I went to Florida this week and found myself surprised by what I saw on TV. It was then that I became aware of the nasty political battle going on between Jeff Greene and Kendrick Meek (pictured). Both men are fighting to win the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, and both are playing dirty in order to get there.Greene is a billionaire investor who has enough money to run one of the nastiest campaigns Floridians have seen in a while. Meek is also a power broker, being the son of prominent African-American political figure Congresswoman Carrie Meek.
I admit that I found the nastiness of the political ads to be unique, intriguing and even a little entertaining. Each politician presents himself as a good family man who wants to serve the country, and each points to the other as devious, manipulative and damn near criminal. The Democratic primary battle in Florida makes for astonishing political theatre at the expense of Florida taxpayers.
Reflecting the conservative nature of the state in which they live, both candidates are pro-life. They both oppose off-shore drilling, which most Floridians are not happy with right now. Therefore, they both seem to give the people what they want. Sort of.
When Greene and Meek get together for a debate, that's when the fireworks really start to go off. Both men make wild allegations against each other and the argument gets heated. Greene has taken the Michael Bloomberg route, funding his campaign with his personal fortune. This allows him to criticize Meek for taking money from special interest groups.
What is interesting, however, is that wealthy politicians can become their own special interest group, using their personal wealth to buy public office to align their political power with their massive economic power. The only thing standing in the way of a wealthy businessman is the government, so if he owns stock in both, he can get away with murder.
"Special interests are in the pockets of every politician. When I get elected I'm going to Washington to end earmarks forever," Greene said in a recent debate. "I will never take a penny of special interest money."
"Jeff Greene, you are a special interest," Meek replied. "It's interesting how you come to Florida and play the advocate as a Wall Street insider. It's like showing up at an intersection after a collision and saying we need a stop sign."
Both Meek and Greene have accused each other of being a crooked insider.
Meek points to Greene's involvement with credit default swaps on Wall Street and says that he's one of the people responsible for the financial crisis. Greene refers to Meek's connections with Dennis Stackhouse, a man who was arrested for stealing money with fake invoices and double billings. Stackhouse took good care of Meek, his mother and his former Chief of Staff. None of this looks good for him.
According to Politifact.com, both men have been added to a list of "crooked candidates," so really this may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. This reminds us of the nature of politics: Most politicians care more about themselves than they care about you, and most politicians are probably breaking some kind of ethics rule that you don't know about. Your choice, in the end, is to decide which crooked politicians is crooked in your favor. There isn't much virtue in Washington.
09-Aug-10 - It appears that Glenn Beck enjoys the idea of comparing black people to monkeys. Beck's latest rant featured him comparing President Barack Obama's America to "the damn 'Planet of the Apes.'"
05-Aug-10 - Dr. Cornel West apparently has a bone to pick with President Barack Obama. Over time, the good Dr. West has become increasingly vocal in his critique of Obama, and even went as far as to say that Obama treated him "like a cub scout."
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