Few things rankle in politics like politicians who accuse their opponents while they themselves commit the same supposed sins. As chair of the Democratic Party, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz gives us a perfect demonstration of this hypocrisy, as The Hill reported yesterday evening:
The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) appears to drive a foreign car, despite criticizing Republican presidential candidates for supposedly favoring foreign auto manufacturers.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the DNC, ripped into Republican presidential contenders who opposed President Obama’s 2009 bailouts for General Motors and Chrysler.
“If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes,” she said at a breakfast for reporters organized by The Christian Science Monitor.
But according to Florida motor vehicle records, the Wasserman Schultz household owns a 2010 Infiniti FX35, a Japanese car whose parent company is Nissan, another Japanese company. The car appears to be hers, since its license plate includes her initials.
First, just how smart is it for Democrats to assume ownership of the still-unpopular bailouts? The first loans to American car manufacturers came from the Bush administration. Obama followed up with more bailout money, plus a couple of bankruptcies that strong-armed investors into bad deals that ended up as union bailouts. Obama certainly owns some of the auto bailout, but one might think that Democrats would want to share the blame rather than make the case that Republicans would have balked at the bailouts — a position that would only help with voters in 2012.
Moreover, if Democrats want to push a Buy American political campaign, one would think that they’d check out the parking lot first to find someone who, you know, actually buys American. For some people who need low cost and decent quality, there are few American options. But Wasserman-Schultz hardly falls into that category, and the Infiniti is hardly a low-cost vehicle. She even paid extra for a vanity plate with her initials on it.
I have no issue with people who decide to buy a car based on their specific needs, fiscal status, and perceptions of quality; I drive a Honda CRV, so I’m not going to lecture people on buying American. Neither should Wasserman-Schultz, and to use “Buy American” as an attack against the sane opposition to government bailouts of private automakers shortly after climbing out of a Japanese luxury vehicle is the height of both demagoguery and hypocrisy. And she’s the Democrat that the party chose as its chair.