This is a post I wish I didn't have to write. But I think the DCCC is going down a very unwise path here, and I won't hesitate to call them out on it:
While some of our Members may not always be able to actively campaign with every candidate due to their local commitments and obligations, you can be assured that the DCCC will be there.
In a recent blog post at Swing State Project, there was frustration against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz's call that she would not be campaigning for South Florida candidates because of a long-standing tradition in South Florida to not campaign against member of the state delegation. But, we know from Rep Ron Klein's stellar campaign that sometimes that doesn't matter. In 2006 Alcee Hastings didn't campaign, in keeping with the tradition, and Ron Klein's meteoric rise to victory was unstoppable.
In short, this is not acceptable. There are no recusals in politics. Rahm Emanuel fought tooth-and-nail against this type of dysfunction, where faint-hearted Democrats refused to campaign against Republicans because of "local commitments and obligations."
If you're a member of the Democratic caucus, your first "commitment and obligation" is to the caucus, not to personal friendships with Republicans. That means you mentor challengers, raise money, protect vulnerable incumbents, and damn well don't go jawing to the press about how much you love this or that Republican, or talking down our candidates' chances.
Honestly, I'm a bit sickened to see the DCCC accept this kind of behavior. Rahm was furious - and rightly so - at Alcee Hastings for sandbagging Ron Klein. But you know which Florida incumbent said "screw it" to this ridiculous "tradition" and did everything she could to help Klein? Yep, that's right - Debbie Wasserman Schultz. At the time, Debbie said:
"It's not good for my relationship with Clay Shaw, but Democrats can't afford to leave a seat like that uncontested."
So she stuck her neck out and helped drag Klein across the finish line. But just because Klein managed to win in spite of getting kneecapped by a lazy incumbent in a super-safe district (D+29) like Alcee Hastings is hardly a reason to tolerate this sort of bullshit.
And Hastings, let's face it, is a backbencher - only the sixth federal judge in history ever to be impeached by Congress, whose questionable background precluded him from becoming chair of the Intelligence committee last year despite his seniority. Debbie Wasserman Schultz should want to be held to a higher standard. She's a "rising star" in the party and co-chair of the Red to Blue initiative - the very program tasked with increasing our majority on the Hill.
And I can assure you, we aren't just unhappy at Debbie's refusal to help Raul Martinez, Annette Taddeo and Joe Garcia. We're pissed that, for no reason at all, she went to the Miami Herald and told the paper:
"I can't say enough good things about Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; she has been my friend since I was first elected to office."
We're pissed that she's now decided to follow some ridiculous, hoary tradition that she had no problem abandoning two years ago. And we're pissed that she's fomenting discord and damaging morale among local Dems, too. And all this coming from an important leader at the DCCC. (Though don't think we've forgotten about Kendrick Meek, too.)
We in the netroots have always understood that if you are unwilling to help a fellow Democrat, that means you are helping a Republican. You can't privilege personal feelings over the good of the party - too much depends on it. Rahm Emanuel understood this, too. I realize that there is still a great deal of ossified dysfunctionality rusted into the joints of Congress. But the DCCC should be fighting against that dysfunction, not accepting it.