Netroots Nation: The DNC Chairwoman Speaks

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 17 2011 4:21 PM

Netroots Nation: The DNC Chairwoman Speaks

MINNEAPOLIS -- Debbie Wasserman Schultz had an easier time at Netroots Nation than that other representative of official Democratic power, Dan Pfeiffer. The chairwoman of the DNC stopped briefly to talk to reporters after a short, boos-free speech.

Asked about Russ Feingold's take from last night, that Democrats would lose their souls if they became a movement of Super PACs and corporate fundraising, she politely disagreed. "Progressives shouldn't be radically disarming," she said.

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I asked if Wasserman Schultz had seen the rumors coming out of debt limit negotiations which basically have Democrats giving away the store -- agreeing to spending cuts and caps, but not getting the tax increases they want.

"As a Democratic member of Congress," she said, "I know that in order to deal with the deficit reduction, because we need to do it in a way that doesn't short circuit the beginnings of a recovery, I need to go along with some things that cause me angst and that would be painful. Things I normally wouldn't want to vote for. The same would be true for the Republicans and their priorities."

But everyone I was talking to here, I said, wondered why Democrats can't start or win this argument -- why Republicans are so much better at enforcing tax orthodoxy.

"President Obama and congressional Democrats believe that the focus by Republicans exclusively on tax cuts for the wealthiest, on not making sure that we can acknowledge clearly that those tax cuts exploded the deficit, is misguided," she said. "We need to make reductions in the tax code as well as indirect expenditures, and not cut off our nose to spite our face."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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