Tag Archives: Democratic National Committee

Can politics intrude on a politician’s day job?

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL, speaks at the Democratic National Committee's Womens Leadership Forum Issues Conference in Washington, DC on September 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

I’ve long wondered something about full-time politicians who take on jobs outside of the job they were elected to do.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Well, she’s my latest example.

Schultz is a Democratic member of Congress who represents southern Florida. She also is chair of the Democratic National Committee.

She’s certainly not the first full-time pol to assume duties unrelated to her congressional work. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole once represented Kansas while serving as chair of the Republican National Committee. Interestingly, he resigned his Senate seat when the GOP nominated him to run for president in 1996; he said he couldn’t do both things at the same time, so he decided to set aside his Senate duties.

Schultz doesn’t do that. No, she runs the Democratic Party while serving her constituents in south Florida.

How well does she do either job, or both?

This issue of running for a higher office while holding down an elected job already has come up during the 2016 presidential campaign. GOP contender Marco Rubio has been criticized for missing many Senate votes while stumping for his party’s nomination. New Jersey Democrats made noise about seeking Gov. Chris Christie’s ouster after Christie declared he wanted to be the Republican nominee this year.

Other members of Congress are seeking the presidency this year. To my knowledge there’s been little said about how well they’re doing their¬†current job while they seek to be elected to another one.

Schultz was re-elected in 2014 by a wide margin, so I guess her constituents think she’s doing all right.

It’s fair to wonder though: How does she deal with purely local issues? How much attention do her constituents get from her — or her staff — when they have concerns about their Social Security or military pension checks?

Schultz has a big job running a major political party. She also has a big job representing her constituents on Capitol Hill; the latter job also pays her $175,000 annually, plus all the ancillary perks she and her colleagues get while serving in Congress.

I occasionally wonder whether politicians who hold down full-time government jobs can do those jobs adequately when other matters divert their attention from the duties they were elected to perform.


Hit the road, Gov. Kitzhaber

It’s looking like lights out for Oregon’s embattled governor.

John Kitzhaber is now getting the word from top state Democrats — his own partisans — that it’s time for him to go. A growing ethics scandal involving his fianc√©e, Cylvia Hayes, is now threatening to overwhelm his ability to govern his state — my home state.

It’s not looking good for the governor. He can’t possibly hang on.


His fianc√©e has been implicated in a scheme in which she funneled state business to her lobbying firm, allegedly using her connections as the state’s de facto first lady to fatten her wallet/purse.

As for Kitzhaber’s role in this, well, he is the governor and his fianc√©e allegedly was acting as the state’s agent.

It’s bad, man. Real bad.

As for state Democrats telling the governor it’s time for him to quit, this has a Watergate-ish ring to it.

Flash back to 1974. President Richard Nixon was in deep doo-doo over the Watergate scandal. It was revealed that he had told the FBI to back off its investigation of whether the president’s re-election committee was complicit in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office complex.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee then approved articles of impeachment against the president.

It was then that none other than Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater led a GOP delegation to the White House to inform the Republican president that he was toast, that he couldn’t be acquitted in a Senate trial. “You have to quit, Mr. President,” Goldwater said.

Nixon did resign a few days later.

History is sounding as if it’s repeating itself in the Oregon State Capitol Building.

You have to quit, Gov. Kitzhaber.


No do-overs on Watergate

The late Richard Nixon probably had a few regrets along the way, perhaps some things he wished he could do over.

Forty-two years ago today, some goofball goons broke into an office at the Watergate hotel and office complex in Washington, D.C., and sought to steal some papers from the Democratic National Committee. They were acting on behalf of President Nixon’s re-election committee.

It was, as Nixon’s people described it, a “third-rate burglary.” It soon would mushroom into something quite different. It became a cat-and-mouse game played by the campaign committee, the FBI, the CIA and, oh yes, the White House itself.

The coverup orchestrated by none other than the Main Man himself, the president, resulted in Nixon’s resignation from office a little more than two years later.

The very term “Wategate” added the “gate” suffix to subsequent controversies that many have thought to turn into scandals. But this one stands alone. It was a doozy.

Imagine, though, if President Nixon could do it over, get a second chance at trying to do the right thing, assuming of course that he was capable of doing it.

It might go something like this:

H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, White House adviser and good pal of the president: Uh, Mr. President, I have just heard something that you need to know about. I just got word that the D.C. cops have arrested some morons at the Democratic Party headquarters. They’ve been charged with burglary.

President Nixon: Say that again, Bob? Oh, never mind. I heard you first the time. You mean to say that someone got caught trying to screw up my re-election campaign by pilfering papers from (DNC Chairman) Larry O’Brien’s desk drawers? What in the bleeping name of all that is holy is this all about? Don’t those yahoos know I’m going to win re-election by a landslide against anyone the Democrats throw against me? Who told ’em to do that?

Haldeman: Mr. President, it appears it came from CREEP (the Committee to Re-elect the President). They issued the order.

Nixon: You know, that’s about the most appropriate acronym I’ve ever heard. (Nixon laughs; so does Haldeman, nervously.) OK, here’s what we’re going to do. You’re going to get on the phone right after this meeting and you’re going to fire the campaign chairman. Tell him you’re acting on my direct order. Get him to tell you who else was in on the planning … and then you’re going to fire them, too.

Haldeman: That’s it?

Nixon: Oh, no, Bob. Call the press office and tell (White House press secretary Ron) Ziegler to schedule a press conference. I’m going to go the briefing room and I’m going to announce the firings. I’m going to apologize publicly to O’Brien and the Democrats for this terrible lapse in judgment on my campaign staff. I’m going to announce that the White House will cooperate fully with local and federal law enforcement authorities. I’ll announce that anyone in the White House who had any advance knowledge of this event should just leave immediately. I’m going to clean house. I will not stand for this kind of conduct.

Haldeman: OK, and that’s it?

Nixon: One more thing. Then I’m going to answer questions from the press. I know those guys hate my guts, but it’s the right thing to do.

Rand Paul making sense? Wow!

Someone pinch me. Throw some cold water on my face. Give me a slap. Pass the smelling salts.

I think I just read something regarding Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that actually made sense. Paul, the tea party golden boy and possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said a government shutdown to defund the Affordable Care Act is a bad idea.


He told his pals at Fox News Sunday as much this morning.

I think I’ve just entered a parallel universe.

Paul, of course, is right about the shutdown. His views on “Obamacare” need work. He’s swallowed the argument that the Affordable Care Act is some sort of evil deed perpetrated by the federal government, even though data are showing that its initial impact on the nation actually is proving to be a net positive.

The shutdown notion being pushed by his tea party brethren, though, is what deserves attention. The idea of shutting down the government — and punishing tens of millions of Americans who depend on government to help them get through the day — is an outrageous overreach by zealous partisans who have no clue about what it all means.

I’m glad to see Sen. Paul understand the consequences of what these goofballs are proposing. At least on this issue he is joining the shrinking ranks of sensible Republicans who don’t see the government as their mortal enemy.

Barbara Bush the Younger ‘endorses’ HRC

Well, that’s a shocker.

Barbara Bush, one of former President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, has declared that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is “unbelievably qualified” to be president of the United States.

Who knew the Bush family had a closet Democrat in its midst?


Barbara, 31, hopes Clinton runs for the White House in 2016. She did stop short of saying HRC would get her vote were she to take the plunge.

It’s interesting in the extreme, though, to hear the daughter of such a prominent Republican make a glowing statement about a prominent Democrat. That sets up the potential for an interesting tussle within the GOP, which already is turning on itself over disagreements on immigration reform, spending cuts, and a possible government shutdown as it relates to the future of “Obamacare.”

George W. Bush has stayed out of the fray. Good move, Mr. President. Now one of his daughters seems to be taking baby steps back into it with her comments about a possible Democratic presidential candidate who, without doubt, is one of the sworn enemies of the tea party movement within the GOP.

How will the tea party wing react to this virtual endorsement? Will it scold the former president for not “counseling” his daughter sufficiently enough? Might the tea party folks declare unofficial war on the Bush family for being so, so, so “establishment” in its Republican orthodoxy?

The big question might be, how will Democrats handle these glowing words if their party nominates Clinton to be their party’s standard-bearer in the summer of 2016?

My guess: very carefully.