Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Who Won the CNN Democratic Debate? The Democrats.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton: All five candidates looked reasonable,
but these two are the ones that count, when the real counting starts.

The two Republican debates that proceeded the first Democratic debate were sliced and diced in very much the same fashion as last night's debate. Who lost, who won, who really, really lost, and who really, really won. And, like the Republican debates, the Democratic debate was subject to fact-checking, if you can call it that.

I was almost apoplectic watching Carly Fiorina declared winner of the Republican debates, in spite of or perhaps because of her well-delivered prevarications against Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood. (She was actually in the so-called happy-hour debate in the first round, but her "crisp" performance there overshadowed the nonsense at the "real" debate.)

Since then, however, Fiorina has caught her share of scrutiny, and none but the true believers still maintain her truthiness has legs. She's slipping in the polls, though no one seems to be noticing. Now it's the Ben and Donald Show, even as the pundits continue to wonder how long before the grown-ups reassert themselves.

Which is why, frankly, the winner of the Democratic debate was the Democrats. All five candidates acquitted themselves quite well Tuesday night, even it the gap between Hillary and Bernie and the rest of the field now seems insurmountable.

Another reason why the Democrats as a tribe are big winners of the debate is that all five candidates' ideas are quite mainstream and rational and could be the basis of good governance. On the Republican side, any semblance of reasonable policy has been buried under an avalanche of anti-government, anti-governance, reality-TV performances and "crisp" but wildly untrue sound bites by Fiorina.

Oddly but crucially undermining what little credibility the Republican candidate might have been able to foster at their debates is the current debacle over who shall rule the House Republican caucus and thus the House itself. The anti-governance wing of the GOP is quite nearly killing all the babies in Galilee in hopes of preventing a newborn king from wresting control from them.

Seriously, it's a bit like that, and it isn't helping the GOP get ready for 2016. It makes them look deserving of a serious licking, which is what they'll get if they continue this way.

I avoided links to all the boring articles and columns because, well, you can find them if you want. I will offer these because they sum up today's political zeitgeist:

Grown-ups are allowed to run for president after all.

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