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Local S. Fla. Dems Furious with Schultz & Meek

by: DavidNYC

Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 1:05 PM EDT

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.

DavidNYC :: Local S. Fla. Dems Furious with Schultz & Meek
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schulz & meek
aren't thinking about their own (safe) districts. they're thinking about statewide runs... play the bipartisan card... neutralize those three gop reps...

it's this 'rising star' status of schulz that's keeping van hollen from censuring her... guess we gotta keep at it... make her realize she won't be rising nowhere if she stirs up our ire (and that of miami dem pols)

It is difficult to get the news from poems, but men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there. --William Carlos Williams

Screw her future Senate run, you are a Democrat and should be campaigning for Democrats.  Friendship and politics are completely seperate and if any of these Republicans have their feelings hurt because of DWS campaigning against them, then they are in the wrong business.  But alas, no feelings will be hurt, DWS can't woman up for our party.  It's a shame, she really was one of my fave Congresspeople.

[ Parent ]
me as well, late night CSPAN with her Meek and Ryan
that was some of the only decent stuff for us political junkies in 2005 and 2005, Wasserman-Schultz, Tim Ryan (OH), Meek and Delahunt on the House floor at 10:30 at night railing about the illegality/unconstitutionality/immorality of Dubya and his sycophants in the House and Senate.

Really is a shame to see Meek and Debbie go down this path, I really liked them both and am quite disappointed in them.  Was also disappointed to hear that Tim Ryan was anti-choice.


[ Parent ]
Local S. Fla. Dems Furious with Schultz & Meek
I wonder if this is a bit of a "mountain out of a molehill"?  Personally, I couldn't care less what congresspeople from other districts say about the race in my district.  Maybe these two really wouldn't have much influence one way or the other in the three districts Democrats are targeting.  In fact, given the overwhelmingly Democratic bent of the districts they represent, maybe their support would actually be detrimental to the three Democrats running in historically Republican districts.  Their non-support along with the resultant stirring up of local activists might actually be a ploy to help the Democratic challengers.  Indeed, Republican voters might actually see these "friend" endorsements as a negative for the incumbents.

For one thing, DWS gave IRL (using initials because I am not in the state of mind to try to spell their names) an ad: IRL can say she can work with Democrats and that even liberal Democrats like her.

Plus, the fact that DWS is part of the Red-to-Blue program, which helps raise money and exposure for promising Democratic challengers and has said (more or less) that should would oppose the addition of the three South Florida challengers.

That is inexcusable.

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
um, hold on
first of all, i love your blog and am a regular visitor.

and second, i hate when elected officials don't work against opposite party members.

but...raising ms w-s's profile and this fight will only hurt us.

here in mn, 6 republican legislators "crossed the aisle" to vote with all the democrats in the legislature for a needed transportation bill and overrode the governor's veto.  it was a wonderful moment and we really appreciate those legislators voting their conscience even against the wishes of party leadership and the club for growth wing of their party.

the gop stripped them of their leadership positions and they were denied endorsements by their local party organizations.  and the gop, alteady a struggling minority in our legislature, looks nuttier than ever while embroiled in this embarassing internecine war.

for our congressional leadership to publicly flay members for not being sufficiently partisan would look bad - neither matching obama's rhetoric, or making any positive difference for our candidates.

Our fine Miami candidates don't need w-s's support and should they close the gaps with the repub incumbents, they will certainly get the support of the DCCC no matter what debbie thinks.  we are elevating her silly stance by talking about her.

She is the chair of the Red to Blue program.
Her reluctance to support any of these three challengers, coupled with her praise of Ros-Lehtinen, makes it harder for our candidates to raise money.

Make no mistake, Debbie is hurting our challengers.

[ Parent ]
MN analogy way off
st. paul sage, your comparison is way off base.  Illeana and the Diaz-Balart's are nothing like your MN Republicans who crossed the aisle to help Dems and took shots from their own GOP leadership.  The Florida Rs are hardcore, unapologetic right wing Bushies who have never done anything to help Democrats...they mock Dems at every opportunity on Iraq/Security (pull up any of Ros-Lehtinen's comments on Iraq from a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing), vote against SCHIP and almost every other Dem priority.  We are not talking about Arlen Specter here.  Why would we take it easy on them?

If you're going to use an analogy, at least try to use one that makes sense given the context.

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