Time to Show the Chair the Door?

Which is the more competent chair? I think it’s the one on the left:

dnc chair copy

The NYT has the latest on the ongoing kerfluffle between DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other party members over the number of debates:

R.T. Rybak, the former mayor of Minneapolis and a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, on Thursday accused the party’s leader, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of making “flat-out not true” statements about another top party officer, questioned her political skills and said he had “serious questions” about her suitability for the job.

The broadside from Mr. Rybak, which came in an interview late Thursday afternoon, followed weeks of internal party dissension over the number and timing of the presidential debates it has scheduled, capped by an acrimonious public dispute over whether Ms. Wasserman Schultz had punitively barred a Democratic vice chairwoman, Tulsi Gabbard, from the first debate, held on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

The comments from Mr. Rybak, who was interested in replacing Ms. Wasserman Schultz in 2013 and who was the favored choice of some of President Obama’s aides, were notable in part because he is not known as a public complainer. But by the evening’s end, most of the other party officers issued statements strongly supporting Ms. Wasserman Schultz and calling for an end to the public rancor.

A lot of Democrats seem to dislike DWS and blame her for the party’s lousy showing in midterm elections. I don’t — I blame the idiot voters who can’t get excited about politics unless there’s the grand reality show drama of a presidential election to make them all tingly. It’s not DWS’s fault that these short-sighted mopes stay home and allow their city councils, school boards and state legislatures to be taken over by local Sarah Palin knock-offs.

That said, DWS is annoyingly chummy with the wingnut delegation from South Florida — to the point where it’s reasonable to wonder if she’d like to see them replaced with Democrats — and hasn’t exactly distinguished herself in her current gig. At the very least, a competent chair should be able to keep a lid on infighting such as the type the NYT is covering.

Regarding the number of debates, what do you think? DWS is accused of limiting it to six to stack the deck for HRC, and maybe that’s true; I honestly don’t know. But do we really need a gazillion debates? If no one can pick Martin O’Malley out of a line-up after #6, I’m not sure further debates would help.

Absent an even more public and open revolt, it seems unlikely the party will get rid of DWS just as an important election is heating up. But maybe President Hillary or President Bernie can appoint her as HUD Secretary or something so she’ll go away and someone more effective can take on the role. Not sure who that would be, but the chair pictured at left above might be a good candidate.

98 replies
  1. 1
    Keith P. says:

    One debate per candidate + 1 seems reasonable to me.

  2. 2
    guachi says:

    I would like, say, 60-90 minute debates about specific topics to highlight what the democratic party thinks are important issues and to highlight the contrast with Republicans.

  3. 3
    Barbara says:

    For the record, I think six debates is plenty, especially if they find a principled way to keep Webb and Chaffee and possibly O’Malley off the stage. However, I think DWS is not very effective in her role as the head of the DNC.

  4. 4
    guachi says:

    I can’t seem to edit my comment so I’ll add that debates about every topic under the sun end up being the same so they have a tendency to devolve into horse race nonsense.

    E.g., so-and-so said X about you, how do you respond?

  5. 5
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    Mrs. Shoemangler donated some money a few years back. Debbie is in our inbox EVERY DAY.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHOa7H5S1tQ

    I just think maybe she should give someone else a shot at the job.

  6. 6
    Mart says:

    Don’t know the right number of debates. It would have been nice to start about the same time as the loonies, so folks can hear the very real differences between the two parties. What’s it been, two months of talking heads discussing the crazy talk only…

  7. 7
    Gimlet says:

    From the worried Wingnuts

    http://www.washingtonexaminer......le/2574253

    “However, I think that we have become, unfortunately, a midterm party that doesn’t lose and a presidential party that’s had a really hard time winning,” Priebus said. “We’re seeing more and more that if you don’t hold the White House, it’s very difficult to govern in this country — especially in Washington D.C.”

    “So I think that — I do think that we’re cooked as a party for quite a while as a party if we don’t win in 2016. So I do think that it’s going to be hard to dig out of something like that,” Priebus told the Examiner. “I don’t anticipate that. I think … history is on our side” adding that the “whole big picture” looks good for the GOP in 2016.

  8. 8
    Countervail says:

    Asking if it’s time to dump Debbie Wasserman Schultz is like asking if you can make it 50 more miles to the next rest stop prairie dogging after a bad Mexican restaurant.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: Yep — I had to mark her as spam long ago, bless her heart.

    @Mart: Yeah, I’m not sure what the right strategy is on that either, but you make a good point about the crazies sucking all the oxygen out of the room.

  10. 10
    Ruckus says:

    Six is enough debates. Maybe not with 17 candidates but the good side isn’t saddled with 17 people who should never be elected for anything as important as dog catcher or higher. So six is enough. Now on to DWS. I really don’t know if she is effective in her role but lots of people seem to think not. I can’t tell if she really has a strategy or is just winging it. But as the effective manager of the party, she does seem to leave a lot to be desired. On the other hand, is there someone/anyone better?

  11. 11
    Cacti says:

    I think the number of debates is a stupid reason to get rid of DWS.

    The reason to get rid of her is her abysmal performance in midterm elections. The time to give her the boot was back in November 2014.

    But if this relatively trivial issue costs her the DNC chair, it won’t hurt my feelings.

  12. 12
    David Koch says:

    DWS is accused of limiting it to six to stack the deck for HRC, and maybe that’s true;

    I think it’s true. Not because they want Hillary to win (though they do), rather it’s because the 2007 debates were ridiculous & atrocious and they want to limit the loony questions

    It was one loaded question after another, each that were probably written by the RNC, and designed to damage Democrats.

    Here’s some questions from “liberal” MSNBC in 2007:

    BRIAN WILLIAMS (actual opening question): Senator Clinton, your party’s leader in the United States Senate, Harry Reid, recently said the war in Iraq is lost. A letter to today’s USA Today calls his comments “treasonous” and says if General Patton were alive today, Patton would wipe his boots with Senator Reid. Do you agree with the position of your leader in the Senate?

    WILLIAMS: Senator Biden, from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, what three nations, other than Iraq, represent, to you, the biggest threat to the United States?

    WILLIAMS: Senator, Rudolph Giuliani, a friend of yours from back home, said this week: Quote, “the Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.”

    Another quote: “America will be safer with a Republican president.”

    How do you think, Senator, that it happened that that notion of Republicans as protectors in a post-9/11 world has taken on so?

    WILLIAMS: Senator Gravel, your two terms in the Senate representing Alaska have sat on top of, of course, a huge reserve of oil. With the French system as the model, is the United States, in your view, woefully behind in its use of nuclear energy?

    Here’s Pumpkin Head wasting 2 minutes asking Obama if he believes in UFOs (not fucking kidding).

    This the treatment they got from “Liberal” MSNBC — it was much worse from the others.

    And look at this week, they asked Sanders about honeymooning in the Soviet Union.

    At some point you say, enough is enough, the corporate media is our enemy, not our friend, let’s have a minimum amount of debates

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cacti: The straw that broke the camel’s back?

  14. 14
    Full metal Wingnut says:

    Fuck that, HUD Sec is actually an important role. Why appoint someone who is thoroughly undistinguished as both a Representative and DNC Chair?

    Reminds me, I have no love for Andy Cuomo but he was a damn good HUD Secretary. I find the implication that HUD Sec is something to give to someone to make them go away offensive.

  15. 15
    Betty Cracker says:

    @David Koch: Rachel Maddow will be moderating one of the upcoming debates. I’m looking forward to that one.

  16. 16
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    Headline:

    Hillary Hints Julian Castro Could Be VP Pick

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelli.....pick.html#

  17. 17
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Betty Cracker: I think it would be interesting to see Rachel moderate one of the republican debates. And one of the fox news guys moderate a democratic debate.

  18. 18
    Chat Noir says:

    Early October 2014, a friend went to a political forum at the University of Chicago where DWS was a guest speaker and she told them the Dems would not lose the Senate. Also, I’m tired of the constant barrage of money-begging emails, particularly at the end of the month or quarter. I know I can unsubscribe but I feel like a turncoat if I do.

  19. 19
    srv says:

    Speaking of the whine, the Dems most qualified candiate has some:

    Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) believes that CNN stacked the odds for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday.

    “Online poll: Was the CNN #DemDebate rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton?” he tweeted Friday, referencing a Daily Caller sampling that shows 98 percent answering “yes.”

    Webb’s post follows his insistence late Thursday that CNN moderator Anderson Cooper helped the network’s coverage skew toward Clinton and Sanders.

    “I’m going to be very frank, it was rigged in terms of who was going to get the time on the floor by the way that Anderson Cooper was selecting people to supposedly respond to something someone else said,” he said during an address at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

  20. 20

    A lot of Democrats seem to dislike DWS and blame her for the party’s lousy showing in midterm elections. I don’t — I blame the idiot voters who can’t get excited about politics unless there’s the grand reality show drama of a presidential election to make them all tingly.

    I don’t think DWS is entirely to blame, but part of the job of the DNC is to get Democratic voters fired up to vote, and under her command they’ve done a piss poor job of it. Maybe nobody could have done enough to push the Democrats to victory in 2014, but better leadership could have reduced the damage.

  21. 21
    feebog says:

    I don’t have a problem with the number, but I do have a problem with the timing. One of them the weekend before Christmas? Two of them after the Primaries begin? I did like the timing of the first debate, because it showed a good contrast with the clusterfk that was the first two Republican debates. But we should be having one every two or three weeks , excepting right around the holidays.

  22. 22
    Gimlet says:

    Out from under his rock but not yet in the light of day.

    From Huff Post

    Karl Rove really has a way with words.

    “I call Bernie Sanders an elderly, dyspeptic Bilbo Baggins, appearing like he was at the British labor party meeting,” Rove said on “The O’Reilly Factor” Thursday night. “I mean this is just ridiculous,” he added, deriding the quality of the Democratic field.

  23. 23
    p.a. says:

    Didn’t she back Blue Dogs over progressives in many primaries? ELECTABILITY

  24. 24
    ruemara says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: she would win my vote with him.

    On DWS. I’m team chair. Her waffling on the nuclear deal, the less than stellar performance in 2014, shoddy efforts at building the bench. Can you say, huge disappointment? I can. We need someone more effective..

  25. 25
    JGabriel says:

    Betsy Cracker:

    DWS is accused of limiting it to six to stack the deck for HRC, and maybe that’s true; I honestly don’t know.

    I don’t know if it’s true or not, but if it’s true, then, given Clinton’s debating skills, Clinton should be the one to want her gone.

    Clinton is a very good debater, who comes off as warm and personable in her performances. The more she’s onstage, getting free media to define herself against her opponents in a setting where she excels, then the more time she gets to combat the hard, cold, shrewish caricature Fox News and its political arm, the GOP, draw of her.

    Yes, there’s the old political advice that the leader in a political contest should refrain from giving her competitors a shot at her, but Clinton’s numbers always go up afterwards. It should be a no-brainer for her to seek as many debates as are feasible without risking the public becoming tired of her – which I would judge to be about 8-10 debates for the primary campaign season up till June, then 4-6 for the general election.

  26. 26
    David Koch says:

    Ben Carson was on Jimmy Fallon the other night talking about Hitler

  27. 27
    Ruckus says:

    @Gimlet:
    So what’s karl’s idea of a good candidate? On of the nursery school children running on his side? Someone who adorns him with a catchy name that is an apt description of his entire political life?
    Karl is the pustule of modern politics.

  28. 28
    benw says:

    @Gimlet: Bilbo Baggins had more guts, smarts, and decency than every single Republican presidential candidate combined. Rove is just jealous that Bilbo had the one ring.

  29. 29
    John Revolta says:

    @David Koch: A letter to today’s USA Today

    Damn. Really? I’m so glad I missed this shitshow.

  30. 30
    Mudge says:

    I do not follow her “career” closely, but I do not remember reading anything positive about her over the years, unlike Howard Dean. Charlie said it all… http://www.esquire.com/news-po.....airperson/

  31. 31
    Mandalay says:

    Without picking on DWS in particular, it’s ridiculous to have someone in Congress as chair of the DNC. There are obvious insider benefits to that approach, but they are clearly both full time jobs, and I don’t see how you can effectively do them both at the same time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

    Of course DWS is Exhibit A to support that claim, but even if you replaced her with someone else in Congress the issue remains.

    We need someone who can focus full time on being DNC chair. And anyone thinking about applying for the job who won’t commit in advance to supporting our President at all times can GDIAF.

  32. 32
    shell says:

    A little Twitter dust-up. Jeb replies to Trump blaming Bush for 9/11

    “How pathetic for @realdonaldtrump to criticize the president for 9/11. We were attacked & my brother kept us safe,” Bush tweeted.”

    ‘Attacked’ and ‘kept us safe’. Dont those two phrases contradict each other?

  33. 33
    Nate W. says:

    Not sure who that would be, but the chair pictured at left above might be a good candidate.

    Your last sentence reminds me of one of my favorite Fry and Laurie sketches:
    https://youtu.be/U5eufYYpHwE

  34. 34
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mandalay: You make a good point about the party chair gig being a full-time job. And if current legislators weren’t eligible for the position, we wouldn’t have situations where their positions on pending issues conflict with the president’s.

  35. 35
    benw says:

    @shell: not if the attack was foiled, which it would have been if not for the cowardly betrayal of Bill Clinton and the Democrats. See? Easy!

  36. 36
    Skippy-san says:

    She should have been canned after 2014 elections.

  37. 37
    geg6 says:

    DWS is annoyingly chummy with the wingnut delegation from South Florida — to the point where it’s reasonable to wonder if she’d like to see them replaced with Democrats

    “Annoyingly chummy” is the mildest possible terminology you could possibly use here. She has been the equivalent of a traitor when it comes to Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart. I was originally happy to have a woman chairing the party, but fuck her.

    Regarding the number of debates, what do you think?

    Regardless of what I said above, six debates is fine. I don’t understand the bitching for more. Do they really think more debates will suddenly make Lincoln Chafee a viable candidate? IRL, all the bitching I’ve heard about this seems to come from the craziest Sanders supporters (who creepily remind me of a lot of Paul supporters I’ve known). I’m not sure why they think this will help him win the nomination. But I don’t understand a lot of their grievances.

  38. 38
    Gimlet says:

    From Charles Pierce

    http://www.esquire.com/news-po.....airperson/

    There is no greater mystery in politics right now than the continued employment of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.

    Despite her constant presence in the nation’s Green Rooms, I’m damned if I can see what she’s accomplished as a national chairperson. She’s presided over a catastrophic midterm election cycle that produced the worst Congress in the recent history of the Republic. And now, on at least two occasions in the past year, DWS has gone out of her way to break with the president on important foreign policy initiatives. First, she took a dive on the opening the president made with Cuba, because she is from Florida and very frightened. And now, it appears she has decided to play shenanigans with the Iran nuclear deal, both as a congresscritter and, worse, as DNC chairperson.

    Back in 2008, when she was running the DNC’s “Red to Blue” project, she famously abstained from supporting three Democratic challengers to incumbent Republicans – the Diaz-Balart brothers and the ever-insufferable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen –friend to terrorists who blow up passenger jets – because she was friends with all three of them.

    “I can’t say enough good things about Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; she has been my friend since I was first elected to office,” Wasserman Schultz said

    And this is not to mention the long history that DWS has with the Fanjul family, the premier sugar dynasty in Florida, or her longtime support from the private prison industry. I mean, seriously, what has this person done to benefit the Democratic party since she took the job in 2011?

  39. 39
    NonyNony says:

    @Mart:

    Don’t know the right number of debates. It would have been nice to start about the same time as the loonies, so folks can hear the very real differences between the two parties. What’s it been, two months of talking heads discussing the crazy talk only…

    Two months of crazy talk during the “silly season” of August when nobody cares and the back-to-school season of September when most people who aren’t political junkies don’t pay attention to politics.

    Bush & Co have had to spend a whole lot of loot because they started so early – I think that the early start by the RNC (and, honestly, Trump) in the summer pretty much killed Walker dead because he had to spend so fiercely to keep up. I think Perry also lasted a bit shorter than he would have had the RNC waited a bit and had Trump not essentially started the primary season in July. And for what? The first bits of voting still aren’t going to happen until February. The only people who have benefited are the local tv stations selling ad time to Republican candidates.

    Political campaigns probably shouldn’t actually start until November of the year before the election, but if they have to start sooner, October isn’t as bad as July. At least people aren’t as distracted by summer plans and sunlight and might be willing to think a bit about the gawdawful depressing election season that is impending.[*]

    [*] Note: I live in Ohio. Every effing election season here is gawdawful. Network TV becomes unwatchable and even the radio can sometimes ambush you with some horrible tone-deaf campaign ad if you aren’t careful.

  40. 40
    Gimlet says:

    @benw:

    Bill diabolically used reverse psychology on Dubya and Cheney. He warned them of an impending attack.

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: Have thought for a while now he’d be either the most obvious or among the finalists for her VP nod. Not being from San Antonio nor a follower of HUD, I’ve not paid close attention to his on-the-job performance, but his background and overall persona seem to be plusses, and of course he’d effectively counter Rubio’s vote-getting potential should li’l Marco get the Republican nod.

    He and Hillary were just at an event in SA, yes?

  42. 42
    Renie says:

    I think six debates is enough especially if the moderators keep asking ridiculous questions. I also agree the DNC Chair should not be a member of Congress. I would like to see someone, and perhaps this is the position, speak out on behalf of the party more often. We need someone to balance the b.s. the Republicans say. And the Chair should always be behind the President and the party’s platform. This can’t always be done if the Chair is in Congress and disagrees with the President for whatever reason. We need someone to show we are united.

  43. 43
    kped says:

    @guachi: Canada does this for the debates, having focused debates on the economy, foreign policy, etc. Works much better as things stay organized.

    But honestly, I won’t comment on her other performance issues, I’ll just say, 6 debates is plenty. What could possibly change from debate 6 to say debate 10? With such a small number of candidates, it’s just going to be repetitive. Honestly, 6 even seems excessive for me. Just another thing for certain people to cry foul over.

    Really, is the 7th debate the one where Bernie takes the gloves off and goes Benghazi truther and destroys Hillary? By that debate, Webb and Chaffee will be gone, who knows how long O’Malley sticks around for. With 6 debates, everyone who cares will know each of the candidates.

  44. 44
    Mandalay says:

    Regarding the number of debates…do we really need a gazillion debates?

    I don’t think the issue was the actual decision as much as the manner in which the decision was reached and conveyed. Folks understandably got offended by DWS presenting a fait accompli, and effectively telling objectors: that’s my decision, that’s the way it going to be, and if you don’t like it go pound sand.

    But what really offended me was DWS saying she wanted to avoid too many debates so that it didn’t become “labor intensive” for the candidates.

    WTF??? You are being interviewed for (arguably) the most important job in the world, and she doesn’t want to unduly burden the candidates? Bernie doesn’t even bother with rehearsing for debates, and AFAIK the rest of the candidates don’t work. There may be valid reasons to limit the number of debates, but concerns about the labor intensive preparation needed sure isn’t one of them. If you truly need a lot of time to prepare for the debates then you are automatically unqualified.

  45. 45
    NonyNony says:

    @geg6:

    I’m not sure why they [Sanders supporters] think this will help him [Sanders] win the nomination. But I don’t understand a lot of their grievances.

    I don’t get it either. I could maybe sorta understand it if the first debate made him look like a buffoon and they wanted more opportunity for do-overs, but it didn’t. He came across as fine, but he’s not going to come across any differently after debate 9 than he will after debate 6, so why try to get more debates?

    I guess that there’s the “free TV time” that debates give you, but honestly having to put up with snots like Anderson Cooper pretending to be a serious journalist and asking inane questions probably makes spending some campaign money to just buy a half hour of TV a la Ross Perot look good…

  46. 46
    gvg says:

    I don’t think the number of debates is the issue.

    Notice it said she punitively barred a Democratic vice chairwoman, Tulsi Gabbard, from the first debate, held on Tuesday in Las Vegas. I think that means she is spiteful to her own team. That seems like a more substantial accusation to me. She is also accused of lying by other Democrats.

    This is what started my dislike of her, from wiki “Wasserman Schultz was also named a co-chair of the Democratic Party’s Red to Blue congressional campaign group.[33] Controversy arose in March 2008 when she announced that she would be unable to campaign against South Florida Republican representatives Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen because of her good friendship with them”

    The DNC chair won’t help campaign against Republicans who are her friends….bet the friends don’t have the same respect.

    We haven’t done that well in elections under her so, I don’t want her. Apparently she is a good fundraiser but she can fund raise but not be the chair please.

  47. 47
    trollhattan says:

    DWS was on some show, maybe TDS, a year ago or so spouting nonsense about not opening up Cuba “as long as they have political prisoners.” She literally had me wondering which party she belonged to.

  48. 48
    geg6 says:

    @NonyNony:

    From what I’ve read over the years, there are few instances of debates actually changing the trajectory of a campaign. If any, despite all the tales of such. Hell, Lincoln lost to Douglas.

  49. 49
    Bobby Thomson says:

    The best argument I’ve seen for more debates is that it’s free media. I think the real reason for 6 debates was to avoid an appearance of favoritism other than dissing Fox. (Do you stay with multiples of 6? Otherwise, which networks get shorted?). Putting them on when they wouldn’t be watched, though? That’s cheap chicanery.

  50. 50
    ThresherK (GPad) says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: There’s nobody I’d want to see do this from Fox.

    After the Charlie Gibson / George Snuffleupagus disaster of 08 (for ABC, not for the Dems), even the mainstream press had articles like “It’s official: The big loser in the debate was ABC”.

    Bernard Shaw made the biggest impression of 08 by asking a patently unfair question couched in R framing to a Dem.

    It is a Dems-only risk that our side has to plan for. Every 4 fcking years, somehow there is a little Fox News threatening to pop out of almost every moderator from the “middle”.

    “Please proceed, Governor” is a punchline not just because PBO TKOed Romney, but because that one-sided match had a referee who did some refereeing, telling Romney “You’re wrong” in real time, not as one of a hundred voices on a TV after the debate was over.

    I like a parlor game, though. I’m interested in which Foxxer is the equivalent of Rachel, and which actual liberal journo won’t make the Right lose their shut in the way they did for Gwen Ifill.

  51. 51
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Cacti: the reason to boot her is that she was caught in a clumsy, easily disproven lie. And that she’s just bad on every metric.

  52. 52
    jayjaybear says:

    It’s the friendship and subsequent surrender to her friends in south Florida that have made her completely unappealing to me as DNC chair. I don’t care if you’re freaking MARRIED to a person in the other party, you CAMPAIGN against them when the time comes, because it’s your FREAKING JOB!

  53. 53
    gene108 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Rachel Maddow will be moderating one of the upcoming debates. I’m looking forward to that one.

    I’m not.

    I think she’ll throw out her fair share of loaded questions, but how the USA sucks and we should become like those Nordic countries, where everything is perfect, rather than focusing on what Democrats can do in the USA to make things better for people.

  54. 54
    Betty Cracker says:

    @trollhattan: Thankfully the Cuban exile influence on US foreign policy issues has shrunk to South Florida only. I’m old enough to remember when the whole goddamned country was in thrall to it, Democrats and Republicans alike, to some extent. PBO gets a lot of credit in my book for finally changing that.

    If the general election does come down to Clinton vs. Rubio, I hope she hammers him with his Cold War-era views on Cuba at every turn. I’m still hoping Jebbie manages to float over the primary finish line on a tsunami of cash because he would be the perfect foil for HRC. But I see plenty of ways Clinton could turn Rubio’s “new generation” proposition upside down; he might be in his 40s, but he’s from the ’50s.

  55. 55
    mtiffany says:

    @guachi:

    I would like, say, 60-90 minute debates about specific topics to highlight what the democratic party thinks are important issues and to highlight the contrast with Republicans.

    Debates about specific topics? A whole 90 minutes devoted to energy policy? Then we would have to have two other debates: one for the intersection of energy policy and infrastructure, and another about the intersection of energy policy and security. But then we’d have to have another about the impact of energy policy on climate change, because climate change has knock-on effects with infrastructure and security… You’re asking politicians and people to think deeply about things… who’s got time for that? Bring on the Kardashians!

  56. 56
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @shell: the shameful thing about Trump’s comments is he appears to have confused Sandy Hook with Hurricane Sandy. (There is a Sandy Hook in NJ.)

  57. 57
    Poopyman says:

    I haven’t given a nickel to the DNC since the Howard Dean days. All my monies go to individual candidates directly or via ActBlue.

    I agree that part of her job is voter turnout, and in every instance I can think of she’s backed the corporate candidate at the expense of the progressive one. Time for her to MoveOn.

  58. 58
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker: Being on the other coast I know two Cubans, total, and Latinos of many, many other backgrounds, and not even the Cubans are particularly wild about Rubio. Whatever de facto pull that strategists think he might have with the Latino vote seems like a whole lot of wishful thinking. That his party is vigorously doing all they can to squash the Latino vote (et al) makes the notion even sadder.

  59. 59
    Mandalay says:

    @trollhattan:

    She literally had me wondering which party she belonged to.

    She’s a DINO. Excluding her genuine commitment to women’s rights DWS is more closely aligned with Republicans than Democrats on many issues, including Israel, Cuba, Iran and marijuana.

    As a politician she is free to believe and say whatever she wants, but that is not true for the chair of the DNC. She needs to go.

  60. 60
    nominus says:

    6 is too many – by the time we get to debate #6, not only will Webb et al be pointless, but I imagine there isn’t going to be anything new to talk about by that point. Bernie and Hillary will agree on a lot, and what the differ on will not change from one debate to the next. 6 debates for the general election would be better, give the Dems a chance to keep beating up on the Grand Old Pharisees.

  61. 61
    trollhattan says:

    @ThresherK (GPad):
    I forgot about Candy Crowley school-marming Mittens on his li…untruths. It was beautiful and she elevated herself forever in my estimation.

    Also vividly recall Falin absolutely perplexing Gwen Ifill by telling her to stuff her “liberal gotchas” and instead, spewing a melange of memorized talking points in response to each. One of the Republic’s lowest moments.

  62. 62
    Redshift says:

    @srv: I got a whiny email from Jim Webb yesterday. (I’m on his email list from when he was running for senator.)

    He whined about how the debate was “rigged” because he didn’t get equal time to talk, citing such things as placing second in online polls from MSNBC and Drudge(!)

    You know what, senator? I’m sympathetic to longshot candidates, but you don’t earn equal time just by filing your paperwork, you have to actually have a campaign. I’ve gotten a grand total of nine emails from your campaign over the past year. There have been routine fundraising requests and generic volunteer recruitment, plus announcements of the campaign and filing the paperwork. There have been precisely none mentioning any campaign events I might attend or listen in on. (One made vague past-tense references to traveling the country and meeting with people.)

    It’s fine to run a campaign just to raise some issues, but don’t act hurt when a party that’s working hard to elect a president declines to donate its platform to your message. If you’re not actually trying to get elected, you’re not entitled to a place on the stage so you can “have a conversation” and criticize the people who actually are.

  63. 63
    Peale says:

    When DWS took the position, she had like one great performance on Maddow or some other show where she looked like she was ready to argue with the RWNJ lunacy and try to do something about that. I think she hasn’t lived up to that promise. Just like I don’t think Reince Priebus should still have his job after 2012, I don’t know why she still has hers after 2014. It’s too late now since the primaries are starting a few months, but she needs to be gone by 2016. I know it’s difficult to change voter behavior overnight at mid-terms, but I don’t get the sense that Democrats have done enough to change any of that except maybe hoping that angry white voters won’t show up.

    On the debate thing…there are too many of them and we’re fortunate to have fewer. When the press is stacked like it is, I do expect someone to eventually ask O’Malley what his opinion is on Khloe Kardashian. I wish one of the debates were in Jeopardy format. Maybe the underfunded candidates can get some funding that way.

  64. 64
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mandalay: I don’t think it’s fair to call her a DINO. She’s a bog-standard Democrat on most issues — good on gun control, immigration, stimulus, trade, civil rights, energy, etc., etc. But yeah, I’d like to see her focus on her district and let someone else chair the DNC.

  65. 65
    Arm The Homeless says:

    What, exactly, are her accomplishments, either in the Congress or as DNC chair?

    The real question is whether one of her underlings has the capabilities to do the job if she is fired. If not, I prefer to stick with the horse you know so you aren’t switching devils midstream.

  66. 66

    @Betty Cracker:

    Thankfully the Cuban exile influence on US foreign policy issues has shrunk to South Florida only.

    Until one of those people from South Florida gets a sufficiently important position- chair of the DNC, for example- and starts doing things nationally because of their very parochial viewpoint.

  67. 67
    tom says:

    I think 6 debates (plus the forum with Rachel Maddow) is plenty, with so few candidates they get more than enough air time and 2 of those candidates will likely drop out before the mid-way point in the debate calendar.

  68. 68
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Arm The Homeless: True. You don’t want to switch horsemen mid-apocalypse.

  69. 69
    benw says:

    @Gimlet:

    Bill diabolically used reverse psychology on Dubya and Cheney

    I think that only works on people with some kind of functional ability to draw a conclusion about something… so yeah, on Cheney.

  70. 70
    bystander says:

    @shell: The NY Times is front paging Trump’s comments about Jr and 9/11.

    “He was president, O.K.?,” Mr. Trump said. “The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”

    This makes me think Trump is doing this at the behest of Hillary. Also, loving the word choice of “reign”.

  71. 71
    sacrablue says:

    @gene108: I don’t think Rachael is moderating one of the six debates. She is moderating a candidate forum that is in addition to the six debates. I believe there will be other forums, as well.

  72. 72
    bystander says:

    I’m of the mind that Debbie’s Jericurl-do alone disqualifies her from chairing the DNC.

  73. 73

    @shell:
    ¿Jeb? is once again proving that W was the (comparatively) smart one. W at least has enough sense not to flaunt his stupidity on Twitter.

  74. 74
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    If I weren’t 99% positive that he would flame-out within a year, I would like to see Alan Grayson try to run the DNC.

    I would need to see it tried on a small island as a test-case before, though.

  75. 75
    benw says:

    @Betty Cracker: LOL. “You picked Pestilence and I don’t care if it smells bad and you think War is cooler you can’t switch now!”

    @bystander:
    2000-2008 King Bush
    2008-2016 Kenyan Muslim Terrorist Usurper
    2016-? King Trump
    Sounds about right.

  76. 76
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Ruckus: I don’t know if 6 is the right number, but agreed that a debate with eleventy-seven people is stupid.

    Let’s see… Wikipedia:

    October 13, 2015 – Las Vegas, Nevada
    November 14, 2015 – Des Moines, Iowa
    December 19, 2015 – Manchester, New Hampshire
    January 17, 2016 – Charleston, South Carolina
    February/March 2016 – Miami, Florida
    February/March 2016 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    That’s it? No debates after February/March? (SuperTuesday is March 1; OH, FL, IL, MO are March 15; NY is April 19; CA is June 7)

    That debate schedule seems compressed to me, especially if the last debate is in February.

    The Lincoln-Douglas Debates were sensible for 2 people:

    Lincoln and Douglas agreed to debate in seven of the nine Illinois Congressional Districts; the seven where Douglas had not already spoken. In each debate either Douglas or Lincoln would open with an hour address. The other would then speak for an hour and a half. The first then had 30 minutes of rebuttal. In the seven debates, Douglas, as the incumbent, was allowed to go first four times.

    Nobody is well served by the current format that forces people to discuss complicated topics in 2-5 sentences (if that). I’d think that a format where the people could speak for 10 minutes, then ask each other questions with, say, 5 minutes for an answer and 5 minutes for a rebuttal, would be more informative. But, yeah, who cares what the viewers think. ;-)

    Whether DWS should go, I dunno. I do get a little queasy when people jump on women who are under-represented in positions of power. What power does DWS or any chair of the DNC have, anyway? Was Tim Kaine a great chair of the DNC? If so, what did he do?

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  77. 77
    gene108 says:

    @sacrablue:

    I don’t think Rachael is moderating one of the six debates. She is moderating a candidate forum that is in addition to the six debates. I believe there will be other forums, as well.

    My point still stands.

    There’s a streak in liberal commentators, as few as they are, to show they are independent thinkers and not shills for the Democratic Party, in which they go out of their way to find flaws with Democrats or the Democratic Party’s positions.

    I just get the feeling Maddow will want her “gotcha” moment and spring some loaded question at Democrats.

  78. 78
    jl says:

    Main thing I disagree with Lady Cracker about is:

    ” A lot of Democrats seem to dislike DWS and blame her for the party’s lousy showing in midterm elections. I don’t-I blame the idiot voters who can’t get excited about politics ”

    It has long been known that low Democratic turnout is a problem in midterm and off-year elections. So, it is the job of party functionaries to fix it. If it is true that DWS did not do a good job at increasing turnout, she failed one of her important job responsibilities and should go.

    Below is the schedule of debates. I think a debate once a month is enough. I think there should be a few more for late primaries if contest is not decided after March, but it is not a critical issues. Political junkies will watch or read up on all of them, but typical voter might only watch one before their state’s primary vote or caucus, and that is a consideration. Plus, it is free media. I trust both HRC and (especially) Sanders to smashmouth any BS from the moderators.

    Democratic Debate Schedule (2016 Primary Debates)
    http://www.uspresidentialelect.....-schedule/

    I do agree with commenter above that a series of unfocused debates is not as good as having some devoted to broad subject areas (like foreign policy, social policy, economics, etc), and with some structure to the debate. Would be good to ge them down to HRC and Sanders as quickly as possible, since those two only ones who actually say anything of interest. At least get rid of Chafee and Webbb.

  79. 79
    jl says:

    @sacrablue: I guess the DNC ban on additional debates is more show than substance, since the debates are more like forums than debates anyway, after qualified third parties like League of Women Voters were kicked out of the process.

  80. 80
    low-tech cyclist says:

    A lot of Democrats seem to dislike DWS and blame her for the party’s lousy showing in midterm elections. I don’t — I blame the idiot voters who can’t get excited about politics unless there’s the grand reality show drama of a presidential election to make them all tingly. It’s not DWS’s fault that these short-sighted mopes stay home and allow their city councils, school boards and state legislatures to be taken over by local Sarah Palin knock-offs.

    I hate to have to bang on this drum yet again, but I want the crazies on the other side to be the ones complaining that our problem is a sucky electorate. Because that’s always a losing game.

    But for the most part, they’re not complaining about the electorate. They’re out there, organizing to put disgusting people on local school boards and into the state legislature. Too often, they’re showing up and we’re not, or are only sorta showing up.

    We can’t blame that on the electorate, but DWS is actually part of the reason this is happening. While in that same position a decade ago, Howard Dean was executing his 50-state strategy, and in 2006, we took back a majority of state legislatures, and (while retaking Congress) only left 10 House seats uncontested.

    So the DNC chair can do a lot to make the Democratic Party competitive in state and local races. DWS isn’t doing it.

    I don’t give a good goddamn about the number of debates, but this is important. Crucial, perhaps.

  81. 81
    sacrablue says:

    @gene108: I agree with you. Maddow will likely ask questions on topics that the candidates haven’t already covered. Also, she might actually listen to their answers and come back with relevant follow-up questions.

  82. 82
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @low-tech cyclist: The 2006 election had way more to do with what was going on in Iraq, and the Bush Social Security privatization push, than anything done at the DNC level… The 50-state strategy was a very mixed bag in practice, as inter alios, Kay here can tell you.

  83. 83
    Lawrence says:

    Somebody is responsible for the fact that when I go to vote in district AZ6 there’s always Republicans running unopposed.

  84. 84
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t think it’s fair to call her a DINO

    There are about 20-30 reps, and maybe 10 senators, maybe, who aren’t DINO’s.

    Strangely enough, the other party has an exactly symmetrical problem.

  85. 85
    Mandalay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t think it’s fair to call her a DINO

    I don’t mean it in the the sense that she is really a Republican, I mean it in the sense that she is not really a Democrat. She’s like Webb in that her policy positions are all over the place.

    And time after time she has been at odds with the party in one way or another. She’s clashed with the President over Iran and Cuba. She ditched Clinton to back Obama in the 2008 campaign. She cozies up with her Republican buddies in South Florida. She’s frequently a disaster in the media. And right now two vice chairs of the DNC are publicly accusing her of lying.

    She’s a ton of trouble, and a pain in the ass. The Democratic Party, and especially the DNC, would be better off without her.

  86. 86
    johnnybuck says:

    I don’t think DWS can actually be fired, but I have no problem with the amount of debates. I think it’s mostly Sanders people and O’Malley working the refs. It’s embarrassing that The DNC are openly squabbling like a bunch of High Schoolers.

  87. 87
    Patrick says:

    @Mandalay:

    She ditched Clinton to back Obama in the 2008 campaign.

    Are you sure about this? I thought she was an avid Clinton supporter in 2008. As I recall, she only supported Obama once the primaries were over.

  88. 88
    djchefron says:

    People want her gone because of debates? I wish there was this much energy when with Steve Israel their combined idiocy cost us house seats in 2 cycles because they are friends with some of the American Taliban. Give me a break

  89. 89
    Mandalay says:

    I thought she was an avid Clinton supporter in 2008. As I recall, she only supported Obama once the primaries were over.

    Almost, but not quite; she decided to support the Obama campaign before the primaries were over.

    DWS was a rat on Clinton’s sinking ship, and she let the Obama campaign know that her talents were available. In recognition of this generous offer the Obama campaign happily informed the Clinton campaign about DWS’s treachery….

    In the rough final weeks of the primaries, when the Obama campaign was looking for every pressure point to force Clinton to quit, Wasserman Schultz gave them one.

    Wasserman Schultz reached out to the Obama campaign to let them know she knew Clinton’s campaign was over, even though it would take a few more weeks. And she wanted them to know she was ready to be there for Obama as soon as it was. Through back channels, according to people connected to the discussions, Obama aides promptly let Clinton aides know that one of her last allies was backing away.

    With friends like DWS you don’t need enemies.

  90. 90
    piratedan says:

    @Lawrence: BINGO….there should be somebody drafted to run. If the DNC has to front the costs of the campaign, so be it, but there shouldn’t be any GOP seat held without someone challenging for it.

  91. 91
    Patrick says:

    @Mandalay:

    Interesting article. Here is this nugget:

    The White House is staring at two years of life under a GOP-controlled House and Senate. The DNC chair, however, isn’t involved in the strategy talks with the president. They don’t want her there. For even the occasional Obama briefing by the heads of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, she is not invited. That includes a key session on July 31, the last day the House was in town before the August recess, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), DCCC Chair Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and DCCC executive director Kelly Ward sat on the couches in the Oval Office running through the political landscape for the president.

  92. 92
    Doug Patrick says:

    A couple of months ago, I really wanted to send DWS an email and tell her what I though on a subject of concern to me. After all, she was the head of the DNC. I searched the DNC site and found many ways to email the DNC, but nothing that promised to go specifically to old Debbie. I called them and they said to ATTN: DWS in the subject line and email the DNC and she would get it. Right! I went to her House/election/official web site and there was the email contact info. I typed my email, added my info, clicked submit, and it refused to deliver because the zip code I had entered as home was not in her district. In short, the woman doesn’t want to hear from me and doesn’t care if I know it or not. I guess she is soooo much better than me. DWS, Steve Israel, and Chuck Schumer can all go to hell. Not because of their religion, but because they are elitist, stuck up self important, closed minded conservatives.

  93. 93
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Doug Patrick: That´s maddening that you could email her, but I think all reps have the ZIP code restriction dealio on their official congressional sites. Still, she should have an address at the DNC…

  94. 94
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Doug Patrick: Every Congress person is like that. It’s sort-of understandable since they get so much (e)mail. If you want to contact her in her DNC persona, use the DNC address.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  95. 95
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Betty Cracker: Jinx.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  96. 96
    Thoughtful Today says:

    “Time to Show the Chair the Door?”

    The ~26 Democratic debates through 2007-8 helped the Democratic Party. If Hillary had won the Primary those debates would have helped her just as I believe they helped Barack in the General Election.

    But there’s clearly a belief by Hillary partisans like Debbie that those debates hurt Hillary in the Primary election.

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz is willing to hurt the Democratic Party in order to help Hillary Clinton.

    That Hillary is willing to go along with this charade is … yeah, you can guess how I feel about that.

  97. 97
    lol says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    Good god. Dean was a good chair but the vast majority of the people online who continue to suck his dick couldn’t actually explain what changed at the DNC when Obama took office.

    @piratedan:

    The problem is that it’s really hard to find people who are willing to put in the actual work of running for office. The DNC “fronting” the money for them at the start is just going to be a complete waste if they’re not willing to commit. And if they are willing to commit, they won’t need the DNC’s money to start up.

  98. 98
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @lol:

    Good god. Dean was a good chair but the vast majority of the people online who continue to suck his dick couldn’t actually explain what changed at the DNC when Obama took office.

    Rahm Goddamnuel dumped Howard Dean, the 50-state strategy was abandoned, and as Kay here has mentioned on various occasions, resources for local organizing dried right up.

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