An Evaluation of the Democratic Presidential Debate (Part Two)


So night number two just ended and it was definitely interesting.  I intend to write this rapidly for two reasons.  One, I have some other work I must do in less than an hour from the time I compose this, and two, I would like these comments to be fresh.  It was a significant event, I believe, and supports some of my expectations while undermining many others.  Let’s do a simple winners and losers:


Kamala Harris, I believe, absolutely destroyed everyone.  Not only was she strong, decisive, and did not come across as a radical, but a competent mostly liberal politician, but she was funny, she laughed more than everybody else and seemed most comfortable engaging with the other candidates.  It seems like everybody else respected her and no one would dare go after her on anything.  She came across wonderfully.  She might really become President.  I am not a Democrat and thus cannot vote in the primary, but she would be my choice, at least at this particular moment (lot of time to come).  She managed to shame the other candidates when they were going after each other (“America doesn’t want a food fight, they want food on their tables,”) and she crushed the nervous white liberals on stage when the issue came to race, being the only partially black candidate on the stage tonight.  She will repeatedly be praised for her performance tonight and her top of the second tier status will now rise to the first tier.  Great job all around, and the winner of the two night debate.


As should have been expected Pete Buttigieg was terrific.  He seemed prepared for anything, had just enough sass to keep him sounding less academic and more modern, and every answer he offered did not sound pre-planned (even though most of them likely were), which only goes to prove just how great of a candidate he will be sometime in the near future.  He proved his worth and mayor of a small town is in the rear-view mirror.  This is a man we will hear about for a very long time.  I repeat, sometime down the line, Pete Buttigieg will be President of the United States.


Eric Swalwell, after a slow start, really came around during the debate.  A generally charming man, with regular and growing television credentials, he is not easily flustered.  His passion about gun issues separated him, at least momentarily, and his ability to invoke personal tragedy to support the reasons behind his issues was very effective.  He will be a force in American Government for a very long time, although likely never from the White House.


Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders performed about as expected.  Biden occasionally stammered, but his passion and sincerity were obvious.  Sanders rang an angry bell and even came to the edge of calling for outright revolution in the nation.  Sanders repeated called for the masses to rise up in protest to numerous issues, mostly dealing with health insurance and a living wage.  There was a certain nervous violence underlining these calls to justice and I have no doubt this is very appealing to the youngest of his supporters.  Biden, for his part, was every bit the professional political creature, knowing how far to go, understanding (unlike everybody else) the time limits the press places upon the answers of candidates and more than willing to accommodate the norms.  He said nothing wrong, barely stumbled, was passionate at the right moments and sounded like a well-performed scripted politician.  He will be neither hurt nor helped by this, while Sanders will gain enthusiasm among his followers while going onto a watch list as a potentially dangerous leader by his opposition.


As for tonight’s losers, I do not wish to bother saying much about John Hickenlooper, who rarely spoke and said nothing really different than anyone else no matter how hard he tried, or Michael Bennet, who came across almost too angry to speak (at one moment, while he wavered and stammered and seemed to lose his train of thought I feared he was about to have a stroke).  Who I do want to discuss, in some detail, is Kirstin Gillibrand, who I believe made the worst showing of anyone in these debates.


Gillibrand was rude, she was a bully, she was most interested in interrupting and even said, in a greedy tone at one point when Bennet was trying to say something, “No!–My turn!”  And then she angrily babbled on with a limited perspective or understanding, blaming everything on everybody else and offering no solutions.  Everything she said was a negative, trashing Trump, trashing Biden, dismissing anything anybody else had to say even when other candidates agreed with her (Biden, clearly annoyed at one point, mentioned that what she was then promoting was actually one of his ideas going way back in time).  She was awful.  She came across like a horrible person.  She did so poorly I wonder if she will even be re-elected to the Senate the next time this comes around.


Poor Andrew Yang.  No one seemed to care what he had to say.  Neither did they care about the cloudy pronouncements of Marianne Williamson.  Yang was asked I believe three questions the whole night and spent most of his time with his hand raised, clearly annoyed.  And when he did speak it was in a bubble, not truly on target to whatever was asked, and he had nothing worthwhile to say in response to anyone.  Hopefully he got enough press for his forthcoming technological breakthrough that will make him another billion dollars because it would be painful to see him on stage again.  As for Williamson, her lofty declaration about love conquering fear and hate does not really exist in the modern world of political violence.  She can remain in her fairy tale world, with her fairy tale visions and her proposals about nothing on the material plane, and still be branded a kook by half of the people listening to her.


Going forward the names should be significantly narrowed down.  I will continue to cover this chaotic event, with the same derisive passion given to these last four pieces.  And by the way, since it is less than thirty minutes before it is about to premiere as I post this, please check out the Recording Editorial History podcast at http://player.live365.com/a38406.

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