I suggested, via Twitter, that a good drinking game for the night would be to take a drink each time a candidate who is not a career Democrat speaks. Thing is, that is 60% of the Democratic field for President and so, I am intoxicated. Let’s just be clear that I shouldn’t be writing, much less publishing, anything about the debate or anything else. And yet I am doing exactly that. About the debate I mean. (Oh shit, there is an episode of #TheFlash to watch and review, too.)
The Democratic candidates for President tonight met on a Las Vegas stage to debate various matters of import: whither the American middle class? what next on climate change? how to reform the US criminal justice system? And of course some issues were not addressed: what is our plan in case of black holes forming above our cities? what if we have an outbreak of metahumans in a localized area of the US? does Andersen Cooper really need to wear glasses that are so high contrast with his skin and hair?
Anyway, Senator Hillary Madame Secretary Clinton fucking 0wned. With a 0. 0wned! Senator Sanders – of whom I am a big fan – struggled to find his inside voice and had his best line of the night be an attack on the Benghotchyazi Committee (essentially in defense of Clinton). The other three candidates on stage, who I swear are all running for VP and they know it, managed to do okay. O’Malley did better than I expected, but only because I expected him to do very badly (I am so glad he managed to rehearse a better #BlackLivesMatter response than he had in July, both because the issue is real and because it is painfully embarrassing when another white folk fucks that up so bad). Chafee and Webb, let’s be real, are not even Democrats. They are RIPOs – Republicans in Principal Only – and right now their kind has no party. They did great relative to not even being Democrats-per-se.
Perhaps the biggest winner of the night was the Democratic party. During the toughest punches and counter-punches – over guns and foreign policy – the Democrats showed that they welcomed all comers to the stage, regardless of origin or policy viewpoint. This is in stark contrast to the Republican debate, which showed very little ideological breadth and even then mostly in the “Happy Hour” debates of second tier candidates. To be sure, the Democrats have a smoother competition thanks to strong, establishment-friendly candidates (e.g. Deval Patrick) staying out of the race this time around because they know Hillary has it in the bag. Still, the Democratic party – which has a pretty difficult history – is going into 2016 as the party of tolerance, equality, and reality-based public discourse. That is a big advantage in American politics and a big plus in their moral evaluation as public servants.
Anyway, I’m at least 2.5 sheets to the wind, so here are some bullet pointed observations from the debate:
- Martin O’Malley is bad at this – dude nobody cares about your family and you need to get way better at explaining arrests and harassment by the police when you were mayor of Baltimore.
- Bernie Sanders is good as this, but – dude find an inside voice. I mean I love you, but you were the angry uncle at the turkey table too many times tonight. Even when you went to bat for Hillary over the email, you were angry uncle Bernie! I am angry about corporate influence and income inequality too, but damn. Ssshhhhh a little. Also, son, you got owned on gun safety. Time to evolve.
- Jim Webb – stop complaining about time and be grateful that they let you on stage at all. You are probably polling better among the GOP than among the Dems anyway.
- Lincoln Chafee – diversify your facial expression portfolio. Also, you’re a Republican. Be a bro and fight for the soul of that party, don’t just switch when it gets touch. Ask Aaron Sorkin, he can write some speeches for you (I saw it on Newsroom, starring Psylocke).
- Hillary Clinton – seriously you 0wned, way to go! On behalf of people everywhere, while you have your flaws and scandals blah blah blah, let me just say I am sorry and deeply embarrassed that we keep trying to hold you morally and politically accountable for your husband and/or how the GOP behaves toward you. That must be tiring for you, I assume because I am but a spectator and yet I am already exhausted of it. I believe you are flawed, but still mine and my kids’ best bet. Good job tonight.
- Andersen Cooper – Well, compared to CNN’s GOP debate, the questions were better. And your delivery was great… …except when you acted like someone didn’t answer a question when really you just moved the goal post in your follow up (see: political expediency question). And “you agreed to these debate rules” is a pretty hollow retort if not backed up by consequences – trust me I am a parent. Anyway, have you considered glasses that are lower contrast with your skin and hair?
If anything actually happened tonight, it is that Hillary Clinton gave Joe Biden every reason he needed to stay out of this race. While I like Vice President Biden, I have neither understood the calls for him to run nor the hype about what would happen if he did. Most speculation that I have seen, a la fivethirtyeight, imagines that a Biden run is motivated by believing Clinton can’t win. Tonight was two plus hours of “Clinton is killing it” and so I think it should serve as a good reason for Biden to stay out of the race. Which is good, because he is a much better VP than he was Senator of presidential candidate. Stay as close to classy you will get, Joe.
In conclusion, I would say that the debate on gun safety was refreshing. I only hope one of the candidates gets the nod, the presidency, and the Congress needed to make change happen ASAP. That said, no one offered up any policy proposals for handling intoxicated tweeting and blogging, both of which are much more pressing issues in my mind now than they were at 8:30pm Eastern time this evening.