| It's not just the netroots who are up in arms about the fact that key South Florida incumbents Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Kendrick Meek are refusing to support fellow Dems Annette Taddeo, Joe Garcia and Raul Martinez. Local Democrats are outraged, too:
Two influential congressional Democrats from South Florida are coming under fire from Miami-Dade Democrats for sitting on the sidelines as the party seeks to oust three Republican incumbents.
Miami-Dade party members meeting late Monday to elect a new leader said they were dismayed that Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Kendrick Meek of Miami have decided not to publicly support the Democratic challengers.
"I was appalled when I saw certain elected officials think they have the right to anoint who can run," Bret Berlin said as he was elected chairman of the county party. "That's not their job, it's our job."
His words echoed those of North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns, who also ran for county party chairman. He told the crowd at the meeting that he couldn't "believe two of our elected Congress members have the nerve to stand up and say they won't support three local Democratic candidates."
Fortunately, party leaders in the area are having absolutely no trouble getting behind our three excellent candidates:
County Democrats say they may have their best shot in years to unseat at least one of the three, and after winning the county party's election, Berlin immediately moved to "pledge support behind the three Democratic candidates."
The more than 100 party executive committee members who assembled at the American Legion Hall in Miami unanimously agreed.
But rather than upbraid Wasserman Schultz and Meek for their embarrassing attempts to recuse themselves from these vital races, the DCCC has signalled its assent:
The national party has said it's "very excited" about the races, and Jennifer Crider, communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the party has made similar arrangements when other members of Congress have conflicts.
"It doesn't change our level of commitment in any way or diminish it," Crider said. "Members [of Congress] have to do their own politics as well. We completely understand they need to do what's best for them and their constituents."
How utterly dismaying. Anyone who has read The Thumpin' knows how bitterly Rahm Emanuel fought against this insulting practice. Attitudes like Meek's and Wasserman Schultz's were one reason the Dems languished in the minority for twelve years - and, if they aren't curbed now, will be a reason we don't expand our majority.
What's more, Meek & DWS sit in totally safe districts. In Debbie Dubya's home base of FL-20, voters chose Kerry over Bush by 64-36 in the last election. Meanwhile, in Meek's FL-17, Kerry was favored by an almost hilarious 83-17 margin. So the idea that DWS and Meek could possibly be doing "what's best for them and their constituents" by kneecapping strong challengers and damaging the Democratic Party's prospects is totally ludicrous.
As I've said before - and as I won't stop saying - Debbie Wasserman Schultz either has to completely change her tune on this and vocally embrace our challengers, or step down from the DCCC. And for his part, Kendrick Meek should do the same. South Florida Democrats - and the whole party - deserve nothing less.