“We Are the Democratic Party, Not the Undemocratic Party.”
Martin O’Malley decided to state the obvious by pointing out that the muckety-mucks in the Democratic party are rigging the primary and caucus process in order to help Hillary Clinton–a flawed presidential candidate if ever there was one–to get the Democratic presidential nomination. I am sure that O’Malley’s speech–delivered while Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was in attendance–didn’t win him many friends among Democratic party muckety-mucks. But someone had to make the points that O’Malley made–notwithstanding the fact that anyone even remotely familiar with politics already knew the truth of what O’Malley was saying:
What began as a routine forum of candidate speeches evolved into a surprisingly dramatic day at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley issued thinly veiled attacks on Clinton and the party leadership.
Speaking from the dais, with DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz sitting a few feet away, O’Malley blasted the party’s limited number of sanctioned debates as a process “rigged” in favor of the front-runner. The DNC is holding six debates, only four before February’s first caucuses in Iowa, which O’Malley argued is a disadvantage for all the candidates and a disservice to Democrats generally.
“This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before,” said O’Malley, who has struggled to gain traction in the polls. He added: “We are the Democratic Party, not the undemocratic party.”
Sanders — who later told reporters he agreed with O’Malley — lamented low Democratic turnout in last year’s midterm elections and said the party must grow beyond “politics as usual” if it hopes to produce the level of voter enthusiasm required to retain the White House in 2016.
“We need a movement which takes on the economic and political establishment, not one which is part of that establishment,” said Sanders, who is an independent but caucuses with Democrats in the Senate.
Asked later whether he was speaking specifically about Clinton, he told reporters, “I’ll let you use your imagination on that.”
Despite public objections from O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who have called for more debates, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has sanctioned six debates, only four before next February’s Iowa caucuses.
O’Malley, speaking from the DNC dais with Wasserman-Schultz sitting a few feet to his left, slammed what he called a “cynical move to delay or limit our own party debates.”
“Who’s decree is this exactly? Where did it come from? To what end or purpose?” O’Malley asked. He added, “We put our forward-thinking ideas on the back-burner as if we’re trying to hide them from the airwaves.”
While Mr. O’Malley never named the party’s chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, his remarks about the debates were clearly aimed at her — and she sat looking grim throughout, barely clapping, and appeared angry when she shook his hand once he finished.
He did not name Mrs. Clinton in his speech, either, but Mr. O’Malley was asked afterward if he thought the debate schedule had been arranged for her benefit. “Yes, I think so. Don’t you?” he replied.
Yes. Actually, I do. And who could possibly disagree?
I remember when Democrats prided themselves on embracing vigorous debate and discussion, and looked down their noses at Republicans for supposedly being epistemically closed. Such displays of contempt were not all that credible before. They are even less credible now.
Originally published at pejmanyousefzadeh.net on August 29, 2015.