I won't go into as much detail on round 2 of the second Democratic debates as I did the first round, since it covered a lot of the same territory with the same underwhelming effect. I don’t think the needles will move much after this debate. The big news was what didn’t happen.
Everyone expected that after Kamala Harris got a boost for savaging Joe Biden in the first round, she’d come out loaded for bear. Instead, she only packed the kind of pellet gun you’d use in Baltimore to dispatch rats. In his great live blog of the debate, PJ Media’s Stephen Green said that Harris seemed as if she’d been taking Nyquil. Biden probably won the night by default just by being better than in the first debate and having his chief poll rival Harris off her game. Biden only brought his B-minus game, but B-minus is Joe’s A-game, so you could honestly say he was as good as anyone could reasonably expect.
As for the rest, none did anything to break out of the lower tier of polling. Booker and Castro had their moments, but no more than that. Gillibrand might actually have driven some supporters away. On the plus side, as with the previous night’s debate, there were a few welcome attempts by Michael Bennet, Jay Inslee and especially Tulsi Gabbard to slap their party back to reality. Gabbard also drew blood with her attack on Harris’ abysmal record as California Attorney General (Trump has been far stronger on criminal justice reform.) In a welcome sign, Gabbard was the most-searched candidate on Google during the debate, but it probably won’t be enough to usurp Biden. I kept longing for Marianne Williamson to come floating by inside a giant bubble and inject some entertainment value.
Of course, in a larger sense, you could say that the big winner of both debates was Trump. And anyone who spent that night doing something more productive, like straightening up their sock drawer.
As Stephen Green aptly put it, the candidates on both nights were describing a country and a world he’s never seen and a President he doesn’t know. In their debate fantasyland, Americans are shivering in bread lines, and the few who have health insurance hate it (it apparently doesn’t cover anything because they’re terrified to take their kids to the doctor); America has concentration camps filled with children from other lands, separated from their parents for no reason but cruelty and racism, and forced to march around single-file like the laborers in the silent movie “Metropolis;” only the rich are benefiting from the economic boom and tax cut; women are still paid a fraction of what men make for the same work, even though that’s been illegal for years and even the Obama Labor Department admitted it wasn’t true; and the President is just like the Grinch, only orange instead of green, and he glowers down at Whoville, scheming not only to steal Christmas but also to take away Cindy Lu Who’s health care.
(Say, isn’t it Donald Trump who’s actually been working to reduce the price of drugs?)
Once more for the record: Republicans are NOT trying to take away everyone’s, or anyone's, health care. And no, the President is NOT a “white supremacist” or a “racist.” When I hear stuff like this, I assume that either they’re idiots or they think the rest of us are. Even the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s niece, Alveda King, is refuting that “racist” narrative.
Of course, my review is beside the point, since I’m no more the target demographic for these shows than I am for the Cartoon Network. These aren’t even real debates. They’re more like a game show. I’d call them a reality show, but reality has nothing to do with these shows. They're more like "unreality shows," as you could tell by the way math was dismissed as a “Republican talking point.” That dodge has become so transparent that even CNN has started to notice it:
These debates are aimed at Democratic Primary voters, who want pure bloody, red meat – or actually, soy-based red meat substitute oozing fake blood made from beet juice. And so the candidates trotted out their various massive plans for remaking the health care system, the immigration system, the economy, even the entire planetary environment (“Today, your private health insurance; tomorrow, the WORLD!!”)
Putting this specific debate aside for a moment, I’ll remind you of something I’ve written about for years, and it applies to both parties: all the arguments you hear over the details of “my plan” versus “his plan” are much ado about nothing. None of these “plans” is ever going to become law, at least not to the level of detail they were arguing about. All Presidents' grand plans have to make it through Congress first. Obamacare wasn’t even what Obama wanted, but it was as close as he could get to government health care, even with both Houses of Congress under Democratic control. So anyone who watches candidates spend five minutes arguing over whose plan is going to save you $10 more on a co-pay just likes to watch people argue. Pointlessly.
By the way, even though it is meaningless, I do have to mention that I heard a new “plan” last night that may rival the Green New Deal for abject stupidity. It was the idea of creating a government office where drug companies would have to describe what new drug they were working on, and the government would tell them how much they’d be allowed to charge for it. If you ever wanted an example of just how little these people understand about health care, economics or how those pills in their pocket got there, that’s it. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions on research and development of new drugs, most of which never make it beyond the trial stage. If you’d like to see all breakthroughs on new lifesaving drugs come to a screeching halt, put the government in charge of telling drug companies what they’ll be allowed to charge before they even know what the research will cost and if it will lead anywhere.
Well, that’s all I really want to say about these dud “debates,” except that the next round had better have a lot fewer candidates and a lot more substance than “Trump evil/open borders/everything free!!” or we could just call off the election and declare Trump reelected now. If you want to read more, here are a few links that offer some interesting angles, or at least more interesting than the debates themselves:
Joe Biden learned that being avuncular is now an unpardonable offense to political correctness:
Biden wants to put insurance executives who oppose his health care plan into prison. Wait, I thought Trump was the tyrannical dictator?...
Andrew Yang said that to deal with global warming, we have to start moving people to higher ground now. This is really going to tank the property value of Al Gore’s $9 million ocean-view home in California.
Cory Booker still thinks Trump won Michigan because Republicans and Russians suppressed the African-American vote and not because Democratic policies suppressed the blue collar jobs of the “basket of deplorables” who live there.
If Joe Biden wants to prove he’s hep to the cool kids’ lingo, he needs to learn how texting works.
Also, that it’s not possible for America to have “eight more years of Trump,” although watching these debates might make a lot of people wish it were possible.
Finally, if you want to watch the debates in their entirety, CNN has them online:
Or read Stephen Green’s hilarious live-blogging of the debates, which will tell you what happened in a much more entertaining way than actually having to sit through them.