Remember, for Democrats, identity politics isn’t personal. It’s just business. Even when aimed at other Democrats.
Throughout her time as chair, Wasserman Schultz has turned off colleagues, other top Democrats and current and former staff for a management style that strikes many as self-centered — even for a politician — and often at the expense of the DNC or individual candidates or campaigns. Many top Democrats, including some she counts as supporters and friends, privately complain about her trying to use the DNC as a vehicle for her own personal promotion, and letting her own ambition get in the way of larger goals.
Wasserman Schultz has a different sense of herself. According to people who spoke with her, when she sensed Obama was considering replacing her as chair in 2013, she began to line up supporters to suggest the move was both anti-woman and anti-Semitic. Under fire last fall for her leadership, she took Obama’s decision not to remove her then as evidence of renewed strength and said she was confident no one could get her out of the DNC before her term is over at the beginning of 2017, according to sources who’ve spoken with her. She’s also been known to joke around the office about how having a vacation home in New Hampshire might one day be helpful in a presidential run.
The White House allegedly wanted Debbie Downer out as DNC chair because she’s selfish and unduly aggressive with opponents. It’s neat to have both of those perceptions confirmed within the span of a single sentence. Gotta say too, although I hate myself for it, I find it strangely comforting to see a top Democrat willing to resort to this demagoguery at the expense of the leader of her own party, the president of the United States. Next time she uses a domestic-abuse metaphor to criticize Scott Walker, remind yourself: This is a person who toyed with accusing Barack Obama, who already has issues with the Democrats’ Jewish base, of being a Jew-hater. This isn’t garden-variety “the president and I have our disagreements” political bickering. This was Wasserman Schultz preparing to roll a very powerful grenade into her own tent, a year out from an election that would depend heavily for Democrats on turning out women voters. She was playing the hardest of hardball in considering accusations of prejudice at the top of her own leadership — by the first black president, no less. It’s cool to see the transactional nature of Democratic identity grievances bared so completely. Here’s to much more of it inside their tent in the years to come.
For Democrats, it’s the lowest level of support for Israel in 10 years, no doubt driven in part by a solid year of deteriorating relations between the White House and Tel Aviv. I don’t want to oversell that since Democratic backing of Israel has been basically steady at around 50 percent since 9/11, far below soaring Republican support for the Jewish state but without any sharp declines. Still, between Obama’s endless bickering with Netanyahu over Iran and the small but real movement among Jewish Democrats towards the GOP, it’s mind-boggling that the head of the Democratic National Committee would have entertained the thought of accusing The One of anti-semitism to protect her own position. Never change, Debbie.