState.com is often called the conservative DailyKos.com, so why is it that DailyKos (or the liberal RedState if you will) seems more intent on getting Charlie Crist to become a Democrat than supporting Kendrick Meek, the actual Democrat?
Markos "Kos" Moulitsas has been slyly welcoming the idea of Crist joining the Democrats since last summer and as recently as Monday. A completely unscientific, but still telling, poll, of Kos readers shows that only 21 percent of these liberal-leaning readers would back Meek over Crist if the governor switched parties. Thirty percent seem gung-ho about the idea, and 44 percent more would be onboard if Crist tweaked his political stance. Another informal poll showed 66 percent think Crist should run as the Democrat nominee.
So what's wrong with Meek?
There still might be some lingering anger in the national left over his decision to not take a stance in any of the congressional races to his south in 2008 and his uniquely South Florida positions on Cuba, but when he entered the race, a front-page posting on the Kos declared he "should be a formidable candidate. He's a young, talented, and well-connected politician, and a formidable fundraiser."
Meek is by no means the perfect candidate. He inherited every seat he's ever held from his mother, against no real opposition, but he also has strong liberal credentials. The guy staged a 25-hour affirmative action sit-in at conservative hero Jeb Bush's office, then clashed with Bush and Republican legislators again, and ultimately succeeded with the class size amendment. Plus his recent trip to and work with Haiti has been nothing but admirable.
Sure, Meek isn't that well known outside South Florida. Rubio wasn't either. Yes, Meek probably won't be able to raise as much cash as Crist. Rubio won't either. No, Meek hasn't faced a divisive or state-level election before. Rubio hasn't either.
The main difference is that the conservative movement coalesced around Rubio and championed his candidacy. There's no chance of Florida, a state that just voted for Barack Obama in 2008, electing a real Democrat to the Senate unless the liberal netroots does the same for Meek.