My Grades for Last Night’s Democratic Debate

My Grades for Last Night’s Democratic Debate


by Lowell

Before I give my grades for last night’s Democratic presidential debate, first check out Matthew Yglesias’ excellent analysis, which pretty much nails it.  Key points by Yglesias (no relation to Julio or Enrique, by the way – lol):

  • “Clinton is not facing first-rate competition””
  • Chafee’s groan-inducing opening statement, featuring an awkward smile and a zero-charisma recitation of his resume. Webb couldn’t even muster a proper resume, simply referring — in a prepared opening statement, mind you — to a career of “accomplishing different things” before seeming to have difficulty recalling the names of all of his daughters. Sanders’s fiery message is well received by the party’s base, but not only is his delivery odd, the debate revealed real limits to his range of competency.”) 
  • “Jim Webb whined a lot about time”
  • “Anderson Cooper tried and failed to bring Clinton down”
  • “Martin O’Malley looked like he was running for VP”
  • “Democrats talked about a lot of issues,” and “The policy-heavy dynamic ultimately played directly into Clinton’s hand. “
  • “Sanders yelled a lot (including at one point yelling about the inefficacy of yelling as a strategy for political change), and Chafee became the butt of dozens of jokes for a hilariously inept effort to beg off responsibility for a 1999 bank regulation vote on the grounds that he was new in the Senate and his dad had just died.”
  • “One could easily imagine an alternate reality in which Clinton had that exchange with the more charismatic, more policy-fluent Elizabeth Warren instead of Sanders. A reality in which Clinton and Warren were joined on the stage by the likes of Joe Biden and Deval Patrick. Clinton would likely prevail against that kind of field, but it would be a considerably more difficult task than tackling her actual bunch of opponents.”
I’d also note Martin O’Malley floundering on foreign policy (“Pyutin?” Try “Putin”; “Assad’s invasion of Syria?” LOL); Webb – when he wasn’t whining about how little time he got (due largely to him being at 1% in the polls and barely running a campaign), sounded like a Republican, absolutely clueless on energy/environment, obsessed with China, just weird; Clinton flustering Sanders by arguing that she would be tougher on big banks/Wall Street than Sanders.  With that, here are my grades.

Hillary Clinton: A (she did what she needed to do and more, and in the process made Joe Biden’s decision NOT to run much easier for him to make).
Bernie Sanders: B- (uneven, with strong moments – the strongest being the one where he jumped to Clinton’s defense on the idiotic email non-story/non-“scandal” – interspersed with a lot of handwaving and failing to lay a glove on Clinton)
O’Malley: C (well, he was there and, other than on foreign policy, didn’t make any terrible gaffes; just zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…definitely NOT the breakthrough moment he desperately needed)
Lincoln Chafee: D- (waaaayyy out of his league)
Jim Webb: F (just embarrassing, including his campaign’s retweets of the freakin’ insane Daily Caller!)

P.S. One more comment: The Democrats overall were infinitely superior – serious, sane, sober, substantive – to the far-right-wing, radical, xenophobic, homophobic, warmongering, fearmongering Republicans. And no, that wasn’t meant as a backhanded compliment.