[Cross-posted at Sunshine State Sarah]
Since starting my blog, I’ve regularly engaged in research of online videos regarding Florida politicians and political topics. It’s been an easy way to stay on top of the latest current events, very educational…and occasionally eye-opening.
It takes only a short amount of time watching videos before themes start to appear.
We all know that Marco Rubio and Allen West are great, passionate speakers, but I’ve also learned a lot watching Cliff Stearns lead oversight committee hearings and give interviews regarding fiscal issues. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is heavily involved in South Florida community activities, as well as being a strong and courageous advocate on national security issues.
Then – sigh - there’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz is well-known for her opinionated nature, and a personality that her supporters probably view as tough and feisty, but I honestly often find to be shrill and annoying. (See, for example, her whining in February that Republicans needed to stop using the term “ObamaCare.”)
Well, during the last few months, I’ve noticed a theme in Wasserman Schultz’s videos. When she’s not tossing childish insults at Republicans, she loves to talk about her friends – correction, Wasserman Schultz loves to talk about one of her friends – Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who, as you know, is recovering from a gunshot wound to her head from the Tucson shooting.
Immediately after the horrifying events of January 8th, many members of Congress gave interviews where they shared stories about Giffords, how much they enjoyed working with her, how very well-liked she is, how they were praying for her recovery, etc.
Giffords’ continued improvement is nothing short of miraculous. For the most part, the media has backed off and left her and her family in peace to focus on her treatment. In the past few months, I’ve pretty much only seen stories about Giffords when the family has officially released a statement.
However, for some reason, Debbie Wasserman Schultz cannot seem to help hurling herself in front of a camera to talk about Giffords. Google for yourself and see how many interviews she has given on the subject. In my opinion, the frequency with which Wasserman Schultz continues to talk about Giffords seems odd and inappropriate, if not downright creepy. I can’t help but get the sinking feeling that Wasserman Schultz is showing something bordering on enthusiasm in discussing her injured friend.
This video, posted on March 18th, is the one that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me:
This video is labeled as a “video update” on Giffords but it’s really a campaign fundraiser. Yes, a fundraiser: the link requests contributions to Giffords’ reelection campaign account and also to a fund that supports other Democrat Congressional candidates. I can’t be the only one who finds this in horribly poor taste.
To draw in sympathetic viewers who are concerned about Giffords’ recovery, and then ask for campaign contributions…well, that just seems sick.
I don’t know any of these people personally, and I’m not going to question the authenticity of the claimed friendship, but for crying out loud, I can’t ever imagine using a friend’s injury as a conversation starter to ask for a campaign donation!
Remember, they are not asking for contributions for medical care for Giffords, or anyone else injured on January 8th. They are not asking you to help other victims of violent crime, orphaned children in war-torn countries. They are not asking you to donate to save the rainforest or abandoned puppies. They are asking for money for. WTF.
Ignoring for the moment the completely disgusting effort to use Giffords’ injury to elicit donations for other candidates, if I analyze this situation as a political consultant, I just cannot see how there is any urgency to fundraise for Giffords’ campaign at this point. There are many more risks in looking crass and attempting to profit from tragedy, as well as being unable to satisfy worries that Giffords may not be up to running for office again yet.
Whether or not Giffords runs for reelection is not a question that needs to be answered right now, and it shouldn’t be. She has many months to go before that decision must be made, and I am sure that if she reaches the point in her recovery where she does want to run for reelection, the announcement will be national news and contributions will pour in from all over the country. Giffords’ 2012 campaign, if it happens, will be easily and quickly funded.
Moreover, as much as I smile every time I get called a “Republican operative” or “partisan hack,” I think that theought to just let Arizona’s 8th Congressional District go…unless Giffords decides not to run for reelection. I’m not going to grant hand-me-down sympathy to an open seat, but if Giffords decides she wants to run for reelection, I don’t see any benefit to running someone against her. Frankly, I also can’t see any chance of a Republican victory for that seat. It would be a complete waste of money and – fair or not – make the Republican candidate running against Giffords look like a heartless jerk.
As for Wasserman Schultz, I’ll be cheering for anyone and everyone running against her. I hope she gets a serious primary challenger, and I hope whoever becomes the Republican nominee just knocks the stuffing out of her at the ballot box. Excuse me and my violent rhetoric, but Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been an embarrassment to my state for a long time, and her shocking behavior attempting to turn the attack on Gabrielle Giffords into political profit ought to be the last straw for South Florida voters.