Hillary Clinton once famously said that she had “public and private” positions. She got a lot of flak for that but it was probably one of the most honest things she ever said. I’m sure every politician has some private positions. Even Bernie Sanders must have at some point thought “Damn, that Wasserman-Schultz bitch is a conniving weasel” or “Corey Booker really is as much of a toadying corporate tool as everybody says he is, isn’t he?” but I have never heard him express those thoughts in public.
Once you realize that’s the case, it becomes easier to dissect their statements, and get a bit of triangulation on where they stand. Let’s take Tom Perez for example. He said that it would be ‘impractical’ to hold a debate dedicated to the environment. That’s actually his public position, dumb as it sounds. He said that all the debates are going to be on all topics, because if you have a debate about the environment, next thing you know you’re going to have to have a separate debate about Medicare for All, or immigration, or education, or how to make taxes fair, or closing private prisons, or legalizing marijuana, or….well, you get the idea.
But, it really wouldn’t be impractical at all. Logistically, it means renting a hall and sending out invitations. Not much more difficult than that.
Since every debate means TV viewers, it’s the closest thing to free advertising that you can get and any party leader worth their salt is going to want to have a million of them.
So, what is Perez’ private view? His private view is that they must stop Bernie at all costs, and if you have a debate on the environment, precisely 4 candidates are going to come out looking good: Bernie, Tulsi, Mike Gravel, and Jay Inslee.
And he does not want that.