Glenn Greenwald paints a portrait of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the awful head of the Democratic National Committee, that explains why, as long as people like her dominate the upper echelons of the Democratic Party, it can never embrace a truly progressive agenda.
She is widely perceived to have breached her duty of neutrality as DNC Chair by taking multiple steps to advance the Clinton campaign, including severely limiting the number of Democratic debates and scheduling them so as to ensure low viewership (she was co-chair of Clinton’s 2008 campaign). Even her own DNC Vice Chairs have publicly excoriated her after she punished them for dissenting from her Hillary-protecting debate-limitations. She recently told Ana Maria Cox in a New York Times interview that she favors ongoing criminalization for marijuana (as she receives large financial support from the alcohol industry). She denied opposing medical marijuana even though she was one of a handful of Democratic legislators to vote against a bill to allow states to legalize it, and in her interview with Cox, she boasted that her “criminal-justice record is perhaps not as progressive as some of my fellow progressives.” She also excoriated “young women” – who largely back Bernie Sanders rather than Clinton – for “complacency” over reproductive rights.
In general, Wasserman Schultz is the living, breathing embodiment of everything rotted and corrupt about the Democratic Party: a corporatist who overwhelmingly relies on corporate money to keep her job, a hawk who supports the most bellicose aspects of U.S. foreign policy, a key member of the “centrist” and “moderate” pro-growth New Democrat coalition, a co-sponsor of the failed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which was “heavily backed by D.C. favorites including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the music and motion picture industries” and which, if enacted, would have allowed extreme government and corporate control over the internet.
In 2012, at the height of the controversy over the “kill list” that The New York Times revealed Obama had compiled for execution by drone, she said in an interview she had never heard of it and mocked the interviewer for suggesting such a thing existed. In 2013, she demanded that Edward Snowden “should be extradited, arrested, and prosecuted” because “jeopardized millions of Americans” and then called him a “coward.” “The progressive wing of the party base is volubly getting fed up with her,” declared The American Prospect last week.
However, a progressive Tim Canova, a professor at the Shepard Broad College of Law in Florida’s Nova Southeastern University, is challenging her for her congressional seat in the August 30 primary election. Greenwald interviews him and says:
This year, however, Democrats nationwide, and in her district, have a choice. For the first time in her long Congressional career, she faces a primary challenger for the Democratic nomination. He’s Tim Canova, a smart, articulated, sophisticated lawyer with a history of activism both with the Occupy movement (he’s against the Wall Street bailout for which Wasserman Schultz voted and the general excesses of big banks and crony capitalism) as well as a steadfast opponent of the Patriot Act (for which Wasserman Schultz repeatedly voted).
He has worked with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson against the Drug War and private prisons; worked with the Sanders campaigns of the past; and was a former aide to the late Sen. Paul Tsongas. He is an outspoken advocate of the Ron-Paul/Alan-Grayson sponsored Audit the Fed bill, and a vehement opponent of the Trans Pacific-Partnership Trade agreement. And he has vowed to run a campaign based on small-donor support, calling Wasserman Schultz “the quintessential corporate machine politician.”
I hope Canova can successfully ride the anger against Schultz and unseat her. His message is clearly inspired by Bernie Sanders and that would send a strong message that her kind of politics is no longer wanted.