Medical Marijuana

Debbie Does Denial on Doobie Deal

Wasserman Schultz insists there was no proposal for her to switch sides on medical marijuana.


"I need a few more hours to think about ways I can screw this up even worse."
Credit: studio08denver / photo on flickr

It's been a tough 48 hours for Democratic National Committee Chair and South Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Yesterday, Politico reported that Wasserman Schultz, who may have ambitions for a transition to the U.S. Senate, was facing opposition by medical marijuana and drug legalization activists because of her opposition Florida's Amendment 2. The failed ballot initiative would have legalized medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.

Hours later, Politico then reported that Wasserman Schultz's office reached out to John Morgan, a trial lawyer who spent millions trying to get the amendment passed. Morgan was told the congresswoman was willing to switch sides if Morgan would be willing to retract the mean things he said about her. That all blew up last night.

Today, Wasserman Schultz was interviewed by the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida. She denied the allegation and called it "outrageous":

Here's what Wasserman Schultz said actually happened: After the original Politico article, in which some pro-marijuana activists suggested they'd be open to a dialogue a Wasserman Schultz staffer reached out to [medical marijuana consultant Ben] Pollara with the message that she wanted to discuss the issue because she felt new, more restrictive language being crafted for a possible 2016 referendum seemed to address some of her concerns with the 2014 referendum.

She thought the proposal that failed last year was too loosely drawn. "I was worried that it wasn't going to be covering only the people for whom it was intended," she said.

"I've seen the language that they've proposed for the 2016 ballot," Wasserman Schultz said. "I was more comfortable with the way the language was going…. I wanted to see if, before battle lines were drawn again, we could start a conversation." She said that's the kind of thing she's done for years in Congress and before that in the state Legislature.

But Politico has been provided the various e-mails and texts that made up this conversation. The way it worked is that a political adviser to Wasserman Schultz contacted Pollara, who was a political consultant for the ballot initiative. He then passed along the message to Morgan. So Politico put out another story showing the conversation:

[A]t 5:31 p.m. Wednesday, Pollara sent an email to Morgan that bore the congresswoman's initials: "DWS." The email summarized the deal that O'Malley offered on behalf of Wasserman Schultz, Morgan said.

"In a tizzy over this politico story. Saying she might be willing to support new amendment. Any chance you'll retract your statement to Caputo?" Pollara wrote of Wasserman Schultz.

Morgan responded in the negative, calling her a "bully."

So that's how Wasserman Schultz has chosen to deal with this controversy, accusing the people she was allegedly trying to "start a conversation" with of lying, even though there's enough of a paper trail to make it look like her office was at least strongly suggesting, if not outright saying, what Morgan claimed.

This morning Jacob Sullum wrote about Wasserman Schultz's absolutely abysmal record on drug law reform and how shifts in public opinion may be forcing her hand. Nobody's forcing her to play her cards this poorly, though.

NEXT: Congressmen Introduce Bills to Legalize and Tax Marijuana

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  1. “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”

  2. I love that DWS is the face of the Donkey party. She’s just so objectively terrible. As a politician, as a human being, everything.

    1. …and as a face.

      Not saying a woman’s looks should have any bearing on a judgement of her competency at her job, just that DWS is very luck that’s the case.

      1. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

        1. Beauty may be only skin-deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.

        2. she’s got a real 80’s beach porn star vibe that has a weird impact on me… for the story.

          1. There’s just something reptilian about her eyes . . . .

          2. Hence, the “Debbie Does Denial” title for the article.

          3. When I see her, I don’t think porn. I think circus.

        3. I’ll just leave this here.

    2. I think even most Democrats would agree.

      1. Her district is in the suburbs of Fort Lauderdale. It’s basically a bunch of transplanted northeastern liberals. Which is why she keeps getting elected.

        1. How to I boycott that? Stop flying Spirit Airlines?

          1. *do

    3. Loony, craven, venal, mealy-mouthed…check. What an awful person she is.

      1. Perfectly repeats the day’s talking points with no thought or comprehension.

  3. This is how you do it:

    Write an accurate story. Don’t provide all your backup documentation.

    Wait for the scumbag to deny it or dodge or wiggle or stonewall. Let them get really stuck into their lies.

    Then release the backup documentation. Woo-hoo!

    That ambush TV guy (can’t recall his name): release an edited video showing something atrocious. Let the targets flop around and lie about it, claiming its out of context and etc. Then release the full unedited video.

    1. I think mother Jones and CNN are cooking up one of these on O’Reilly and his Falkland war “embellishments”.

    2. “That ambush TV guy (can’t recall his name)”

      You mean Chris Hansen? That would be awesome if he started a new show: Catch a Political Whore.

      DSW would show up at a hotel suite expecting to pick up a suitcase and instead there would be Chris Hansen asking her to sit down.

      1. Hi Jimbo. Have a seat here.

    3. That’s pretty much how we do cops. Wait for them to write their reports, then release the smart phone video.

      1. That’s how it should be done.

  4. Feb. 20, 2015 4:20 pm

    What you did there…

    1. Far out, man.

  5. Headline and time-stamp on this article. Uh-huh. Well done, Shackford, well done.

  6. Dear Debbie,

    If someone calls you a doodoohead, and you make nice with him, you don’t have to ask him to tell people you aren’t really a doodoohead. He’ll do it automatically because he can’t be friends with a doodoohead.

    Playground 101.

  7. Will she wash her hair for the campaign?

      1. + 1 pot head

      2. No, with H2SO4.

  8. it shows a lack of principle that is striking even for a politician

    Jacob Sullum wrote that earlier today as if people thought it bad. Where did the idea come from that elected officials were supposed to act on their own ideas, rather than taking our orders & bargaining for the best deal for their constituents? They’re agents, nothing more. The idea of politicians acting out of conviction seems to be a holdover from monarchic thinking.

    1. Where did the idea come from that elected officials were supposed to act on their own ideas,

      As she made pretty damn clear, she wasn’t acting on her own (policy) ideas, she was trying to maximize Party fundraising by whoring out her “ideas”.

    2. They’re agents, nothing more.

      Agents that it’s almost impossible to fire.

      Get rid of ballot access laws, gerrymandering, and party fundraising machinery, and make them all subject to recall and then I’ll consider them agents.

    3. The entire government is set up to be an instrument against the will of the people. If we meant to have a democracy, then we would have one. Instead we have a republic, in which the democratic impulses are channeled to procedure and discussion over direct action, and the majority’s ability to effect its will is constrained.

      If we are to have politicians as nothing more than whores for their constituents, then the manner of deciding constituencies has to be drastically changed.

      1. If we are to have politicians as nothing more than whores for their constituents, then the manner of deciding constituencies has to be drastically changed.

        It occurs me to that the conclusion of this implication is always true, so the hypothesis is irrelevant.

      2. I strongly disagree. The House of Representatives is absolutely supposed to be an approximation of direct democracy.

        Constraint of said democracy is accomplished by the Senate and the other branches.

        1. The House of Representatives is absolutely supposed to be an approximation of direct democracy.

          An absolute approximation?

          The HoR was designed to be the most democratic institution, but you can’t “approximate” direct democracy, you either have it or you don’t. The HoR is a parliament, albeit not a Westminster-style one.

          Constraint of said democracy is accomplished by the Senate and the other branches.

          Thus making the entire government, which is what I was talking about, holistically republican, not democratic.

          1. To further expand on why the HoR is not even an “approximate” direct democracy:

            1. There is no recall process and elections occur on a regular cycle. Lame duck representatives can and have existed who vote their own preferences without regard to their constituents, since they already know they will not win the next election.

            2. The constituencies are drawn up geographically, and are determined by the same body whose members are drawn from them. This method of selection hides cross-sectional constituencies that don’t translate into geographic boundaries well. It also “smooths out” the shifts in opinion that occur in the public, leading to an artificially high incumbency rate.

            3. The rules and procedures favor seniority and encourage partisanship. Proposals that might have wide appeal will not generally make it to a floor vote unless they get sponsorships and can survive the committees. Party leadership, even of the minority party, has an outsized influence on the process of lawmaking.

  9. February 20, 2015 4:20 pm

    Excellent timing choice for the subject matter.

    Obligatory since just learned how to do this last night.

  10. Reading the emails, I don’t think it’s an open-and-shut case of quid pro quo. Morgan was criticising her for opposing medical MJ, so it’s legitimate to assume that if she changed her position, that would invalidate the criticism and Morgan would retract it.

    If he was incensed at the offer, he should have played along to see if he could get more damning evidence against DWS than an open-to-interpretation blurb from a staffer.

    1. How much are they paying you?

      1. Nothing. I’m just trying to get into her pants.

  11. Is it me or does Debbie sort of look like Junior Gorg?

  12. That is one goofy llokin broad!

    1. Shenanigans on this anon-bot!

      1. Sometimes it simulates sentience.

  13. She looks like a zombie version of Carole King.

  14. She is very hot, I would hit it.

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