New DNC Chair: If It Were Up To Republicans, We’d All Drive Japanese Cars. Like I Do

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz may want to take that foot out of her mouth:

The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) appears to drive a foreign car, despite criticizing Republican presidential candidates for supposedly favoring foreign auto manufacturers.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the DNC, ripped into Republican presidential contenders who opposed President Obama’s 2009 bailouts for General Motors and Chrysler.

“If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes,” she said at a breakfast for reporters organized by The Christian Science Monitor.

But according to Florida motor vehicle records, the Wasserman Schultz household owns a 2010 Infiniti FX35, a Japanese car whose parent company is Nissan, another Japanese company. The car appears to be hers, since its license plate includes her initials.

Whoops. Now, personally, I don’t begrudge the Congresswoman the opportunity to drive a fine Japanese SUV if she wishes. But, if you’re going to toss around a criticism like the one she did, you’d better make sure it won’t come back to make you look kind of ridiculous.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    Technically, the FX35 is a “crossover” and not an SUV.

    (Trying to hold the line that an SUV can handle a dry wash.)

  2. Stan25 says:

    Another case of do as I say, not as I do

  3. wr says:

    Um, no, Stan. She’s not telling Americans they all need to drive American cars. She’s saying that if the Republicans had their way, the American auto industry would have died and no one would be able to choose to buy American. The idiocy of this phony “gotcha” is matched only by the eagerness of righties to jump on board, even though it’s meaningless.

  4. DDP says:

    Everybody gets that, wr. The point is that she doesn’t really seemed too enamored with the US auto industry itself. If she really cared for the industry, the best first step would be to put her own money and purchasing power on the line, instead of forcing taxpayers to do so. She’s the one playing the populist here.

  5. Tano says:

    How does it make DSW look ridiculous, Doug?

    She did not argue that Republicans were wrong, or bad people, because they buy Japanese cars. She criticized them for refusing to help the American car manufacturing industry avoid liquidation. She claimed, correctly, that we would all be buying foreign cars under their approach, not as a (legitimate) personal choice in a diverse marketplace, but because there would be no choice. There would be no American car industry.

    This is just lame spin – an effort by the GOP to divert attention from their own horrendous policies Its amazing that you seem to fall for this stuff so often…

  6. wr says:

    DDP, that’s absolutely absurd. The first step towards bailing out the auto industry is not one congresswoman buying one car. The industry was massively troubled and needed huge help that only the government could give. The Obama administration and the Democratically controlled congress did just that, and now GM and Chrysler are getting back up on their feet.

    But then, this is the same kind of anti-civilization idiocy that tells rich people who believe we need higher taxes on the top one percent that they should just donate some extra cash to the IRS. It’s a complete denial of the most basic elements of community and of civilization, that we all work together to build a more perfect union. The right loathes this idea — you need look no further than Doug’s dismissal of government funds to save the residents of Joplin, MO to see that.

  7. john personna says:

    Sorry guys, it is a clunker. To say “we would be driving foreign cars” with your Japanese car in the parking lot …

    you have to be a politician with a flexible view of reality (though perhaps that is redundant).

  8. Epstein's Mother says:

    Nice try on the spin, but this is hypocrisy. If she doesn’t feel that there is some kind of obligation to “drive American,” based on nationalism or something, why should we care whether everyone is driving foreign-built cars? Do we care that everyone drinks foreign-grown coffee? Do we care that everyone wears foreign-made underwear? The reason that US auto makers need a government bailout is precisely the same reason that the good chairwoman owns an Infiniti — because GM doesn’t make as good a product at as good a price. If they did, they wouldn’t need a bailout.

  9. michael reynolds says:


    That would make sense, if not for the fact that foreign automakers are already subsidized by their governments in a host of ways, starting with government health care. So what you’re saying is that our automakers — unsubsudized — have a hard time competing with subsidized foreign carmakers and therefore it’s wrong to subsidize our companies.

    I have a better idea: why don’t we have the same government-paid healthcare that exists everywhere else in the free world and then see whether our carmakers can compete?

  10. Epstein's Mother says:

    Michael, that would make sense if: (1) US auto makers actually made the cars in the United States. Many are made in Mexico (no health care) or Canada (state provided health care); and (2) foreign auto makers didn’t make cars in the United States. But they do. Except for the higher-end cars, most Nissans, Toyotas, etc. are made in the US.

    On the broader point, even if your point is correct, why should we care if foreign taxpayers want to pay for a portion of the cars we buy? Sounds like a nice deal to me.

  11. Tano says:


    f she doesn’t feel that there is some kind of obligation to “drive American,” based on nationalism or something, why should we care whether everyone is driving foreign-built cars?

    She was not concerned about people driving foreign built cars per se, she is concerned about people having no choice but to drive foreign cars, because the American industry is destroyed, with all the ramifications that has for the workers concerned, as well as our national interest.

  12. Epstein's Mother says:

    Tano, then why is she buying an Infiniti? Seems she’s much more interested in giving other people’s money to GM and Chrysler than she is her own.

    Do you feel bad that you have no choice about buying American-made coffee in the United States? American-made bananas? Or American-made low-end diodes and transistors? American-made underwear? Do you even think to seek them out? Or do you buy whatever offers you the best quality at the lowest price? And, if so, why should cars be any different?

  13. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Being the DNC Chair is like being on the top of the podium at the Special Olympics. You’re first in your particular class. But you’re still retarded.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    Being the DNC Chair is like being on the top of the podium at the Special Olympics. You’re first in your particular class. But you’re still retarded.

    I’m thinking about Michael Steele and glass houses…

  15. Absent an auto bailout we would still have Ford, which did not take any assistance. And it’s absurd to state that GM and Chrysler would have instantly vanished. They would have gone through Chapter 11, which would have given the companies a better footing going forward — for example by renegotiating the salaries paid to their workers. (Presumably it’s that last bit that makes anti-Republican commenters froth with outrage.)

  16. joejoejoe says:

    If you are going to make these arguments, walk the walk. There are cities where nobody if you run for dogcatcher you have your campaign materials printed up in an US-made union shop. It’s a rookie mistake from the head of a political party. You don’t get to stand by your “Go USA!” statement, bash the opposition AND drive a foreign car. Why open yourself up to some GOP Rep. who voted against the bailout who drives a Cadillac to call you a hypocrite and a liar?

  17. junyo says:

    “She’s saying that if the Republicans had their way, the American auto industry would have died and no one would be able to choose to buy American. ”

    Which is an idiotic point, aand has been idiotic since it was first thrown out as an excuse for the administration deciding to start picking winners. If America needs a viable automobile industry, then rewarding the existing industry for manufacturing cars that suck is counterproductive. Letting GM and Chrysler fail wouldn’t have destroyed the American auto industry; the factories, tooling and worker knowledgebase would have still been here; the factories would have been bought, workers rehired by the new companies, and the US would have still had an auto industry. Bailing out the entities of GM and Chrysler and the manner in which it was done, was as a soul kiss to the reliably Democratic voters and campaign contributors in the UAW at the expense of the rest of the country. Which is what Wasserman Schultz’s comment was designed for; pay lip service to the unwashed voting masses, but would never deign to actually spend her own money to help them.

  18. James Hare says:

    Floyd McWilliams:

    Ford supported loans for their competitors because they understood that the collapse of the automotive supply business (as a result of Chrysler and GM going into liquidation) would have had negative impacts on their business. Since they faced an opportunity to be the only American carmaker I have to believe that those “negative impacts” would have made it impossible for Ford to continue doing business.

  19. Epstein's Mother says:

    @Floyd, by that logic, wouldn’t that mean all the Japanese auto manufacturers would be going out of business as well? Or are you saying that it would be impossible for Ford to buy automotive supplies from the same suppliers that Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Daimler, etc. use?

  20. ian says:

    I’d gladly buy another American car – a Ford.

  21. SamH says:

    Many of the people commenting here, along with DWS, seem to assume that if we hadn’t bailed out the American “big three” then there would have never, ever been another American car company. In the absence of the big three (assuming lack of a bailout meant they’d disappear) wouldn’t there be a huge opportunity for another American car company to come along and take their place?

    DWS seems to believe that ensuring there’s an option of buying a car from an American company should be government policy. As E.J. Dione would say, she suffers from an “imagination deficit” in that she can’t possible conceive of any other American car company coming into existence after the collapse of the big three.