My recap of last night’s Democratic Debate #2, Round One:
The fun actually started before the debate, with some high-level Democrats trying to assure viewers that the Party had not gone clinically insane. DNC Chairman Tom Perez told the audience that Democrats are serious about border security (sure, they all raised their hands in the last debate to providing free health care to illegal immigrants, but who you gonna believe, him or your own eyes?) And just to insure that nothing like that happens again, CNN helpfully announced that no “raise your hands” questions would be asked. I wonder, does CNN have to declare its moderating of these debates as political donations on its IRS forms?
Perez also blasted the rise in hate crimes he saw when he was Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, conveniently forgetting to mention that was from 2009 to 2013, under Obama. The state Democratic Party chair also seemed to lay the problems Michigan cities suffer on Trump, neglecting to mention that the worst problems have gone on for years in Detroit, which hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1962.
The luck of the draw (if CNN didn’t stack the deck) placed two leading candidates in each debate: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in debate #1, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris lining up for a rematch in debate 2. Most analysts expected Warren and Sanders to go after each other, but instead they mostly had to fend off attacks from the lower-polling candidates trying to make an impression. There were two basic factions: the Warren/Sanders socialism now/spend-all-the-money-in-
Williamson had the most-quoted line of the night when she blamed local water issues like those in Flint, Michigan, on racism and Trump “gutting” the Clean Water Act (FYI: the Flint problems were due to bad decisions on the local level in 2014, two years before Trump was elected) and on his “dark psychic force of collectivized hatred” that has created all this “emotional turbulence.” I instantly imagined garage bands all over America renaming themselves either “Dark Psychic Force” or “Emotional Turbulence.”
Heck, if I weren’t backing Trump, I might switch to Marianne. I think I heard her on the “Woodstock” album. If she were in charge, we could finally make America’s crystal mining industry great again! She could even give a big boost to the energy sector by making America a net exporter of positive energy, cleanly generated by good vibes! Sign me up!
I enjoyed her so much, I even endorsed her on TV.
But Williamson wasn’t just sideshow entertainment: she was the most-searched candidate on Google after the debate. People praised her for staying true to herself and not giving safe, rote answers. Although I suspect some were just searching Google to find out if she’d been smoking something, and if so, where could they get some.
The second-most searched candidate was former Maryland Rep. and businessman John Delaney, who tried to inject some sanity into the proceedings by warning that Democrats can’t win by pushing unworkable ideas based on “fairy tale economics.” For instance, he said he was the only one with experience in the health care business, and that most rural hospitals would shut down if they had nothing but the lowball Medicare reimbursements and no income from private insurance.
Warren responded that health care isn’t a business (in fairy tale land) and Democrats shouldn’t be talking about what they “can’t do” (agreed, but that’s all they talk about anyway) and implied that math is a “Republican talking point.” Bernie also showed his anger at math by bellowing his new catchphrase (“I WROTE THE D*** BILL!”) He also fell back on the tried-and-true citing of the wonderful Canadian “free” health care system (Fun fact: Average wait time to see a doctor in Canada is now 19-1/2 weeks.) It was a noble effort on Delaney’s part, but sadly futile: the audience clapped their hands loudly for the leftist math-deniers to signal that they do, they DO, believe in fairy tale economics.
Bernie also insisted that just as Republicans have tax cuts, Democrats should also have big, bold ideas. Except tax cuts don’t destroy the entire economy.
Another note on Bernie: he’s been slipping in the polls lately, and I don’t think this debate will turn that around. He’s always been a socialist crackpot, but last time around, at least he seemed like a likeable socialist crackpot, sort of like your eccentric uncle who keeps quoting the Daily Worker when you’re trying to eat Thanksgiving dinner, but you like him anyway. I don’t know if it’s because of Hillary’s rigging the game against him, Trump winning or what, but he now seems full of rage. Every answer was shouted in an angry tone and punctuated with pointing fingers and arms flapping like a pterodactyl. He’s changed from lovably eccentric uncle to the hot-tempered Frank Costanza from “Seinfeld,” constantly enraged over nothing and screaming, “SERENITY NOW!”
In summation: despite her angry and unimpressive answers, Liz Warren will probably be considered the winner, just because she was already one of the two far-left poll leaders and Bernie did nothing to reverse his fade, while the third-tier moderates’ attempt at a sanity transplant was rejected by the body politic. In a broader sense, Marianne Williamson was the biggest winner because she’ll get the most publicity. She won’t be the nominee, but it will be great for her post-election talk show ratings and QVC healing crystal sales.
Let me also add that despite what you heard last night, NO, Republicans don’t want to take away your health care. It’s “Medicare for All” that would take away your private insurance and replace it with substandard government coverage, a massive doctor shortage, higher taxes and an explosion of federal debt.
If you’d like to hear more about this debate (and if you do, have yourself checked for masochism), I was on the panel discussing it on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News last night. You can watch that in full here:
For another view, surprisingly not much different from mine, here’s Democratic pollster Doug Schoen:
Although the satire site The Babylon Bee might have nailed these debates better than either of us:
Finally, my favorite tweet of the night, from Matt Margolis (@mattmargolis), referring to that rat that made a cameo during a live news report in Baltimore:
“Baltimore Rat will not be in attendance tonight because he hasn't raised enough money to qualify. But he is polling at 3 percent.”
Will Baltimore Rat manage to make it onto the stage in tonight’s Debate #2? If he does, will Kamala Harris give him some free government cheese? To find out, tune in tomorrow: Same rat time, same rat channel!