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Mostly Good Showing At Democratic Debate

September 12, 2019


There is something positive to say about any debate when there are not more than 10 candidates vying for recognition.

The past months of two nights of Democratic presidential candidates debating, with the heavy contenders spaced between the two, were almost painful.  So having Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg all together allowed for a more thoughtful discussion for viewers.

But it was Beto O’Rourke who sent the ball out over the crowd and into the parking lot way off in the distance.  He made his gun control view so clear that even the most jar-necked member of the NRA could understand it.  Simply put, there is no room for weapons of war to be bought and sold by the average citizen.  A mandated buy-back program is the approach the nation must take.  AR-15s and AK-47s are not needed by people.  The fact those weapons are meant to kill on a battlefield means they are not in any sense of the word appropriate for Main Street.

If Beto had the winning line of the night I should add what was the worst aspect of the debate.  Plainly put, anytime Bernie Sanders opened his mouth.  As a decades-long political watcher, I can think of no one else over the many years who constantly spoke so loudly and acted so constantly angry without sharing any sense of humor or likability.  It was as if Frank Costanza was on steroids.  Red-faced and looking slightly demented he was the crazy relative in every family’s nightmare.  Bernie’s math still does not add up for health care bills and it took him two debates to call out his disdain for Venezuela’s dictator.  But who is counting?

Elizabeth Warren has made the most ground in the past three months of the campaign.  She proved why that was so with her measured but powerful answers during the debate.  When speaking about trade she mentioned the desire to include unions, farmers, and environmentalists into the equation in a more direct fashion than has been the custom.

I have a warm spot for Pete Buttigieg as he is smart.  Damn smart. His constructive ideas with complex issues makes me yearn for longer time periods for him to explain more of his thinking.  The debate allowed him to link his humanity regarding immigration into a line of conversation that would be hard for most Americans to ignore or disagree with.

When it comes to Kamala Harris I am puzzled by how her handlers prepped her for the debate. She had plenty of rhetorical debate zingers, but too many to take her seriously after a fashion.  And when she went down the ‘size’ road I simply turned her out.  After all the slams, and rightly so, that I have made about Trump degrading the political process there is no way not to call out Harris for the same type of low-ball.  Just not acceptable.  And certainly not funny.

As good as the majority were in the debate, however, Joe Biden presented a far better performance and scored the win.  He was direct, factual, and did not get bogged down as he did in past debates.  He never allowed for an incoming slam not to be refuted and returned with a volley of his own.  When Julian Castro made remarks which inferred Biden was old it was not met with acceptance in the post-debate analysis.   Like any football game, there is always the playback where Castro is left with nothing more than his slur.

It was a good night for Democrats.  But one hopes for an even smaller number of candidates as we head into the fall debate.   While the process is mostly always a winner when many compete, there is also a better way to add focus with a smaller group of the truly electable.  I trust we are nearing that point for the 2020 race.

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