At a town hall meeting Tuesday night (it’s a Congressional “district work period”), Debbie Wasserman Schultz had this to say about her abandonment of three strong Democratic challengers in South Florida:
I know there are people here that are interested in a political matter, so I will get that out of the way right at the beginning. If you have a concern about my previous comments about my staying out of the races in South Florida where candidates are challenging Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros- Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, I will tell you two things:
First off, I have not endorsed any of the three incumbents in South Florida, nor will I, and I do not support their re-election campaign. I am supportive of the Democratic candidates who are running against them. I have never said otherwise.
Second, I have a national role as one of three co-chairs of Red to Blue Program. All candidates, from Florida to Alaska, have criteria that have to be met to get on this targeted list. Let me guarantee that if they fulfill those criteria, these three Democratic Candidates will be part of our Red to Blue Program…period, end of story. We have three co-chairs in order to be able to spread the workload among us. It makes much more sense to have someone from outside of one’s own region to be able to make the hits necessary.
But at the same time I am a representative of the 20th Congressional district of Florida, and I think it is absolutely my responsibility to work with my Republican colleagues.
But just one cycle ago, Debbie had an entirely different outlook – and with good reason:
While her moxie during debates over Terri Schiavo and Hurricane Katrina has earned kudos, it has also gotten the 39-year-old rookie into some trouble. She has rankled the longest-serving and most powerful congressman from South Florida, Republican Clay Shaw, by openly supporting his Democratic challenger.
Shaw’s staff said he tried to welcome her to the Capitol by offering advice and temporary office space and was upset to learn that she was helping state Sen. Ron Klein raise money and meet party leaders.
Wasserman Schultz served with Klein in the state Legislature for 12 years, and they are close friends. She was tapped by Democratic leaders to help with recruitment and said she could not stay out of a competitive congressional race.
“It’s not good for my relationship with Clay Shaw, but Democrats can’t afford to leave a seat like that uncontested,” she said.
Why was it okay to do things that weren’t “good for her relationship” with Clay Shaw, but not okay to do so with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balarts? If Debbie Wasserman Schultz values “working with Republicans” more than expanding our majority in Congress, then she should step down from Red to Blue, regardless of how many co-chairs there are. Everyone running Red to Blue needs to be a partisan bulldog.
And, of course, if the shoe were on the other foot, would any of these three Republicans hesitate to stab Debbie in the back? Of course not.
(Hat tip: FLA Politics.)