SocraticGadfly: First #DemDebate: Grades, winners and losers, including the #MSM

October 14, 2015

First #DemDebate: Grades, winners and losers, including the #MSM

Winners on the right, and others (less the MSM establishment) on the left.
First, I'm going to call a clear loser, as a member of the Fourth Estate myself.

And, that's the number of mainstream media saying Hillary Clinton won the debate, and usually saying so strongly. From Robert Garrett at the Snooze to Amy Chozick at the Old Gray Lady, MSM pundits who are already political writers and denizens of either state or national capitals, and therefore meet the acid test of "insiders," are the ones plumping for Clinton.

The Hill is another insider, looking for a cheap-shot reason to undercut Sanders. And finding it.

If this, on Sanders, from The Hill:
Clinton clearly gained the upper hand over him at times. “I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people,” Sanders said at one point, near the start of the debate. But Clinton shot back, “We are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America.”

Is serious analysis, then my left butt cheek is qualified to be POTUS. Sadly, other MSM folks seem to agree with The Hill.

Check your biases. Or don't check them, and keep writing biased coverage.

It's not just online polls that anybody can crash, though the enthusiasm of Sanders poll-crashers itself arguably says something. It's not just Twitter, though we do have that. It's focus groups, post-debate focused polling and more.

Speaking of online polls, vote in mine at top right.

Chozick is a known Clinton hack. And, I'm now taking Garrett as a demonstrated "insider/establishmentarian" hack, with Clinton being the insider/establishmentarian du jour. (And, he works for a hack paper that has its head up the Komen Foundation's ass for the month of October, but that's another story entirely. I think.)

Chozick claims Clinton had a "dominant" performance. In what alternative universe? She then says Sanders had "forceful challenges" to Clinton's "agility."

Otherwise, from Chuck Todd on, the pundit class were in a rush to prove their post-debate idiocy.

So, those "inside the Beltway," or "inside the Mopac," if they're from Texas? Discount them. Chattering classes.

Is it true that Bernie needs to up his style and the quality of his rhetorical speaking? Yes. If, as rumored, he stubbornly refuses to do debate prep, he needs to change his mind, or else find progressive voters like this one further discounting him.

But, Hillary Clinton only "won" the debate if you're an establishmentarian wanting her to have won. Friend Perry thinks she won anyway because Bernie didn't overcome stereotypes, but, I'll politely disagree.

And, with that said ...


Winners and losers among the candidates?

Bernie wins the most. All four non-Clinton candidates got "exposure" to the general public for the first time. The public had probably heard the most about Sanders, therefore he had the most to win — if he didn't blow it.

Losers? Jim Webb made clear that he's simply not a presidential candidate for the modern Democratic Party.


First, nobody gets an A, or even an A-minus.

Sanders: B-plus. While I don't vote on "charisma," he still needs to improve his political interaction persona. CNN notes that having to share the stage, rather than a campaign rally, may put a regular dent in his style. And, his answer on gun control, while right about rural states, still isn't convincing. Lots of rural state Congressman and Senators voted FOR the Brady Bill.

Plus side? Had the best closing of any of the five.

That said, he ain't winning ANYTHING in the future if more of his followers start indulging conspiracy theories.

Clinton: B-minus. Not too defensive. Could still have lightened up more. Wall Street-related answers were laughably unbelievable. Managed to not have too many arrows stick too deeply, though.

O'Malley: B-minus. Didn't look totally like an empty suit, but did look somewhat that way, per my snarky pre-debate guide. At times, more of a panderer than Clinton, though. Failed to knock his closing statement out of the park, though.

Chafee: C-minus. Looked competent. (Until near the end.) Failed to explain why, as a former Republican, he had anything special to offer. His "my Dad had just died" on Glass-Steagal sounded almost as bad as Jeb Bush's "stuff happened," or as Clinton's "I'd tell them to cut it out" during the debate earlier. (You could have abstained, Lincoln. Duh.)

Webb: F. He did live up to being the saltine I called him earlier. Or to being Bob Dole as a candidate.

Joe Biden, in absentia: D. Neither Clinton nor O'Malley screwed up badly enough to boost his case as an establishmentarian alternative to Clinton. That said, he's still nosing around, complete with debate-based potential strategy.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: D. The Democratic National Committee chairwoman did nothing pre- or post-debate to tamp down thoughts that she's a quiet Clintonista.


Clinton's emails? Not a "winner," in the way most people think, if they listened to post-debate interviews. In his interview, Sanders said "there's a process ... for looking at her emails." In other words, while perhaps decrying Trey Goudy, he was NOT saying there's zero fire behind the smoke. And, he otherwise "won" by having the most memorable comment of the night.
Now, can he build on it? And, does he need better debate prep, as No More Mr. Nice Blog says?

Semi-loser? Anderson Cooper. His asking Jim Webb if Sanders' conscientious objector status had disqualified him to be commander in chief of the military showed some establishmentarian warhawk biases on Cooper's part.

And, being Hillary's mouthpiece on the issue of free college for Trump's kids, which I've already addressed on this blog, is another fail.

And, he arguably "did Hillary a solid" by the way he handled the Black Lives Matter issue.

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