By Paula Xanthopoulou – President Barack Obama is the the de facto head of the Democratic Party — he calls the shots, and picked Debbie Wasserman Schultz to chair the Democratic National Committee.
It is allegedly against Democratic Party rules for the party to support/endorse one Democrat over another in a primary. And any time the Democratic Party has been asked to support women for “open seats” (potentially against men who might run for those seats) in order to accelerate the election of women to Congress, we are told that it is against the rules to do anything like that…But when do the people who run the party stop being the party? In backrooms under the cover of official committees?
We have been clearly reminded that “Obama plays active role in Dem Primaries” (The Hill, 2-19-12). The article notes Obama other endorsements also in past cycles, but does not go back far enough to mention anything about Illinois lawmakers recruiting Tammy Duckworth in 2006 to run against seasoned Democratic candidate Christine Cegelis for Henry Hyde’s “open seat” seat in IL06 — a maneuver aimed at the anti-war faction of the party and which resulted in the election of a Republican man. That’s another story in itself, but not one to be forgotten. (Especially since Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a message out just today touting Ms. Duckworth’s current campaign for Congress: “In 2006, as a member of Congress, I led the effort to recruit and elect Democrats across the country. Back then, Senator Dick Durbin introduced me to a true hero whose values and priorities still impress me today.” Guilty as charged!)
“Jackson, whose reelection bid is hampered by ethics controversies [including the issue of trying to buy Obama’s Senate seat and an extramarital affair with a DC waitress],” The Hill article reports, “personally asked Obama for his support at a Martin Luther King Memorial ceremony, according to nbcchicago.com. Soon thereafter, Jackson got what he wanted. Jackson is facing former Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.) in the March 20 primary.”
All that to repay an infamous political debt and to render arcane Democratic Party Rules all the more hypocritically restrictive. When is this behavior going to stop?
The Democratic Party must stop playing these games by: suspending the selectively used support rules at the upcoming convention, prioritizing the election of women in the 2012 Democratic Party Platform (a real priority for political parties in most countries!), and coming up with a concrete plan to put it’s money where it’s mouth is towards the election of MORE women to Congress with a goal of 30% by 2020!
Whether there were any women testifying at the committee hearings on birth control coverage is not the real issue. And women just trying to get more women to run in our male-dominated, party-paralyzed system is not enough to reach the aforementioned goal. That’s what history and the numbers tell us.
Women have the power (money, votes, hello!) to force real change and turn the prevailing paradigm on its head; but do they have the guts?
Paula Xanthopoulou (equalrepresentation.org)
You can follow me on Twitter @paulax5050 and read my book Smoke & Mirrors – thank you!