Why aren't the Democrats debating now?

You need to know this… Last night, Fox So-Called News announced the lineup for Thursday's first Republican presidential debate. The 10 candidates who will take the stage in Cleveland, Ohio will be: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.

So that's the lineup for Thursday. But Monday night, America got its first glimpse of the Republican presidential field in all its - um - glory at a special forum in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The current front runner, Donald Trump, wasn’t there, but 14 other candidates were. And, even though no audiences responses were allowed, it was still a good first look at what makes this year’s cast of Republicans tick.

And what makes them tick is what makes every Republican candidate everywhere tick these days - repealing Obamacare - blocking the Iran deal - slashing away at vital government programs. You know, the usual red meat kind of stuff.

Former New York governor George Pataki, for example, said that if he was elected president he would repeal Obamacare, do away Common Core, and fire hundreds of thousands of people. The end result of his plan to eliminate 15 percent of federal jobs.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who appeared at the forum via a studio in DC, also got in on the red meat game and said that the deal to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon will make the US a “state sponsor of terror.”

This is the kind crazy rhetoric Americans are going to hear all week on all the major cables news stations, and with the first official Republican debate just a day away, they’re going to hear even more of it over the coming months.

Which raises the question - why is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, waiting until the fall to hold the first Democratic debates?

With all this Republican crazy talk floating around, wouldn't it be a good idea to get a Democratic response out there sooner rather than later?

Wouldn't it make sense to let Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee confront Republican talking points head on?

Wouldn't it be good for the party - and the issues it says it cares about - to debunk Republican lies BEFORE - not after - the catch on?

Or, is protecting Hillary Clinton just too important to care about any of that?


mathboy's picture
mathboy 8 years 45 weeks ago

I live in a swing state (Colorado), so I don't know if everyone is seeing this, but there have been ads recently that are essentially for the Republican Party, but done by a group called Opportunity Lives (http://www.opportunitylives.com/). As with any ad for a product that's been in the news, this is spin control.

The ads explicitly try to convince people to be Republicans, but the truly ridiculous part is when they talk about leaving people alone, not letting government tell them how to live. On the TV ad, this plays over a scene of a shop turning on an "open" sign, clearly referring to, but contradicting, the religious "freedom" law of Indiana. Republicans want to insert their religion into government and that religion is all about telling people how to live.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 8 years 45 weeks ago

Why doesn't Jill Stein run for any other office? In fact, why doesn't she move to Vermont and run to replace Bernie if he becomes President?

mathboy's picture
mathboy 8 years 45 weeks ago

The gross-out tactic of the anti-abortionists is so stupid. As a child, I fainted from watching open-heart surgery on TV. I would never use that as an excuse for making surgery illegal, even if I felt that way.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 8 years 45 weeks ago

I don't see any need to rush into it. The Republicans are just going to spin old stale ideas trying to make them sound fresh. How long have we been hearing? Repeal Obama care. Defund Planned Parenthood. Save Social Security. Privatize Medicare. Voter ID. Smaller government. Privatize everything. Cut-cut cut. Gets old. Let it get even older. Maybe then the Democratic debates in the fall will be like a breath of fresh air.

Vaughn B's picture
Vaughn B 8 years 45 weeks ago

The less coverage by the main media of Bernie Sanders is strategic to keep the public ignorant and turn debates into name calling instead of the real issues of inequality, oligarchical corporate control of our government, to incarcerate, segregate, instill fear, make war, sacrifice social security, equity and rights to choose for women, our very livelihoods, as well as our environment for the sake of disproportionate profits and greed for those in Power. The ruling on citizens united opened the floodgates of money for corporate media moguls. Yet Senator Sanders vows overturning citizens united turning off that well spring.

robrtvt's picture
robrtvt 8 years 45 weeks ago

Just a quick comment off subject. Great show Thom ! Watch every night at 10 in Vermont !

RickH.'s picture
RickH. 8 years 45 weeks ago

I don't understand what the Democrat party is doing at all. Time and time again, it is the President, alone, that expresses the accomplishments of his office only to not hear a peep from the party. It is as if the Democrat party is completely seperated and removed from the President. We have seen this in the last election cycle as well.

j2bart's picture
j2bart 8 years 45 weeks ago

Thank you for pressing this issue. Perhaps a letter campaign to the DNC might help. What are the chances of alternative progressive media outlets uniting to form such a campaign?

cccccttttt 8 years 45 weeks ago

My impression is that politcal talk on TV is essentially not for rational dialog

between opposing views.

Rather, each side uses their own vocabulary and catch phrases to fire up their


It appears Tom and other progressive talk shows are doing a great job of energizing,

so why not let the Repubs shout into the wind at this early date?


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 45 weeks ago

I think the delay is to reduce the time Bernie speaks. The plan is to recruit as many non candidates as the Republicans have and give them all 5 -10 minutes apiece. Then when Bernie's turn comes up, give him some inane topic to talk about. Shame that the debate won't be focused between Bernie and Hillary. We still have a lot of work to do to make the electorate Bernie familiar. Bad idea waiting for and relying solely on the Democratic debate.

Stella Jane's picture
Stella Jane 8 years 45 weeks ago

WHEN will anyone notice the implications of this situation:


The Repub PARTY kknows this happened, but the US People do NOT!

BlackKnight's picture
BlackKnight 8 years 45 weeks ago

I received one of the form letters from the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz yesterday. It was about the upcoming GOP debate on Thursday with their 10 hopefuls. I responded to it. I had to go to their website and copy it again - but it was worth it! I sure felt better! My response:

"How will the democratic party counter these buffoons? They have nothing to offer the american people - but unless we get our message out - there will be a lot of gullible americans believing that this republican way is the only way. Why not have more debates or at least a response from each of the Democratic candidates? After every republican debate!! We have some very good candidates. The american people need to see how great our candidates are and how they are soooo much better than anything the republicans can roll out."

Hope it does some good.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 45 weeks ago

The Democrats never go on offense, always just a timid defense...including Obama. Now I have to register with the timid party in order to vote for Bernie in the primary, something I reminded everyone at a recent organizing party. Yes there were folks who didn't realize this ...rules on voting in the primaries differ from state to state, so just be aware. Bernie can't get from point A to C, the White House, without winning point B, the primary.

flyguy8650's picture
flyguy8650 8 years 45 weeks ago

Interesting developments each day. The "OPPOSAMES) GOP and DEMs are looking more and more like the bufoons that they are. Out of touch, corrupt and identical in their desire to "manage" our lives and take our hard earned depreciating dollars.

I never thought I would say this but Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump or Carly F or Dr. Ben all look so much more intelligent and more importantly - HONEST - than Hillary, Jeb or the rest of the bunch. I may have to become a center left independant if one of the more moderate GOP group does not stand out. Actually I think it is about time we started to grow a grass roots federal government. Term limits, get rid of Citzens United, hold campagning to 30 days before the election and return to a government OF THE HONEST PEOPLE with good intelligence and the ability to talk the truth and make the hard decisions. In fact, how about a Sanders/Trump Ticket!!! Now that would really be

"Change we can Believe In!"

Throw ALL incumbents out on their asses with NO Pensions!! YOUR FIRED!!

Can't wait to see Dems go at it! Debbie W can't even figure out what the difference is between Socialist and Democrat. This is so much fun! Glad I will be dead by the time this all implodes. I fear for my grandkids however but have HOPE in the youth of America.

Just my two cent worth of hyperbole.

Glad I am a baby boomer, it was a great run!! Lot's of Fun....I apologize to all you under 50's for what my generation is leaving you and what our elected ass__les have done with a great country.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 45 weeks ago

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National was one of the traitors who voted to sell America's sovereignity down the sewer for a few pieces of silver, by voting for the illegal Fast Track so-called trade deal.

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 8 years 45 weeks ago

Considering the fact that both political parties are now fully committed to the same private financial interests, there's really no rush to kill the golden goose this early in the game by dredging up issues that go against the wishes of the wealthy oligarchs who now control everything ! A year from now when the party nominating conventions are in full swing, all those candidates who have played their assigned roles and exhausted their financial resources will be lining up to rubber stamp their party's chosen standard bearer that has likely already been determined ! Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act by president Lyndon Johnson, maybe we should use this occasion to raise the issue that not voting for the same people that have sold out their integrity and their constituent's futures to private financial interests is also a valid decision. The intensive coverage of minute by minute voting results by the Main Stream Media on election night would be hard pressed to hide the fact that the entire population had essentially registered a vote of no confidence for either political party and the direction that they have been taking this country !

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 8 years 45 weeks ago

flyguy8650; As one Baby Boomer to another, the forbears of this current bunch in Washington were already busy wrecking the New Deal and taking back control of the economy before we were potty trained ! Our parents remained silent even when the Right in this country quickly pushed through the 22nd Amendment that would insure Lame Duck status for any future president who had a long term agenda that would benefit the citizens of this country, and all this occurred before you and I attended the first grade ! We would have responded to this if we hadn't been children of those who were forced to struggled through the Great Depression and told us to be quiet lest we cause another one. For me, I'll keeping fighting to inform younger generations that there is no compromise with these zealots, never has been and never will be !

w1ders's picture
w1ders 8 years 45 weeks ago

It will be interesting the hear the nonsense from the GOP debates. There should be early debates from both GOP & Democrat. I'd like to see Bernie debate a few of the right wing public enemies. There is nothing good that they do, how can they stand up for themselves? Can't think of a thing they have done to put America back to work or bring our factories home. Good at shipping them out though. Inserting religion in government is a real winner for the zealots, they will be happy to take the vote from women along with their health care. I'm surprised any woman would have anything to do with any of them. I'm getting ready for a big laugh.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago

IRV -- Thanks for the reminder about Debbie W.

charell's picture
charell 8 years 45 weeks ago

Also, isn't the chair of the DNC supposed to be neutral until the Democratic candidate is chosen? Was Howard Dean as partisan as Debbie Wasserman Schultz toward a particular candidate in the last presidential election?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago

flyguy8650 -- What our democracy or any democracy critically needs is a informed electorate. Everything you suggest will not lead to a more informed electorate. Although, repeal of Citizen's United will lead to a less misinformed public. I think a greater impact could be made by each of us suggesting to whoever we can to watch more FSTV.

Also, I think passing "card check" would have a greater effect than anything you suggest (except the repeal of CU). In 2009, we came within 2 or 3 votes of passing the Employee Free Choice Act (Ou812 - did I clean up my stmt enough?). Every repug voted against it. The parties are very different.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 45 weeks ago

Hillary has been answering some points the Republicans have been making and it's been aired on our local CBS affiliate in Chicago. Apparently Schultz and the official Democratic Party leadership want to make sure Bernie never gets a word in.

Gotta protect Hillary, she'd never make it in a fair fight.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 45 weeks ago

How would repealing Citizens United lead to a less informed public?

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 45 weeks ago

flyguy8650, there's no difference between a Democrat and a Socialist unless Democrats say so. The DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) have long been the democratic wing of the Democratic Party. For more explanation read my blog post.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 45 weeks ago

Mark S -- Please read more carefully. Repealing Citizens United would lead to a less misinformed public, not a less informed public.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 8 years 45 weeks ago

Chuckles, you're moving in the right direction, but you're still trying to "spin" the statement to blame the Republicans. It was the Democrats who scuttled card check. In order solve any problem, one needs to be brutally honest with themselves about the problem. You are being less than honest with yourself. Quit trying to fool the readers. Only then will you find a solution.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 8 years 45 weeks ago

flyguy8650, term limits just throw the baby out with the bath water. You want a system that will keep the good and eliminate the bad. That system is elections. Asking for term limits means giving up on democracy.

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