Sunday, May 08, 2016

Is There A Better Poster Child For A Culture Of Corruption Than Debbie Wasserman Schultz?


I haven't read a Krugman column for months; I wonder if I ever will again. More recently I gave up on my evening Rachel Maddow ritual. Now when Chris Hayes' show is over, I flip off the TV. It's certainly healthier to eat an hour earlier. I stopped watching Maddow when she ceased being a professional journalist and became part of the Clinton campaign. Journalists are entitled to their preferences, just like anyone else but they shouldn't color their reporting with their own prejudices without announcing those prejudices. Maddow is now more like Chris Matthews than she is like Chris Hayes... despite the silly self-promotion spots insisting she's "the smartest person on TV," usually running within minutes of another embarrassing blooper-- like about how the Democrats having a shot at winning back the House, apparently unaware that the DCCC hasn't even bothered recruiting candidates in the supposedly winnable districts. My critique of her show has often been bad staff work. That said, I woke up at 3am and flipped on the TV and there was a replay of her interview with Bernie from Friday night. I've embedded it at the bottom of this post. (Maddow, of course, wasn't hostile, but conducted the interview from the perspective of the Clinton campaign, all she's capable of these days, I'm guessing.)

Forgetting Maddow's presence, I was especially concerned about the letter Bernie wrote to Wasserman Schultz regarding her continued under-handed efforts to deliver the nomination to Hillary and deliver the party to the reactionary forces and worldview she represents. If staffing is policy, Obama choosing Rahm and Wasserman Schultz expose a dark side of his administration few Democrats want to contemplate. But speaking to the MSNBC audience it sounded like Bernie was accusing Wasserman Schultz of giving him 3 or 4 delegates on committees with 60 seats, regardless of the fact he will have won something like 45-48% of elected delegates to the convention.

Bernie's letter, dated May 6, said he was "following up on our discussion about the composition of the standing committees of the Democratic National Convention. In order to reflect the views and aspirations of the millions who support both my candidacy and Secretary Clinton’s, I believe that the composition of the standing committees must reflect the relative support that has been received by both campaigns." Sounds reasonable to anyone fair-minded about the process, right? Well, no one who's watched how this has unfolded would ever accuse Wasserman Schultz of being fair-minded.
That was why I was so disappointed to learn that of the over forty people our campaign submitted at your request you chose to select only three of my recommendations for the three standing committees. Moreover, you did not assign even one of the people submitted by our campaign to the very important Rules Committee of the Democratic National Convention.

If we are to have a unified party in the fall, no matter who wins the nomination, we cannot have a Democratic National Convention in which the views of millions of people who participated in the Democratic nominating process are unrepresented in the committee membership appointed by you, the Chair. That sends the very real message that the Democratic Party is not open to the millions of new people that our campaign has brought into the political process, does not want to hear new voices, and is unwilling to respect the broader base of people that this party needs to win over in November and beyond. Fairness, inclusion and transparency should be the standard under which we operate.

In our conversation, you told me with respect to the platform drafting Committee that you would consider allowing each campaign to submit ten names from which you would choose four from each and then you would add an additional seven. While having four members on the Drafting Committee is an improvement, it does not address the fact that up to this point Bernie 2016 has secured some 45% of the pledged delegates awarded. Frankly, we believe that percentage will go up in the coming weeks and, of course, we hope it will end up being a majority.

I believe that each campaign should chose seven members to serve on the Drafting Committee. The fifteenth member would be a chair who would be jointly picked by the two campaigns. This process will ensure that all the standing committees reflect the full range of views of voters who have participated in the Democratic nominating contests.

This process will also ensure that the chairs of the standing committees conduct their proceedings with fairness and transparency. As it stands now, the chairs of the Rules Committee and the Platform Committee are active supporters of Secretary Clinton’s campaign. But even more than that, they both are aggressive attack surrogates on the campaign trail. I do not, and the millions who have supported our campaign will not, have any confidence that either of them will conduct committee proceeding in an even-handed manner. In fact, the suggestion that they would be appropriate chairs in and of itself suggests the standing committees are being established in an overtly partisan way meant to exclude the input of the voters who have supported my candidacy.

As you know, there are already over 9 million voters who, during this nominating process, have indicated that they want to go beyond establishment politics and establishment economics-- and want to transform our country with bold initiatives. I will not allow them be silenced at the Democratic National Convention.

It is my hope we can quickly resolve this in a fair way. If the process is set up to produce an unfair, one-sided result, we are prepared to mobilize our delegates to force as many votes as necessary to amend the platform and rules on the floor of the convention.
It's too late to solve the Wasserman Schultz problem by signing any more petitions to remove her as DNC Chair. The only sensible approach is for voters in Broward and Miami-Dade to step up and do the right thing-- for the country and for themselves-- and replace this corrupted pawn of special interests with Tim Canova, the progressive Democratic candidate running against her.

Goal Thermometer Blue America has endorsed Canova and we've written about him and about the issues motivating his campaign frequently. You can contribute to his grassroots campaign-- which, unlike Wasserman Schultz's, rejects corporate and lobbyist cash-- by clicking on the thermometer on the right. Meanwhile, though, Matt Karp, writing for Jacobin Magazine that "there is abundant evidence that the Democratic Party elite has thrown its full weight behind Clinton-- and against Sanders-- in ways that surpass any other primary campaign in recent history." And to a great extent the institutional aspects of that effort are being led by Wasserman Schultz.
[T]he Sanders campaign has also underscored the deep conservatism of the existing Democratic Party. Not only have party elites universally rallied to Clinton and scorned Sanders, but the Democratic National Committee has sent many signals-- from its scanty debate schedule to its peremptory action during “datagate”-- that it views Sanders as an outside threat to the party’s existence rather than a legitimate contender.

In the past month, the elite liberal counter-attack on Sanders has spread beyond the Democratic Party itself. From Logan Circle to Columbus Circle, at custom standing desks and inside Acela quiet cars, a cavalcade of liberal media heavyweights has assailed Sanders for his political innocence, his quixotic theory of progress, and his delusional support for obviously unworkable programs like single-payer health care. For good measure, it has frequently (if baselessly) asserted that Sanders supporters are sexist abusers, too.

Even the ubiquitous data pundit Nate Silver, whose insider credentials are as sound as any, joked last week that every prominent liberal writer in America seemed to have “attended the same meeting.” But there is no need to speak of conspiracy; for liberal and Democratic elites, ideology is usually more than sufficient.

Few on the Left may be surprised to see what Kevin Phillips famously called “history’s second most enthusiastic capitalist party” concentrating its fire on Sanders. Yet given the limits of Sanders’s economic platform, and his general embrace of the Democratic line in foreign policy-- the very features that have led some leftists to reject his campaign-- the cohesiveness of the party’s opposition is revealing.

Certainly we might have expected conservative Democrats like Claire McCaskill to start talking about the Sanders campaign in terms of hammers and sickles. And it is not very shocking to see liberal bastions of the economic status quo, like Barney Frank or Howard Dean, come out as staunch opponents to Sanders’s outsider campaign.

But even the left wing of the party’s elite has shown little sympathy, let alone support, for Sanders. While individual progressives like Ohio senator Sherrod Brown or Georgia representative John Lewis do not seem implacably hostile to social-democratic politics, they, along with dozens in the House Progressive Caucus, endorsed Clinton last year.

And in a campaign where Sanders has forced Clinton to clarify her position on basic policy ideas like single-payer health care and free tuition at public colleges-- she’s against them, categorically-- elected liberals have remained firmly in her camp. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is literally in Iowa campaigning for Clinton this weekend. Minnesota senator Al Franken has carried the banner in New Hampshire.

In this sense, the Sanders campaign has offered a valuable reminder of how few professional Democrats are willing to fight for a social-democratic platform-- and how many are eager to fight against it.

This is why Sanders continues to call for a “political revolution.” To achieve even the distinctly non-revolutionary reforms on his agenda, the millions of Democratic voters drawn to Sanders’s message must overcome the opposition of their own party elites. No matter what happens tonight in Iowa.
There are few congressional races in the country that rise to the level of national importance as the one in South Florida to replace Wasserman Schultz and her career-long corruption with a bold values-driven reformer like Tim Canova. Yesterday NPR suggested he could be the next progressive hope and reported on a meeting he had with union members last week, telling them Wasserman Schultz , rather than taking care of her constituents "looks to line her pocket. She's moved up in the ranks in the hierarchy of the Democratic Party. And she's done it by taking millions of dollars."
While Canova agrees with Wasserman Schultz on many social issues, Canova accused Wasserman Schultz of not looking out for the economic interests of people in her district, especially young people.

"I see this generation as really suffering from a very weak job market," Canova said. "The trade agreement's outsourced a lot of jobs. But there's a lot to be done even aside from trade that has not been on her radar."

...Canova believes Wasserman Schultz is out of step with constituents on economic and other issues, such as her support for President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. The head of the Democratic Club in Sunny Isles, Lew Thaler said when Canova spoke to his group recently, he told them he would have opposed it.
If you can't contribute your money, please contribute your prayers and good thoughts! OK, time for Bernie:

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At 3:18 PM, Blogger CWolf said...

Canova's refusal to support the nuclear treaty with Iran is a deal breaker.

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you think Wasserman Schultz truly supports the nuclear treaty? How naive.

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Canova believes Wasserman Schultz is out of step with constituents on economic and other issues, such as her support for President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. The head of the Democratic Club in Sunny Isles, Lew Thaler said when Canova spoke to his group recently, he told them he would have opposed it.

Look, I hate DWS as much as anyone, but supporting Obama's Iran policy is one thing I wouldn't criticize. Does Canova really oppose it? Why? Rapproachment with Iran is the one unequivical bright spot in Obama's foreign policy.

At 2:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with much said in this blog, but I also believe in non-violent efforts to solve problems. The Obama deal with Iran was a major piece of work, which I endorse. The opposition was predominantly Republican. Why Canova opposes this deal is beyond me. G


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