Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Eager To Prove She And The DCCC Can Be Just As Hypocritical About Women's Health As Republicans


Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Rahm-like-- very Rahm-like-- march towards the Speaker's chair got sidetracked recently when her DCCC strategy and execution failed miserably. After a cycle where she was in charge of a Red-to-Blue program perhaps best remembered by her endorsement of 3 vulnerable South Florida Republican cronies of hers, she was placed in charge of incumbent retention. She failed more spectacularly than anyone in the history of the DCCC as the Blue Dogs, the New Dems (like herself) and other conservative Democrats dragged down the whole party and left Boehner in charge of the House with an unassailable majority willing and capable of stopping every single program on President Obama's plate dead in its tracks.

Wasserman Schultz was still shocked when she was passed over for the top slot at the DCCC, something she felt was her due and her destiny. She was also bounced off the powerful Appropriations Committee, thereby losing her chair of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee to progressive Mike Honda. Yesterday she had tweeted this when I woke up:

And she is absolutely correct. The Republican Party's rape redefining bill is "a violent act against women." And Debbie will get a lot of face-time on TV railing against it. Go, Debbie, go. Oh, there she goes! Just as I was writing that sentence, she tweeted again:

A DCCC petition to John Boehner. I'm sure the cynics like Debbie at the DCCC know exactly how much time he'll spending pouring over that and contemplating the fate of women the new Republican legislation would impact. Sure... That petition has exactly one purpose: to get angry democrats to turn their e-mail addresses over to the DCCC so that they can be pestered to donate money, as often as not, to conservative shitheads who vote with Boehner half the time anyway-- including against women's rights!

But I wonder how many dozens of Republican congress-members wouldn't be champing at their bits to vote against women's rights now if it weren't for Wasserman Schultz's wrong-headed strategies at the DCCC going back years and years. She calls the shots in Florida and last year no state did worse for the Democrats than Florida. For the second cycle in a row she undermined progressive veteran Doug Tudor. This time, though, the seat was open and winnable. But she insisted on pushing an unelectable slug-- corporate shill and Blue Dog Lori Edwards-- who took 41% of the vote and left us with anti-Choice fanatic and maniac Dennis Ross in the seat. Wasserman Schultz presided over the loss of Democratic-held seats-- Allen Boyd's, Ron Klein's, Suzanne Kosmas' and, most tragically, Alan Grayson's. She blew the chance to win several open Republican seats and didn't even bother fielding candidates against 4 right-wing extremists. And she didn't understand why even dull-witted Democrats decided to sideline her!

Then, going back a cycle, we look at her good friend and neighbor, Miami-Dade Republican nitwit Ileana Ros Lehtinen, who could have been defeated by Annette Taddeo in 2006 when Obama won her 18th congressional district. That's when Debbie announced she-- as head of the Red-to-Blue program-- wouldn't support the Democratic candidate against Ileana, sending out a signal that sunk Taddeo's campaign. Ultimately Ros-Lehtinen won with 58% (after a 62% win in 2006 and preceding-- feel the Debbie-momentum-- a 69% win last November). Will Wasserman Schultz be able to persuade her close pal Ileana, whose career she saved, to vote against this heinous bill that Debbie hopes to milk for all its worth?
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on Monday tore into House Republicans for proposing legislation that would limit access to abortion coverage for some rape victims.

The Florida Democrat, a rising star in her party and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, is a leading voice on women's issues. And she didn't mince her words in an interview with Raw Story, fiercely denouncing GOP colleagues over H.R. 3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act."

"It is absolutely outrageous," Wasserman Schultz said in an exclusive interview late Monday afternoon. "I consider the proposal of this bill a violent act against women."

The broad anti-abortion measure would restrict federally-assisted abortion coverage to cases of "forcible rape," excluding in that definition instances where women are drugged and raped, where women say "no" but do not physically fight off the perpetrator, and various cases of date rape. It also excludes instances of statutory rape in which minors are impregnated by adults. The victim in all cases would be denied abortion coverage under Medicaid and forbidden from seeking health care tax benefits.

Introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the bill boasts 173 mainly Republican co-sponsors and has been designated a top priority by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

"It really is-- to suggest that there is some kind of rape that would be okay to force a woman to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and abandon the principle that has been long held, an exception that has been settled for 30 years, is to me a violent act against women in and of itself," Wasserman Schultz said.

"Rape is when a woman is forced to have sex against her will, and that is whether she is conscious, unconscious, mentally stable, not mentally stable," the four-term congresswoman added.

The measure would also raise costs for businesses who want to offer employees insurance plans with abortion coverage, by eliminating health care tax deductions and benefits that have long been a part of federal law.

Over at Salon, Sandy Doyle looked at Boehner's push to redefine rape from the flip-side as an even more despicable way to expand the scope of the Hyde Amendment. H.R. 3., the anti-Choice fanatics' "No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act" is bad in all the ways that Hyde and Stupak-Pitts were bad, but it's worse, too:
It seeks to make Hyde federal law. Like previous measures, H.R. 3 would have been widely decried, regardless of anything else it contained. But it just so happens to contain one clause that makes it worse than all of those previous measures. It just so happens to redefine rape.

Whereas Stupak-Pitts provides an exemption if "the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest," and Hyde contains exemptions that are similar, H.R. 3 only provides exemptions if the pregnancy results from "an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest."

There's no way this change is accidental. And there's no way it's minor. Dan Lipinski, one of the few Democrats co-sponsoring the bill, insists that "the language of H.R. 3 was not intended to change existing law regarding taxpayer funding for abortion in cases of rape." At best, he's tragically misguided. This is a calculated move, which will make exemptions for rape and incest survivors practically unenforceable.

First, there are the people who would be overtly denied coverage, as outlined by Nick Baumann at Mother Jones. Those who were raped while drugged or unconscious, or through means of coercion, would not be covered. Survivors of statutory rape would not be covered: "if a minor," one is only covered in case of incest. And if one is a survivor of incest, and not a minor, that's also not covered. Studies of how rapists find and subdue victims reveal that about 70 percent of rapes wouldn't fall under the "forcible" designation.

Which leaves us with those rapes that could be construed as "forcible." Except that this clause doesn't guarantee an exemption for them, either. The term "forcible rape" actually has no set meaning; legal definitions of "force" vary widely. And every survivor who finds herself in need of abortion funding will have to submit her rape for government approval.

Conservatives, once again, inserting government into the private lives of women. Aside from Lipinski (D-IL), the other anti-Choice Democrats co-sponsoring this bill-- none of whom have been attacked by Debbie Wasserman Schultz or the DCCC and non of whom are mentioned in their petition for some reason-- are Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Jerry Costello (IL), Mark Critz (PA), Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Nick Rahill (WV), Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), and, of course, Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC).

As for Wasserman Schultz's close personal bud, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen... turns out she's a co-sponsor too. Annette Taddeo, Doug Tudor, Joe Garcia-- all victims of Wasserman Schultz's craven ambitions-- would not have been co-sponsors of this bill Wasserman Schultz says she is so opposed to. They would have been fighting against it and voting against it.

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At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Annette Taddeo, Doug Tudor, Joe Garcia-- all victims of Wasserman Schultz's craven ambitions..."

Question: How DWS support for DINOs Blue Dogs was such a career enhancing move? Because Rahm-Bam-Thank-You-Mam was around?


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