While we mull over the possibility of change at the RNC, the DNC looks prepared to cement the status quo. Politico’s Mike Allen reports that Barack Obama will ask the DNC to give Debbie Wasserman Schultz another term as chair, highlighting her “outstanding job” over the last eighteen months:
EXCLUSIVE – A senior Democratic official: “Because of the outstanding job she has done, the President will ask the members of the Democratic National Committee to ratify his choice of [Rep.] Debbie Wasserman Schultz to continue leading the Party as Chair when they meet in January. The DNC will meet [in Washington on Jan. 22], the day after President Obama is sworn in for a second term, with the primary item of business being electing party officers, including the DNC Chair. …
President Obama won Wasserman Schultz’s home state of Florida, burnishing her record after a cycle where she participated in 1,000 events and interviews, and helped solidify his hold on the Jewish vote despite a huge Republican effort. Top Dems say taking back the House is a key goal for the party, and she is perfect to lead that effort. Wasserman Schultz, a tireless fundraiser, combines a youthful optimism with a fierce partisanship. “She doesn’t shy away from the tougher fights,” a key adviser said. “It’s helpful to have someone who doesn’t mind going toe to toe. … She’s a leader for women, and the grassroots love her.”
The “going toe to toe” part led to more than a few embarrassments for Obama and the Democrats over the last eighteen months, however. As much of a “leader for women” Wasserman Schultz might have been, Team Obama had to start restricting her surrogate appearances this summer after their testing showed that she was their least effective talking head on television. That was especially true on CNN, where both Wolf Blizter and Anderson Cooper tore into her for misleading and untrue allegations about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Her organizational skills are not exactly top drawer, either. Obama managed to win with a lower percentage of the popular vote than in his first term, while the DNC ended up deep in the red at the end of the cycle, but most of the credit for Obama’s win has gone to his own campaign’s efforts and not the DNC. Democrats did better than expected in the Senate, thanks to Republican gaffes, but Democrats failed to gain much traction in the House despite both of those victories.
That doesn’t make it sound like Wasserman Schultz is “perfect to lead that effort,” as Allen paraphrases “top Dems” as saying … but she may be the only choice they have. Democrats could have kicked her upstairs into House leadership if Nancy Pelosi had decided to quietly retire after two successive losses, but she apparently wants to go for the hat trick — and that freezes the fossilizing Democratic leadership in amber for another two years. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has nowhere else to go for that time.