CNN’s Hot Mess, Night 2

I endorse what David Dayen writes about the atrocious job CNN did as debate host. I would add that whichever Democratic Party official(s) approved that format should resign immediately. Night #2 was such a mess nobody could be said to “win.” Cory Booker, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Julián Castro, and Jay Inslee were the least wince-inducing, IMO. And I’m not endorsing any of those people. Just saying they did not annoy me overmuch. Everybody else more or less just got on my nerves last night.

Never Trumpers and centrist Democrats are celebrating today because Joe Biden remembered his own name and managed to not trip over his podium. “Joe Biden was brilliantly and gloriously adequate,” Dana Milbank writes.

Biden was .?.?. perfectly adequate. He wasn’t the most eloquent or stylish debater on the stage. He struggled to find words at times, he seemed over-rehearsed, he seemed not to grasp how texting works (“Go to Joe 30330”), he cut himself off when his allotted time expired and, at times, he seemed stunned by the ferocity of the barrage — which, in fairness, was stunning.  …

… Biden’s triumph over mediocrity has a ready explanation. Correctly or not, voters believe this nonthreatening old white guy of moderate leanings is the one to beat President Trump. In the Quinnipiac poll, fully 51 percent of Democrats said that Biden has the best chance of doing so.

Biden fumbled around clumsily with a question on deportations in the Obama Administration. He revealed some fundamental ignorance and tone-deafness on health care issues. Running in the general election on Barack Obama’s legacy is not going to work to get independents to the polls. The only reason Biden wasn’t torn up worse is that the format made everyone ineffectual. This is the guy people want on a debate stage with Trump? Seriously?

I also think Gillibrand’s persistent challenges of an op ed Biden wrote in the 1980s just made him look sympathetic, and she’d been doing well up to that point. People need to choose which bricks they throw more carefully.

We can hope that the next debate will have a much smaller field. The New York Times says that Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, O’Rourke, Sanders, and Warren have already qualified for the next debate. Castro, Yang, and Klobuchar are close. I sincerely hope no one else gets a bump and is included. And I hope ABC, the host for the September debate, learns from the CNN atrocity and does it differently.

10 thoughts on “CNN’s Hot Mess, Night 2

  1. I ran out of toilet-paper watching that shit-show last night!

    And I stopped watching after thirty minutes and turned to MSNBC, and then watched Cup o' Schmoe this morning to find out who did what – and to whom.

    I agree, maha, whoever orchestrated these 4 debates needs to be fired.  FIRED!  Fired, and be thankful we Democrats decided to fire, instead of draw-and-quarter them!

    Somehow, between CNN and the Democratic, they made the atrocious GOP debates in '15 and '16 seem like bastions of civility and grace.

    Let me know when we're under 10 candidates, and I may tune-in.

  2. Too much debate over plans that will never pass go, too much 'you did this thirty years ago', too much "kitchen table" I hate the phrase, too much it will raise taxes ( if I don't  pay premiums I get a 7,000 dollar raise at least.), too little clarity  too much mud.

    But although I see no one who can beat trump, the Dems can field a hellava better group than the sycophant party.

    Joe is not great but voters  are afraid a woman, a African American,  a Latino,  a gay will not have have broad enough support. Qualified is not good enough. We all know too many who will not vote for them. That is why they  look to Joe. 

    • no one can beat Trump????   What the hell are you talking about???  He got fewer votes than the Democrat last time, and that was with people who were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

      Do you really think he will get more voters this time? And none of the Democrats  except maybe Biden, have the Clinton/Obama stink on them that turned people away last time!

  3. Dana Milbank is no Jonathan Swift, but he's a good political satirist. Had he less style, he would have typed that Joe barely withstood shots from desperate also-rans, and his future does not look bright.

    The debate's opening festivities brought back John Kerry's military salute to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It's not hard to imagine a majority of Democratic party officials thinking the reality show treatment was just the fire needed to fight Trump's dumpster fire of a reality show presidency. They have a hard time finding their own turf to play on, as Andrew Yang tried to point out.

  4.  "The only reason Biden wasn’t torn up worse is that the format made everyone ineffectual."

     That's the feeling I came away with. Seemed like everyone of them was cut off before they could complete what they were trying to say. And those who did manage complete what they wanted to say only said something I heard a dozen times before. I guess we'll have to wait until they thin out the herd.


  5. In November 2020, the  two questions are: (for historians to debate for decades) 

    Who showed up to vote?

    Who stayed home?

    Team Trump is going racist, sexist and xenophobic to turn out Trump cultists. No matter how heavily they've bought into Trump, they can only vote once and there's a limited number, around 40% of the electorate.  I predict Trump will go even further to excite his base with only token denials of what's plain to see. IMO, this will drive total Trump turnout down compared to 2016. Some folks who voted for Trump in 2016 are very disappointed in what they got. It could be devastating in some swing states and Trump has no margin.

    On the other hand, the Democratic Party is trying to get Biden through the primaries without a fatal gaffe. If they succeed, the potential Democratic turnout will decline. The reliable old guard of the party was going to vote "D" regardless but Biden is a huge disappointment for the young voters who turned the tide in 2018. Joe's got some virtues, but he's as boring as oatmeal.

    Team Russia will be out there trying to depress the vote no matter who the nominee is. The threat of manipulation via social media will be blunted by awareness of the threat. People who encourage a "stay home in protest" vote will get booed off the virtual stage of Facebook. Whether or not Russia can directly cook the count in swing states we'll find out in 2021. There's no provision in the Constitution for a re-do if it's proven there was international hanky-panky in the popular vote(s) in key states. 

    I just looked at the RCP average of polls. With the caviat that things are going to change a LOT before any primary votes are cast, a combined Sanders/Warren ticket would be within a percentage point of Biden (if nothing changed between now and Iowa.) Personally, I prefer Warren to Sanders, partly because of Bernie's age but if Bernie bowed out after one term, Liz would be in line with an inside track to the Oval Office. This violates the conventional wisdom of selecting a running mate who will strengthen the ticket by drawing in a different segment of voters.  I'm not sure that applies – the excitement that pair would inspire in young voters would drive up voter registration and turnout far beyond the number of voters who would switch to Trump or fail to vote for fear of a socialist. 

  6. While I believe there are more Democratic voters than the other side, it's important to note that the voter purge process has been taking place in hopes of reducing that fact.

    It would help to spread the word to anybody living in these areas to make the effort to check their status on the voting rolls.

    As for future debates, the DNC or whoever puts these things together, needs to find a network willing to host the debates and then contract out an independent source to moderate. League of Women Voters comes to mind. As it is, the present format is designed to incorporate conservative talking points and showcase their network's "talent".

  7. This is the guy people want on a debate stage with Trump? Seriously?

    Absolutely not.

    The eventual Democrat nominee, whoever that might be, ought simply to refuse all invitations to debate Bozo.

    To appear on a stage with him is to immerse oneself in a shit-bath, voluntarily.

    Or to be a guest on The Joe Pyne Show (remember that? Worse even than The McLaughlin Group).

    Our already debased and idiotic political controversies are only made worse, much worse, by Bozo's participation.

    Boycott him!

    The Democrat ought to boycott Bozo and ignore him as far as possible, lest Bozo's utter bullshit dominate the political contest and set the topics for it, again, just as it did in 2016.

    We saw how well that worked out.

  8. 455 days until the election is a LONG time. I don't get why they are even having "debates" (these aren't debates — a debate is two guys presenting opposing arguments) now. Are there no kittens stranded on top of telephone poles to feature? Are there no kids trapped in caves? My impression over the last 70 years has been that most people don't remember past last Tuesday. The Iowa caucuses won't be held until February, 2020. The first debate shouldn't have been held until January, 2020.


Comments are closed.