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Tipsheet

Tongue-Tied Part II: DNC Chair Avoids Saying What Differentiates Democrats From Socialists (Again)

Last week, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL): what's the difference between a Democrat and a socialist? He also asked if presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, should be allowed to speak in primetime at the Democratic National Convention next year given his self-avowed democratic-socialist views. Daniel aptly noted that the DNC chair was quite “tongue-tied,” and, of course, didn’t answer the question.

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It was rehashed on the Sunday morning talk show circuit. NBC’s Chuck Todd threw the same question at Schultz on Meet the Press. She again deployed evasive maneuvers, saying that the real debate/discussion will revolve around the differences between the two parties. Matthews, who was a guest on Sunday’s broadcast, added his two-cents about the difference between a Democrat and socialist.

“Socialists traditionally believe in government control of the economy, and Democrats believe in modifying the economy to help the people at the bottom with a safety net,” he said.

As for why Schultz ducked and dodged on this question again, Matthews said, “Well, politically, she didn’t want to offend the Bernie people…Maybe there is an intellectual problem, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt and say it was really a political problem she faced.”

First, I will second what Mediaite’s editor Andrew Kirell noted about that quote from Matthews: “Ouch!” Second, either way, Schultz still has to answer the question at some point. Does the DNC want a self-avowed socialist speaking at the convention in primetime? Are they comfortable with someone who has views which are far to the left than the general electorate having a sweet speaking spot? We’ll see what comes of this. Maybe this point will be dead, in which case I would still hope for an answer from the DNC chair about the differences between a socialist and a Democrat since she has nothing to lose politically from giving the proper definition. Heck, 52 percent of Democrats view socialism favorably.

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