In an announcement last week that left some political observers more than a little dumbfounded, President Barack Obama endorsed the re-election bid of Florida congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, an outspoken corporate shill who also happens to head the Democratic National Committee. Wasserman Schultz is facing strong opposition in Florida's Democratic primary from Tim Canova, a progressive law professor.
Wasserman Schultz has recently made news with her attempt to gut the reform measures put forth by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to rein-in the excesses of the reprehensible payday lending industry. While the incumbent member of Congress is comfortable taking donations from corporations, banks, and glorified loan sharks, Canova is not. He has built his campaign on small contributions from individual donors.
When Obama, himself a progressive former law professor, made his surprise announcement endorsing Wasserman Schultz over Canova, the grinning congresswoman rushed to have her picture taken next to the popular President - perhaps to prove, at least to herself, that she remains a real Democrat.
Tim Canova, passed on the opportunity to grab a few headlines by decrying the President's inexplicable endorsement. He didn't have time for a political brawl anyway because Canova and his staff were too busy opening contribution envelopes. Canova may not have risen to the bait and gotten fighting mad, but his supporters certainly did - and the checks started flying in! The Canova campaign pulled in over $100,000 in small donations in the four days following the President's endorsement of his opponent.
Not only has Wasserman Schultz worked to gut legislation aimed at reining-in predatory payday lenders, she also led the Democratic National Committee into reversing its ban on donations from federal lobbyists, and she appeared to have a hand in causing the Florida Democratic Party to deny Canova access to it's voter database. The Canova campaign reported spikes in donations each time one of those outrages occurred.
During the first quarter of 2016, Canova's campaign took in $557,000 from a total of over 15,000 individual small donors . With Barack Obama's well-known shrewd political instincts and abilities, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to imagine that he knew he was firing up Canova's base when he endorsed Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz may be grinning, but Canova is too busy to care. He is working hard to bring a bit of honesty and integrity back into Congress - and he's doing it without the aid of loan sharks and banksters.