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Fri Feb 5, 2016, 04:20 PM

Debating the Debate


There was a lot of excitement going into last night’s Democratic primary debate, and it certainly lived up to its billing. In my opinion, it ranked with the most important and impressive debates in the history of primary and general election debates. The supporters of each candidate, obviously, are convinced that their candidate won. The corporate media is busy putting their spin on it.

More important, of course, is how the general public views the debate. This will determine how it is eventually recorded in the history books. While I like both Sanders and Clinton, I have endorsed Bernie; hence, my opinion is subjective. Also, because so little time has passed since last night’s debate ended, what I have to say at this time is little more than first impressions.

As I’ve noted before, being a man of remarkably little insight or intelligence, I am convinced that all of life imitates the great sport of boxing. I am able to recognize that my engaging in over 300 amateur bouts -- not to mention the thousands of rounds of sparring in training -- may well have had a damaging impact upon my gray cells. So this is but the ramblings of an old pug, who appreciated watching two professionals competing at the highest level last night.

A two hour debate between the two highest-ranking contenders for the Democratic nomination was equivalent to a 15-round title fight. Anyone who insists that either candidate won each and every round can be quickly dismissed, for they do not have an opinion, but rather, a bias. Both candidates had strengths that allowed them to do better in different parts of the contest.

I thought that both Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd did a good job of moderating. I’ve long enjoyed Rachel’s show, and in the past year, have come to have great respect for her. I cannot honestly say that I enjoy or respect Chuck. I was concerned beforehand, that both moderators might favor Ms. Clinton; I was glad to see both take an even-handed approach. This definitely added to the high quality of the contest.

There were unforced errors on both sides. The use of the pre-packaged “artful smear” line came across uncomfortably. Answering a question on Afghanistan by continuing with the answer you asked for time to address on ISIS was not the best option. While these are not fatal mistakes for either campaign, they do show the near impossibility of having a flawless performance in a title fight.

But even the greatest fighters in boxing’s history -- Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Muhammad Ali -- rarely won all 15 rounds in their toughest bouts. Likewise, when there are two capable politicians debating at a brisk pace wasn’t completely one-sided, by any means. But I thought that Bernie had the better night, by a good bit.

I felt that Bernie won the first third of the debate, and that this was magnified by some of Hillary’s complaints against the Sanders campaign, including Bernie specifically. I think that his tone was far more “presidential.” Hillary hit her stride in the second third of the debate, specifically on foreign policy. And Bernie won the final third, with Hillary being damaged by her response to Chuck Todd regarding the release of the transcripts from her speeches to Wall Street.

As always, there are three groups that campaigns consider: those who support you; those who oppose you; and the undecided. Thus, you try to inspire your supporters; not deeply offend the opposition’s supporters; and win the undecided. This basic formula applies to both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns.

Obviously, on DU:GDP, there are distinct groups that support each of the candidates, and very few undecided voters. In real life, so to speak, there are groups fully committed to each candidate; however, there is a larger group of undecided voters, as well as some in each camp who may change their minds before voting. There is a lot of time left in the primary season, and what national polls might suggest today is not likely to remain a constant.

Based upon this debate, I believe the nation is being exposed to some realities that are not often discussed in national politics. And that is a good thing.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Debating the Debate (Original post)
H2O Man Feb 2016 OP
Gregorian Feb 2016 #1
H2O Man Feb 2016 #2
Gregorian Feb 2016 #3
H2O Man Feb 2016 #4
Sensitive soul Feb 2016 #5
Punkingal Feb 2016 #6
panader0 Feb 2016 #7

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Feb 5, 2016, 05:42 PM

1. It is strange, but welcomed, hearing some of the realities going out over tv right now.

I was upset that she was too good at what she does last night. I came away with mixed feelings about how they did. I thought she bent the truth a few times, and that even though Bernie stumbled, he had important messages.

There has been a bit of scorched earth around here. I hear what you are saying. We can lose sight of how we're really all in this together. That's what I love about Bernie. He brings everyone up to a higher level. To be honest, I've been thinking a lot lately about how to do it. With so much arguing, how do we rise above it? I suppose that's rhetorical.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 5, 2016, 06:11 PM

2. In my opinion,

Hillary was sincerely upset that people view her as other than progressive. By the definition that she subscribes to, she is. But that's the confusion of words that comes from a society building towers.

And it is definitely true that an unreal amount of hatred has been directed at her from the republicans. It is impossible to explain the level of acrimony, without recognizing that much of it is simply sexism. A lot of the men in the republican party resent a confident woman who is far more intelligent than themselves.

More, there are people on the left -- I used to be surprised to see it on DU -- who resent rich people, including John and Yoko.

Yet, the people who favor Sanders, despite the dynamics on DU:GDP, are not anti-Hillary. They are not sexist. And their concerns with the Clinton's wealth is rooted in concerns about where it comes from.

Because DU:GDP has so many people who strongly dislike Clinton, as well as pro-Clinton people who mistake anything stated against her as hate, it makes rational discussions difficult. And for that reason alone, your question is not rhetorical ....not at all. If there was a simple solution, I'd love to know what it is!

I'm trying to post essay that do not attack Hillary, even if I favor Bernie. I am concerned that, no matter who wins the nomination, a large group of the other candidate's supporters will not vote for him/her. And that's a shame ....not because I'm invested in the old "lesser-of-two-evils" nonsense ....but because I find both candidates acceptable, and the republicans are extremely dangerous. And, yeah, capable of inflicting evil into our society.

So I think it helps to have at least a few OP/threads for those of us who feel this way to take part in.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 5, 2016, 08:41 PM

3. I hadn't even thought these might be revelations for Hillary.

I don't know if what I saw in the debate last night was my imagination, or not. When Hillary was with Todd and Rachel, congratulating each other, Bernie, as if by some instinct, moved towards the audience. There was a fraction of time where I could see the difference between the to candidates.

Humility, patience. Just the hardest things for many of us. There is a lot of anger where there doesn't need to be any. The funny part is, we don't just need each other for voting.

There's a community of athletes who I've been following on Youtube. I've been surprised at how civil they are compared to most of what I've seen over there. One thing that seems to be central to every one of these youtube channels (and now that I think of it, every website I spend time on) is humor. It's easy when everyone is on the same page and mindset. It's when we're tugging against each other where it is most important and difficult.

Now I'll have to keep this in mind as we go through the next few months. I'm glad you're thinking ahead. You can obviously see that Bernie has this capability. But only for some, evidently. I may not have any answers. But now that I think of it, learning is a process. I just keep trying to do the best I can. I lose it like I did a few times during the debate. Oh, but here's something: I got called on it. That is very important. That's another thing I noticed on these sites I frequent. On the so-called civilized ones there is a form of self-policing that members do automatically. It's out of preservation. They value the forum so much that if anyone comes through acting uncivilized (for lack of a more accurate term) they get a form of comical wrath that straightens them out or has them running. And I've thought a lot about this for many years as I watched this one place continue to be wonderful. I always figured it would devolve into low level garbage. And of course, there is usually someone running the show, so to speak, who sets a background context.

But now it's time to go outside and see if my crows are waiting. They get my scraps around this time.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 12:42 AM

4. While the primaries

aren't intended to be pillow fights, it's a shame when the anger and hostility are at such a high level. And there's a connection between that anger and hostility from the campaign begins to impact candidates. I include the grass roots, the county and state groups, and the national campaign. I think that was evident in the things that Ms. Clinton was saying in the first half of the debate.

I know that Bernie talked to Hillary during a commercial break, and things calmed down after that. Bernie is able to make it clear that his passion is for social justice, and that he identifies Wall Street as his opposition. And clearly, most of the general public recognizes that elected "representative" in DC are nothing but lap dogs for the 1%. And, yes, definitely, those officials serving the opulent rich -- and betrayed the public -- are part of the establishment.

That doesn't mean that each and every member of the House and Senate are the opposition. But most of them are. And that's why they find Bernie so uncomfortable to listen to -- because he's telling the truth. More, they appear frightened by his stating that he plans to change the Democratic Party.

I welcome that change.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 01:53 PM

5. Grey Matter is

the only thing I can't agree with you on. I can tell that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your grey matter. In-fact It is superior to anyone I know. (Though that ma not be saying much)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:16 PM

6. You are too modest!

Your OPs are thoughtful, insightful and often profound.

I agree with you about the debate "winner"...Bernie won the first third and the last third. Hillary definitely won the foreign policy portion. I am a Bernie supporter, and I really feel that he has to get better with foreign policy, at least in his ability to express himself.

Something I took away from it, and I do admit to Bernie bias, is a simmering anger in Secretary Clinton. While Bernie criticizes her record, he does genuinely seem to respect her. I don't get the feeling it is reciprocated. He says nice things about her, does she say nice things about him? Maybe she did, and I missed it.

I also think she is genuinely upset at her progressive credentials being questioned...perhaps this will give her food for thought. Maybe she will be pulled back to the left in a more genuine way...one can hope.

I also admit that I have never really liked her. I met the Clintons in New Hampshire in 1992, a week before the Flowers story broke. He was warm and approachable....she was not. I do think she is very smart, but I can't shake the feeling that she is elitist and feels entitled. I wish I could feel differently. I don't think I am alone in these feelings about her, however.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 02:41 PM

7. "being a man of remarkably little insight or intelligence.."

C'mon Pat--you aren't fooling anyone with that one.
Another fine post.

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