Tag: Democratic Debate

Dem Debate Wrap-up: October in Ohio


Twelve candidates. Three hours. And one guy dumb enough to watch it.

CNN and the New York Times teamed up Tuesday night for the latest cattle call. The contestants were Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Warren, Yang, and in his first debate appearance, businessman Tom Steyer. They met in Ohio at Otterbein University, which apparently is a real school.

For the first time, candidates focused most of their attacks on Sen. Elizabeth Warren instead of  Joe Biden. Her polling rise to second-place has its disadvantages. Warren gave a typically polished performance, promising free-this and free-that, but kept dodging the trillions in tax hikes required. Instead, she promised that the ultra-rich will pay for everything.

Democratic Debate Wrap-Up: The Race Remains the Same


Two hours and forty-eight minutes later, the third Democratic primary debate is finally over. Nothing said Thursday night will significantly impact the race; Biden still leads with Warren and Sanders close behind.

ABC News hosted the latest scrum, filled with more Trump-bashing, tax-raising, and spending, spending, spending. According to party rules, only ten candidates appeared. In addition to the top three, the dais included Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, and Yang.

Without Tulsi, Marianne, or the red-state outliers, Thursday’s debate was duller than the previous affairs — and that’s saying something.

On the Democratic Debate, Round Two


The second night of Democratic primary debates was more contentious than the first. It also presented the first candidate to stand out from the bloated stage. Sen. Kamala Harris was focused, fierce, and used her prosecutorial experience to fillet current frontrunner Joe Biden. She made the most of her ten minutes or so of speaking time while Joe made the least of his.

Biden is just three years older than Trump, but he appears decades beyond. He was confused, had trouble hearing questions, and stumbled over his tongue. Bernie is a year Joe’s senior but seemed almost vibrant next to the former VP standing at the adjacent lectern.

A Democratic Debate That Ignores China and Trade Isn’t Much of a Debate


The core of Trumponomics is a protectionist trade policy built on tariffs, both threatened and implemented. All of America’s largest trading partners, including allies, have been in President Trump sights. And as the president gets ready to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, some analysts are wondering whether the entire US-China trading relationship will fall victim to a New Cold War.

But “trade” ⁠—⁠ in its economic context ⁠—⁠ was mentioned only once in last night’s Democratic presidential debate. And “China” was only mentioned a half dozen times, with four of those mentions in a rapid-fire round where candidates were asked to briefly mention the “greatest geopolitical threat” to America. Don’t blame the NBC moderators. Candidates had ample opportunity to explore the US-China trade conflict and more broadly China’s challenge to US superpower supremacy.

Maybe their failure to do so was political strategy. Or maybe it’s because they don’t know quite what to say. Progressives and socialists are no fans of free trade ⁠—⁠ since, you know, free trade is market capitalism is action ⁠—⁠ and the energy in the Democratic Party is on the left.

Meanwhile, Among the Democrats …


I missed last night’s debate, but the highlight reel below sent me looking for the transcript. With the country in the mood it’s in — and with Sanders and Clinton squabbling over who can increase the welfare state the most — were they really trying to out-immigration-dove each other last night? Yes, Tom. Of course they were.


We Are at War with Radical Islam


DebateWhy exactly do the Democrat candidates for President choke like they have a chicken bone in their throats when asked to say those words? John Dickerson asked Hillary Clinton during Saturday night’s debate whether she agreed with various Republican politicians, and for that matter French President Hollande, that we are at war with radical Islam. Her response was to stumble about and ultimately insist that we were not at war “with all of Islam.” This was distinctly off the point of the question and illustrated yet again the fetish with words that the left has any time race, culture, or ethnicity sneak into the conversation.

This is the topic that my co-host Todd Feinburg and I delve into in this week’s edition of the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast. The podcast is a spinoff of the Harvard Conservative Lunch club which we formed a few years ago. (And please don’t ask if we had our meetings in a phone booth – you are just dating yourself). We hope you’ll check it out.

Why would the Democrat candidates not be willing to say “radical Islam” or “radical Islamic terrorist?” I think it’s safe to say that if Hillary were to utter those words, she wouldn’t run the risk of frightening Muslim voters in the middle to flee over to the Republicans. I don’t even think that Muslims in the Democrat base are going to have their enthusiasm for Hillary (or any Democrat) mitigated by the use of those terms. There seems to be no appreciable downside to just simply acknowledging the religious connection of the terror threat to our society.

On the Good and Bad Economics from the Democratic Presidential Debate


RTS73U0_11_15_15_dem_debate-e1447688328197Let’s start with the few positives.

On the issue of raising the national minimum hourly wage to $15, Hillary Clinton said she took “seriously” former Obama White House economist Alan Krueger’s warning on the riskiness of such a steep increase. Clinton also didn’t seem much interested in the super high income tax rates  — 70 percent? 90 percent? — mentioned by Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. And she reiterated her opposition to free, universal four-year college.

Here is Sanders: “You have no disposable income when you’re making 10, 12 bucks an hour. When we put money into the hands of working people they’re gonna go out for our goods. They’re gonna go out for our services. And they are gonna create jobs in doing that. And O’Malley: “And if our middle class makes more money, they spend more money. And our whole economy grows.”

Economic Growth Isn’t Everything … But It’s Tremendously Important


shutterstock_113872831Economic growth is necessary but not sufficient for a flourishing society. An obvious, non-controversial statement, I would think.

The recent Democratic presidential debate, however, suggests some policymakers have forgotten the “necessary” part as they debate the merits of “democratic socialism” and a more redistributive state. Now more than ever America needs a dynamic, competitive capitalism to drive the US economic engine.

In his latest Washington Post column, AEI’s Michael Strain make fleshes out the above formula. First, growth is necessary:

Hillary: Sanders Plan for US Billionaires to Self-deport “Unworkable”



BURLINGTON, VT — Delivering a speech on income inequality yesterday, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (Workers Party, Vermont) called on US billionaires to self-deport. “We’re not going to round them up” said Sanders. “The answer is self-deportation, which is people deciding they can do better by going elsewhere due to a draconian tax code.”

Sanders’ presidential rival Hillary Clinton sharply criticized the proposal, calling self-deportation “unworkable.” Ms. Clinton went on to ridicule the notion that the authorities are going to “round up the 537 billionaires living in America’s shadows and put them in electric cars and private planes bound for a friendlier tax environment. Where are these people expected to go?” asked Ms. Clinton rhetorically, “Switzerland?” Ms. Clinton then painted a chaotic refugee crisis in which undocumented billionaires and their families are forced to traverse the uncharted private airfields and ski resorts of Zurich, Vail, and St. Tropez.

Proudest Enemy? Please.


During Tuesday’s debate, Democrats were asked which enemy they were most proud of making. Lincoln Chaffee claimed the coal lobby; Martin O’Malley cited the NRA; Hillary Clinton agreed with O’Malley, but added “the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians, probably the Republicans;” Senator Bernie Sanders claimed Wall Street and the pharmaceutical Industry as being “at the top of my list;” and Jim Webb said it was the man who threw a grenade that would have killed a US Marine were it not for Webb’s heroism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t48MyL5QdAc

Naturally, Webb’s answer was unwelcome in a Democratic Party that often seems ashamed of Western Civilization, and of any efforts spent defending (or worse, expanding) it. Webb is the candidate for the people whom the Democratic party left. Another good answer would have been to reject the question.

Do Democrats Really Believe Americans Are Worse Off Today Than in the 1970s?


In last night’s Democratic debate from Las Vegas, Bernie Sanders highlighted a key bit of modern Democratic economic theory: “The middle class of this country for the last 40 years has been disappearing.” Things have been going to hell since Nixon! (It always goes back to Nixon, doesn’t it, progressives?)

But things have not been going to hell for decades. Sure, the middle class – defined as households earning between $35,000 and $100,000 — probably has been shrinking. But through 2000, a New York Times analysis reveals, “the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets.”

Democratic Debate: Better Than Expected


shutterstock_236564839My impression is that it wasn’t that bad. Anderson Cooper’s questions were focused, clear, fair, and got to issues that are important to the country and the Democratic base. I was actually surprised by some of the back and forth on a few of the questions. Jim Webb gave some very solid and non-orthodox answers on affirmative action and climate change, which I was shocked to hear from a Democrat (and so was the audience, I think). When gun control came up, there was a real split among the candidates, with Sanders and Webb on one side and the rest of the field on the other. I was even impressed that Sanders defended a gun shop owner from being held liable for following the law. I was also surprised that Sanders gave Hillary a complete pass on her email scandal, but I guess that no one actually cares that much about Democratic corruption in the Democratic race.

Now, on to Clinton, who was okay, so long as she avoided laughing. She was very evasive on all foreign policy issues, and I’m not sure I understand what she thinks is going on in the world, let alone what should be done about it. Her explanation of Libya was an amazing non-answer: essentially, we did it because everyone wanted us to do it, and that was it. No acknowledgement that the place has gone down the toilet. I don’t recall anyone challenging her on that, which is surprising given how quick everyone was to complain about Iraq, and Libya is Iraq with less forethought and follow through. Basically, I gathered that Hillary will do what ever is popular in foreign policy be it bomb, retreat, or ignore. Which is, I guess, what I expected.

I was surprised by how strongly Webb feels about China; so strongly, that he jumped 5,000 miles during an answer about Syria to talk about the South China Sea. I thought he was going to promise to declare war on them right then and there. No one really seemed to talk much about Putin or Russia except Sanders, who is buying into the newest trend on the Left of applauding Putin’s self-inflicted wounds of conquering the Crimea, invading Eastern Ukraine, and moving on to Syria. I guess the final master stroke will be to get him to invade Poland. Then, his number will finally be up. The Russian people will hold him accountable just like they did with… what was the name of that Russian leader that was held accountable by the Russian people? I can’t wait for a sane and competent Republican to ream them over this. The bottom line is that all the candidates on the stage would have no policy towards Russia other then letting Putin do whatever he wants.

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So, it’s on Tuesday, 9pm EST. Snow White and Grumpy, Commie, Whitey, Doc*, and maybe dopey. I’m hosting a watch party in Madison. If you’re nearby, it’d be great to see you. If you’re not nearby, it would still be great to see you, and I have a spare room. I have one spare room, though, so, […]

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