Things I learned from the Dem Debate (2/19/20)
Mike Bloomberg thought he would come swinging onto the Dem debate stage like Spiderman, spinning an impenetrable golden web to bedazzle and entrap his opponents. Instead, he swung straight into a bug zapper.
You know you’ve got a serious race relations problem when even anti-busing advocates like Joe Biden are lecturing you on your civil rights record.
Best Bloomberg line of the night, “What am I, chicken liver?” Actually Mike, after last night your campaign looks more like half a billion dollars’ worth of spoiled pâté.
Elizabeth Warren finally dug out the Progressive Champion Cape™ she’d been hiding away in Neera Tanden’s closet since last October, and came into the debate fighting tooth and nail for her flagging campaign to be Vice President for . . . somebody, anybody, really doesn’t matter who, we’ll let the process play itself out. Liz took shots at all the candidates (including Bernie) but saved her most effective fire for NDA Mike.
Warren’s assault on Bloomberg was as devastating a takedown of a candidate as we have seen this cycle, perhaps matched only by Tulsi Gabbard sinking Kamala Harris in a previous debate. Yet while Tulsi’s attacks deep-sixed Kamala’s run, they actually didn’t end up floating Gabbard’s own poll numbers all that much. It will be interesting to see whether Liz’s broadsides yield a more positive reaction. In the meantime though, Bloomberg rolling his eyes at Warren sure was fun to watch.
Pete Buttigieg is that sniggering, know-it-all, high school sophomore who spends his days in the back of the classroom making snarky cracks about his fellow students to compensate for his own deep-seeded insecurities. Pete’s strategy is clear: he wants to unify all Democrats around the belief that he's an opportunistic, back-biting little shit.
Like an attention-starved jackal, Buttigieg tried taking a nip out of each of the other candidates in turn, and got swatted every time, until he finally found his sickly victim in Amy Klobuchar. After sinking his teeth into Amy’s record and tasting blood, Pete just had to go back for seconds – thus permanently alienating Klobuchar supporters who would otherwise be the ones most ideologically receptive to him. But hey, scavengers gonna scavenge.
Final note to Pete: the last two candidates who tried speaking Spanglish at a Dem debate are no longer in the race. La comida de reflexion, Pedro.
Amy Klobuchar has been winning elections since fourth grade, and drew heavily on her elementary school debate training last night. Faced with rather tame and eminently foreseeable criticisms by Buttigieg, Klobuchar decided the proper response would be to freak out as if Pete had just stolen her Girl Scout cookies, thus giving Pete’s attacks far more credibility than if she had simply laughed him off like all the others did.
Instead, a flustered and semi-coherent Klobuchar was reduced to playground retorts like “I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete,” which may have worked for Amy when she ran for hall monitor, but all these years later doesn’t quite pack the same punch. She then begged the question, “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb or are you mocking me here, Pete?”
Take your pick, Amy.
Watching Joe Biden debate is like watching that old commercial for LifeCall. You feel sorry for the elderly person who’s fallen, but you can’t help quietly chuckling anyway.
As someone who’s watched every minute of every Dem debate so far this cycle, I can honestly say Bernie Sanders has never actually outright ‘won’ any of them. On any given night, there has always been another candidate whose performance was better. Yet it’s never the same candidate.
More importantly, a big reason Bernie keeps rising in the polls because he has never LOST a debate, and judging from the way all the second-tier candidates continue to tear each other down in their quest to be anointed the Anti-Bernie by the establishment press, Bernie losing is becoming an increasingly unlikely proposition.
And finally . . . it’s official:
Chuck Todd has a worse combover than Donald Trump.