This time of year, the nation's college football teams stage spring practices, and in a measure to spare quarterbacks from risk of injury, teams dress that player in a red or yellow jersey -- a visual reminder to linebackers that this one player is untouchable. When Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced last month that she had had a double mastectomy in the course of a year-long tangle with breast cancer, the media handed her a protective jersey.
And now apparently, they've taken it back. Rarely criticized in her four years in Congress, Wasserman Schultz has been hit hard by two unrelated press reports in the past week -- one suggesting she's misinformed on breast cancer, another that puts her in the pocket of a defense industry contractor.
To be fair, campaigning to increase awareness in young women about breast cancer is a righteous cause, whether science has sure-fire preventive methods or not. And a defense contractor bringing a $10 million project to her congressional district is worth far more in local jobs than whatever tiny role it might play in perpetuating the defense industry's long-term political might. In these economic conditions, who would look a gift horse in the mouth?
The negative pub is, of course, the price of Wasserman Schultz's stridency. She was a ubiquitous media presence during the national election cycle. The breast cancer story led to a big batch of articles and cable TV news appearances. In interviews, she invokes her own sports metaphor, saying that she's the type of political player who "wants the ball." Well, she got it; and she also got popped.