South Carolina is not a state Barack Obama is likely to win. The state hasn’t gone to a Democratic presidential candidate since the time of Jimmy Carter. That’s more than 30 years. At the moment, the state doesn’t even have a single statewide Democratic officer. But Democrats there are not quite willing to concede the Palmetto State’s electoral votes to Obama’s unselected GOP challenger without a fight. Nor are they willing to accept a place of irrelevance in state politics, as Democrats in Texas have been largely forced to do. To that end, the state Democratic Party has invited nationally known Democrats to the seat of Southern hospitality to plead for the progressive cause:
State Democrats are trying to rebrand themselves under the leadership of their fiery new chairman, Dick Harpootlian. He has spent the first five months of his chairmanship trying to fire up the state’s Democratic base, taking shots at Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and, increasingly, Lt. Gov. Ken Ard because of the State Grand Jury investigation into his campaign spending.
Part of that strategy includes bringing national party figures to South Carolina, a tall task given the state’s relative unimportance in national elections and the fact that South Carolina is not holding a Democratic presidential primary this year.
But Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, headlined a fundraiser in Columbia earlier this year. And last month, Vice President Joe Biden flew to Charleston for a private dinner, where 10 people paid $35,800 apiece to meet with him.
Valerie Jarrett? Joe Biden? Do the Democrats of South Carolina realize the limited appeal of these people? They must — because they decided to bring in the best spokeswoman of all. Not only is Debbie Wasserman Schultz “cute,” to borrow Obama’s term, but she’s also willing to say whatever it takes to secure the spotlight. Never mind if what she says damages the Democratic brand. She garners headlines! So, she’s a natural fit for this “rebuild the party” initiative. Next to the rhetoric of Wasserman Schultz, Obama’s mild pleas for rich people to “pay their fair share” look downright centrist. In fact, come to think of it, Obama might have known she’d moderate his appeal. That might very well have been his design in selecting her as Democratic National Committee Chairwoman in the first place.
At any rate, the hypocritical but ever-entertaining DWS ventured to South Carolina this weekend to hype her party and her president — and she didn’t fail to disappoint those hoping she’d say something quotable. Apparently, in the midst of an interview with a Charleston reporter, DWS was interrupted by two little kids. She turned her attention from the interview to the kiddos. When she returned to the reporter, she quipped, “We’re leaving no stone unturned” and referred to the kids as “little Democrats.” Maybe she’s hoping they’ll beg their parents to vote for Obama. Either that or she knows it really will be the work of years before Democrats regain a foothold in Nikki Haley’s state.
Update: Because it’s always fun to compare DWS to our own estimable RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus, let’s remember the genius idea he kicked off today — the hijacking of Barack Obama’s #WeCantWait hashtag. Priebus was one of the first to tweet ironically with the tag. #WeCantWait, he tweeted, for Barack Obama to be a one-term president. That’s true, but I gotta say: I’ll kinda miss Debbie Downer when she’s no longer DNC Chair.