WASHINGTON - The black conservative group, Project 21, today is criticizing white Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is head of the Democratic National Committee.
The group says Wasserman Schultz unaccountably targeted a black colleague, Republican congressman Allen West, for specific criticism during the debt debate.
West, like 233 other Members of Congress, including five Democrats, had just voted for the "cut, cap and balance" deficit-reduction plan.
"Representative Wasserman Schultz's behavior is appalling," said Project 21 spokesman Jerome Hudson. "Just as when she compared laws aimed at preserving voter integrity to segregationist Jim Crow rules, her efforts to demagogue America's debt crisis are childish. Her attack on Representative West is beyond the pale. Wasserman Schultz should end her obsession with race-based fear-mongering, political point-scoring and mudslinging and concentrate on doing the people's business."
After the July 19 passage of the "cut, cap and balance" debt-reduction bill in the U.S. House of Representatives by a 234-190 vote, Wasserman Schultz took to the floor of the House to pointedly criticize West. Though she did not mention West by name, Wasserman Schultz was unambiguous about her target, saying that "[t]he gentleman from Florida" allegedly supported "protecting tax breaks for Big Oil, millionaires and companies who ship jobs overseas" by wanting to cut spending in a way that, according to Wasserman Schultz, would "increase the costs for Medicare beneficiaries."
The group points out, "West is just one of 234 congressmen who voted for the cut, cap and balance bill. He is not in the House leadership. He was not the author of the bill. He was not a floor manager of the bill. West is, however, one of the only two black Republicans in Congress."
In a subsequent e-mail to Wasserman Schultz and congressional leaders, West called her out for engaging in "heinous characterless behavior" and that "[y]ou have proven repeatedly that you are not a lady." West later told Fox News that the floor speech "disrespected" him and was part of a "pattern" of "hate" directed against him by Wasserman Schultz.
"If Allen West is to be criticized for anything, it is for allowing himself to be distracted by Wasserman Schultz's Saul Alinsky-like tactic of targeting strong opposition and ridiculing them. But, in West's defense, she drew first blood -- and her actions are neither ladylike nor professional," said Project 21 spokesman Stacy Swimp. "Despite this racial targeting, West must stay above the petty machinations of liberals who understand the weight and value of his voice at this critical moment in American history. Liberals, in this case, are increasing their attacks against conservatives to distract from the fact they have every intention of continuing spending outside our means."
Wasserman Schultz was at the center of a political firestorm in June when she told TV One's Roland Martin that state voter ID laws would "literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws" that enforced segregation and otherwise limited the rights of black Americans. After criticism from Project 21 members and others, Wasserman Schultz later admitted: "Jim Crow was the wrong analogy to use," but in her very next sentence she made it clear she believes that African-Americans and Hispanics find it harder than whites of non-Hispanic ancestry to obtain ordinary government-issued I.D. cards. She did not attempt to justify her reasons for this belief.
"Clearly, Representative West responded to the persistent and outrageous scare tactics issued by Representative Wasserman Schultz. Without a plan of her own to address our budget crisis, Wasserman Schultz is waging a fear-mongering war to frighten senior citizens," said Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli. "Wasserman Schultz is trying to fill the void left by former Representative Anthony Weiner, who would arrogantly defend the left-wing agenda. Thanks to West, she is now on notice that dealing the race and senior cards will be challenged."
"Good for Representative West for standing up for himself," said Project 21 spokesman Jimmie L. Hollis. "I support Representative West in calling out Representative Wasserman Schultz's wholly inappropriate attack and taking the fight to the opposition."