The Democratic Party isn’t acting very democratic these days.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, wanted very much to run for the U.S, Senate seat now occupied by Kirsten Gillibrand. The upstate Democrat was appointed to the job by Gov. Paterson after Hillary Clinton left the post to become Secretary of State.
Maloney, an eight term congresswoman, decided she wanted the Senate seat and announced her intention to enter the Democratic primary in 2010. But, led by Senator Charles Schumer, members of the Democratic establishment muscled Ms. Maloney out of the race. Former President Bill Clinton refused to help raise money for her Senate campaign. President Obama threw his support to Gillibrand. Other Democratic leaders and political operatives, fearful that working for Ms. Maloney might get them into trouble with the big guys, came to the conclusion that supporting Maloney would be dangerous. They stayed away.
And, finally, even before she could announce she was definitely in it, Congresswoman Maloney pulled out of the race. Maloney said she wanted to concentrate on her work in the House---but the political world knows better. She was forced out by the powers that be. The Democratic establishment wanted her out to conserve funds for a general election campaign in which the Republicans would try very hard to win the Senate seat.
The NY Post in an editorial taunted Schumer. "Has Chuck Schumer been a muckety-muck in the U.S. Senate for so long that he’s forgotten how he got there in the first place?’’ And the editorial recalled that Schumer had to win a four-way primary to challenge Alfonse D’Amato in the general election.
The Post said Schumer was "sick" of being in Hillary Clinton’s shadow -- and wanted this "untested, one-term congresswoman from rural Columbia County" to serve in his shadow.
It seems likely that Gillibrand will modify her conservative positions on some issues to win support from liberal Democrats downstate. During the months leading up to her withdrawal, Maloney denounced Gillibrand as a flip-flopper on guns and immigration.
If the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for democracy with a small-d, that’s not what happened here. Carolyn Maloney’s candidacy was trampled to death. It’s a sad moment for the congresswoman and her party.