Observations On The Democratic Presidential Candidates “Debate”

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1. The major significance of the way the Democratic nomination competition has been handled so far is what it appears to say about the complacency and/or corruption of ordinary Democrats. Why is there no outrage—hell, disgust— over this sham of a race? Are Democrats so devoid of character and standards that they are satisfied with a Communist regime-like process where the Party’s hand-picked candidate has a giant box next to her name in the ballot while it is made clear to all that the other candidates are window dressing?

2. Well, they did it: this debate was scheduled so cynically to avoid viewers that even I was foiled: I had other things to do. [ I’ve read the transcript, here.] Scheduled on a  weekend, against NFL football, on the biggest shopping Saturday of the year, right before Christmas…Wow.

I actually laughed out loud to hear CNN analysts expressing puzzlement at the scheduling. “It’s really mind-boggling; I can’t conceive of why the DNC would do this!” one said. “I know, it really is incomprehensible,” said the other, looking befuddled.

Pop Quiz: Lying, or stupid?

This reminded me of the TV reporter—I can’t recall which network—who said, after the second airplane slammed into the second tower, “Now, the tendency will be to assume this is a terrorist attack, but we caution viewers not to leap to conclusions.” That’s right, it might all be a horrible coincidence! The head-scratching over the DNC’s third straight weekend debate is just about that ridiculous. They don’t want Hillary, who is a shaky campaigner and debater, to be seen or heard by any more undecided voters than necessary.

With that, back to #1. What kind of respectable political organization tries to minimize the opportunities for citizens to know its leader? No kind, that’s the answer. Deceptive, manipulative, dishonest, suspicious, untrustworthy organizations behave this way, and only them. Do Democrats care? Does this trouble them? By the evidence, I guess not.

3. The most famous incident in the debate will undoubtedly be Hillary wandering back on stage late after the “debate” had resumed, and saying, Bluto-like…


I’m sorry too, but this is signature significance, proof of an entitled, lazy, arrogant, entitled candidate who is going through the motions. This has never happened before, and the reason is that there has never been a debate involving a candidate who knew the nomination was rigged in her favor before.

4. Last week a memo was declassified that showed that Clinton was warned by the State Department in 2009 that using her personal Blackberry for State related communications was a security risk. This again proves, as if more proof is needed, that Hillary’s protestations that everything she did regarding her communications was “approved” are lies. Apparently ABC’s moderators hadn’t heard about it.

I know: Bernie Sanders twice used previous debates to announce that the public doesn’t want to hear about Clinton’s “stupid e-mails.” The truth is that Bernie is a stooge, and the DNC and Hillary don’t want the public to hear about her e-mails. The ABC moderators, however, as journalists, have an obligation to question candidates about matters related to their character and fitness to lead. Naturally, they never mentioned the memo.

5. Bernie Sanders is a disgrace. He has accepted all of those individual contributions from supporters who think he is trying to win the nomination, and he so obviously is not. He refuses to confront Clinton on her vulnerabilities, which are legion, and lies, which are ubiquitous. He began the debate with an apology, which is essentially baring his throat to his opponent, a concession before the “battle” has even begun. I am a great believer in apologies, but the objective of a debate is still to beat the other debaters, not win “Miss Congeniality.” Sanders had many possible and appropriate forums in which to apologize for his staff’s conduct. This was the worst possible one if he cared about winning. He doesn’t. He’s betrayed his supporters, and they are too naive to realize it.

6. Back to #1: the gall of commenters on various political websites who extol the pleasant and contrived unanimity of the Democratic debates (with pathetic Martin O’Malley reduced to taking harmless potshots at the real and semi-real candidate) over the genuinely contentious Republican debates is as astounding as it is depressing. The idea of passionate disagreement is increasingly offensive to progressives, as their apprentices on college campuses have obviously learned well. Their concept of democracy is not what the Founders envisioned, nor what has advanced the United States this far.


36 thoughts on “Observations On The Democratic Presidential Candidates “Debate”

  1. The “sorry” was pretty funny. If you also realize what it reveals about the whole debate nonsense it’s funnier still.
    I mean funny in the same sense that Nero fiddling while Rome burned was funny. You laugh, because if you start crying you might never be able to stop.

  2. Seems to me that the DNC (the party bosses) has never considered the slightest possibility of any other presidential nominee than Hillary Clinton. When she left the State Department in February of 2013, it seemed pretty obvious that she was doing so not because she had completed the job she came to do, but rather, to put some day-light between her and the Obama administration track record in time for the November 2016 Presidential Election.

    The Democratic party probably has a dozen or more people around the nation who could be more credible candidates for the nomination than Hillary Clinton. I am not saying that they have perfect qualifications or that they have high name recognition, or super fund raising powers, only that they could be more credible than Hillary Clinton.

    In spite of their limitations and flaws, a few names that come to mind might include the Castro brothers of Texas (Joaquin and Julian), Elizabeth Warren, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and even someone like Dianne Feinstein who seems to have taken on something of a “elder statesman” status, and of course Joe Biden. There are others who could also make a case for their own candidacies. Some of these have great depth of experience and some don’t. But who says that experience really matters any more!

    Why so few and so incredible the field of Democratic candidates for 2016? Answer: The DNC nomination process is bogus… rigged… fake… and of course its Hillary’s turn!

    Does anyone seriously doubt this?

    • Well… To be fair. When it was Mitt Romney’s “turn” he faced very little real opposition. He just wasn’t a fraction as inept as Hillary, and didn’t highlight for the world to see the utter shallowness of the bench he sat on.

      • Oh, that’s not accurate at all. How quickly we forget! Santorum beat him in Iowa, and at one point Newt overtook him to the extent that Gingrich said–and many believed– that it was pretty clear that he would be the GOP nominee. Michele Bachmann surged at one point. Rick Perry was such a threat that the Washington Post manufactured a front page story to suggest he was a racist. Herman Cain had momentum for a while, until the news media dug up anonymous women who claimed he harassed them. Mitt was never “inevitable.”

        • See that might be the difference of Canadian coverage of the races, I remember a massive and bloody DNC race on one side and Romney on the other. This was just around the time I was becoming politically aware, so maybe I missed the front end of the primaries, but it just seems to me that Mitt won the RNC nomination damn near a year before Hillary finally conceded to Obama. That could just be me though.

  3. I’m surprised that everybody in the venue wasn’t required to stand up and clap “sponteously” like those old films of Stalin addressing the politburo.

  4. Excuse me Jack but your biases are showing again. They gave her a pee break and then came back before she was finished, you can see the audience wasn’t seated yet either. This is ABC’s screw-up not Clinton’s. They should have kept the camera away until all the candidates had a chance to relieve themselves, not just for the two men to whip it out, pee and shove it back into their pants.

    • Right. She had 5 minutes. She knew she had 5 minutes. No doubt someone back stage screwed up, but in show biz, if an actor misses an entrance, the actor is accountable. Same here. I guarantee someone taking this appearance with full seriousness wouldn’t be late for a live show’s start. In all the debates and all the interviews and all the live TV shows in decades of TV, local and national, how often has someone been back on camera late after the ads were over? incredibly seldom. Vanishing point seldom.

      It doesn’t happen if someone is alert, attentive, and gives a damn.

      • how often has someone been back on camera late after the ads were over? incredibly seldom.

        Because producers don’t cut back to an empty space, they wait, run a 15 second spot, point the camera somewhere else while someone talks. They also probably plan ahead to get the timing right if one person has to walk a much greater distance than the other two.

        You’re better than this.

        • It doesn’t change the fact that she was late—she’s not responsible for the handling of it, sure. ABC should have stalled, or waited. But there is no excuse, if a candidate has a staff (she does) and is taking the matter seriously, for her to be late. They say someone else was using the bathroom. Why wasn’t a clear stall planned and arranged for? These thing are planned out. They have to be planned out. Every other tiny detail of such things are met about, and negotiated, and planned in excruciating detail. She’s no tyro—she’s experienced. Nope, you are applying everyday standards to a special circumstance in which they don’t apply.

          Again with a theater analogy: if an actor misses an entrance, or an act can’t start because he’s not available, I don’t care what the reason is: it’s unacceptable. And my attitude about that actor is: he can’t be trusted. He’s a diva. He’s not professional.

          The fact that the bathroom was a longer distance? Known and planned for. The need to have a stall open? Ditto. Staff to communicate with the broadcast and get her on stage on time? Absolutely her job to set up. It’s her failure, and if she was sufficiently determined to be on time, life and death, it wouldn’t have happened. I guarantee it.

          And if you think I would have a different opinion if it were Trump, Bush, Sanders, Christie or anyone else, you haven’t been paying attention. But they didn’t. There’s only one candidate who knows she could, as one friend but it, do anything but run naked biting everyone on the street and still be the choice of the Democrats, and big surprise, that’s the candidate who didn’t make sure she was on time for her entrance.

          • Trump, Bush, Sanders, and Christie would have all had the same amount of time to do the same thing in the same place and even then you might be wrong if they had limited facilities for the overly large number of debaters.

            Hammer her on policy and statements all you like. Picking on a woman and calling it signature significance for taking longer to use a bathroom that was father away is petty. It isn’t as if she could have just popped into the gents with the boys, too many people in conservative media would have thrown fits even though I have no doubt Sanders and O’Malley would have behaved impeccably. They probably would have even let her have the bathroom to herself and then gone after she was finished. Alas for too many people the word on that sign on the door means more than its purpose in being there.

            To use your analogy, you don’t expect a full costume change in the same amount of time it takes one person to switch jackets and then call someone a diva for not pulling it off. You time whoever takes the longest and then make it work. And you certainly don’t blame the actor if its the costume manager who stops them to stitch something up.

            Though if you do want to talk about giving a pass to republicans, Rubio missing a vote when voting is his job may be awful, but not a word about his using campaign money to pay for work on a book who’s advance money went straight into his own pocket?

            • 1. You’re not paying attention and ignoring the issue. Read what I wrote in the previous reply. You obviously chose to ignore it.

              2. She-had-time-to plan-for-this. If she gave a damn, she would have. It has nothing to do with facilities or where they are…or human plumbing.

              3. I sure as hell DO blame the actor if he’s got to be onstage and the costume designer tried to stop him. HIS job is to be on stage, on time. He tells the costume designer to get out of the way. If he doesn’t, it’s his ass.

              4. Don’t play the dumb “and why don’t you criticize X like you criticize Y” game. I’ve flagged Rubio plenty, including when he was running for Senate and used his Campaign credit card for personal purchases. The book/ campaign kiting is in the same category, and I didn’t write about it because yes, not voting IS worse, and you are stating something as proven that is not. When it is shown to be a violation of election laws or Senate rules, I may write on it. Or not. If true, Rubio used campaign funds to hire a writer to write a book that was a campaign tool (a very successful one) and that enriched him. Is that an ethics violation? I don’t know. I’ll research it when it becomes relevant.

              • https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/SMAN-113/html/SMAN-113-pg82.htm 38.2

                2. No contribution (as defined in section 301(e) of the
                Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431)) shall
                be converted to the personal use of any Member or any former
                Member. For the purposes of this rule “personal use” does
                not include reimbursement of expenses incurred by a Member
                in connection with his official duties.

                Not voting is a dereliction, using campaign funds in a way that lines his own pocket is outright betrayal of his doners.

                Traditionally betrayal has always been worse.

                She had time to do a walk-through, that gave her what ability to change the layout or the network’s chosen timing? Are you suggesting that if the layout made it difficult to pee because she’s a woman she should have just not done it even though the others could? Would they have gone on if she was the only person on the stage?

                ABC is at fault, not secretary Clinton. And if you raise the curtain without everyone already in place you’re at fault because whatever you decide backstage later about who fast people should be ready, it was your choice to go before everyone was.

                • 1. But the book was also part of the campaign. It’s just not as clear cut as you make it out to be. Rubio’s argument would be, and maybe is, that he hired the writer to create campaign literature, which he did. The fact that this campaign work paid for by the campaign ALSO made Rubio money doesn’t necessarily mean that Rubio “converted” the campaign money, which would mean that it was NOT used for the campaign. He only converts the money if the money goes directly into his pocket or is used for a non-campaign purpose ONLY. (I bet Rubio got a legal opinion before he did this.) For example, if Hillary Clinton uses campaign funds to pay a speech-writer who writes a campaign speech that she uses as such, and later she uses the same speech at a college that pays her Foundation $250,000, has she converted the funds she paid the speechwriter? Maybe not. Even probably not. I would say “No.”

                  2. Sophistry. Dereliction of duty is also betrayal. This is just semantics.

                  3. No, I’m saying that a campaign knows about the layout before the walk-through, asks that question, asks how a candidate will relieve themselves and how much time is allotted to do it. I’m saying that a campaign that is paying attention and thinks it matters will say, “Now Mrs. Clinton will need X minutes during one of the breaks to use the facilities. 5 is too short, from what we know of the layout. She must have an open stall waiting for her, and ABC must have a back-up plan in place in case it takes 6,7, or even 8 minutes. This is non-negotiable. Have you seen the requirements Hillary and Chelsea make about their accommodations and perks while on speaking gigs? Indeed, says one report, “Aides said they had been concerned during the walk through before the debate that the ladies room was such a schlep. The campaign’s vice chairwoman, Huma Abedin, had timed the distance to and from the podium and expressed concerns to organizers, but the gymnasium setting meant there were no closer options. She relayed to Mrs. Clinton that she would have to be speedy, said several aides involved in debate planning.”

                  And this, from the Globe: What viewers didn’t know was the sole women’s bathroom was a little further than the men’s room from the stage. And when the debate went to a long commercial break Clinton lost out to Lis Smith, the caffeine-guzzling deputy campaign manager for former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who beat her to the restroom. Smith declined to comment for the story. A top Clinton staffer who was strategically posted outside the bathroom (presumably to avoid these kinds of situations) gave Smith a verbal OK to make a quick pit stop, according to one person familiar with the ladies’ line.The women’s room included multiple stalls, so it’s not entirely clear why Clinton and Smith couldn’t both use the facilities. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill declined to comment for the story, but said there wasn’t a security reason preventing the former secretary of state from sharing a bathroom. The suggestion is being made from this that Clinton wouldn’t use the second stall because someone was using the first one—that is, a diva performance at the wrong time. Since Hillary and her staff lie about everything, there is no way to know what really happened.

                  4. “ABC is at fault, not secretary Clinton.” Oh so wrong. ABC IS wrong for starting without her. That’s irrelevant to the post. Clinton is wrong for not being in place on time. Either she wanted to make an “entrance,” or just was phoning it in, or not applying enough urgency, I don’t know.

                  5. Not how it works, ever. The HOUSE manager holds the curtain and the SM will not call places until a go ahead from the house. The SM will also inform the house if a disaster is preventing the show from starting. A missing actor is such a disaster. And if an actor misses a performance start and an understudy isn’t available, that actor had better have been kidnapped by terrorists or had a stroke. If his answer is “there was a line at the bathroom,” he’s toast.

                  • Hillary Clinton uses campaign funds to pay a speech-writer who writes a campaign speech that she uses as such, and later she uses the same speech at a college that pays her Foundation $250,000, has she converted the funds she paid the speechwriter? Maybe not. Even probably not. I would say “No.”

                    She might have. I get your point but I don’t agree. The book money went into his pocket. If he had immediately written a check t the campaign for that $20k I’d write it off as the same as the credit cards.

                    2: I rank them separately, let’s chalk that one up to personal opinion.

                    3. I’m not aware of Party debates having the same level of negotiation with candidates as the ones we’ll be having in October. We saw what happened when Trump tried to demand pay to show up. The details to the best of my knowledge are done by the party not the candidates.

                    3b. I have sympathy for the actor who doesn’t want a rival spreading rumors of strange bathroom noises or a peek at her lucky lace thong seen from the bottom of the stall. And two days after another candidate’s staffer had downloaded her campaign’s data.

                    4. I think we’ve exhausted this. I’m convinced fault lies elsewhere for this one. The men functionally were given more time. However it is your house so, of course you retain possession of the field.

                    • Wait—I didn’t say the men weren’t given more time…sure they were. How long has Hillary been female? She has no choice in this matter—either she plans, demands more time, makes it a priority to be on stage on time, or she doesn’t.

                      “The book money went into his pocket.”

                      That’s not converting the campaign contributions, though, which is what the provision you quoted refers to. A book advance is royalties. Obama got all the royalties from his books, which the party used in the campaign. I really don’t know if hiring a writer with campaign money is a violation of anything—as I said, I can see the defense argument.

                      Yes, the negotiation on party debates is just as intense if there are candidates who aren’t desperate to debate and who the debates can’t be held without them, like, well, Hillary. Hillary would be happy with NO debates—she calls the shots.

                    • Obama got all the royalties from his books, which the party used in the campaign.

                      Was campaign money used to write or research the books?

                      Or are you alleging that that anyone was required or pressured by the campaign to buy the books? Because that’s a totally different violation, one that got Jim Wright.

                      $20k of campaign money went to the person who ghosted for McCain, who is thanked in the book. $800k went into Rubio’s pocket. If you buy a race car for a campaign ad and then use it to win the Indy 500 did you convert campaign funds when you won the prize money? Even if the campaign retains ownership of the car? I kind of think you did. I quoted the senate handbook not criminal law so ultimately it would be for the ethics committee to decide.

                    • “4. I think we’ve exhausted this. I’m convinced fault lies elsewhere for this one. The men functionally were given more time.”

                      Oh for the.. Deep breaths. The candidates were given access to the site, and so they knew, or should have known, in advance what issues might come up. And in fact they had thought of this one, and posted a guard at the door of the bathroom to avoid something like this, Hillary’s guard let someone else in the room, and apparently they couldn’t share a multiple stall bathroom, because…. reasons…. But it’s not her campaign’s fault! Patriarchy is keeping women out of office by forcing them to use facilities a few steps further away? Is that where you’re going? You realize if the men had similar stall shyness and both needed the room, they had functionally half the time because there were twice as many of them? “Women can do all the things men can do, except figure out how to pee on a god damn time frame?” Really? If I were a presidential candidate, and I thought that this might be an issue, I’d strap on Depends before I let it get to that point. Rand Paul filibustered an appointment on the senate floor for 13 hours before he had to leave for exactly this reason. You know how he made that work? He was prepared. Never in the history of ever has this happened before. This isn’t a man/woman thing… This is a Hillary thing, and you coaching it as a woman thing is disgusting.

              • She’s not an actor — she’s a candidate. Stop saying that — it’s ridiculous and no one cares.

                It took me 5 minutes today just to get back into my undergarments and hose during a bathroom break during a business meeting. I hate dressing for work. Ugh.

                • No one cares is the Hillary Clinton campaign slogan, as well as operating philosophy.

                  A main feature in any TV show or live event is exactly like an actor in every respect, with the same duties and responsibilities, as well as substantially the same skill requirements…as Ronald Reagan made clear. That analogy is truer than true. Acters have to hit their marks, know their lines, look where they are supposed to look, deal with unexpected occurrences, project presence, confidence and professionalism, and give a professional performance. Politicians are no different.

                  Of all times to claim that candidates aren’t actors…the year Donald Trump leads the field, with Hillary running as a feminist. Wow.

                  • Do you want me to acknowledge that Reagan is the best actor who ever held the Presidency? I’m happy to do that. But, I think he had a wee bit more acting skill than anyone at the podium right now. I like politicians who aren’t polished actors; it makes them more genuine. Angela Merkel looks like a cleaning lady yet she’s one of the most important world leaders.

                    And no, Donald Trump is NOT an actor. I’m leaning toward alien species myself. Just think — if it gets down to Rand Paul and Donald Trump in the debates, there are so many hair jokes to be made! Donald’s is so ridiculous that no one yet has realized that Rand Paul looks like Raggedy Andy come to life.

                    And, I agree, no one cares about the Democratic campaign — it’s over. That’s why I am voting Republican in the primaries so at least my vote will count.

    • valkygrrl said, “Excuse me Jack but your biases are showing again…”

      …and you’ve exposed your apologist undergarments.

      valkygrrl said, “…you can see the audience wasn’t seated yet either.”

      You’ve got to be kidding me, you’re trying to use the audience as an excuse? What should they do when an audience member decides to get up to go get a drink from the water fountain because they’re bored stiff, stop mid sentence until the person returns. valkygrrl = Clinton apologist!

      valkygrrl said, “They should have kept the camera away until all the candidates had a chance to relieve themselves, not just for the two men to whip it out, pee and shove it back into their pants.”

      Sounds a little like a preliminary accusation that ABC is waging a war on women. I can hear it now; Clinton will get another pass while there’s mass protests in the streets demanding the resignation of the CEO of ABC.

      What you’re missing and trying unsuccessfully to excuse away, like an typical Clinton apologist, is the fact that LIVE TV doesn’t wait for people that don’t have enough self discipline to show up on time. No matter what you or Hillary want to think, the world doesn’t revolve around Hillary.

        • See… Now THAT is actually patronizing. All the gobbledygook espoused by progressives about silencing language, but when the chips are down…. Let’s not engage… Let’s not take the upper road. No. Let’s break out the corny southern insults and play some pigeon chess.

          (Also, I learned today that gobbledygook is actually a word… No red squiggle. “Microagession” (TYSRL) still is not.

  5. Are Democrats so devoid of character and standards that they are satisfied with a Communist regime-like process where the Party’s hand-picked candidate has a giant box next to her name in the ballot while it is made clear to all that the other candidates are window dressing?

    To be fair, Soviet bloc elections were not always like that. They also allowed minor special interest parties a look in, particularly in smaller elections, provided those parties were on board with the overall legitimacy of the regime and confined their activities to their narrow field. These would almost have been Potemkin parties to lend the appearance of openness, so to speak, but some were the shrivelled rumps of parties from the inter-war period.

  6. Although I think this bathroom discussion is beyond stupid, I am annoyed that this debate was held the weekend before Xmas and on Star Wars’ opening weekend. Even liberal commentators on NPR acknowledged today that this helps Hillary win the status quo.

    • I think the nefarious debate timing has less to do with covering for Hillary specifically and more to with avoiding exposure of *any* democrat’s platform and the party in general.

      • No — it’s to help Hillary, plain and simple. They aren’t focused on the general election. I’ve watched/listened to endless pundits on this — everyone is talking about who will the Democratic primary. I haven’t heard anybody talk about who would be the best Democrat to beat the Republican nominee, whether it is Trump or someone else. In my opinion, O’Malley will appeal to swing voters more than Hillary or Bernie.

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