Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Debate Debate

The Republican presidential candidates for 2016 meet in another debate - their second - this evening, while the Democrats haven't met once.  Their first of only six debates is set for October 13.  So what's Martin O'Malley doing about it? The former Maryland (no, Martyland! :-D) governor and Baltimore mayor will be in Washington taking part in a protest in front of the Democratic National Committee headquarters to call for more debates.  He's been all over the airwaves coming right out and accusing the committee leadership of  keeping the number of debates low to help Hillary Clinton and preventing the lesser candidates - which, admittedly, includes himself - from making any considerable headway with the voters.  And he's naming names - specifically, the name of the DNC chairwoman.  Her name, of course, is Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Of course, Debbie Downer is sticking firm to having only six debates, one on the Saturday before Christmas when few if any people are likely to see it.  You might say, as they do in her home state of Florida, that she's standing her ground.
Well, Marty's standing his.
Though more debates would certainly enable O'Malley to increase his visibility, his proposal is also a double-edged sword.  With twelve debates, as O'Malley has asked for from the DNC, the chances of him making a major stumble while introducing himself to the American public would only be higher.  If Marty did stumble, he wouldn't get a second chance at a first impression.  He has to be careful of what he wishes for, so he's got a lot of guts asking for more debates, because that might actually happen (more about that in a minute). 
For several weeks, both Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley have been calling for more debates, but Debbie Wasserman Schultz, by her own prerogative and without support from her own committee members, has been resisting the call while Hillary Clinton has only said she wouldn't mind more debates (not that she expects any).  The attacks on Wasserman Schultz and Mrs. Clinton have been viewed as misogynistic, but if Bill Clinton were running for President today and Clinton confidante Lanny Davis were running the DNC and wanted only six debates, and two lesser-known female candidates named Martha O'Malley and Bernice Sanders were calling for more debates, the situation would be no different . . . and no more unfair to the candidates challenging the Clinton machine.  It's only an accident that it's Bernie and Marty against Hillary and Debbie - the boys against the girls.
Anyway, Marty may get his wish for more debates very soon.  State and national Democratic committee members are getting ticked off with Debbie's heavy-handed stewardship of the party - a stewardship that, as I've noted, has given us a Republican Senate and the largest Republican House caucus since the the 1920s.  She's feeling the pressure from everyone in the party who's not connected to Hillary.  That's a pretty big constituency.  She can't silence them much longer.      

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