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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/15/11

The Chairwoman Who Carries Crayons

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            During her three terms in the House, Representative Wasserman Schultz has been "a reliable liberal vote," whose positions have brought her perfect ratings from such liberal groups as Americans for Democratic Action, the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Conservation Voters, and very low ratings from such conservative groups as the American Conservative Union, Club for Growth and the Family Research Council.

            Wasserman Schultz was an early and ardent supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign for president in 2008.  She was one of approximately 30 "Hillraisers," individuals who raised at least $100,000 for the New York senator's campaign.  Once Clinton dropped out of the race, Wasserman Schultz became an effective messenger for the Obama campaign.  In one memorable appearance on Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer asked whether or not Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was being treated fairly by the media.  Specifically, Schieffer asked, "Congresswoman Schultz, has [Sarah Palin] been asked to clear some bar that a male candidate wouldn't have to clear?"  To which Wasserman Schultz responded:

            That's just utterly ridiculous. . . .  I've been asked that question as a mom trying to juggle both things and, you know, typically a male -- a male candidate wouldn't get asked that. But all Sarah Palin is being asked to respond to is whether she's up to the task, and it is absolutely fair game. And all I've seen is her being asked about her background, her experience, what qualifies her to be vice president and whether she knows anything. So the tough questions that have been asked of Sarah Palin thus far just have been about the fact that she doesn't know anything and isn't ready to be vice president. That's fair game and it has nothing to do with her gender.

            Schieffer responded, "You're saying she doesn't know anything, or you're saying that's what she's been asked about?" to which Wasserman Schultz replied:

            Well, she's been asked what she knows. She's been asked to demonstrate her foreign policy knowledge, which she clearly has very little . . . . I mean, she didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was, she really had almost no grasp of America's foreign policy. She really knew very little about domestic policy. Quite honestly, the interview that I saw and that Americans saw. . . were similar to when I didn't read a book in high school and had to read the Cliffs Notes and phone in my -- and phone in my report. She's Cliff-noted her performance so far, and all of that is fair game. The American people deserve better than that. They don't deserve more of the same, which is what they're getting from John McCain and Sarah Palin right now.

            Debbie Wasserman Schultz seconded Barack Obama's nomination at the Democratic National Convention in August 2008 -- the same month she had two surgeries for breast reconstruction.  

            Debbie and Steve Schultz have been married for 18 years.  Steve long knew that with Debbie he was getting into politics; she was working as a legislative aide for Pete Deutsch when they first met at a softball game.  When he showed up 90 minutes early for their first date, "she filled time talking about the death penalty."   In many ways, they are opposites: Steve, the vice president of the loan department at Community Bank of Broward is more conservative than his wife and quite comfortable in the background.  As one of the very few women in Congress who has young school age children (in 2009, twins Jake and Rebecca were 9; Shelby 5) Debbie Wasserman Schultz still manages to play both a close and critical role in their lives.  During the 3 - to 4 days she spends in Washington each week, Debbie "talks and texts with her kids daily."  When she's away, her local staff faxes review sheets so that she can quiz her kids for a test by phone. 

            Within 48 hours of disclosing her very private battle with cancer, Representative Wasserman Schultz put in a bill calling for the expenditure of $45 million over five years to "boost awareness of breast cancer among younger women."  "It is my hope that by sharing my story, we will pass the [bill] and further reduce the death rate of young women diagnosed with breast cancer," she said at the press conference announcing the legislation. 

            On December 10, 2009, National Journal released a "sneak peak" of a poll it had conducted among "Congressional and political insiders" on their "favorite members of Congress, the member they'd most like to shut up, the brightest thinkers and strategists in their party" and much more.  Among the Demcoratic 68 Congressional insiders making up the Journal's, polling group, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was named most often as the House Democrat with the brightest future.  This finding came on the heels of an announcement that Representative Wasserman Schultz would be "beefing up her national political operation," and "hiring a director for her national political action committee."   

            Although standing no more than 5 feet 2 and weighing just over 100 pounds, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a human dynamo.  A well-known face on Sunday political talk shows, she has also become a recognized leader among the nation's Jews; starting in 2005 and continuing on to the present, The Jewish Daily Forward has annually named her one of its "50 most influential Jewish Americans."  The Forwards has long described her as "articulate with a trademark halo of curly blond locks."

-2011 Kurt F. Stone

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Kurt Stone is a rabbi, writer, lecturer, political activist, professor, actor, and medical ethicist. A true "Hollywood brat" (born and raised in the film industry), Kurt was educated at the University of California, the Eagleton Institute of (more...)
 
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