Last Tuesday's first-of-the-season Democratic Debate is over and slowly making its way into the footnotes of this year's annals of U.S. political history. The big media outlets are generally agreed that Hillary won it, but small contributors still persisted in sending their danged ol' money to Bernie. The actual results therefore, like most things attempted by the Democratic Party, are seen by many as a mixed bag. Hillary whipped the big boys into line, and Bernie maintained a firm hold on his populist base.
The big news around the debate, however, wasn't the results, but the set-up of the circus. And most of the commentary (at least the angry commentary) didn't focus on the candidates, but centered instead on the party's chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic congressman out of Florida.
Wasserman Schultz, a former co-chair of Hillary's 2008 campaign, angered much of the national committee when she summarily announced in May of this year that the Democrats would only have six debates this election cycle instead of eight or more as preferred by a large portion of the party. Political wags, who are great in number in the Democratic Party, began to angrily associate the decision of Wasserman Schultz to limit the number of debates to the strong desire of the Clinton campaign to do the same thing. Then, when Ol' Debs further announced that only four debates would be held before the Iowa caucuses, the hanging chads really hit the fan.
Wasserman Schultz, it seems, made those decisions totally on her own without any input from her vice-chairs or others in the party hierarchy. She then went before the entire Democratic National Committee and announced it as a fait accompli.
Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic congressman from Hawaii and also one of the five vice-chairs of the Democratic National Committee, set the party to rocking this week when she poke out loudly in favor of increasing the number of debates. Wasserman Schultz let her tyrannical and autocratic roots show when she fired back at her errant vice-chair and accused her of trying to take attention away from the candidates. Gabbard rebutted with a statement to the effect that Wasserman Shcultz had told her she was not welcome to attend the debate in Las Vegas, and the chairwoman fired back saying that was a lie and that she had simply suggested that Congressman Gabbard might not be comfortable there and would be taking much-needed attention away from the candidates. Gabbard re-countered that Debs was a liar, but she avoided fisticuffs with the strong-willed chair by staying in Hawaii and watching the debate on television.
Flying feces aside, it does sound like the Democratic Party has lost sight of the democratic process. We aren't the Republican Party - and we should not try to act like we are. If Debbie Wasserman Schultz has strong ties to one of the candidates - or if she can't lead by consensus rather than autocratic gestapo rule, then it is time for her to turn over the reins to someone who does understand the concept of leadership.
Go home, Debbie. If Hillary is truly the right individual to lead our great nation, she will rise to the challenge on her own strength as a competent candidate - and not through some rigged selection process. Take your act back to Florida where political skills like yours are much more in demand.
As a general rule, more debates open the doors and windows to better democracy.