Debbie Wasserman Schultz's time as a party leader just seems to be getting worse. This headline from The New Republic, pretty much captures where she is in her political career at this moment:
It wasn't always like this. On paper, Wasserman Schultz has a great political resume. She has been in Congress for a decade, never having lost a race. She chaired the Democratic National Committee during a tough presidential re-election fight, raking in big money and connecting with key parts of her party's base. In political years she is young, and she is also from a big purple state. All of this sounds like the recipe for an upward trajectory, right?
Wasserman Schultz has seemed to jump from one bad story to the next -- with the latest controversy stemming from a gossipy report in Politico that alleges that she offered to reverse her opposition to marijuana if a big pro-pot Florida donor retracted critical comments about her. (She denies it.) That's in addition to the Politico story from September that described her as a liability to the DNC and her own political prospects. As I wrote then, it was a devastating, oh-so-Washington public scolding. There was also the most recent Politico story that suggested that Wasserman Schultz, in anticipation of President Obama attempting to oust her from her post, began to "line up supporters to suggest the move was both anti-woman and anti-Semitic." (Yes, politics can be a bloodsport.)
"It is very easy for unnamed sources to say outrageous things in the press, but it's a lie and it's disgusting. It's completely not true," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.
For Schultz, a Senate bid might just be her best option, and it's hardly an unlikely one. Her well known rivalry with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi might keep her from moving up in the party leadership of the House and her relationship with the White House isn't all that warm either. If Sen. Marco Rubio opts for a presidential run in 2016, the Florida race will be for an open seat, making Wasserman Schultz's odds a little better. And it's not like the Democratic bench in Florida is teeming with talent. Come 2016, it will likely be Hillary Clinton at the top of the ballot, providing some synergy for Wasserman Schultz. With her fundraising prowess and name recognition, a Senate bid would be an escape hatch from all the inside baseball D.C. talk and burned bridges that have seemed to dog her.
Though some Democrats say she's exactly what the party has needed.
"The job she's been doing for the party is actually remarkable because she is serving in a climate that is tough for Democrats but she has been a fighter and that doesn't make you popular, but what I have found with any chair is that if you love this party and the president, and she does, that is fifty percent of the battle," said Minyon Moore, a Democratic strategist. "She is trying to say that we have the best ideas. The other stories are a distraction. Her passion lies with trying to convince ordinary people about the party. And she is young and agile enough to do it. It's not easy to do that. She is giving it her all in terms of trying to prepare us for 2016 election."
There's no obvious reason that baggage would weigh her down all the way in Florida. National Democrats could do much worse than having a candidate on the ballot who is so good at ginning up the base and raising money. What could matter more than how national Democrats feel about her is her very liberal record. Separating herself from that might be much harder -- particularly in a hard-fought general election in a swing state.
For her part, Wasserman Schultz said in a statement that she will continue her dual role as party chair and Florida Congresswoman.
"I fully intend on serving the full term President Obama asked me to serve through January 2017 and electing the 45th President of the United States," she said. "I've been very busy working with the President to pay off the DNC's debt and make investments in the future of our party."