Dem Debate Takeaways

In contrast to the debates involving the Democrats’ colleagues from across the aisle, last night was not an elementary school food fight. The adults who are running for President finally got their chance to take the stage and national issues were discussed along with actual plans on how to resolve those issues. What a novel concept. No candidate reprimanded another candidate for his or her appearance. The candidates certainly disagreed on a number of topics but there was really no mud-slinging toward one another.

Anyway, the Dem Debate had its moments here and there. I can’t say that it was quite as entertaining as the GOP debates but those are more like trying to look away from a train wreck. These are some things I took away from it.

CNN’s Opening. What in the world was that about? I mean they pumped this thing up like it was the Super Bowl. Each candidate had their named called like they were being introduced in a starting lineup. There was loud music and even louder graphics. The whole thing was strange.

Sheryl Crow’s National Anthem. I like Sheryl Crow but that was definitely not her strongest performance. As soon as the first note came out of her mouth, I knew she was going to be belting this thing out in a register way too high for her voice. I was right.

Lincoln Chaffee.   ….

Well, if you’re looking for the sure fire loser of the debate, here’s your man. Chaffee’s overall timidness and inability to construct a meaningful sentence brought one question to my mind. How easy is it to win public office in Rhode Island?! This man as actually been RI’s Governor AND Senator for God’s sake! I saw more effective orators in my Public Speaking 101 course way back in college. Who told him that running for President would be a good idea? Impressively, Chaffee lowered the bar on the potential of his campaign which is a feat I didn’t think was possible.

Chaffee spent his time informing Anderson Cooper that he was a piece of granite that had never swayed from his progressive beliefs despite being a registered Democrat for only 2 years while spending the majority of his career in public service as a Republican. This opened Cooper up to strike by saying “that must be a soft piece of granite.” Ouch.

Later on, Cooper asked Chafee why he voted in 1999 to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, the law that established a separation between commercial and investment banking. Chafee’s rambling response was, basically, he didn’t know what he was doing.

Yes. I’m serious.

Nicely played, Linc!

Finally, Chaffee called out Hillary Clinton for the ongoing private email server scandal by saying that emails were a huge issues and showed that Clinton has a credibility issue.

Cooper then asked Clinton if she wanted to respond.

“No,” she said, to laughter and applause.

Thanks for playing, Chaf! Squished like a bug. His criticism isn’t even worth a response. Time for Chaffee to take his ball and go home.

Jim Webb. I am legitimately terrified of this human being.

First, Webb spent the majority of his time complaining about his lack of speaking opportunities in comparison to the front-runners, Bernie Sanders and Clinton, in spite of Cooper continually reminding him that the incessant whining was taking up his chances to address questions.

Second, does Webb realize he is running as a Democrat? When Cooper asked him about his previous claims that affirmative action is “state-sponsored racism,” Webb thought it wise to opine on his elaborate theories on race, arguing that it’s cool for black people but that he opposes “diversity programs that include everyone, quote, ‘of color,’” as if racism only counts if it’s a black-white thing. He was also far and away the softest on the gun control issue. These are not good responses when you’re hoping to hook progressive voters.

Webb’s most terrifying moment came when Cooper asked each candidate to name an enemy he or she had made. The other debate candidates listed Iranians, the National Rifle Association and various industries and special interest groups as their enemies.

Webb’s response? “I would have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he’s not around right now to talk to.”

Whoa! My advice? Don’t get on Jim Webb’s bad side.

Martin O’Malley. The former Governor of Maryland was fine but he wasn’t able to emerge from the large shadow cast by Clinton and Sanders. O’Malley had the most to gain last night but Sanders has clearly stolen his thunder as the progressive flag carrier in the race.

Without question, O’Malley’s strongest moment came during his closing statement when he addressed huge difference between what happened last night and what unfolded during the two Republican presidential debates.

“On this stage you didn’t hear anyone denigrate women, you didn’t hear anyone make racist comments about new immigrants, you didn’t hear anyone speak ill of anyone because of their religious belief,” O’Malley said. “What you heard was an honest debate of what will move us forward, to lead to a clean electric grid by 2050, and employ more of our people, rebuild our cities and towns, educate our children at higher and better levels, and include more people in the economic and social life in our country.”

Amen, Brother O’Malley. Amen.

Although, Republicans couldn’t even let a Democratic debate pass without making a racist comment.

Mike Huckabee you are a jewel.

Bernie Sanders.  Oh, Bernie. The man is on the far left edge of mainstream American politics. He wants to raise taxes significantly on the wealthy, to spend more on infrastructure, to break up large Wall Street banks. He’d like to make public colleges tuition-free while certainly not pushing to eliminate private universities. He said everything I expected him to say last night. His outrage over America’s wealth inequality problem spilled over into almost every response he gave. He’s admittedly a little soft on gun control as the far left candidate but that the only hole in he far left wing persona.

I love Bernie Sanders. I’m going to vote for him. I know he can’t win. Anyone with the word “socialist” associated to his name wouldn’t stand a prayer in the general election. Although the countries he admires are “social democracies” which leave for plenty of room for capitalism and are in better financial shape than we are at the moment but that’s for another day.

Anyway, Bernie had moment of the night.

After responding to a question from moderator Anderson Cooper about the email scandal, Clinton finished by saying, “Tonight, I want to talk, not about my emails, but about what the American people want from the next president of the United States!”

Sanders decided to jump in.

“Let me say this. Let me say something that may not be great politics,” he said. “But I think the secretary is right. And that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”

A candidate treating an opponent with dignity and respect? Donald Trump’s head just exploded.

Hillary Clinton. There isn’t much to say here. Clinton proved why she is the runaway favorite to become the Democratic presidential nominee. He national debate experience was apparent as she appeared more poised and prepared than everyone else on the stage. Clinton was ready with crisp answers to nearly every question and an aggressiveness her opponents did not seem ready for.

Her strong performance has also slowed the movement for Joe Biden to enter the race as Clinton proved more than capable of appealing to mainstream liberals.

Even in the midst of a hostile political climate that running from establishment candidates, the Democratic nomination is unquestionably Hillary’s to lose.

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A lucky man. Also a lawyer. Classic oxymoron.

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