A Tough Two Hours…..


At least for moderators – how to get meaningful discussion in one minute and 30 second bursts with 10 different candidates often interrupting each other.

Still, a revealing night – first chance to see who might have that right stuff.

For what it’s worth – here are my winners from tonight’s D debate —

— Julian Castro – came out of nowhere with a solid presence and command of issues, especially immigration.  I’m remembering, as an immigrant myself, his picture of who we are – a place where a grandmother can emigrate from Mexico, raise a family in a welcoming America, and see a grandson stand as a Presidential candidate.

— Elizabeth Warren – still looks like my 8th grade English teacher but her grasp of policy and fountain of ideas will keep her in the run.  Liked her take on gun violence – we have to treat it for what it’s become – a public health emergency.  Also her take on Medicare for All – that it takes insurance companies out of the health care mix.

— Amy Klobuchar – a first real look at someone I’d put on the margins but in some ways she (Delaney a bit as well but he’s not really in the mix) came off as the adult on stage – solid, in the center-left, real as you see.

— Cory Booker – commanded the most onstage time and while he’s not on my favorites list (more of those are on stage tomorrow night) he has a presence, focuses on retaining the fundamental American values threatened by Trump.  I liked his close – about calling the country to a common purpose again.  And yes, it’s curcial to get rid of Trump, but the election to come is more – a referendum on ourselves, and who we are.

Sad to say I doubt our Governor Inslee wll survive the cut for next month’s debate.  He had some good moments – asked about the greatest geopolitical threat to America, he said without hesitation, Donald Trump – but he had the least speaking time of all ten, couldn’t get himself into the crucial discussions, and failed to make his signature issue, climate change, command much attention.  It’s a somewhat cruel take, but the Post’s Ed Rogers summed Inslee’s night as “Very flat, not quite ready for C-SPAN.”

I won’t call them losers, but Delaney/Gabbard/Ryan/DeBlasio, though they all had moments, will surely be home for Christmas.

And Beto – he says lines I’d usually like, but I just don’t feel the weight we need, must have, to lead this country, to counter the menace now occupying the White House.  At all.

Tomorrow (the 2nd debate) – bring it on…

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Mike James was a long-time anchor newscaster at KING TV.


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