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When you’re shucking a bucket of crabs, the smart ones try like hell to escape. But as soon as one gets to the edge of freedom, the rest of the crabs yank him back down. That was the Democratic debate Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
Bernie Sanders is the frontrunner but would lose if the so-called moderate lane unified behind a single candidate. Instead, the other five Democrats spent two hours pulling each other down, leaving the Brooklyn Bolshevik free to yell about whatever it is he yells about.
Mike Bloomberg got quite the hazing in this, his first debate. Elizabeth Warren opened with a savage attack.
“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against,” the former Native American said. “A billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians, and no I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
“I think we need something different than Donald Trump,” Amy Klobuchar added, blasting Bloomberg’s call for others to drop out and support him. “I don’t think you look at Donald Trump and say we need someone richer.”
After everyone torched Bloomberg in the first few minutes, Warren took aim at everyone else.
We need to get everybody’s health care plan out here. Mayor Buttigieg really has a slogan that was thought up by his consultants to paper over a thin version of a plan that would leave millions of people unable to afford their health care. It’s not a plan, it’s a PowerPoint.
And Amy’s plan is even less. It’s like a Post-It note: Insert plan here.
Both blasted back but then tore into each other. Ever smarmy, Buttigieg hit Klobuchar for forgetting the name of Mexico’s president. “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb? Are you mocking me here, Pete?” she replied.
Later in the evening, Klobuchar told Pete, “You memorized a bunch of talking points,” saying he’s never been “in the arena.”
“I’m used to senators telling mayors that senators are more important,” Buttigieg responded. “You don’t have to be in Washington to matter.” He then polished several shiny red apples and handed them to the moderators. (I might have made up that last part.)
Biden was strong compared to his last few debates, which isn’t saying much. Between Tourette’s-style grunts of “Malarkey!” and “C’mon, man!” he hit Bloomberg’s initial opposition to Obamacare. “The mayor said when we passed it … it was a disgrace. Look it up. Check it out.”
The former vice president then hit him for not releasing his taxes. “It just takes us a long time,” Bloomberg said. “Fortunately, I make a lot of money, and we do business all around the world, and we are preparing it … I can’t go to Turbo Tax.”
As the attacks were aimed at everyone else, Bernie could mostly stick to his 50-year-old stump speech. (Turns out he’s not a fan of billionaires.)
In the second half of the debate, Bloomberg had a few moments.
“I can’t think of a way that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get re-elected than listening to this conversation,” he said. “This is ridiculous. We’re not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that, the other countries tried that — it was called communism — and it just didn’t work.”
The rowdy audience responded with anxious “ooohs” and “aaahs.”
“What a wonderful country we have,” Bloomberg added. “The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.”
Outside of an attack here and there, Sanders was the obvious winner. He walked in on top and left on top; that’s what counts. Everyone else — Biden, Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Warren — limped away bleeding from their all-against-all deathmatch.
Onto Saturday’s Nevada Caucus. Crab is on the menu.Published in