Although I missed the Democrat debate, a friend of mine watched it and sent his observations. It says a lot that, despite my attending an opera, which is one of my least favorite forms of entertainment, after reading what my friend wrote I actually feel that I had the better evening than those stuck staring at the boob tube (a term that’s come into its own again thanks to last night’s evil clown show). Here they are — my friend’s real-time notes and observations:
There was no substantive debate of anything, really, which seemed intentional and driven by the format. There was far more substantive debate at the Republican debates with 10-11 people on stage than with 5 on stage (4 if you discount Webb, who was rarely called on) at this debate. The questions came lightening fast and there were few if any follow ups.
Everyone of them but Webb tried to get to the left of Saunders. Hillary tried to get both to left and right of Saunders simultaneously by claiming a nonspecific nuance in most of her answers. Neat trick.
Webb was the only adult in the room. He did not pander to the base and, indeed, virtually every answer he gave would likely find support on the right, some a majority of support. Expect his non-existent polling numbers to go negative by tomorrow.
Saunders should be running for President of Sweden. What I am about to say is not an overstatement: It became apparent during the debate that what he is calling for is a worker’s revolution, irrespective of votes. He is not merely far left, he is a true Marxist drunk on the crowds coming to his rallies.
Not a single one of them went after Hillary on the emails. It was pathetic. And there was no mention of the possibility of her facing prosecution. Nor was there a single question or comment raised about the quid pro quo’s between her, the Clinton Foundation, and third parties while in office, nor her lack of compliance with the conflicts of interest agreement she made with the White House. It was Hillary and four Pajama Boys on stage. Only Hillary and Anderson showed the slightest hint of testosterone.
While Clinton generated by far the most applause, the biggest sustained applause of the night came when Saunders said quite forcefully to get off the e-mail issue. My understanding is his campaign has already put out a campaign donation mailer featuring that YouTube moment.
Webb’s answers were pretty much greeted with silence. He has no business being on that stage. Whatever his view of the Democrat Party is, it is a view that reality passed by at least two decades ago.
Hildabeast’s voice is nails on a chalkboard.
My notes are below, with the questions in caps.
EXPLAIN YOUR CHANGES IN POSITIONS. AIMED AT HILDABEAST:
Hillda – Hillary says she is not changing with the political winds, but rather with conditions — all without giving a single hard example how changing conditions have made her change her mind on numerous issues. She flaps her lips for two minutes, at one point breaking into a wholly unrelated story about her family.
Sanders – Says he is a proud socialist. Claims that economy is rigged. He wants us to look like “Denmark, Sweden and Norway.” He claims to be electable, irrespective of the fact that he is the second coming of Karl Marx.
Hilda jumps in and says that she is here “to save capitalism from itself.” Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t that FDR’s justification for taking over our economy in 32? I would be happy if she would just save capitalism from Clinton Cronyism. (No one asks how she and Bill have amassed a fortune of over $100 million holding down jobs as civil servants since 1992. Good investments in cattle futures? Options on Russian uranium mines in the US? A finders fee of sorts to the foundation for sudden huge increases in arms sales to specific countries?)
Sanders — Growth means nothing if all the increasing wealth goes to just the top few percent. (No follow up to ask why that is happening.)
Chaffee — I’ve always been a progressive — the Republicans left me.
ISN’T BALTIMORE A MESS AND WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT YOU, O’MALLEY
O’Malley — Says that the problem was the death of Freddie Gray. O’Malley says that the vast number of arrests on his watch were necessary to rein in the incredible violence.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (FOR WEBB)
Webb — When Anderson asked if his position (that it should not be based on skin color) isn’t at odds with the Dem. identity politics, Webb says yes but no somehow.
Holy smokes is this utterly ridiculous. They would require gun companies to be strictly liable and require the companies to question any purchaser of guns or ammo as to their intentions. Guns are, every one of them but Webb implies, only for hunting.
Sanders voted against Brady bill and for the gun companies to be shielded from negligence suits. Nevertheless, Sanders insisted that he really wants to take away guns. Saunders says, when you have gun manufacturers “knowingly giving guns to criminals, they should be held liable.” When the hell has that ever happened?
Hildabeast – Calls the law against suing gun manufacturers’ “immunity” unique among all corporations. Why doesn’t anyone ask how the manufacture of weapons that function as they are meant to function amounts to negligence? To hold a gun company libel in negligence because someone two or more levels removed from the company used it to commit a crime would in short order bankrupt every gun manufacturer and lead to situation where, while we have 2nd Amendment rights to own guns, we cannot buy one from a dealer. It is backdoor nullification of the 2nd Amendment.
O’Malley — selling 4,000 units of “military ammo” to someone who later killed someone else with it should have resulted in liability for selling the amount without asking the purchaser what they intended to do with it. It’s the NRA’s fault.
Webb — The only one who says Americans have a right to defend themselves.
Chaffee — All common sense gun legislation is justifiable and the NRA is evil.
PUTIN, SYRIA & IRAQ
Hildabeast – Putin was good in 2008; he is not now. US needs to “stand up” to Putin and, what?, scold him, or perhaps give him dirty looks, Hildabeast doesn’t say.
Sanders – No war again ever, unless it is completely useless like in Kosovo. Iraq was the worst foreign policy blunder ever. No no-fly zone in Syria as it might mean war.
Chaffee – Says Clinton should be disqualified for voting for the Iraq war. Poor judgment.
Clinton – Obama trusted my judgment enough to name me Sec. of State.
O’Malley – We should never take the military option off the table. Trots out the the charge that Bush “led America into Iraq under false pretenses.” Doesn’t want a no-fly zone in Syria because it might me conflict with Russia.
Clinton – O’Malley endorsed me in 2008.
Webb – The Iran deal is a mistake. The great strategic threat now is China and no one else is talking about it. Webb will get no traction unfortunately. He should have stayed a Republican.
Sanders – Says that Russians will hold Putin liable for the mistake of going into Syria. God, is this guy nuts.
BENGHAZI & COMMANDER IN CHIEF
Clinton – Anderson asked whether she should have foreseen Benghazi. Hillary says leading from behind was “smart policy” in decapitating Qadaffi. Libya had a free election because of it. No discussion and no follow up on all of the indicators of the 9-11-12 attack and whether it was State Dept. policy not to increase security there in case it it make it appear we were concerned.
Chaffee – we need better human intelligence.
Webb – There was no reason to go into Libya. We had nothing at risk. Our Iran deal has allowed Russia to come into Syria.
Sanders – Passing veterans bills qualifies him to be Commander in Chief. He opposed Vietnam. Claims that he is not a pacifist. He supported operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Except that he is a draft dodger.
Chaffee – biggest National Security Threat is . . . missed it.
Clinton – biggest national security threat is nuclear proliferation (no followup questions on the Iran deal)
Sanders – greatest national security threat is climate change.
How the hell can CNN do this debate without asking directly about the Iran Deal and its implications for the Middle East, Israel and the rest of the world? God, but I detest these intellectually dishonest bastards.
Clinton – I am transparency personified. Can’t wait to testify before the Benghazi Committee. This is all partisan and political by Republicans, as admitted by McCarthy. This is just a distraction that has no meaning. She has already answered all the questions. Q – Obama said questions about your email are legitimate two days ago, yes? A – Yes, it is legitimate, but it’s all partisan. (Hillary’s voice becomes very shrill as she says that.)
Sanders – Get off the emails. Huge applause.
Chaffee – Hillary has lost credibility over this issue. She is unethical.
O’Malley – The email scandal is old news. No need to talk about it.
Not one person mentions that Hillary has already broken at least four laws on multiple occasions related to her email. You would think that at least one person would point out that she should already be under indictment and that nominating her would put proof to the perception that Democrats operate above the law.
DO BLACK LIVES MATTER OR ALL LIVES MATTER:
Sanders – Black lives matter. Mentions Sandra Bland and suggests it is institutional racism and a broken criminal justice system as the reason for so many black criminals.
O’Malley – BLM has a legitimate beef. We do not value black lives the same as white lives. (BLM seems to value black thug lives far more than actual innocent black lives because it is only the former that involves conflict with police and thus is of political value.)
Clinton – Republicans are responsible for all of the problems with black criminality. No more mass incarceration.
Webb – All lives matter but there needs to be criminal justice reform.
Sanders – Problem started with Bush. The Middle class is disappearing. Raise minimum wage. Create government jobs. Free college education. Break up big banks.
Clinton – She and Bill have been blessed to make tens of millions of dollars by working hard. She has a 5 point economic plan to solve all of our problems. My god, she is strident.
O’Malley – We need to bring back Glass Steagell. If only we had that then there wouldn’t have been a financial meltdown.
Sanders – Wall Street is pure evil that practices nothing but fraud hand in hand with Republicans. Wow, the demagoguery is thick as flies.
NO ONE IS ADDRESSING DODD FRANK (and its strengthening of the largest banks at the expense of all others).
Clinton – No one went to jail after the meltdown. (I agree with that point — the left has protected its own – just as no one has been indicted yet for mishandling classified information.) Then she calls Dodd Frank a good start. Dodd Frank did nothing to strengthen our financial system and indeed, has created its own problems for all but the biggest of banks.
Sanders – Was wrong to ask the middle class to bail out the banks in 2007
Webb – Flapping lips, not making much sense. Cooper says he is wasting time but Webb is not getting much time at all. Wall St. compensation is structured so Wall St managers get their cut regardless of what happens. They have no skin in the game.
FREE EDUCATION & MEDICARE:
Saunders – Will pay for free college through a tax on Wall Street speculation. (Kneecapping our financial system ought to make free college far too expensive for our country to afford, I think.)
Hildabeast – Don’t privatize social security. Give the low income people more free money than anyone else after 65.
Saunders – Wants to lift all the caps on social security taxes to fund all this new free money
Saunders – Path to citizenship
Clinton – “Undocumented immigrants” should get benefits.
All think that illegals should get Obamacare and other benefits. No problems with illegals.
Clinton – Republicans are evil for wanting to enforce borders and immigration laws. She would go further than Obama with executive orders. Illegals should get in-state tuition and other benefits. My God is she pandering to the La Raza crowd.
O’Malley – Republicans are xenophobes and people who want to enforce the law are carnival barkers.
Chaffee – Reform it to always require a warrant
Clinton – It was justified in 2001. Bush broadened it too much.
Saunders – Only person to vote against Patriot Act. He would shut down NSA surveillance programs in the US immediately.
Chaffee – Bring back Snowden. He is an American hero.
Clinton – Snowden is a criminal who stole very important information. He should be prosecuted. (Oh my, talk about the hypocrisy. And NO ONE says a word about it.)
O’Malley – Snowden is a criminal.
Saunders – Criminal who did a heroic act.
Webb – The data bank holds on to information for far too long. Surveillance is warranted but long term retention of unused information on all Americans is too dangerous. (Agree)
HOW WILL YOUR POSITION NOT BE AN OBAMA 3RD TERM:
Chaffee – Need new approach in the Middle East (which I would imagine to be effective if it would look like the pre-2008 approach)
O’Malley – Glass Steagel
Clinton – I will be the first woman President. She doesn’t specify a single policy difference. She says that everything would be different in how she “would deal” with it.
Saunders – Bernie calls for political revolution. (Good choice of works there, Bernie Ilyich. Wow, it becomes clear later that he means a 1919 style revolution.)
Webb – He would use executive authority as it is allowed by the Constitution, not as Obama uses it.
O’Malley – We need a green energy revolution to move to all clean energy by 2050 and create 5 million imaginary jobs along the way.
Clinton: Don’t vote for me because of my last name. I know how to get things done. (No mention of vaginas or her love for them. I am surprised.)
O’Malley – He will be a climate change warrior with no more use of fossil fuels by 2050 for the electric grid. 1st order in office will be directed to this climate change goal.
Webb – He is out of step by being in favor of fossil fuels. It takes “all of the above,” including nuclear power, to solve carbon problem. The problems are global, not national.
Saunders – Climate Change is a moral issue, just like the Pope said. Wants a carbon tax. Fossil fuel industry is funding the Republicans.
Clinton – Got 1st international agreement with China (for us to lower our carbon while they think about it).
PAID FAMILY LEAVE
Clinton – Fiorina says it would cost jobs. Clinton says that is pure scare tactics. Apparently economics does not apply to Leftist ideas. Only the Republicans object. Republicans are fine with interfering with Planned Parenthood; we can make the wealthy pay for paid family leave.
Saunders – We are the only nation that does not allow for leave. The Republicans only give tax breaks to billionaires.
O’Malley – We had it in Maryland.
Saunders – Yes. No imprisonment for pot while Wall St. executives walk free.
Clinton – Will not take a position. Waiting to see what happens in Washington and Colorado . . . and after the election, no doubt. Though she would not legalize it, she says that she would decriminalize it??? No follow up.
REPUBLICANS WON’T COMPROMISE SO HOW WILL YOU DO IT
Saunders – Republicans are evil for obstructing Progressive plans. He says he “hopes” that the Left controls the senate and house, then says that it will require masses of people coming together to intimidate Republicans. Shades of Marx. He is calling for a real revolution. Socialists of America who want free stuff unite. I expected him to break out into a chorus of the Internationale.
Blah . . . blah . . . blah . . . Republicans are evil . . . blah . . . blah . . . .
Best line of the night was a Yik-Yak comment: “I feel like the sexual tension between Bernie and Anderson is making the debate worth watching.”