Martin O’Malley may not be on his way to the White House (or the Democrat nomination for that matter) but he’s at least proving useful in fomenting dissent among the progressive ranks. At the big DNC meeting in Minneapolis he took to the stage to launch an attack not on Donald Trump… not on his primary rival Hillary Clinton… but on Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. One of his chief complaints has to do with the debate format, which many are seeing as a way for DWS to establish a smooth glide path for Clinton to win the nomination. We’ve heard plenty of complaints about the RNC debate schedule, but the Democrat set-up is even more strange. They’re having either four or six (there still seems to be some confusion over that part) but the first one won’t take place until well into autumn, so O’Malley is smelling a rat. (Washington Times)
“They malign our president’s record of achievement, they denigrate women and immigrant families. They doubled down, on trickle down, and they tell their false stories,” he said. “And, we respond — with crickets, tumbleweeds, a cynical move to delay and limit our own party debates.”
He questioned what was becoming of the Democratic Party and the way it selects its presidential nominee…
Ms. Wasserman Schultz also has threatened that any candidate or media outlet that participates in debates outside the official schedule will be banned from the remainder of the party-sanctioned debates in 2016.
The rumor mill has it that party leaders have been bending DWS’s ear over this from the start, though it was generally taking place behind closed doors. But O’Malley jumped out on a very public stage and said what many of the attendees were apparently thinking… he accused her of rigging the system in Hillary’s favor and he didn’t mince his words.
“Four debates. Four debates?” Mr. O’Malley asked with incredulity. “Four debates, and four debates only we are told, not asked before the voters in our earliest states make their decision. This is totally unprecedented in our party history. This sort of rigged process this has never been attempted before.”
Politics makes for strange bedfellows and the pairing of Wasserman-Schultz with Clinton is an odd one indeed. (Yeah… that’s probably an image you didn’t need on Sunday morning. Sorry.) There’s supposedly been a lot of friction between the two ever since 2007 when DWS jumped ship on the inevitable first female president in favor of the inevitable first black president. She may be making up for lost time now by trying to clear the road for Hillary. Unfortunately, with all of Clinton’s scandal issues, there isn’t much to be done for her aside from minimizing the damage. That seems to be the strategy in holding off on the debates for so long and limiting their number and scope. Hillary is obviously the one with the most to lose if she’s dragged onto a stage for a debate with people trying to bring her down. It’s hard enough to get the Democrat frontrunner to take two questions from the press as it is… she obviously doesn’t want to spend 90 minutes on a stage during a live event getting teed up like the Best Target Evah.
But the complaints over the format aren’t strictly coming as a way to “keep things fair” or to help out O’Malley. Just this week there were reports surfacing that Democrat power brokers have been getting more and more nervous about Clinton and whether or not she can go the distance without imploding. They’re still saying they like her, but do they like her like her? If they could get her out on a stage with not only Sanders but possibly Biden, the party might either get rid of a problem (in the form of a scandal plagued potential nominee) or give her a chance to see if she can take the heat and go on to win.
Will Debbie Wasserman-Schultz relent and open up the process a bit? There’s no sign of it yet. Frankly, I’m not even sure which I’d prefer at this point. The longer they wait the more water the S.S. Hillary will probably take on. But seeing her getting knocked around by Sanders and Biden next month would be entertaining as all get out.