Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Used Domestic Violence Analogies To Condemn Scott Walker, And It's Unacceptable

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Shouldn’t the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee know better than to use charged, insensitive language about domestic violence? On Wednesday, DNC Chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz used domestic violence analogies in the midst of condermning Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s policy decisions. On Thursday, Wasserman Schultz made a public apology, saying that she “shouldn’t have used” such instigating language in attacking Walker. Ya think?

Wasserman Schultz’s comments weren't just a slip — her analogy extended into multiple statements, the first insisting that “Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand.” Later on, to explain how Republican tea party extremists like Walker are harming women’s rights through their policies, Wasserman Schultz said that Walker’s policies are “grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back.” Forget playful political banter, that’s some loaded language!

Wasserman Schultz’s charged analogies have incited criticism from both political parties. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch led Walker’s campaign response, calling Wasserman Schultz’s stark analogy “absolutely hideous.”

On the other side of the aisle, Walker’s Democratic opponent in the Wisconsin governor’s race, Mary Burke, has also denounced Wasserman Schultz’s word choice. Burke’s press secretary said that Burke was committed to pointing out the clear differences that set her apart from Walker as a candidate in a respectful way.

In Wasserman Schultz’s camp, however, DNC deputy communications director Lily Adams defended Wasserman Schultz’s word choice in an email, saying that Wasserman Schultz hadn’t “belittled” domestic violence issues in her comments. Rather, Adams said that Wasserman Schultz highlighted the fact that Scott Walker’s policies have had negative consequences for Wisconsin women.

So, what exactly did Scott Walker actually do to warrant these words from Wasserman Schultz? According to Schultz’s statement, her insensitive language aimed to make a broader point about the various policies that Walker has passed that have set the women in his state back.

Wasserman Schultz’s full statement lays out Walker's most harmful policies:

I shouldn't have used the words I used. But that shouldn't detract from the broader point that I was making that Scott Walker's policies have been bad for Wisconsin women, whether it's mandating ultrasounds, repealing an equal pay law, or rejecting federal funding for preventative health care, Walker's record speaks for itself. As for the issue of domestic violence, it's unacceptable that a majority of Congressional Republicans opposed this critical legislation, of which I was a proud cosponsor, after blocking its reauthorization for more than a year.

While it was a good move for her to apologize — both for her political reputation and out of respect for victims of domestic violence who may have been offended by her comments — her public statement doesn’t completely erase the effects of her initial word choice. If Wasserman Schultz’s intentions were to raise awareness for a breach in women’s rights in Wisconsin, using references to acts of domestic violence to make your point seems pretty counterintuitive, and even hypocritical.

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