Democrats have found their scapegoat, and it’s not Barack Obama

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is falling faster than Usain Bolt can run. The latest poll from The New York Times and CBS News shows his foreign policy numbers in the tank, dropping to the lowest point of his presidency. His numbers on the economy haven’t really moved much this year, either. Meanwhile, the GOP’s favorability rating — once in the cellar — has almost pulled even with Democrats.

Yet, Democrats seem to be looking for a scapegoat who isn’t named Barack Obama. Sure, many party faithful will concede that this White House is a drag on Democratic House and Senate candidates. And they acknowledge that President Obama’s approval ratings could cost them control of the upper chamber.

But, in politics, everything rolls down hill. And, according to a recent report from Politico, it appears that a scapegoat has been identified in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who has led the Democratic National Committee since May 2011:

After the election, Obama’s top political operatives — strategist David Plouffe, reelection campaign manager Jim Messina and then-DNC executive director Patrick Gaspard, now U.S. ambassador to South Africa — debated the decision of retaining her as DNC chair so intensely that there was already a replacement in mind: R.T. Rybak, the former mayor of Minneapolis and a DNC vice chairman.

But there was nervousness about the optics of Obama dropping a woman from the party leadership. Plus, the sense internally was that they had originally picked her largely to help win the women’s vote and avert problems with Jewish donors, and both had indeed happened, whatever the other problems.
The decision to stick with Wasserman Schultz is, according to a person familiar with Obama’s thinking, part of his “benign neglect” of the DNC overall.

There’s some pretty embarrassing stuff in that piece, not limited to Schultz’s icy relationship with President Obama. There are rumors, for example, that she tried to get the DNC to pay for her wardrobe. Her disgusting comments during a stop in Wisconsin earlier this month, in which she said that Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) had given women the “back of his hand” are also mentioned. And the likelihood that she’ll be replaced by Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in waiting.

The story reads like a setup for post-election narrative: The DNC is the reason Democrats performed so poorly this year. Forget that Obama’s presidency has been a complete failure, what could be an electoral disaster is all Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s fault. Seems legit.

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