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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

 

I am Debbie. I am The Gatekeeper.

by Tom Sullivan

Whatever has possessed DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is creating a buildup of negative human emotions in her party, and it must be stopped before it produces a psychomagnotheric slime flow of immense proportions.

Who ya gonna call? Beats me.

First off, The Gatekeeper has decided in the face of dissension in her ranks that there will be only six Democratic debates. “We’re going to have six debates. Period,” Wasserman Schultz told a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in September.

By limiting the number of debates, the DNC is "ceding the discussion and attention to the Republicans," Martin O'Malley's campaign manager told Politico. Plus, it gives the appearance that the DNC is protecting front runner Hillary Clinton. If The Gatekeeper is trying hard to appear impartial (as I read somewhere), she is leaving the opposite impression. DNC vice chairs, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, have also called for more debates, and the chatter among other members is not favorable to Wasserman Schultz.

Gabbard was recently on television again calling for more debates. The Gatekeeper has since disinvited Gabbard from the Rectification of the Vuldronaii, or at least from tonight's Democratic debate in Las Vegas:

"The prevailing message of that was that because I continued to call for more debates, that I should not go to the debate in Las Vegas," the Hawaii congresswoman said. "The issue here is not about me saying, 'Boo hoo, I'm going to miss the party.' The issue here is one of democracy and freedom of speech."

The New York Times reported earlier Monday that Gabbard had received a message through her staff about her attendance at the event one day after she appeared on television calling for more Democratic debates. Bernie Sanders campaign then offered her a ticket later on Monday.

According to the Times report, Wasserman Schultz wants to keep the focus on the candidates "rather than on a 'distraction' that could divide the party." Instead, The Gatekeeper has become the distraction. Gabbard tells the Times:

“When I first came to Washington, one of the things that I was disappointed about was there’s a lot of immaturity and petty gamesmanship that goes on, and it kind of reminds me of how high school teenagers act,” Ms. Gabbard said in a telephone interview on Sunday night. She said she would watch the debate in her district in Hawaii, which elected her to her second term last year.

“It’s very dangerous when we have people in positions of leadership who use their power to try to quiet those who disagree with them,” she added. “When I signed up to be vice chair of the D.N.C., no one told me I would be relinquishing my freedom of speech and checking it at the door.”

Immaturity and petty gamesmanship? Oh, there's plenty of that.

In addition, for some reason Harvard professor and Democratic candidate Lawrence Lessig will not be on the stage in Las Vegas, Chris Hayes reported last night:

"While three of the Democratic candidates, Lincoln Chaffee, Martin O'Malley, and Lawrence Lessig all scored less than half a percent in latest national polling, only two of them get to take part tomorrow. Lessig is the only one being excluded from the debate stage." [timestamp 1:15]

As Hayes noted, it is CNN's network and they can set their own rules, even if "somewhat mysterious." Still, Lessig's exclusion seems capricious, believes Bloomberg:

Lessig may be a gadfly, but he has a base of support. In just one month, he's raised more than $1 million from 8,000 donors. Compare that with Chafee, who brought in $29,000 over the first six months of the year. Lessig has raised enough money to qualify for public matching funds -- and if the public is going to pay for his campaign, the public ought to be able to see him on the stage.

Lessig has one other qualification going for him: Unlike Sanders, he's actually a Democrat. And no matter how far-fetched his candidacy is, he's right to demand his party take a more democratic approach to the debates.

That's even weirder given The Gatekeeper's April welcome of Bernie Sanders to the race, and her more detailed explanation to insiders for why Bernie Sanders will get to be on the Democratic primary ballot:

Senator Sanders doesn’t need to change his voter registration, because he can’t.  According to the Vermont Secretary of State, Vermont does not have party registration.  (The same is true in Virginia, where Senator Webb is registered to vote.)
  • According to the DNC Rules, requirements for nomination as President or Vice President on the Democratic ticket require a candidate to do the following:
o   be registered to vote, and shall have been registered to vote in the last election for the office of President and Vice President; and
o   have “demonstrated a commitment to the goals and objectives of the Democratic Party”
  • Additionally, the DNC 2016 Convention Call says that this person should have "a record of public service, accomplishment, public writings and/or public statements affirmatively demonstrates that he or she is faithful to the interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party”
  • Given his long record as a champion for creating jobs, fighting for hard working, middle class families, and living up to the Democratic goals of equality and opportunity, and given the fact that he caucuses with Senate Democrats in good faith, Senator Sanders clearly meets those requirements.
  • Therefore, provided he meets the ballot access requirements in each state, he is eligible to seek the Democratic nomination, and we welcome Senator Sanders to the Democratic field.

That would seem to apply to Lessig, the registered Democrat. CNN, however, will not be welcoming Lawrence Lessig to the stage tonight. On the other hand, CNN has a spare podium handy just in case Gozer the Traveler should appear.