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We Need a Hardass

by: DavidNYC

Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 9:00 AM EDT

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D?) has been busy kneecapping some of our best challengers this cycle. Amazingly, she is part of the DCCC leadership  - she's currently co-chair of the Red to Blue program, which is tasked with helping our most promising challengers. But this isn't the first time we've seen something like this. From Naftali Bendavid's The Thumpin' (p. 78-79):

"I've got hundreds of examples of members screwing us. I've got members telling our challengers, 'I won't help you to challenge that X Republican.'" Emanuel continued, "I did say to one colleague once, 'You have an interesting concept of the word team. But when they come after you, I'll remind you of what you said to me. Because they will come after you.' I can give you chapter and verse of people acting like knuckleheads."

In one example, Congressman Adam Schiff of California, who served on the DCCC's recruitment committee, declined to recruit a challenger to a California Republican congressman. Schiff explained that he was seen as a bipartisan type and wanted to keep it that way. "I thought Rahm was going to strangle him," said the staffer who recounted the story. "I'm sure you've seen that look before." (Emphasis added.)

It's pretty stunning to me that anyone who would take on a leadership role in the DCCC would be so willing to undermine the cause. Yet where we had Adam Schiff dragging his feet last cycle, we now have Debbie Wasserman Schultz doing the same - if not worse - this time out.

This job is not for the faint of heart. Rahm Emanuel knew that. As Larry Sabato said of Rahm, "You need someone whose favorite word is not a or the but fuck." In other words, we needed a hardass - and we got one, and we won. Rahm did not tolerate sandbagging, whether from Adam Schiff or Alcee Hastings or anyone else.

And we need Chris Van Hollen, the current DCCC chair, to have the same zero-tolerance policy. We know that he has a very different approach from Rahm, but being a hardass isn't about cursing, or withering glares, or high-decibel rants. It's about not accepting bullshit from people who want to call themselves your fellow Democrats, whether backbenchers or leaders.

By whatever methods he chooses, Van Hollen needs to make Debbie Wasserman Schultz fall in line. If we want to expand our majorities this fall, we can't have party leaders holding us back. Health insurance, stem cell research, global warming, the war in Iraq - these are all issues which Democrats are champing at the bit to address. Surely Chris Van Hollen can't let Debbie Dubya's personal friendships with the likes of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen stand in the way.

DavidNYC :: We Need a Hardass
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We Need a Hardass | 7 comments
Larry and Hobo
Near the end of this year's Iditarod, Lance Mackey's lead had slipped to 3 minutes (half a mile in an 1100 mile race) and his team was noticeably sluggish.  Mackey had two lead dogs and at that moment Larry, the leader of last year's team went at it with Hobo.  Well, Hobo lost the dog fight and got left behind.  Suddenly, Mackey's team picked up a lot of zip and began to put distance between itself and second place Jeff King.  They were much stronger pulling all together even with one less dog.

Get that Debbie and Kendrick.  Pull with the team because otherwise we are stronger without you.  (Now let's see if Van Hollen has the guts to engage in and win a dog fight.)

Some of our best challengers
aren't you continuing to blow this out of porportion. One, what Wasserman says isn't that important, and this is about the twentieth post about it. Two, some of best challengers? These races are far down on the list, way down there. There some two or three dozen candidates we have running stronger than these guys, who just jumped in. Not to mention, if they work hard, prove themselves, narrow up the race, they will get attention like Nancy Boyda, Altmire, Trauner, Yarmuth, and others.  

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

Except Debbie just made their fundraising tougher.

[ Parent ]
Are these three
going to be doing their fundraising in Debbie's bailiwick (old Jewish grannies in Broward County), or are they going to be getting their money from the Cuban-American community in the Miami area, where DWS assumedly doesn't carry much weight?

(Not so much a rebuttal as an open question, as I have no idea how the political machinery in south Florida works. And it seems these races are likely to turn on stuff that's way out of the DCCC's control, like what happens with post-Fidel Cuba policy in the next half a year. Seems like if the Dems really wanted to make a push to win these races, they should pass legislation lifting or relaxing the Cuba travel ban, knowing that Bush will veto it, in order to create some contrast between the parties on something that's a key issue for these particular voters.)

[ Parent ]
Money from Everywhere
If they're like a lot of candidates they're going to raise money from as many different sources as possible.  But what message does it send to possible contributors, maybe large donors, when you don't have the support of fellow Congressmen(women) from your own state and party?

One thing candidates like to do is send out fundraising letters signed by prominent officials who have endorsed them.  Will Debbie do that?

Officials can also provide contacts for candidates and sources for donations.  These first time candidates can get a foot in the door with the help of elected officials that donors already know.

If they're like other candidates, you don't just fundraise in your backyard.  You may be a candidate in San Antonio but if there are big donors in Dallas you solicit their help.

Her support helps open other doors.

[ Parent ]
I agree with many TX comments but Christi makes a great point!
Yes, these candidates need to fund raise from the Jewish Granny's and the Cuban community alike.  Yes DWS does not have great sway in Cuban areas but all six of our South Florida House-members get a lot of press coverage and Klein, Meeks and Wasserman-Shultz, even Hastings are all helpful in these three Cuban held seats because elements of all three have substantial non-Cubans.

But Christi may have hit a home-run with the concept of the Democrats passing in both chambers a bill that will ease Cuban Travel restrictions.  This would be popular in those districts and will be vetoed by Bush creating exactly the kind of differential that will further boost the Democratic Party Brand in those districts.  The problem is that the likes of DWS, Meeks, Klein, Hastings will be needed along with Nelson in the Senate to propose the bill and I am fearful the DWS will know that it will hurt her BGF Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and persuade her Senator and South FL colleagues from introducing it!  Is this not one hell of a way for a partisan Democrat like me to have to view my DCCC redtoblue co-chair?

[ Parent ]
What can you expect..
...when the house and senate have become a good old boy/girl club.  The plutarchs don't like their friends getting challenged.

We Need a Hardass | 7 comments

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