After the Wikileaks website released the emails that revealed that some people in the DNC had tried to derail Bernie Sanders’s campaign I went back and reread my blog entry from last February, in which I asked his supporters what makes him different from the more progressive democratic candidates since 1968 (although in hindsight, I should’ve probably mentioned Jesse Jackson in 1988). And I realized something: when you compare Bernie to the other names on that list, Bernie is probably my least favorite of all of them.
So I planned to write a blog entry talking about how the DNC certainly doesn’t owe him any favors. After all, he’s still an independent in the Senate so an argument can be made that he shouldn’t even have sought the nomination of a party to which he didn’t even belong. (At least Trump registered as a republican first…) And the money he raised only funded his own campaign, while Clinton supported the DNC and countless house and senate races throughout the primaries.
I was even prepared to point out that the idea of having primaries across the country to allow the voters themselves choose the nominees of both parties are actually a relatively new invention so there are always ways to tweak and improve the greater process. Hell, I even planned on writing that the email that toyed with using Sanders’s alleged atheism against him (if he is an atheist, I see that as a plus anyway) was nothing more than an idea that was rightly thrown away. In both my professional and personal dealings, I’ve pointed out that there’s no such thing as a bad idea when brainstorming. When we move beyond brainstorming, is when we discard ideas like that.
The arguments I planned on making here were supposed to be more of an indictment of the two-party system that has pretty much dominated American politics since 1828.
But today’s news changed that. Not the news that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has announced her resignation as chair of the DNC. That was expected, to be honest. It was no secret that she personally favored Hillary Clinton, so at best, her impartiality was questionable.
Buried in some of the reports that she was out, though, is the story that she is taking on a role as an “honorary chair” of Hillary Clinton’s national campaign.
I want to reserve judgment here. I don’t have all of the information I need. After all, I don’t know what an “honorary chair” of any specific committee is supposed to do, as opposed to the official chair or committee leader. But this just looks bad.
George W Bush rightly deserved criticism for nominating cronies — either his own friends or friends of his father — to influential positions within his cabinet without regard to their ability to do the job at hand. Neither John Ashcroft nor Alberto Gonzales was qualified to lead the Department of Justice. I’m not sure what made Tom Ridge qualified to be the first Secretary of Homeland Security. (Although I will admit that he surprised me that he wasn’t as ineffective at that job as he was as governor of Pennsylvania…). And of course, there was the former horse trainer who knew nothing about emergency management. Heckuva job, Brownie…
If we wish to criticize Bush for those nominations, then yes, we should also criticize Hillary Clinton for doing the same with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It just looks bad.
Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe this is just supposed to allow DWS to save face and bow out more gracefully. Maybe she won’t actually do anything of any major import. Maybe now is exactly the time to do this, since Hillary hasn’t yet had her own post-convention “bounce” and the election is still more than three months away, so she can easily make the corrections she needs to make. Time will tell on all of this. At least for now, though, this just looks bad.