Thoughts about Democratic debate Number Umpteen?

jan 14 debate

Did you watch it? I watched about half of it, caught up on what I’d missed by reading written accounts this morning. I didn’t expect to learn anything new, and I didn’t.

Joe Biden is still the one candidate for me, and increasingly the voters in Iowa seem to be agreeing, after flirting with other possibilities. Not that I care, normally, what all those white people up there think. I’ve been to Iowa. Covered the GOP debate there in 1980. Slid around in the ice a good bit. Flew through an ice storm in a four-seater airplane. Not overly impressed.

Joe did fine. Nobody else made any particular impression that he or she had not made before. Bernie and Elizabeth had me about to start banging my head against a wall with their idiotic back-and-forth about whether Bernie had, or had not, said something about the electability of women. But I got through it. I seem to recall that there was another thing just as stupid that a couple of the candidates got into during the last debate, and I’ve managed to forget what it was, so there’s hope for the future.

That’s about it. Your thoughts?

25 thoughts on “Thoughts about Democratic debate Number Umpteen?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Remember when we would have thought six candidates on a debate stage was a ridiculously large number? I do.

    It’s interesting to note the etiquette observed by the organizers of these things — this business of putting the candidates who are doing best in the polls in the center. You notice that? It’s like Medieval seating arrangements — if you’re in single digits, you’re below the salt, and so forth…

    It’s nice to see political realities acknowledged on that point, if on no other…

    1. Bryan Caskey

      The Supreme Court (and other courts where judges/justices) hear cases together also arrange in this way. That’s why the Chief Justice (currently Roberts) sits in the middle, and the most senior Justices sit on alternating sides of him in order. That’s why Thomas sits on the interior and Kavanaugh sits on the edge. Eventually…years down the road…Kavanaugh will move to the interior of the bench.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    It was kind of nice that they started out with international affairs, which normally Democrats are loathe to do. Of course, BEING Democrats, it was mostly repetitions of “I was more against the invasion of Iraq than YOU were…”

    I liked Jennifer Rubin’s mention of a related phenomenon this morning:

    Sanders and Warren sounded like twins on foreign policy — pull out all troops, end all wars — without depth or explanation for the consequences that follow. Neither showed a level of seriousness about how to protect our interests abroad. One would think, based on their answers, that removing troops (not national security) is the goal of the commander in chief….

    I sort of half-expected one of them to promise to withdraw more troops than we actually have — withdraw them, then send them back and withdraw them again, until you get to a million. Sort of the antiwar version of what one of the Confederate general did when he paraded the same troops in front of the Federals repeatedly to fool them as to how many he had….

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Dang. That’s driving me crazy now. Which battle was that, and which Confederate officer pulled that trick? I can’t remember. (My attempts to Google it have been unsuccessful.)

      I’ll bet his troops were cussing his name pretty vehemently by the second or third time they marched around. But it worked.

      And who was the deceived Federal commander? I want to say it was McClellan, just because he ALWAYS believed there were a lot more Confederates than there were. But it may have been Burnside or Hooker…

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Commanders on both sides of the Civil War used deception to make opposing commanders believe they has superior numbers than in reality. McClellan was often the victim of thinking he was up against more Confederates than he really was. The use of “Quaker” guns and marching around was often the basis of the ruse.

        I think Francis Marion also employed similar deception against the British on more than one occasion, as well.

        1. Mark Stewart

          I think I would more often want to obscure a good portion of my forces in advance of an action. Then, even an unbalanced fight is a surprise attack to the opposing force.

          Ego too often gets in senior officers’ way, so it seems from the advent of the musket at least…

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          But there was ONE specific famous instance of it in the Civil War, in which it really made a difference in the outcome of the battle. I heard the story repeated recently when I was rewatching one of the episodes of Ken Burns’ Civil War. But I don’t remember which episode…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Yesterday, I asked an expert over at the Relic Room, and he had a similar reaction to yours — that he could think of multiple such incidents, but wasn’t sure which one I meant.

              I may have to go skim back through some episodes of “The Civil War” — which, for me, is not onerous. I just have to find the time…

    1. Dave Crockett

      I’m still here, Brad….but the last two months have been a zoo personally and professionally.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’m sorry to hear that, guys. I hope things are better in this new year.

          Personally, I thank God for my blessings.

          Professionally — well, I don’t think I’ve gotten above a two or a three on a 1-10 scale in the decade since my job ceased to exist.

          I’ll accept that arrangement. Work life matters a good deal less to me than family.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Not that I’m complaining about my work these days. Some of it I quite enjoy. But there’s no question that financially, getting laid off blew a hole under the waterline, and I’ve scrambled to keep the ship afloat ever since.

            But things are a little better than they were a year or two ago, so no complaints.

  3. bud

    Its starting to look more and more like Trump will be re-selected by the electoral college. Very sad but seems like a good bet based on the various economic numbers that keep rolling in. I’ll dutifully vote for Amy Klobuchar come primary time. She is my favorite with Booker gone. But really it doesn’t matter who the Democrats pick, all are tainted to some degree or other. Most of it unfair. Biden is godawful terrible but will likely be the standard bearer. With voter suppression and the electoral college it will take a miracle for the Dems to win now.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Joe Biden isn’t even a little bit bad, much less “godawful terrible.” (Such words should be reserved for Trump.) Joe is a fine, decent, dedicated public servant, and I will be proud to have him as my president.

      The good news, though, is that Bud’s favorite is my second choice, Amy Klobuchar.

      I always consider it good news when Bud and I can agree on something…

  4. Barry

    I didn’t watch the debate. As I have said, I’ll vote for the Democratic nominee for the first time in at least 6 presidential elections no matter who wins the nomination.

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    I couldn’t believe it this morning, as I read The Washington Post and The New York Times. Story after story after column after column about that STUPID argument about what Bernie did or didn’t say about women’s electability.

    That interminable segment during the debate itself was almost more than I could take. I’m quite conscious of the fact I’ll never get that time back. I can’t believe anyone still has an appetite for the discussion. And yet people keep writing about it.

    Bernie said something that Elizabeth interpreted a certain way, and exactly what it was doesn’t matter now. Nobody’s lying, and neither person is trying to do anything bad to women. Move on… It does not MATTER what someone believes about whether a woman has trouble getting elected. All that matters is whether this woman or that man is suited for the job, and this discussion doesn’t get us ANYWHERE in trying to ascertain that. Except, of course, it makes me tired of THIS woman’s and THIS man’s voices…

  6. Mark Stewart

    The real story yesterday/today shouldn’t be Bernie/Elizabeth. The story that matters is Lev and his phone dump. All those references to Number 1’s approval ought to frighten a large minority of the GOP Senators into number 2s.

  7. bud

    In case anyone thinks electability against Trump is THE biggest factor in their decision here’s the Fivethirtyeight summary of all head-to-head polls with the Dems vs Trump. Nothing overwhelming but Biden probably has a teeny tiny edge right now. But damn there just aren’t that many polls to go by at this late stage in the race. This seems more important than Trump’s approval which hasn’t budged in years. The only exception was when he shut the government down.

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