Democratic leaders are growing increasingly frustrated with the leadership (or lack thereof) of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The underlying cause of the anger was the timing and number of Democratic presidential debates this year, which some suspect were designed strategically to help Hillary Clinton.
The spark of the outrage, however, was on Tuesday when Schultz reportedly “barred” Democratic Vice Chairwoman Tulsi Gabbard from the first Democratic debate hosted by CNN in Las Vegas for opposing her debate plan.
Of two dozen Democratic insiders with whom I spoke this week, including several DNC vice chairs, not one defended Wasserman Schultz’s treatment of Gabbard. Most called it ridiculous, outrageous, or worse….One top Democrat who feels precisely this way is DNC Vice Chair R.T. Rybak, a former mayor of Minneapolis who, along with Gabbard, has publicly called for more debates. But Rybak’s indictment of Wasserman Schultz is more sweeping—and pointed—than that.
“In the days before and after the debate I kept my mouth shut,” Rybak told me by phone on Thursday. “But I’ve begun to deeply question whether she has the leadership skills to get us through the election. This is not just about how many debates we have. This is one of a series of long-running events in which the chair has not shown the political judgment that is needed.”
I asked Rybak if he was calling for Wasserman Schultz to resign. “I’m coming really close,” he replied. “I’m not quite doing that yet, but unless I see some significant shift in the way she’s going to operate and see that she has some ability to reach out and include people who disagree with her, then I seriously question whether she’s the right person to lead us.”
Ironically, Democrats are getting a taste of their own governing medicine here. The DNC has become a political machine of top-down leadership that is unwilling to listen to its constituents. The central planners at the helm are moving goal posts and changing the rules to benefit those who are politically connected. They govern without explanation, and stifle the speech of those who object.
I remember hearing about a similar situation once before…. oh right: big government!