Saturday, June 04, 2016

Obama And Schultz: Perfect Together

As everyone knows, Democratic National Committee chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz has done all she could to ensure the presidential nomination of Hillary Clinton.   In April of 2015 the DNC head so objectively remarked

Secretary Clinton, I think is arguably one of the most qualified people – assuming she announces her candidacy – who have ever run for president. I was proud to support her in 2008. Of course as DNC chair, I will neutrally manage our primary nomination contest, assuming we have one.

Secretary Clinton’s candidacy is another step of progress for women and for my daughters. As the mom of two little girls, a 15-year old and an 11-year old, and my mom who told me in America a little girl can get elected president, and can be anything she wants to be, this is something that I’m very proud to be able to point to when she announces her candidacy – but I say that neutrally, because I will be neutral during the primary. But Secretary Clinton’s a very special, a special leader and a special woman.

The DNC the next month announced that it would sanction all of six (6) pre-convention debates, one to be held the last Saturday before Christmas, among the presidential candidates.  (Negotiations in January between the Sanders and the Clinton camps yielded several additional debates.)  In February, Schultz defended the influence of super delegates, remarking "unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don't have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists."

Last year, Charles Pierce reminded us that in 2008 Schultz "was running the DNC's 'Red to Blue' project and famously abstained from supporting three Democratic challengers to incumbent Republicans, once even remarking at a Washington luncheon for Miami-Dade commissioners "I can't say enough good things about (Republican Representative) Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; she has been my friend since I was first elected to office."   And until this past week, Representative Schultz was a good friend to the payday loan industry.

In January, the (New York) Observer observed

Another group, Roots Action, has accumulated over 30,000 signatures in a separate petition. “In addition to her recent attempt to deny the Bernie Sanders campaign access to its own voter files, Wasserman Schultz has tried in other ways to minimize competition for her candidate, Hillary Clinton,” states the Roots Action petition. “In Congress, she has served as a pro-militarist and corporatist tool of the high bidders.”

MoveOn.Org has collected over 60,000 signatures, and has over 47,000 signatures calling for Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s resignation.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s weak leadership brings nothing but negative attention to the Democratic Party. Democrats must stop delaying the inevitable, and either fire Ms. Wasserman Schultz or push her to resign. She has essentiallybankrupted the DNC during her tenure, and is unreliable in helping Democrats win congressional and senate elections. It is in the best interests of the party to rid itself of Ms. Wasserman Schultz as quickly as possible.

However, Mrs. Schultz has remained in her job, despite opposition from the Sanders' camp, which can recognize as a biased party leader when it sees one, and which during the campaign has increasingly charged that the process is rigged.  Sanders has endorsed Representative Schultz's primary opponeny, Tim Canova, who is clearly more partial to progressive interests than is she, and there is mounting pressure to remove her as party chairperson before the national convention convenes in Philadelphia.

Any public support for Schultz has been tepid- that is, until this week when

Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Miami on Friday, President Barack Obama expressed his support for his party's embattled chairwoman — Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz....

"She's had my back, I want to make sure we have her back,” he said.

Obama added that she is "somebody who I don't know how she does it, because she's everywhere all the time, non-stop, and she's a mom and a wife and has been just incredibly supportive of my agenda."  

(And such a frail creature! In related news, the President praised Democratic Rep. Brian Schatz of Hawaii as "somebody who I don't know how he does it, because he's a dad and a husband." Just kidding.)

She was appointed to her position by President Barack Obama five years ago. She blocked a resolution to praise the President for the Iranian nuclear deal, though she later voted for the agreement.. Under significant pressure, she finally has dropped her opposition to legislation reining in payday loan lenders.  Coincidentally, Obama's statement came at the close of  a week in which he revealed that he no longer believes Social Security is an existential threat to the American economy.

Perhaps Schultz has had President Obama's back. But her statements and actions as Democratic National chairperson demonstrate that she has not had the Party's back.  Under the Floridian's watch, the Party got rolled in the 2014 midterm election and currently she is presiding over a nomination battle of increasing rancor, to which she has contributed.  She has had Barack Obama's back, and now he has hers.

All in all, given what we've seen from the White House the last seven years, this shouldn't be at all surprising.

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