DNC Chair Wasserman-Schultz Believes in Enforcing Federal Law, Except When She Doesn't

By Dan Cadman on June 11, 2014

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who represents a district in South Florida and is also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), got herself in an unexpected pickle recently when she voted against a measure in the House of Representatives to prohibit federal officials from interfering with state laws governing use of marijuana.

According to the Miami Herald, this immediately drew the attention — and the ire — of a number of other Florida Democrats, both rank-and-file and big-time donors, because a referendum is coming up in the state that would allow the use of medical marijuana under specified conditions and after a doctor's prescription.

Reeling from the sharp backlash, the DNC was forced to backtrack in her behalf, saying that Wasserman-Schultz "was speaking as a mom and a member of Congress on her personal concerns on a local issue. The DNC has not taken an official position on this ballot initiative. We leave it to the good people of Florida to make that decision."

Wasserman-Schultz, trying to walk it back a bit herself, was then quoted in the Tampa Bay Times as saying that, "as a general principle she doesn't think the executive branch should be limited from enforcing federal law". Hmmm. As a general principle? A curious formula for a member of Congress — for a federal lawmaker — who, like all other federal office-holders, takes an oath of office. Kind of like saying, "I believe in enforcing the federal laws I believe in enforcing." Not very meaningful.

Having read this ambiguity, I promptly felt the need to check out what Wasserman-Schultz's general principles are where it comes to enforcing federal immigration laws. Missing in action, I'd say. For instance, she has in the past "denounced Republicans last week for believing illegal immigration 'should in fact be a crime.'" It seems none of her staff either in Congress or the DNC managed to clue her in that illegally crossing the border is a criminal offense; and illegally reentering the United States either repeatedly, or after having been deported, is a federal felony.

Later, she clarified her position with this bold assertion, "I voted against the Farr-Rohrabacher amendment because I do not believe, regardless of the issue, that it is appropriate to limit the executive branch's ability to enforce current federal law at their discretion."

Ah! Now we're getting to it. That's more like the Wasserman-Schultz renowned for parroting, and acting as surrogate for, the president — apparently the main reason she still holds the DNC chair despite her frequent gaffs, according to the Washington Post.

It seems someone did clue her in this time, so she could modify the statement enough to make it appear consistent with the White House's views on the president's right to unfettered executive action, and executive nullification of federal law through inaction: "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone". All of which disturbingly channels an earlier, imperial age: "L'etat, c'est moi." And here I thought we had gone through a revolution and formed an entire country, a republic, to get past all that divine right nonsense.


Topics: Politics