Last week, Natasha Mozgovaya of Haaretz profiled Jewish Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), in a piece entitled “Obama’s Other First Lady.” According to the profile, Wasserman Schultz uses the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) as a source of inspiration in her fight to protect the Democratic values relevant to American Jews, including sustaining federal funding for the social safety net. She has been widely praised by her congressional colleagues and American Jewish leaders as a “mensch” and an effective leader in representing her heavily Jewish southern Florida district, as well as American Jews - and all Americans - nation-wide.
As a self-described “progressive liberal democrat,” Wasserman Schultz proudly accepted her position at the DNC from President Barack Obama, telling Mozgovaya:
‘I am someone who wants to help stir the results that I’d like to see. I am a Jewish woman, we don’t sit on the sidelines….I said yes to the president because I believed it was so important.’
Wasserman Schultz denied any claim that issues exist between Obama and the Jewish community:
‘I don’t think he has a Jewish problem. I know there is speculation he does,’ she says. ‘President Obama still has the overwhelming support of the Jewish community, the [Democratic Party is the] natural political home for Jewish voters, because besides our support for Israel and the president’s support for Israel, on every major issue for the Jewish community, the Republicans are wrong on these issues. Making sure we have a quality education system, standing up for people who have no voice, fighting for the hungry, for civil rights and civil liberties—the Republicans oppose those things or do harm to them.’
Wasserman Schultz notes that Obama’s commitment to Israel and his speech at the United Nations last month calling for a two-state solution through negotiations should also help cement Jewish support for him.
‘We had more military cooperation than ever before—the Iron Dome, the bunker-buster bombs that President [George W.] Bush had refused and President Obama authorized,’ she says. ‘The veto at the United Nations on the settlements resolution; the language of resolution on the [2010 Turkish] flotilla to Gaza would be much worse if President Obama hadn’t intervened; there was the rescue of the Israeli Embassy employees in Cairo. There is a solid and strong record of support that this president has for Israel—and there is an attempt by Republicans to distort it and lie. That does damage to Israel. If there is a perception there is any daylight between the parties on support for Israel—that creates an opening and opportunity for Israel’s enemies. Israel should never be a partisan issue. Unfortunately, you have some Republicans who care more about electing Republicans than protecting Israel. The Jewish community is an important and strong part of the Democratic voting base, so we have an outreach effort with every community in the campaign, and the White House has consistently done an outreach effort with Jewish community leaders.’
She defended the President’s commitment to repairing the ailing economy he received upon entering office, including his constructive jobs bill, which was blindly rejected by Republicans:
‘The polls do not mean anything now—this election is going to be very stark and dramatic in contrast between President Obama and the direction he’s taken the country—turning the economy around, taking us from bleeding hundreds-of-thousands of jobs, to now adding private sector jobs for 18 straight months and starting to move in the right direction—and the Republicans who want to take us back to where we were before to the policy in financial services industry that brought us to the disaster we found ourselves in—to let the fox guard the henhouse? They support policies that focus only on the wealthiest and the most fortunate Americans. That’s the contrast voters will have.’...
‘[Republican Congressman and Majority Leader] Eric Cantor said [Obama’s jobs bill] was ‘dead,’ that the House wouldn’t even allow a vote on it. What is so shocking—eight Republican candidates and the leadership in the Congress—care about only one job: Barack Obama’s. Democrats care about American jobs. The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said that his No. 1 priority was defeating Barack Obama. If that’s his No. 1 priority, why would he be interested in helping the president to turn the economy around? I believe they have an interest in leaving the economy stagnant, so that Barack Obama doesn’t get any credit for improving things, and their candidate will win. That’s disgusting.’
Wasserman Schultz explained her criticisms of the Republican field of presidential candidates:
‘I think most of their candidates are trying to ‘out right-wing’ each other,’ she says. ‘They are all embracing the Tea Party, so it doesn’t really matter to me which one ultimately is the nominee, because they all ‘sign up’ for the same terrible policies Americans don’t agree with.’
She firmly opposes the positions of the Tea Party movement, especially their harmful policies on social safety net funding:
Wasserman Schultz calls the Tea Party ‘a group of very extreme right-wing Republicans that are totally out of touch with what average middle class Americans are interested in. They seem to hate everything - they hate public education, they hate government, they don’t seem to have any interest in ensuring everybody’s quality of life. They support drastic, horrendous cuts that will hurt people. They don’t care about the safety net we have in the United States, social security to protect seniors, or Medicare. I don’t think much of them.’
Click here to read the full profile of Wasserman Schultz.
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