Democratic Debate Open Thread

CNN is the host again. CNN has been the worst so far; see David Dayen’s review of the hot mess of a debate CNN hosted in July. And there will be more bodies on the stage this time than there were in July. I have little hope this won’t be another hot mess. But we’ll see.

The twelve participants will be Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Steyer (first appearance), Warren, and Yang.

8 thoughts on “Democratic Debate Open Thread

  1. Off-topic:  Just heard that there are nuclear weapons that belong to the U.S. in the possession now of Erdogan.  It was stated that Erdogan can hold them hostage.  Wonderful.  Mr. Genius is really of his meds and the country is in dire trouble.

    • I guess the nuclear bombs you refer to are in Erdogan's hands in the sense that the whole Incirlik Air Base and all the American personnel and airplanes, because they are in Turkey, are in Erdogan's hands. There are said to be 50 warheads there. IMO they should have been moved back to the U.S. in 1990, after the official end of the Soviet Union. That they are still there proves that powerful people refused to end the Cold War. They certainly should have been moved after Turkey refused to allow passage of one third of the forces intended to invade Iraq in 2003. It was the height of irresponsibility to leave them there after Erdogan claimed in 2016 that the CIA was behind the coup attempt against his government.

  2. The NYT feed of the debate was not without flaws, even with fiber optic connection.  The baker's dozen of candidates not flawless either,  Taken as a gestalt, or as a whole if you prefer, they are quite a pool of talent.  I continue to support the pick of the process, and intend to stay on that path.  May they continue to respect each other and appreciate the merit of the subtile differences in the paths they suggest.  They all seem to know the general direction and the skills and values needed to approach the future.  At this point they all represent hope.  

    My favorite line of the night contained the phrase "the difference between a pipe dream and a plan".  That caught my attention.  It is Not a distinction without a difference.  It rang true to the pragmatist in me.  I cannot recall who uttered it, but it was good to hear.  The devil is in the details and certainly in the opposition.  Never forget, though I mix my euphorics, that ideas must pass the hangover test.  The vultures are circleing and will not wait for the death rattle to pick at any sign of weakness.  Human vultures, without ethics or dignity, prefer to nest with the opposition.  They will continue to drag us all in the wrong direction if they can.


  3. I didn't see the whole thing, but my takeaways:

    • They came for Warren as the front runner but she weathered the storm.  Net effect was she wasn't damaged and actually helped her. 
    • The sheer number of candidates force them to rely on producing soundbites and gotcha moments.  Delivering a zinger or getting zinged IMO doesn't add much value.
    • There's way too much obfuscating in jockeying for political position on health care, which is understandable given the number of ideas and the complexity of the details and how they fit together.  That said, it would have been nice for someone to ave made the point, that as we speak right now, the Trump administration is in court working hard to turn back the clock to the pre ACA days, and whatever you may think of the differing of opinions and approaches on this stage, that will never be the result of any democratic policy on health care.
    • Last night there were two general schools of thought: the big vision vs the incremental.  Interesting that two of the top three candidates are big vision with one, Biden, in the incremental camp.   Indicative of the direction of the party.
    • Kamala Harris is overdoing the former prosecutor shtick.  Her focus on kicking Trump off twitter in attacking Warren was countered effectively by Warren focusing on the big picture.  Not to mention the implication in her response of Harris relying on corporate donations still.

    Going forward, it would be great if the dems could go to a round robin, elimination approach for the debates, to give the top candidates more room to debate each other and hone their positions leading into primary season.  Though every last one is a damn sight better than Trump, by far, some of these candidates unfortunately are pretty much done right now, and aren't adding much value vs the time they take up.

  4. I've seen bits and snips. Warren shows a strategy of refusing to say taxes will go up because in almost all cases, total costs will go down when premiums, deductibles, and co-pays disappear. The GOP and media want a sound bite, "I will raise taxes." which is a deceptive frame.

  5. BTW, Sanders gives the best explanation on paying for health care, and the cost benefit for the taxpayer.  If you add up today what you pay in taxes plus personal health care, with personal health care costs calculated as premiums + copays + prescription meds, than the grand total is what the target is.  In the various MFA solution approaches, the tax portion of the calculation goes up, but the health care portion goes down substantially, with the impact to the taxpaying health care consumer a net decrease in out of pocket costs.  A very simple two slide Powerpoint deck could illustrate this easily.  I'm surprised this hasn't been created and shopped around.

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