Politics & Policy

Philly Day One: DWS Crashes the DNC

Schultz speaks at a Clinton-Kaine rally in Miami, Fla., July 24, 2016. (Scott Audette/Reuters)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz should resign her House seat.

Accountability is for peons. Barack Obama can lie about health care or Benghazi, Hillary Rodham Clinton can intentionally mishandle top-secret information in a way that potentially exposes U.S. intelligence assets, Lois Lerner can weaponize the IRS at the behest of Democratic grandees in the Senate — and nothing happens.

If you think Debbie Wasserman Schultz has finally received her long-awaited and well-deserved comeuppance, you’ve got another thing coming.

Wasserman Schultz, the political stinkbomb from Florida who is a serious contender for dumbest person in American politics (in a world in which Donald Trump exists) was point person for a Democratic National Committee effort to use the machinery of the party — which is supposed to, in theory, treat candidates equally — to undermine the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders (S., Further) in favor of Herself.

The DNC pulled some pretty ugly stuff in the service of burying the honking pinko from Brooklyn, including scheming to use his religious views against him. Sanders, a son of Jewish refugees from Poland, is a pretty secular fellow, and they figured that gap-toothed Democratic primary voters who couldn’t be counted on to hate him for being Jewish might hate him for being an atheist: Damned if you Jew and damned if you don’t, the Democrats’ theory goes.

POLL: Should Debbie Wasserman Schultz Resign from her House Seat?

Nobody is coming out of this looking good. The e-mails contain tales of “planting stories,” and Politico reporter Kenneth Vogel apparently entered into an agreement with the DNC to permit them to review an article of his prior to publication, a journalistic no-no of the first order. The article’s subject? Political corruption.

Ho, ho!

#share#Wasserman Schultz is very bright, in the sense that the very bottom of Carlsbad Caverns is bright, and very sharp, in the sense that a brass doorknob or a stick of warm butter is sharp. Her greatest hits are the stuff of legend: Chris Matthews asked her to explain the difference between being a Democrat and a socialist (such as Bernie Sanders) and she was lost as last year’s Easter eggs. She has suggested that Republicans want to deport all women from the United States. She tried to use House rules to keep members of Congress from calling Obamacare “Obamacare.” Like Joe Biden, she literally does not know what “literally” means. She complains that if Republicans who opposed the GM bailout had their way “we would be driving foreign cars.” Her Infiniti SUV was made in Tochigi, Japan. (Nissan is not a suburb of Detroit.) Etc., etc., etc.

RELATED: Will the Election Be Settled by October Surprises?

Misusing the DNC is not exactly the same as misusing a government agency, inasmuch as the DNC is a private entity that can operate under any laws it chooses. But its actions here — pretending to be neutral for the benefit of donors and patrons while acting in effect as an arm of the Clinton campaign — is nonetheless an act of political corruption. It may have been illegal, too, especially if there was coordination with the Clinton campaign, as seems likely. (Mrs. Clinton disclaims any knowledge of DNC shenanigans; she also says that her covert toilet e-mail server was there to handle yoga appointments.) But Wasserman Schultzs actions were corruption even if they weren’t illegal. Like Lois Lerner at the IRS, she was entrusted with certain powers and misused them to benefit her political patrons.

And her new employer: Not more than a few hours after she announced her intention to resign as chairman of the DNC, Wasserman Schultz had a new gig: with the Clinton campaign, as an honorary chairman. Nobody ever really gets fired in Washington — they just make lateral moves. Politics is one of the few professions where you can get fired without taking a pay cut.

She has disgraced herself and her party, and corrupted her party’s institutions.

If the Democrats were serious about reform — and of course they are not — this would not stop with a symbolic resignation by Wasserman Schultz. There are dozens and dozens of DNC staffers who need to be shown the door. And, given the nature of her offense — an act of political corruption — it is beyond unseemly that Wasserman Schultz remains in her day job, as a member of the United States House of Representatives representing a particularly backward and hideous stretch of Floridian suburbia where the voters apparently have a very large deficit in their self-respect accounts. She has disgraced herself and her party, and corrupted her party’s institutions. There will be years’ worth of litigation, and no amount of honking from Bernie Sanders is going to stop that. If Donald Trump should win in November, Wasserman Schultz will deserve a share of the credit.

She should resign her House seat.

If she refuses to, the Democratic party should help her come to the right decision, if only out of self-interest. But if that fails — and it will — then it will be up to the voters of her district to decide whether using the allegedly neutral party apparatus to engage in Jew-baiting for Clinton is what they want in a representative. That Wasserman Schultz is Jewish herself doesn’t make any of that any less gross. Democrats, Floridians, Sandersnistas, and people who care about fair play in politics all should demand a measure of real accountability in this case.

#related#No, this is not a conservative concern-trolling the Democratic party. It’s true that I do not want to see the Democratic party succeed, but if this cycle shows us anything, it’s that the only thing worse than a duopoly of two ruthless and powerful political parties is a duopoly of two feckless and weakened political parties. If you do not think that good parties are part of having healthy democratic institutions, the world is eager to see your alternative.

A word of warning to Republicans: You guys probably don’t update your e-mail passwords as often as you should. Some of you dusty old farts probably are still on AOL. Don’t get cocky.

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