Thoughts on the Democratic debate(s)?

July 31 debate

Last night I got a text from a friend and colleague in Columbia, asking “Are you watching the debate? I was looking for your twitter commentary.”

(Yes, some real people actually LIKE it when I riff on social media during these events, and miss it when I don’t do it. So there.)

But I wasn’t on the Twitters because a) I’m on vacation, and any time I spend on a keyboard is dedicated to something I just have to do for work or whatever (this post being a notable exception); b) it was my wife’s birthday, and we were having a family celebration; and c) having watched most of the debate the previous night (and Tweeted a bit), I was thoroughly fed up with this reality-TV mockery of our politics, and had no appetite for any more of it.

I had started Tuesday night willing to have fun with it…

…and ended up just disgusted:

So, even if I hadn’t been busy with more important things, I would not have watched Wednesday night with any, shall we say, gusto.

Anyway, today I’ve read a number of accounts of it, and I don’t think I missed much.

Here’s a summary: Joe did all right. That’s all that matters. He didn’t set the world on fire, but the consensus was that he wasn’t damaged and is unlikely to lose his dominant position in the polls — despite the increasingly desperate efforts of the wannabes to pull him down, extending to some really strategically stupid stuff like tearing down President Obama and his legacy.

For me, the only point in watching other than to make sure Joe’s OK would be to see if anyone emerges as a good backup option if he doesn’t make it. And that has not even come close to happening (based on my watching and reading). And not because my mind is closed. I’d like to have a backup plan. I don’t like not having a backup plan. I makes me uneasy. But I’m not going to lie to myself. I’m not going to pretend that someone else looks good just to ease my own mind.

Y’all know what I want. I look forward to the day that all this slapstick nonsense is over and Joe is the nominee and we can get on with the real business.

Anyway, what did y’all think?

30 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Democratic debate(s)?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    As to the not-having-a-backup-plan thing…

    Not much I can do about it. It’s feast or famine. In 2008, I had the wonderful situation — which I haven’t experienced at any other time in my life as a voter — when I was really, really happy to have EITHER the Republican or Democratic nominee win the election.

    This year, there’s one guy whom I can, without lying to myself, see as someone I’d like to vote for.

    It could be worse. There are elections in which I don’t like anybody

  2. bud

    My mind is just about made up. I just absolutely can’t vote for Biden in the primary. He might be the most likely candidate to beat Trump. Frankly I’m not convinced of that just yet. But I can’t in good conscience vote for him in the primary. There are just far too many red flags in his record. I will either vote for Elizabeth Warren or Corey Booker.

  3. Bill

    I watched “highlights” from the parade/debate and it was depressing,then I saw Joe talking to reporters in that rapid-fire improvisational way of his(he’s like a jazz musician) and it restored my spirits and faith in him…I began laughing too much to care what he was talking about.He’s for real.Thank God he’s running.No one else comes close to being a serious candidate…
    All these debates have done is lower my opinion of Harris and Booker.Her attack and his ‘kool aid’ comment were juvenile…

  4. Doug T

    Harris got torched by Gabbard. For whatever reason Tulsi has it in for her. I’m glad Harris was exposed.

    Booker is next. He lying about his Newark mayor record. Google it. Warren and Bernie are too far out there.

    That leaves……..


  5. Mr. Smith

    I’ve just about concluded that I will not be voting for Biden in the primary. He seems to lack the mental acuity and even the drive to make the run successfully.

    But I’m wondering what the Biden or Bust cult will say if he’s the nominee — and loses.

  6. Doug Ross

    I only watched the first 30 minutes of the first night. I was ready to give up once it became apparent what a farce it is. It’s a made for TV event to generate ratings and ad dollars for CNN. Was it necessary to do the national anthem as a major production followed by a three minute commercial break?

    I only followed the debates via Twitter and post-debate commentary. Doesn’t look like Tulsi Gabbard is going away. I didn’t see it live but it appears her direct questions to Harris hit home and hit hard. Tulsi is close to qualifying for the next round and her message regarding foreign policy needs to continue. Gabbard added the second most Twitter followers (to Yang) after the debate and was the most searched candidate for the second time. She has done a great job so far.

    Everything I saw about Biden’s performance from a variety of outlets was that he, once again, stumbled on his words a lot.. made a faux pas by referring to Harris as “kid” when they shook hands, and then totally botched his pitch to have people text Joe to 30330. I’m pretty sure Joe’s not what you would call tech savvy.

    1. Barry

      “Was it necessary to do the national anthem as a major production followed by a three minute commercial break?”

      Yes. Right wingers online went nuts that not all the candidates had American flag lapels during the first debate.

      So like their messiah, you have to put your patriotism on like a broadway show.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      “made a faux pas by referring to Harris as ‘kid’ when they shook hands”

      That wasn’t a faux pas; it was a very deliberate pas. Can’t say whether it had the desired effect or not, but it was in no way a slip…

        1. Doug Ross

          And yesterday, “Biden mistakenly referred to the shootings as “the tragic events in Houston today and also in Michigan the day before,” but later corrected himself, according to the Washington Examiner.”

          His senior moments appear to be pretty frequent.

              1. Bill

                But do people living in Toledo
                Know that their name hasn’t traveled very well?
                And does anybody in Ohio
                Dream of that Spanish citadel?

        2. Bill

          I think I know some things we never outgrow
          You think it’s wrong
          I can tell you do
          How can I explain
          When you don’t want me to

        3. Brad Warthen Post author

          You don’t call me kid. I get to call you kid. That’s the way it works…

          I say that in light of the item you sent me by email reminding me just how young you were in 1972…


      1. bud

        That wasn’t a faux pas; it was a very deliberate pas. Can’t say whether it had the desired effect or not, but it was in no way a slip…
        From the man who has decried ad nauseum the immaturity and pettiness of our current president for the last 3+ years you should hardly find that comment in any way something to condone. Disgusting.

        1. Bill

          If she wants to jerk tears with the nauseatingly self-righteous, “that little girl was me” remark,he’s entitled to,”kid”…

    3. bud

      I only watched the first 30 minutes of the first night.

      Which makes you completely unqualified to comment on the rest of debate.

  7. Harry Harris

    I watched the second debate and much of the commentary afterward. I didn’t see much of an assault on Obama, except as promoted by the pundits. Most of them like to stir-up controversy for medis points. Obama, himself has criticised the results he got which were amazing when you consider the lock-step and underhanded opposition he faced. No need to put him on a pedestal – his work has elevated him pretty high despite the haters and detractors. The criticism of Obama’s record were, of course, directed at Biden to dull the sheen his association as VP has given him. I certainly don’t see anything wrong with that as long as it’s honestly done. I truly hate the focus on tearing each other down instead of promoting one’s policies and vision which Warren has done so far better than any. I’m still a Booker/Biden Guy, but I also still see strength in several others. Unfortunately, Booker will have to use a lot of the increased air time he will get to defend against attacks. I hope he, Warren-like, turns every opportunity he gets to turn the talk toward gun violence, housing, criminal justice reform, and consensus building which I see as his strengths.

    1. bud

      I didn’t see much of an assault on Obama, except as promoted by the pundits.

      Yeh, it really was pretty tame. Sure beats the sycophant love fest by the Republicans over Trump. I know it’s not a popular sentiment but I’ve enjoyed the debates. Even the more colorful candidates Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang have had some good moments. If you want a bizarre, clown car spectacle watch re-runs of the 2016 Republican debates that featured important political discussions about “hand” size. Given the 10 person format the bar is pretty low by necessity for any real substance. But pundits gotta be pundits and find criticism even where there really isn’t much.

      1. Bill

        It’s not as good as The Academy Awards,but I admit,the debates do have their charm.They’re an intelligent group of people that we shouldn’t take for granted.We’re very lucky people(Democrats and wanna be’s;).Being cynical and jaded has become the American way of life,and was never summed up as succinctly as it was 50 years ago,when after the moon-landing,a photo and poster of that feat declared,”So What!”.Looking back,that was a pretty big deal…

  8. Harry Harris

    One of the things I like about Booker is his strong stance on guns. He introduced it a long time ago. It’s not intended to address only mass shootings but the whole problem of gun violence. He advocates registration, red flag laws, background checks, banning assault weapons, gun buy-backs, and research into problems and solutions. You folks who want to own or carry guns should welcome background checks, registration, and permits. It would cut down on the weapons owned by the bad guys you want to counteract and won’t impair you at all.

    1. Barry

      I’m a CWP holder. I shoot guns regularly and enjoy shooting clay targets.

      I grew up hunting all the time. I have no issue with extensive background checks, longer waiting periods, magazine limits, etc…..

      I don’t think any one or two controls will stop these shootings but I think together they can help.

      I’m ok with limits on ammo purchases too.

  9. bud

    Another reason NOT to support Biden. He was actively supporting draconian anti drug laws in the 80s and 90s. From

    “Consider one moment in Biden’s career: In 1989, at the height of punitive anti-drug and mass incarceration politics, Biden, then a senator, went on national television to criticize a plan from President George H.W. Bush to escalate the war on drugs. The plan, Biden said, didn’t go far enough.

    “Quite frankly, the president’s plan is not tough enough, bold enough, or imaginative enough to meet the crisis at hand,” he said. He called not just for harsher punishments for drug dealers but to “hold every drug user accountable.” ”

    1. Bill

      Yeah,well.That was then…,but there’s little difference between the two major parties when it comes to drug laws…If that were all-important,libertarians get the nod.We can thank Obama for the draconian drug laws currently in place at the local pharmacy…

    2. Barry

      I disagree.

      From the same article..

      “Much of this matched the rhetoric of the day, when Democrats and Republicans in the ’80s and ’90s pushed for lengthier prison sentences and “tough on crime” policies in general to combat a crime wave and a crack cocaine epidemic.”


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