The Washington Post has picked up on our frustration with Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is getting brutally walloped in the liberal blogosphere for refusing to endorse the Democratic challengers to three potentially vulnerable GOP incumbents in Florida.
Liberal bloggers are irate that Wasserman Schultz, who co-chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Red-to-Blue program, has declined to endorse the Democrats running to unseat Cuban American Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and his brother, Mario Diaz-Balart.
Wasserman Schultz says she doesn't want to stab GOP members of her own delegation in the back. But liberal bloggers say she's killing her own while aiding and abetting the enemy.
I should note, of course, that it's not just the netroots who are up in arms over this - local Democratic leaders in South Florida are furious, too.
The DCCC's executive director, however, totally dismisses the concerns of both groups:
Brian Wolff, executive director of the DCCC, says the bloggers are making "much ado about nothing," noting that it's "customary" for members to remain neutral in races involving GOP members of their respective congressional delegations.
It may be "customary," but it's dead wrong - and Rahm Emanuel fought tooth-and-nail against that decrepit, lazy philosophy. Once upon a time, even Debbie Wasserman Schultz herself did, too. It's sad to see a proud, strong organization like the DCCC resign itself to tolerating this sort of absenteeism. I have to imagine Rahm's heart aches to see this.
Debbie, for her part, accuses us of getting things wrong:
Defending herself against the attacks, Wasserman Schultz told us, "The blogosphere sometimes turns into a game of telephone." She said the bloggers are missing a key point: "I have not endorsed any of the three incumbents, and I don't support their reelection campaigns."
Wasserman Schultz said she supports electing Democrats to Congress but that she has to "balance" her political role at the DCCC with her role as a member of the Florida delegation.
Of course, we never accused her of formally "endorsing" any Republican. We have, however, laid out a clear bill of particulars:
- No Democrat should be permitted to recuse him or herself from campaigning on behalf of fellow Democrats - especially not the co-chair of the Red to Blue program.
- No Democrat should gush to the press about how wonderful any particular Republican elected official is, especially not those targeted for defeat.
- No Democratic party organization, the DCCC included, should tolerate either of the above two behaviors.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz is allegedly "frustrated" with us bloggers and wants us "off her back." (I can only assume this applies to the unhappy local Dems in S. Fla., too.) But if she really cared what we think, she or a staffer could have easily reached out to the netroots. Wolff's dismissive statement makes it pretty clear that we're seen as just a minor nuisance.
So it's time we made our voices heard. If you have a problem with the co-chair of the Red to Blue program saying she won't campaign for our excellent Democratic candidates Annette Taddeo, Joe Garcia & Raul Martinez, please let her and the DCCC know about it. Whatever you say or write, I urge you to be firm but exceedingly polite. Our message is strong and true - we don't need to cloud our cause by giving those in power an easy out to attack the messenger.
And what are we asking for? We want Debbie Wasserman Schultz to vocally endorse our South Florida trio and do everything she can to help them get elected (including hosting a fundraiser for each). If she won't do that, then we'd like her to resign from Red to Blue. And we also want the DCCC to stop tolerating Members of Congress who want to "remain neutral" in contested races.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (campaign office):
DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen (campaign office):
Please do not contact Congressional offices as this is purely a political issue. Just keep in mind what we're fighting for, be polite, and let's remind the folks in charge that our opinions matter.