If you were watching the cable news festival on Sunday you may have seen DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz giving her tearful (literally) explanation of how she finally came around to supporting Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. She put on quite the show, talking about “her Jewish heart” and how difficult the choice was for her in the end. Personally I didn’t buy it, but your mileage may vary. Still, she seemed keenly aware that she was treading on dangerous turf. She was elected largely with the support of the Jewish community and major backing from AIPAC. The concerns she acknowledged were probably more valid than she realized at the time because she may be drawing a primary challenge next year just because of that decision. (Politico)
Miami-Dade School Board member Martin Karp, who lives in her district and helped organize rallies last week against the accord, said he started seriously considering a run against the six-term congresswoman after potential supporters began approaching him, just before Wasserman Schultz announced her support for the president’s agreement with Iran.
“These are real serious people with real money and the ability to raise money who talked to me about running,” said Karp, who declined to name any specific supporters. “I’m really thinking about this — thinking about it a lot. It’s a serious decision and this is a big issue.”
Karp, 50, said the potential backers “include people who support pro-Israel causes, such as AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and other organizations.”
Frankly, I don’t see much bravery in either the crafting or the timing of her decision. She waited until there were enough Democrats on board to make sure that the deal would go through. (If she’d backed the deal and Congress wound up being able to override the veto she would have fallen on her sword for nothing. If it was going to go down, there is no doubt in my mind she would have taken the safe vote against it.) When it was clear which way the political winds were blowing she jumped ship and went with the winning side. That TV appearance was clearly designed to show how bad she felt for all of her supporters who she’d just stabbed in the back to further her own career and hopefully garner some sympathy votes for the “difficult” position she was in.
Unfortunately, Debbie seems to have forgotten one of the fundamental rules of politics… ya got to dance with the one what brung ya. She was under threat from much of the establishment Democrat Party, some of whom had suggested that she should probably step down from her chairmanship if she couldn’t see her way clear to supporting the President on this. She has, at various times, been figuratively in bed with both Obama and Hillary Clinton. She’s worked her way into a high perch in the party power structure and she wants to hang on to it. But if she loses the support of her base in her home district, all of that goes away. It’s the one thing you can’t lose as a member of the lower chamber.
It’s tough to say whether or not this challenger will actually pull the trigger and if he can manage the feat if he does. But if he suddenly shows up with the public support of AIPAC and Debbie loses that campaign cash it could become very uncomfortable.