Democratic National Committee chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz is reportedly getting heat for a puny presidential debates schedule
— and her seeming reluctance to jump on the bandwagon to support the Iran nuclear deal.
The pressure on the six-term House lawmaker is coming from the White House, her Florida constituents, and the party as it heads into a tough 2016 election — and it's all part of the territory.
"By accepting that role, she has, in a way, bound herself to consider interests broader than herself and the constituents she represents," former President Clinton advisor William Galston tells The Hill.
"It's not simply pressure from the party, it's a responsibility she has to the party in her leadership position. You're not a free agent the way you might have been before."
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and party activists have blasted the six-debate schedule as inadequate to give them the higher news profile they'll need to squeeze GOP contestants, led by Donald Trump, out of the headlines.
The schedule is about a quarter of the 2008 total and half the number for GOP contenders, The Hill notes.
"She seemed unwilling to consider a revision of the schedule," New Hampshire state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark tells the The New York Times
about her attempt to talk about the issue with Wasserman Schultz at a meeting last week.
"She just said that whatever schedule she put out, people would be unhappy with. If there isn't an opportunity for lots of debates and consideration, it's just really, I think, making it much more difficult" for candidates to get to voters before voting begins.
Adding to the DNC head's grief is pressure at home, where she represents a Jewish population
of more than 15 percent, to oppose the Iran nuclear deal — and from the White House and top Democrats to support it.
The DNC leader has been a fierce supporter of Israel and its chief lobby group in Washington, which oppose the deal, The Hill reports. She hasn't taken a public stand on the deal yet; a vote by Congress is due later this month.
"Balancing these needs is one of the toughest jobs for a legislative leader," Princeton political scientist Julian Zelizer tells The Hill. "There is no clear path forward. Obviously the biggest danger is alienating your constituents so much that they vote you out of office."
"You can heal wounds among party leaders, but sometimes constituents can be unforgiving," he added.
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