September 13, 2019

Dems Debate

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Thursday night was the third Democratic primary debate, hosted by ABC News. YouTube

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From the Left

The left focused foremost on Joe Biden and gave mixed reviews.

“Former vice president Joe Biden, still the front-runner, needed to show that his shaky debate performance in June was a fluke and that he has the stamina to go for three hours. He started strongly, ably defending the public option and indignantly insisting his plan would protect anyone with cancer… His weakest moment ironically was on Afghanistan and Iraq, where he tried to explain his vote for the use of force in Iraq and suggested he was for a partition of Afghanistan. (His plan was to soft-partition Iraq.) But two hours into the debate, it’s not clear how many voters were watching or picked up on the point.”
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“The moderator Linsey Davis noted that Biden had told a reporter in 1975 that he did not feel responsible for what people did 300 years ago. ‘As you stand here tonight, what responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?’ Davis asked. That phrasing was actually a gift—a chance for Biden to pivot away from the sticky specifics of busing and make a lofty statement about race. But Biden didn’t take it. Instead, he offered a bizarre, rambling, and incoherent answer that barely responded to Davis, mixing racial justice, education policy, and a healthy dose of who-knows-what… Each individual component made some sense in isolation, even the line about playing the radio or TV: Experts say it’s useful for children to hear spoken language to help them develop their own. But the way Biden phrased it, complete with an archaic mention of record players, just reinforced the overall incoherence and randomness of his response.”
David A. Graham, The Atlantic

Yet “through hours of sometimes exciting and sometimes tedious arguing, no candidate laid a real hand on the frontrunner. And what’s particularly striking is that barely anybody tried… Julián Castro [was] the exception that proves the rule… The dynamic is an eerie echo of the scenario that played out in the 2016 Republican primary. It seems absurd to compare a loudmouth reality television host to the former vice president. But in both cases a candidate with a base of older working class voters leapt out to an early lead. And today Biden’s main Democratic rivals — just like Trump’s four years ago — are acting like his campaign will collapse on its ownand they do not need to take him on… If these dynamics hold, Biden could easily cruise to victory.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

While “[Senator Elizabeth Warren] was not dominant, she had the best performance and, more importantly, the fewest tough moments. Warren seems to come into these debates with a clear game-plan, lots of ideas and — somewhat inexplicably — seems almost impossible for her opponents to attack. If that continues to be the case, she reaps the rewards from Biden and Bernie Sanders taking hits. She’s also the only candidate with sustained upward momentum in this race. It’s difficult to see how that doesn’t continue after this.”
Aaron Blake, Washington Post

“Koch’s principles were not purely partisan. He supported same-sex marriage and abortion rights and believed in the value of free trade and humane immigration policies. He reviled the war on drugs and pushed, quite successfully, for criminal justice and prison reform…

“He gave $100 million to New York-Presbyterian Hospital; $150 million to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; tens of millions to the Hospital for Special Surgery. Another $100 million went toward renovating the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. Another $65 million, to restore the fountains and plaza outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Another $20 million, to the Museum of Natural History. Much of what Koch’s legacy was will be argued over for decades, as it should be. Some of it will deliver aid, comfort and enrichment to people who care not one whit about the name on the hospital wing or museum wall.”
Editorial Board, New York Daily News

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right believes the debate is unlikely to change many voters’ minds.

From the Right

The right believes the debate is unlikely to change many voters’ minds.

“I don’t think this #DemDebate will change a single primary vote – so, it was a Biden victory as he gets another month as the clear frontrunner.”
Frank Luntz, Twitter

“There’s an old joke often expressed well into banquets and conferences, where a speaker says, ‘We’re at the point where everything that needs to be said has been said, but not everyone has said it.’ We’re already at that point with the Democratic primary debates. Tonight was a three-hour ordeal, and candidates largely repeated the arguments they made in the previous two debates.There’s not much reason to expect tonight will generate any dramatic swings in the polling in the coming days or weeks…

“Reports of the dramatic reinvention or relaunch of Beto O’Rourke are greatly exaggerated. Everything he says sounds like a pander, including ‘good evening.’ He is still clumsily answering in Spanish. His pledge, ‘Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15s’ ensures he’ll never get elected statewide in Texas. For almost every issue, he shares an all-too-perfect anecdote about someone he met on the trail. This was the sort of rhetorical maneuver that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did smoothly and convincingly. With O’Rourke, you can always see the strings.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“It was easy to misunderstand Biden, whose undeniable energy was not matched by clarity. He gave an answer on Afghanistan and Iran that was so confusing Bernie Sanders accused him of opposing the surge in Iraq when he was talking about the surge in Afghanistan. Biden didn’t object to Sanders’ mischaracterization because he might have gotten lost in his own weeds. So did Elizabeth Warren, whose words, sentence by sentence, were perfectly clear but whose meaning was not. In a lengthy attack on Trump’s tariffs, she defended Trump’s tariffs. In another assault on Trump’s Afghanistan policy she basically said everything that Trump has said about Afghanistan…

“The best performance of the night was probably from Cory Booker, who made a couple of good jokes and seemed passionate and calm at the same time, which is what you want from a debate. But it wasn’t the kind of thing that changes the trajectory of a race.”
John Podhoretz, New York Post

“Based on what I saw tonight, it’s a two-horse race for the nomination, notwithstanding decent performances by several of the no-hopers — e.g. Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke, whom everyone praised (a sure sign that he’s a no-hoper)… The race, almost surely, is between Biden and Warren. Biden, though his bizarre answer on Iraq could have gotten him into trouble, came through the first two hours tonight in good shape, I think. Warren was her usual polished, assured, articulate self. She has her script down. Corporate America is the cause of everything that ails the country. That’s her story and she’s sticking to it.”
Paul Mirengoff, Power Line Blog

“Democrats spent more than two years talking about Russia, Russia, Russia seven days per week. It was their way of keeping the story in the news in the hopes that it would eventually bring down Trump. Now that the Russia thing has blown up in their faces, they need to trot out a new totem to raise against the President and the magic word is impeachment… This isn’t about actually impeaching Donald Trump. This is a strategy to have people hearing the word impeachment associated with Trump on a daily basis to give the impression that he’s going to crumble any day now. And they need to keep that going until next November.”
Jazz Shaw, Hot Air

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“Why did Modi pick this moment to do something so radical? Violence in Kashmir had been trending downwards for the last year, after all. The main reason, besides President Donald Trump's alarming offer to mediate a settlement, is that he wanted a distraction from India's mounting economic woes. India's GDP growth dropped from over 8 percent to 5.8 percent over the last year, and it is widely expected to dip further. Just as ominous has been the crash in consumer demand. India's usual problem has been an insufficient supply to meet its voracious appetite for vehicles, cell phones, and other similar goods. But sales figures for all consumer goods have posted a precipitous decline, slamming businesses that are dramatically scaling back investments.”
Shikha Dalmia, Reason

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