She’s not backing down. Let the Republican National Committee poke all the fun it wants, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz stands by what she said: The nation is in an economic turnaround and Democrats deserve the credit.
“We own the economy. We own the beginning of the turnaround and we want to make sure that we continue that pace of recovery, not go back to the policies of the past under the Bush administration that put us in the ditch in the first place,” Wasserman Schultz told Mike Allen at a breakfast hosted by POLITICO’s Playbook.
The economy, she said, “has turned around” since President Obama took office, with steady job growth evident even if the pace leaves something to be desired.
The facts highlighted in the RNC’s most recent video deserve review: 9.1 percent unemployment. More than 6 million foreclosures. About 1 million construction jobs lost. Some 865,000 manufacturing jobs lost. An enormous $3.7 trillion added to the national debt. Three straight record high deficits. Strange equation for an economic turnaround!
But DWS said something else at the Politico Playbook breakfast — something unrelated to the economy, but, with which, I — much to my chagrin — half-heartedly agree. It’s unfair, Wasserman-Schultz said, for the media to pit former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) against one another as (potential) presidential candidates just because they’re both women.
“Even though I don’t agree with either Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann on virtually anything,” she said, to laughter from the audience, “I do think the unique scrutiny … because of their gender” and “highlighting the potential conflict between them” is a product of the media’s desire for juicy storylines. “I think it’s inappropriate.”
But, even in this, Wasserman-Schultz is two days late and trillions of dollars short: Since Monday, when Bachmann wowed viewers at the second GOP presidential debate, the Bachmann v. Palin storyline seems especially tired (not that it has died down — Google News turns up new stories on the theme pretty reliably every 15 minutes or so — but it should have). Speculation about a Palin presidential run continues, but Bachmann is clearly a candidate in her own right, not merely an alternative to Palin (or an establishment obstacle to Palin pitching her hat in the ring).
Either way, Wasserman-Schultz is right about identity politics — she just failed to recognize which side feeds that. Plenty of room over here on the right for as many people — men and women alike — as want to articulate the truth clearly. Guess that means Wasserman-Schultz need not apply.
Update: This post originally mistakenly said the CNN debate Monday was the “first” GOP presidential debate, when, in fact, it was the second.