I watched most of the Democrat debate.
Not surprisingly, given that it was a Democrat debate, with four questioners sympathetic to Democrats and a clearly democrat audience, the really hard questions were not asked. For example:
-Nothing about the 800 lb gorilla in the room: impeachment.
-Nothing about abortion.
-Nothing about the middle east.
So most of what we saw and heard was an opportunity for the 10 candidates to attack President Trump as a racist and White nationalist (to the enthusiastic cheers of the audience), the promises by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to make everything free for everyone but “the rich”, who would be expected to pay for what everyone else got free, and several withering shots at Joe Biden.
Speaking of Biden…
his performance reminded me of a veteran starting pitcher who is at the end of his career; the guy who, in most outings, might still give you three or four decent innings, but who flags as the game goes on and, by the middle of the game, is out of gas.
Compare Biden’s start – sharp, to the point, aggressive – to the last half of the debate – flubbing words, seemingly in physical distress (were those false teeth coming out?) and angrily defensive. Then remember that, in baseball, you can replace your starting pitcher with a reliever. In presidents, you don’t get that chance for four years.
Amazingly (to me, anyway), the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post, hardly a bastion of neutral reporting these days, has an excellent chronological rundown of how the debate ran.
Written by Michael Scherer (who, I hope, still has a job by the end of today), it really does describe things as they happened – good and bad points both.
Personally, I’m offering a quick rundown of the bunch, from my left to right (their positions on the stage, not their politics.:
Amy Klobuchar: dutifully leftward, but more studied and understated than most of the others. Her losing campaign probably got a little boost…but I can’t help thinking she’s really running for Vice President.
Cory Booker: Same old same old. Loud, bombastic, perpetual painted-on smile. Based on his braggadocio, you’d swear he turned Newark into paradise on earth while he was mayor. Trust me; he didn’t. His routine is not working and he’s going nowhere.
Peter Buttigieg: Well presented, well spoken (other than his dishonest, nasty attacks on Mike Pence – who has never said a bad word about him or his sexual orientation). But boring. He had his 15 minutes a couple of months ago, and they appear to be over.
Bernie Sanders: Loud – sometimes screaming – and bug-eyed, with the same “everyone gets everything for free, except it isn’t free at all, but the rich people and the rich corporations, who are the enemy, will be forced to pay everyone else’s way” nonsense. Sanders is the uncle you have to invite to family occasions but hope he gets a cold, or his foot hurts, so he can’t make it.
Joe Biden: see above.
Elizabeth Warren: No screaming or bug eyes, but the same agenda as Sanders: free everything, paid for by the rich and the greedy corporations. Do these people ever propose anything that would generate revenue? That would produce anything? Maybe she’ll call a tribal council to discuss the matter.
Kamala Harris: A contrived, obnoxious three dollar bill. The more you see/hear her the faster she sinks.
Andrew Yang: Funny, engaging, and going nowhere presidentially. But his bizarre “10 people get a $12,000 giveaway” proposal was certainly entertaining. When Yang’s presidential run ends, maybe he can get a game show gig. I’m sure President Trump will be able to give him a few pointers.
Robert Francis O’Rourke: Yeah, we know; Trump is a racist and no one should have any guns. What else have you got, “Beto”, besides a contrived quasi-Latino nickname? This guy gets more annoying every time I see him.
Julian Castro: Put in the unfortunate position of being at the end, but next to O’Rourke who is at least a head taller than he is. Mostly standard-issue left wing material. Presidentially speaking, he’s a non-starter. But the fact that Castro is Latino, and President Trump (either despite or because of his border wall stance) appears to be making inroads among Latino voters, could position him for a Vice Presidential nod. That, and – as displayed by his brutal attack on Biden – a willingness to go to war against an opponent.
Want to see the attack? OK – here it is:
OK, when’s the next debate?