There’s a great passage in The Thumpin’ about former DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel’s frustrations with Democratic colleagues who aren’t serious about doing what it takes to win. Allow me to share an excerpt:
In early 2006, Congressman Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat, was quoted in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel speaking sympathetically of Congressman Shaw, one of Emanuel’s top Republican targets. Hastings, because of his friendship with Shaw, also refused to endorse Shaw’s Democratic challenger, Ron Klein. In the Sun-Sentinel article, Hastings even gave Shaw strategic advice on how to defeat Klein, advocating that he knock on doors to connect personally with voters rather than relying on television ads as he had in the past. Then, in a closed meeting of Democratic House members, Hastings chastised Emanuel and the DCCC for not recruiting more candidates across the country, saying Democrats needed to run a respectable candidate in every House district.
[…]It enraged Emanuel, who saw Hastings as typifying those of his fellow Democrats who were content to criticize but did nothing to help the cause. “He’s great on lectures,” Emanuel said of Hastings. “Phenomenal lecturer. I’m getting a lecture on recruitment when A, you haven’t done a goddamn thing and B, we’ve got a [Republican] target and you’re out there kissing his ass in the press?”
Keep Emanuel’s indignation in mind as you hear the following story of betrayal in South Florida.
Sensing a shift in the political climate of the traditionally solid-GOP turf of the Miami area, Democrats have lined up three strong challengers — Miami-Dade Democratic Party chair Joe Garcia, former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, and businesswoman Annette Taddeo to take on Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, respectively.
While there is an enormous sense of excitement and optimism surrounding these candidacies, some Democratic lawmakers, including Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Kendrick Meek, are all too eager to kneecap these Democratic challengers right out of the starting gate in the spirit of “comity” and “bipartisan cooperation” with their Republican colleagues:
But as three Miami Democrats look to unseat three of her South Florida Republican colleagues, Wasserman Schultz is staying on the sidelines. So is Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Miami Democrat and loyal ally to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. […]
This time around, Wasserman Schultz and Meek say their relationships with the Republican incumbents, Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and his brother Mario, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, leave them little choice but to sit out the three races.
“At the end of the day, we need a member who isn’t going to pull any punches, who isn’t going to be hesitant,” Wasserman Schultz said.
Now, you’d expect this kind of bullshit from a backbencher like Alcee Hastings, but you wouldn’t expect this kind of behavior from the co-chair of the DCCC’s Red to Blue program, which is the position that Wasserman Schultz currently holds. Apparently, Debbie did not get Rahm’s memo about doing whatever it takes to win:
The national party, enthusiastic about the three Democratic challengers, has not yet selected Red to Blue participants. But Wasserman Schultz has already told the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that if any of the three make the cut, another Democrat should be assigned to the race.
“It needs to be somebody who can roll up their sleeves,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I’m just not that person; it’s just too sensitive for me.”
Hey, Debbie: there are no recusals in politics. If you want to consider yourself a “rising star” in the Democratic caucus, don’t think you can get away with this:
A day later, Wasserman Schultz and Ros-Lehtinen lavished compliments on each other at a Washington luncheon with Miami-Dade commissioners. “I can’t say enough good things about Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; she has been my friend since I was first elected to office,” Wasserman Schultz said, noting she relied on Ros-Lehtinen’s advice to help balance the demands of elected office and motherhood. (emphasis added)
Debbie’s behavior is tantamount to no-confidence in Joe Garcia, Raul Martinez, and Annette Taddeo, and a betrayal of her fellow Democrats everywhere.
I have a few suggestions for Debbie, if she’s at all interested in saving her credibility within the DCCC, the caucus, grassroots Dems and pretty much everyone who cares about Team Blue: enthusiastically endorse all three of these candidates and organize a fundraiser for each of them. It’s the least she could do to help undo the damage that she’s inflicted in South Florida.
Ask yourself: What would Rahm do?
(Hat-tip: FLA Politics)