Earlier this week we found out about one of Debbie Wasserman-Shultz’s vice-chairs basically calling her a liar regarding claims she made about plans for the Democrat debates. Tulsi Gabbard was a bit too polite about the matter, though she was clearly upset enough to go public with her complaint about being “uninvited” from the Democratic debates after questioning whether there would be enough of them. Now another of the vice-chairs, Minnesota Democrat R.T. Rybak, has stepped up to the microphone and described DWS’s claims that she consulted all of her officers flat-out not true.
R.T. Rybak, the former mayor of Minneapolis and a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, on Thursday accused the party’s leader, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of making “flat-out not true” statements about another top party officer, questioned her political skills and said he had “serious questions” about her suitability for the job.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Mr. Rybak weighed in angrily in response, expressing shock that Ms. Wasserman Schultz “would knowingly say something that is flat-out not true.”
“This is not a back-and-forth between a chair and a vice chair,” he said. “This is a chair of the Democratic Party wrongly stating that she consulted with all of the party officers. I was not consulted. I know that Tulsi Gabbard was not consulted. And this is becoming about much more than debates.”
“The Democratic National Committee staff has never been stronger,” Mr. Rybak said in an interview. ”The one thing that could stop us from having a great election coming up is if the chair continues to create these self-made dramas that are below what a chair should be doing.”
To be fair, while the New York Times is describing Rybak as someone not prone to publicly airing the party’s dirty laundry, he’s had his eye on Debbie’s office for some time now. He had floated the idea of taking a run at the chair himself prior to the 2014 midterms and garnered a fair amount of support, though ultimately not gaining much ground toward actually unseating her.
Still, the ongoing problems of the frequently hysterical Wasserman-Schultz and the seemingly endless drama she creates for her party seem to be taking a toll. Rybak looks to be dragging the question well beyond a simple argument over the mechanics of scheduling debates and questioning DWS’s integrity, leadership and fitness to serve going into the presidential race next year. In terms of worrying about his own position, Rybak will probably survive since he’s fairly popular among the party faithful and Debbie has had far more relationship problems than this in the past.
There have been ongoing rumors that she’s been on the outs with Barack Obama and the entire White House staff ever since her early and rather vocal support of Hillary Clinton during her primary battle against Obama in 2008. That cool relationship continued well into the President’s second term, when the DNC chair was quick to distance herself and the party’s congressional candidates from Obama when the polls were running against them. But I’m still not ready to go so far as some liberals who have been speculating that Hillary and Obama may be teaming up to try to force Debbie Downer out of office. Hillary may be running out of friends quickly if the FBI comes back with anything really damaging and Wasserman-Schultz has been one of her most loyal foot soldiers.
Still, having your own team going on all the cable news shows and calling you a liar can’t be building much confidence among the ranks. This is a fight that only turns out well for the GOP no matter how it goes, so break out the popcorn and enjoy.
Update (Allahpundit): R.T. Rybak e-mails in reply to this post:
I just read an article by a person named Jazz Shaw that says I sought the DNC chair. A fact is not true. I never sought the job of chair, I never asked for anyone’s support and no one ever offered or discussed it with me. I understand my name may have been floated but that was not with my consent.