Friday, December 5, 2014

DNC "Autopsy Report" Task Force Includes Google Exec Who Gives Big Bucks to Republicans

One month ago, the Democrats had a rather grim day at the polls, at an election that saw the lowest turnout since World War II.

This, in theory, would offer the Democratic Party an opportunity to reflect on how to better connect with and energize voters. There are many good suggestions out there. I'd flag David Dayen's article in the Fiscal Times "The So-So Society: Democrats Have Forgotten What Made Them Great" and Richard Kirsch's article for the Roosevelt Institute's blog Next New Deal "News Flash: Progressives Have a Winning Economic Narrative -- and Democrats Who Used It Won."

Another appropriate response would be to bring in new leadership. Steve Israel resigned from his position as chairman of the DCCC thankfully--even though Pelosi offered him a third term. However, Debbie Wasserman Schultz remains chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. After the election, one might have thought she might resign. (One would have, of course, thought wrong.) The DNC could have made the chair(wo)manship a full-time position and hired someone who does not also have the responsibilities of representing a congressional district (or holding any other elected office at the moment).

Debbie Wasserman Schultz stayed on, and today she announced the members of the task force she created to investigate what went wrong in the 2014 election and what Democrats can do better in 2016. You only need to see one name on the list to realize that Democrats have learned nothing (and are choosing to learn nothing): Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Now, I'm not talking about his creepy (and creepily intense) techno-optimism. That's another story. And I'm not talking about the inherently problematic nature of putting the chairman of a tech monopoly in a task force designed to figure out how to connect with the economic concerns of middle-class and working-class voters. That's a rant that writes itself. I'm talking about the fact that he's also funding the Republican Party.

When I saw his name, the first thing I did was look him up in the Center for Responsive Politics's Open Secrets database.

First, I saw that he donated to the NRSC last year.

And also Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy:

And that he donated to Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC):

And that he donated to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa:

Yes, he donated more to Democrats than Republicans this cycle. But that he donated to Republicans at all raises a major red flag. And it certainly means that he shouldn't be appointed to a party building task force.

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