KABC Los Angeles host Doug McIntyre yesterday got a chance to ask Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) why she chose the failed mayor of Los Angeles to run the Democrats' upcoming national convention, and the resulting conversation was pretty revealing.
Wasserman Schultz's initial response was a variation on Nancy Pelosi's fabled "are you serious?"
"What are you talking about?" Wasserman Schultz ejaculated, noting that Antonio Villaraigosa is a "national leader" and a "visionary" who is "focused on making sure we have a strong education system, focused on making sure the economy continues to come back in California, and a national Hispanic leader as well."
I have a hunch that last part is the real ding-ding-ding. But the other parts are pretty rich as well.
As I noted the other day, a look at the City of Angels' gross domestic product by metropolitan area indicates local output has fallen by more than 4 percent, and possibly as much as 10 percent, since the former Tony Villar took office. He has been famously branded a failure by local media (which were once extremely supportive) and his few good moves – including bringing in Miguel Santana as chief administrative officer and a very late hit on the local teachers union – have been long-after-the-fact efforts to control damage he caused himself. Villaraigosa barely won an essentially uncontested re-election campaign a few years back; he has stood out as particularly corrupt in a city legendary for its corruption; and at some basic level, America's creative capital has just ceased to matter during his tenure. McIntyre mentioned a few of these points to Wasserman Schultz. Her response:
"I really find your comments disappointing and borderline offensive."
You can read the full exchange here or listen below.
This says a lot about how the Democratic Party establishment views the individual voting units formerly known as people. L.A.'s full of aging Armenians who will tell you that everything's been going downhill for Armenians since the Soviet Union fell apart. I think that's crazy talk, but I don't tell them they're wrong because it is their experience talking, not mine. I'm happy that the national Democrats have yet to get the full measure of Antonio Villaraigosa: Better he do damage in D.C. and Charlotte than here. But it seems not to have occurred to Wasserman Schultz that living under a particular politician might give you a more accurate perspective, even if you're what she would consider a right-wing radio talker. When McIntyre (a self-declared Obama voter, by the way) suggested an Angeleno might have a non-offensive insight on the mayor of Los Angles, Wasserman Schultz ascended to a new flight of inspiring rhetoric:
"I beg to differ. You're entitled to your opinion."