While the number on stage diminished, but talking points remained the same. And if you think that you are getting debate weary – like going through Disney’s Small World tunnel over and over – you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The pace of debates will increase with another in January and THREE in February. Whoever at the Democratic National Committee signed off on these debates should be looking for a new job.
For sure, the liberal media is always enthused – praising every event, while trying to never criticize any candidate. They will heap lavish praise on their media colleague moderators for their banal softball questions. The December debate was no different – and that was the overarching problem. There was nothing of substance to be learned.
In the aftermath, the folks at CNN and MSNBC could not say enough good things about everyone’s performance. According to the propagandizing pundits, all the candidates did an outstanding job.
I would concur that they all came out relatively even, but not as winners. Rather, they were united in demonstrating that none of them are what America needs. Even with fewer candidates on the stage they all seemed to appear individually smaller. They were all losers.
The seven-candidate debate brought about a much different dynamic, however. It was the day of the moderates. Unlike the previous debates – where progressives outnumbered the so-called moderates of the Democratic Party — this was a 5-to-1 advantage for the Biden wing of the Party. Elizbeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were left to hold up the increasingly tattered flag of the radical left.
Suddenly progressives did not look like the future of the Democratic Party, but a philosophic albatross. All that talk about everything for everybody got slapped down over and over. When Warren was told that most economists say her multi-trillion-dollar plans are way too expensive, her feeble response was, “They’re wrong.”
The debate led off with virtually identical no-surprise mentally pre-recorded statements in support of President Trump’s impeachment. Oh hum.
There were a few notable moments if you had not nodded off or switched over to the movie channel. The fellow with the sharpest blade was the usually mild-mannered mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg. He was attacked by the two ladies on the dais, Warren and Amy Klobuchar.
Warren walked into a well-set trap when she blasted Buttigieg for being willing to take money from rich people and holding big-donor fundraisers in a fancy California wine cave. Buttigieg snapped like a bear trap. He said the Democrat candidate should not exclude any legal donations because the nominee will be facing the mega-million-dollar Trump campaign.
And then he went on the counterattack, noting that Warren is the very person – a multimillionaire – that she condemns. Punch number one. In a hard right to jaw, Buttigieg next noted that Warren had partially funded her campaign by transferring millions from her Senate account – money raised in the good old fashion soak-the-rich tradition. Punch two – and Warren is left staggering. Award the round to the small-town mayor.
Klobuchar played the experience card – diminishing Buttigieg by comparing her Washington experience to his as a small-town mayor. Often derisively referring to him as “mayor.” Buttigieg correctly noted that Washington experience is exactly what most voters do not want. While Klobuchar said she did not mean to demean his experience, Buttigieg hit back with, “But you did.” Mayor Pete may not have knocked Klobuchar to the canvas, but he showed he could take a punch and hit back.
Most of the post-debate pundits agreed that former Vice President Joe Biden was as good as he gets — not great, but at the top of HIS game. His level of performance was unintentionally damned with faint praise when CNN’s Chris Cuomo suggested that at least Biden did not have any of those senior moments that characterized his past performances.
Biden did stumble once – in my judgment. When asked if he would sacrifice hundreds of thousands of jobs to shut down the fossil fuel industry, he said he would. With that answer, the former VP won himself a spot in innumerable Republican campaign commercials.
Now in all fairness, Biden said all those people would get even better jobs – union jobs. No worker is going to believe that political sop. Biden made it sound like you lose your job on Friday and start a better job on Monday. No Joe. It does not happen that way.
Promising unemployment for hundreds of thousands of highly unionized mining and drilling workers may even lose Biden a few points with some of the labor bosses. That comment should have the head of the United Mine Workers heading to the White House for a photo-op.
Sanders was Sanders – reprising his role as the understudy for the Muppets’ grumpy old man. We were again … and again … reminded that a few people at the top of the economic ladder have a lot more wealth than a lot of us down at the lower rungs. His call for “revolution” in America is starting to sound like the wishful reminiscences of a retired general in a military home.
Businessman Tom Steyer reminded the audience that he was among the first to call for Trump’s impeachment – not long after the 2016 election. I wrote a commentary at the time, that he was collecting names for a future presidential run. Ironically, Steyer’s proud claim gives credence to the Republican charge that Democrats have been obsessed with impeachment from day one.
That leaves businessman Andrew Yang. According to the clock watchers, he had the least talking time – and I cannot think of anything he said that was new or significant. So, I guess he won the debate.
So, there ‘tis.