It is hard to explain all the ways in which the September 12 Democratic primary debate was just dreadful. There was so little substance to the candidates’ responses to moderators’ questions that it takes no more than a single paragraph to summarize the salient points. More importantly, though, was the unfortunate clash with Thursday Night Football.
The realities of the political process dictate that those states that are most important in presidential campaigns are not the same states that decide primary races. Nevertheless, the Democratic 2020 hopefuls are trying to sell themselves, not only to primary voters but to the nation as a whole as the best choice to assume the mantle of Commander-in-Chief. Yet, the debate – which was perhaps the most painful three hours of television in living memory – aired at the same time as the Thursday night game between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
North Carolina and Florida will be key states in next year’s White House race, so that was just bad timing. No-one in the Carolinas watched the debate, and neither did anyone between Fort Myers and Gainesville in Florida. This writer must admit that, if any other teams had been playing Thursday night (except for the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants), he would have been watching football instead.
Facts certainly do not appear to matter to any of the ten candidates who participated. It would take an article of several thousand words to list and debunk all the tall tales, inaccurate claims, and nonsense statistics that were thrown about the stage. Suffice to say that Geppetto could not possibly have acquired enough wood to carve the number of Pinocchios required.
Sleepy Joe Awakens
What stood out the most, perhaps, was former Vice President Joe Biden finally emerging from his coma to go on the attack against some of his opponents – particularly on the subject of how to pay for the grandiose plans for health care touted by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). With a little help from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend, Indiana’s Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Biden got the upper hand in the discussion about how the two most extreme leftist candidates in the race would finance their so-called “medicare for all” plans.
While Sanders, at least, has previously admitted that the middle class would be subject to tax increases to pay for his plan, Warren again insisted that her own plan would place no additional tax burden on the middle class. How many Pinocchios that assertion deserves is anybody’s guess but it is, in all likelihood, more than there are Democrats running for the nomination.
Neither Warren nor Sanders has yet explained how they will pay for their health care agendas – at least, not in any way that makes any mathematical or economic sense. Certainly, if it is possible to pick winners and losers from the debate, Biden could be forgiven for putting a “W” in his column while Sanders took a loss.
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro shot himself in the foot when he attempted to play gotcha with Biden over the latter’s own health care plan, and the two men had a brief but heated exchange. The details of this particular spat were neither exciting enough nor significant enough to recount in detail, but the fact of the matter is (which, coincidentally, appeared to be the candidates’ favorite phrase of the night), Castro accused Biden of immediately contradicting one of his own statements, but Castro himself clearly misrepresented – or misremembered – what the former VP had said.
Hell Yes! We’re Taking Your Guns!
When the subject of gun control came up, former Texas congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke betrayed a rare flash of honesty. During a rambling response to a question about whether proposed gun buy-back programs were, in fact, confiscation, O’Rourke said: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47 …”
So, thank you, “Beto,” for putting the matter to rest once and for all: A government gun “buy-back” program is, in fact, a gun confiscation program. The government cannot buy back that which it did not sell. Furthermore, the government cannot take private property by force or threat and then claim to be “buying” it. O’Rourke used the word “take,” and that is exactly what Democrats plan to do with privately owned firearms. The Supreme Court stands in their way, of course, which partly explains the increasing hostility toward it displayed by Democrats.
And so, we come to the single paragraph that summarises the candidates’ positions on every issue covered in the debate:
Healthcare should be free for everyone even, though no-one knows how to achieve that. Gun violence provides the perfect excuse to take away everyone’s guns. The solution to America’s every foreign policy issue is globalism. The solution to America’s international trade relations is something, something, something, be tough on China but not really all that tough and, probably, globalism. The solution to climate change is to decimate the US fossil fuel industry and blah, blah, blah, globalism. Immigration control? What immigration control? Education? Simple: Pay every teacher $60,000 a year and do exactly whatever else the teachers unions demand.
I suffered it, dear reader, so you did not have to. You’re welcome.