A Brief But Pointed Comment On Last Night’s Democratic Presidential Candidate’s Debate

Gee, am I imagining things, or didn’t Bernie and Hillary repeatedly mock their Republican counterparts for being uncivil, mean and unruly in their debates, while superciliously noting how the Good Candidates—you know: them—were always respectful, measured in tone, polite and professional? I’m certain I heard that, more than once.

I definitely heard Democrats and progressives in the pundit class, which is to say, 95% of the mainstream media, say that, because I wrote this more than a month ago:

1. The smug comments from Democratic pundits and operatives about how “substantive” the Democratic debates have been and how “ugly” and “childish” the GOP debates have been is really nauseating, and the news media should flag it as such. When one candidate is ugly and childish, as well as shameless about being so, the other candidates have little choice but to get down in the mud. That’s the situation in the Republican debates, and that is entirely due to Donald Trump. When, meanwhile, one candidate is notable for lack of trustworthiness and dishonesty, and her only opposition refuses to reference the major reason the public (accurately) believes her to be so,  the resulting debate will be muted. Sanders, in short, isn’t doing his job. That’s nothing for Democrats to be smug about.

It is oh-so-easy to be pleasant and respectful when there are only two candidates and one of them is playing The Washington Generals for the other, giving just enough token opposition to create the illusion of an unrigged contest, and refusing to raise contentious issues. It is really easy to be collegial when there is no genuine competition, and one candidate just wants a forum for his whack-job ideas, while the other assumes that it is clear sailing to the nomination. It is really, really easy to be respectful when no candidate crosses the line of decorum and starts getting under the other candidate’s skin, and drawing blood with pointed attacks.

Last night, none of those conditions were applicable, so–SURPRISE!—the Democratic candidates debate devolved into such an angry shouting match that poor Wolf Blitzer had to intervene, saying,“If you’re both screaming at each other, people won’t be able to hear either of you, so please don’t talk over each other!”

Naturally, the news media has noted this ironic turn of events and apologized to the Republican field. No, I’m kidding, but they have declared that Clinton and Sanders are embarrassing the party and the nation, just as they did when the GOP field got nasty.

OK, I’m kidding again.

You see, bare-knuckles debating  tactics are only unseemly and disqualifying when Republicans are debating.

(I am adding “I told you so” to the tags.)

7 thoughts on “A Brief But Pointed Comment On Last Night’s Democratic Presidential Candidate’s Debate

  1. Jack,
    Why is it all the candidates (on both sides) continuously look at their opponents? When I was in forensic debate in high school and college, this was a big no-no. You always, ALWAYS, address the judge or your audience, never the person you’re debating. Has debate etiquette changed so much, or are they just ignorant of it?


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