A Republican-Hugging Debate: The Sins of Debbie Wasserman Schultz

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wasserman schultz twn.jpg
Wearing blue is sometimes just not enough.
I hug a lot of Republicans — particularly today’s “dissident Republicans in foreign and economic policy”, and there are some Dems I won’t go near — and the flip is true. I hug a lot of Democrats, and there are a lot of Republicans I won’t go near. That’s part of the reason why I am a registered Independent today and won’t unconditionally support either party.
But Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-20), a Co-Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Red to Blue Program, has many up in arms because of the Republican-hugging she is doing in South Florida to the detriment of her own party and her own stature as a significant force in Democratic politics.


For the record, I do think that there are some cases where helping a moderate Republican makes a great deal of sense — and I’m fully aware of the avalanche of email I will now get calling this view naive. I have supported the work and efforts of such Republicans in the past as Jim Kolbe, Steve Gunderson, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Lamar Alexander, Jeff Flake, David Dreier, Pete Domenici, John Warner, Jon Huntsman, and many, many others — even John McCain. I admire Robert Zoellick, Robert Kimmitt, Brent Scowcroft, Edward Djerejian, Carla Hills and hundreds and hundreds of other leading Republicans.
But the Republicans that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is hugging tightly are three Members of Congress who have actually had the power to make the Cold War colder in a small area of the world off of the U.S. border — Cuba. They have thrived despite the phenomenal failure of the US embargo of Cuba and have succeeded in keeping a more serious interest-driven US foreign policy toward Cuba from ever taking hold.
Two of the Congressman that Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants to protect are brothers — Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL-21) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25). They are nephews by marriage (ended by divorce) of Fidel Castro himself. They are the sons of the former Speaker of the House in Cuba during the tenure of US-friendly dictator Fulgencio Batista. Knowing them and their family history gives one insights into the unique and bizarre family feud that the US-Cuba policy standoff is really about.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz seemingly turns a blind eye to the suspension of justice, the nepotism, and the corruption that have surrounded the Miami side of the US-Cuba policy feud. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-18) has helped protect and then celebrate the achievements of Cuban-American terrorists — particularly Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada — in both Florida and in her Congressional role in Washington. It is truly shocking to read what Members of the US House of Representatives have been complicit in as told in the disturbing chronicle of the underbelly of US-Cuba relations, “Twilight of the Assassins,” by Ann Louise Bardach that ran in November 2006 in the Atlantic Monthly.
The involvement of the Diaz-Balart brothers and Ros-Lehtinen in outrageous perversions of legal justice should give anyone pause — but Red-to-Blue Co-Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz hugs them as tightly as she can.
Either Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz does not read, is ignorant of the background and activities of these three Republican congressman, or she is complicit. Which is it?
An intrepid blogger and constituent of the Congresswoman wrote this about his encounter with Schultz recently:

. . .While leaving the site of the luncheon, my friend and I spotted Rep. Wasserman Schultz and her aide waiting for their car, and so, unwilling to let this opportunity pass, I approached the congresswoman, introduced myself in my “meatspace” identity, and identified myself as a blogger with a tremendous amount of respect for her voting record and her performance in Congress on behalf of Florida. However, I continued, “is it not counter to your responsibilities as co-chair of the Red-to-Blue program in the DCCC to openly refuse to support the Democratic candidates who oppose Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers in Miami?”
. . .Rep. Wasserman Schultz told me that she has raised money actively as co-chair of Red-to-Blue on behalf of candidates all over the country. Indeed, she said, she expended a tremendous amount of political capital in Washington and in Florida to help get Ron Klein elected in 2006.
Now, in 2008, she has had to deal with the “difficult position” of being in charge of the DCCC effort but also being friends with the three Republicans in Miami — “I’m especially close to Mario [Diaz-Balart],” she said, “since our days in the state legislature, but I count all [three] of them as friends.” And so, while the congresswoman believes the Democratic candidates in those districts — Annette Taddeo, Joe Garcia, and Raul Martinez (for whom she said she actually has worked in his race against Lincoln Diaz-Balart) — are strong, she “just can’t cross that line personally” to campaign actively against her friends. It would be too hard to criticize them. . .

This essay by National Security Archives Senior Fellow Peter Kornbluh and Center for Democracy in the Americas Executive Director Sarah Stephens, “The Terrorists Among Us,” is really about the nurturing of a strain of virulent military activity inside the United States directed at a foreign government that is not fully subject to the monopoly of control any modern and responsible state should maintain.
Ros-Lehtinen, the Diaz-Balart brothers, and Wasserman Schultz help coddle and protect militants who train and have weapons caches that they hope might be used to eventually invade or attack Cuba with. They are not part of the Department of Defense or the system of national security of the US — and are in a way similar to a home-grown version of Hezbollah — and Wasserman Schultz should not expect the spotlight of the Democratic Party or of the nation as a large to go away unless she modifies her own behavior and direction.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

14 comments on “A Republican-Hugging Debate: The Sins of Debbie Wasserman Schultz

  1. arthurdecco says:

    Can you provide us with the proof we’ll need to help swallow your hyperbole, Tintin? Or are you just farting with your fingers?

    Reply

  2. Mr.Murder says:

    Castro was our asset at the start.
    Ike refused to meet him when he visited DC.
    Someone lower down the ladder handled him instead.
    We were trying to groom someone to counter the Che types. Someone who could pass off a revolution for more of the same, in a different guise.
    Those efforts work better at home. See also this election cycle.

    Reply

  3. Tintin says:

    Battista was a thug, but so was/is Castro, despite whatever good
    he has done (some). Same for Chavez.

    Reply

  4. Jules Beaujolais says:

    Look, it’s not so complicated:
    If you are a cop and refuse to arrest a delinquent because you happen to be friends with same, you’re fired.
    Sympathy for individual members of the political opposition is not a sin. We are all human and may find appealing traits in an individual member of the political opposition. However, when one’s job description is as explicit as Debbie Dubaya’s, there are really only two possibilities: Either do your job or resign.

    Reply

  5. DonS says:

    OT – it upsets my tummy every time Steve waxes poetic about “moderate” republicans [or democrats] who may very well be crooks, cronies or neanderthals on most issues save the identified few.
    I’m not ready to roll over and admit that the kind of change needed to restore some decency to the U.S. is not possible, and the best we can hope for is some milquetoast brought to you by your local “moderates”. But I am getting worn down.

    Reply

  6. Steve Clemons says:

    Sinfonian — Greetings and sorry for that gender bending. Fixed it here and at TPMCafe. The her is now a him.
    Thanks for posting a note on the need to correct — and terrific post yourself.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  7. Mr.Murder says:

    *anti-Cuba wing
    Sinfonian, intrepid, indeed.
    As for Debbie W. Schultz, this intricate dance
    is part and parcel of doing anything in Florida at the Senate level or higher.
    The money there is rooted in such.
    She’s done some splendid items with the 30 something Dems. They need to continue their prior work, though now, as a majority, Reid and Pelosi call more items to attention.
    Their prior efforts did that quite well, they should consider resuming this after the elections. Everyone at the household is big fans of Debbie’s efforts, and Rep. Kendrick Meek gets major praise here on a regular basis.
    It appears they’ve been told to abate some of the usual approach until after the election. Meeks would be a major asset on any ticket or for any office. The prior rules limited debate so much when it came to legislation, the 30 somethings were just about the only way to get something said to give attention to things deserving.
    Helping the Batista holdovers isn’t something to be a fan of. The mention of assassins isn’t just in reference to what we tried and did with Cuba.

    Reply

  8. Mr.Murder says:

    Keep your enemies closer.
    Oswald was once part of the anit Cuba wing. A counter operative.
    There’s a company in Florida doing major business to this day, nationally and wordwide, with a ton of direct ties to the history of this era.
    Nothing’s really changed in America’s wang.(tm)

    Reply

  9. Sinfonian says:

    An intrepid blogger and constituent of the Congresswoman wrote this about her encounter with Schultz recently:
    Except that it’s “his encounter.” I’m a guy. I even have references. 🙂

    Reply

  10. Sinfonian says:

    Thanks very much for the link and the lengthy quote. I’m pleased to be doing my part to bring this issue to light.

    Reply

  11. clio says:

    …Wasserman Schultz does not read, is ignorant of the background and activities of these three Republican congressman, or she is complicit…
    It seems quite possible the good congresswoman has been/is romantically involved somewhere here. She mentions being ‘especially close’ to Mario. I suppose the motive could be money , but in my experience it’s more often “a grand passion.”
    Powerful men risk, and often lose, everything for short-term sexual escapades. Powerful women rarely or never do that, but they often are involved in some grand, once-in-lifetime “true love” for which they will sacrifice everything, including common sense.
    While the reasons advanced are different, these indulgences are exactly the same in that they are self-destructive, immature, self-centered and baffling to outside observers.
    All that aside, the congresswoman should be immediately removed from her post at the DCCC. She has proven herself unable to meet the requirements of the job.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    Good post.
    And I will say what you can’t. All the people you named are a prime example of self serving opportunitist ethnics who can’t possibly serve American interest and place their own personal and tribal and political interest above not only the interest of this country but above our laws.
    I hope to wake up some day, turn on the news and discover they have all been assassinated or shipped out to some Bananna Republic where they can be disposed of by a Castro style revolution.

    Reply

  13. Stogie says:

    well said, Mr. Clemons

    Reply

  14. arthurdecco says:

    Steve Clemons said: “They are not part of the Department of Defense or the system of national security of the US — and are in a way similar to a home-grown version of Hezbollah…”
    Explain to me how you can compare a small group of extremely wealthy Battista thugs and their offspring with a personal vendetta against Castro, (the man who removed them and their fellow criminals from their seats of abusive power in Cuba) – thugs paying for private armies no less, to a nationalist, grassroots movement that had the support of over 80% of Lebanon’s citizenry in the months after Israel’s pulverization of their country – a party that is still demonstrably protecting Lebanon from those who wish it ill.
    Or will you do what you usually do and ignore my question, Mr. Clemons?
    This gratuitous Hezbollah and Chavez bashing has to stop! There can be no movement forward until these unhelpful forays into myth-making cease. Recognize your rhetoric for what it is, for gawd’s sake – incendiary and unnecessarily provocative. Besides being flat-out wrong.
    If you are truly the pragmatic political thinker you claim to be, how is it possible for you to continue making these astonishingly naïve and disingenuous statements which, under the best of lights, can only be seen as a re-hashing of the worst of reactionary and self-serving Rethuglican talking points?
    And as far as Debbie goes…I like her hairdresser’s expensive attempt to make her over into a member of Jon Bon Jovi’s band. There’s nothing else remotely of value in anything about her. She is a living testament to the scourge that is destroying America.

    Reply

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