We went through a lengthy period where the former chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, provided nearly endless amusement with her frequently unhinged antics. It made for some great television and she provided a convenient foil for Republicans who wanted to demonstrate the unserious nature of some Democratic positions. After the brief, but embarrassing tenure of disgraced interim chair Donna Brazile, I’m sure that the Democrats were hoping for some significantly more “stable” leadership under Tom Perez. That really doesn’t seem to be working out, though. In the latest of his many odd statements, the new boss let all of his soldiers in the field know that if you don’t support abortion on demand then you shouldn’t expect any backing from the national party. (Huffington Post)
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez became the first head of the party to demand ideological purity on abortion rights, promising Friday to support only Democratic candidates who back a woman’s right to choose.
“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”
There’s no mystery as to what’s going on here. Perez landed in hot water with the liberal base during the party’s “unity tour” when he lent his support to a pro-life Democrat running for mayor in Omaha. This new position he’s taking is absolutely a 180 degree about-face from what he was saying only a few days earlier. Strangely enough, when he initially endorsed Heath Mello (the aforementioned candidate) he was making a lot of sense. He came out and said that the job of the DNC was to “help Democrats who have garnered support from voters in their community cross the finish line and win.”
Guess what, Tom. You had it right the first time. Whether it’s a Senator, a congressman, a mayor or a member of the local village council, the job of elected officials is to serve the interests of the people in that locality who elected them. Nobody at the state and local level is beholden to either the national Democratic or Republican parties, nor are they sworn to uphold the party platform line for line. This is a lesson that the GOP had to learn the hard way after the purge in the 2008 to 2010 era. The GOP needs their RINOs, particularly the ones in the northeast, if they want to hold on to a majority in the House. The same applies to state legislatures, county commissions and school boards. It’s worth remembering that the New York GOP congressional delegation fell to a grand total of three seats during that period after previously holding more than a dozen. (We’ve been slowly recovering, but it was a rough patch for the party.)
If the Democrats want to weed out every single candidate across the nation who opposes abortion they will be driven further into the wilderness than they are now. Pro-abortion speeches sell really well in the coastal cities where Democrats hold large majorities and raise most of their money, but there’s an awfully large swath of the country in between where that’s not going to win you an election. I get that Perez needs to appease his base during the tumultuous transition they’re currently going through, but if he’s actually interested in doing the job he fought so hard for he needs to start delivering some wins. And you don’t do that by letting the most extreme wing of your party write all of the rules.