Jewish woman gets top Democratic National Committee job
04/06/2011 - 07:23
James Besser

How's this for killing several birds with one stone, politically speaking?

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) has been picked as the new head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She's Jewish, she's from Florida and she's an ace fundraiser, big pluses for the party going into a difficult election year when Florida will again be important to the Democrats' – and President Obama's – hopes.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said her Florida home and her television skills were part of her appeal – but that she also answers another political dilemma for the President as he cranks up his reelection campaign.

“Prominent Democratic women have been complaining of late that Obama simply hasn’t appointed many women to the very top positions—the ones who are in the room when decisions are made,” Sabato said. “The Obama staff disputes this strongly, and has a long list of women appointees, but perception hardens into reality quickly. Given all of DWS’s other strengths, this seemed like a good way to quiet the criticism about the 'boy’s club.'”

Wasserman Schultz was an early supporter of J Street and co-hosted one of the pro-peace process group's early receptions on Capitol Hill. She is the lawmaker most responsible for the law making May "Jewish Heritage Month."

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) praised the appointment of Wasserman Schultz – not surprising, since she helped found the partisan group.

“We know just how helpful Rep. Wasserman Schultz's accrued wisdom will be at the DNC as we at NJDC work to maximize Jewish support for Democrats at the federal and state levels of government,” the group's leaders said in a statement. “And this choice, at this time -- given who Rep. Wasserman Schultz is, her work, and everything she stands for -- speaks volumes about how the Democratic Party continues to be the only party in step with the values of the vast majority of American Jew.”

Wasserman Schultz will replace former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who quit to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.)

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