Debate 1, Take 2: Ten More Hot Takes about the Night of Kamala

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My 10 hot takes from Night 2 of the first Democratic debate (Night 1's hot takes can be read here): First, wow, what a difference...

And the MVP goes to… The Fly

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Even if boring, at least it was a debate. Both candidates made the points they needed to make. Neither committed a grievous error. If you went into it liking Biden-Harris, you were wowed by Kamala. If you went into it committed to Trump-Pence, you were happy to wear your MAGA hat.

Dem Debates: Mayor Pete Frames the Post-Trump World

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Meg Greenfield, the late and witty editor of the editorial page of The Washington Post, used to say that her test for a good...

Debate Interrupted: Breaking all the Rules

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It was a traditional debate only on one side--Joe Biden's--and he won it hands down: with facts, clear arguments, apt criticisms of Trump's mismanagement, a strong voice (not a scintilla of evidence of "cognitive impairment," as Donald Trump has charged), demonstrations of compassion and calls for national unity.

Biden Didn’t Win, But Trump Lost

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Before the debate started, I posted in a Facebook group I participate in, “I would give close to even odds that a fistfight will break out between Trump and Biden. (I hope so!) And better than even odds that the debate will devolve into a race to incoherence.” That is more or less what happened. Disappointing, but not a surprise.

Did Trump help Biden with Progressives?

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Last night, many people who never watch Fox got a full dose of Trump, and suddenly realized that he's not just the butt of their friend's jokes, he's a uniquely dangerous person who could do untold damage in the next four years.

Raging and Interrupting

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So Biden looks like he reaches the people and Trump at best is sending messages only to his base.

Round Two: Who Won? Who’s Done?

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“This is more difficult than last night.” That was a shared sentiment among my viewing foursome for Round Two of the Democratic “Debates.” Why? Overall, the...

Democrats’ Debate: Let a Little Sunshine In

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The best thing you can say about Julian Castro’s taunting of Joe Biden about “forgetting what he had just said” (which he hadn’t) is...

The Trump We Always Knew

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As a journalist I viewed, sometimes covered from the studio, presidential debates, but in those four decades never encountered such a humiliation of our democracy. I even felt a bit of sorrow for moderator Chris Wallace who was simply overrun by Donald Trump’s disregard for rules

Dem Debate: It’s Simple – Follow The 2018 Template!

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Nancy Pelosi was smart. Focus on the issues where most Americans are already with he Democrats and keep it simple. So why don't some of the candidates get this?

The Real Winner: Kristen Welker

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The president came out second best to Biden, losing out on most issues with defensive responses ("it was China's fault"), looks-will-kill glares, frantic accordion hands, and obvious lies.

Two Nights and Six Women Candidates: That’s Historic

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We are not yet post gender. But watching three women presidential hopefuls in each of the debates helped normalize their presence and that makes...

The Subtext Sweepstakes: Not Even Close for Kamala Harris or Jay Inslee

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Harris was waiting for those faux-courtly gestures and trapped him into appearing rude and a clueless mansplainer. Her smiling glares and retorts were lethal: "I will not stand to be lectured."

Debate: battlers versus bridgers

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Sen. Cory Booker was the real pro in the first debate, a man born to aspire to the presidency. He put slower-tongued politicians like...

Nine . . . Ten. . . OUT!

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In every American boxing movie between 1930 and 1960, there was a little guy in a white shirt and bow tie acting as referee. Chris Wallace was born to play that guy. But that guy knew a foul when he saw one. Chris, the famous conscience of Fox, saw dozens and barely raised his voice. This match was so unrefereed that an RKO crowd would have charged the ring. But there was no crowd. No count. No decision. Chris, say it ain’t so . . .

Let’s Be Practical

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He's unfortunately going nowhere and the Thursday night moderators half the time wouldn't let him talk, but I think John Delaney made a lot...

A Tough Two Hours…..

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

One More Blow to the Traditions of Democracy

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This debate will be remembered as Trump v. Wallace. That takes the focus away from Biden's message and (as usual) makes the evening All About Trump. That's a mistake, since Trump is trying to make it a choice election (Trump or Biden) not about Trump's performance and personality.

Bernie Won; He Has Bloomberg to Thank for It

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Bloomberg is shaping up to be exactly what I suspected him to be from the moment he got in: a divisive spoiler candidate who will destroy any chances of the moderate progressive wing of the party to unify behind a single candidate.

Dem Debates: Warren Keeps Winning the Media Nod. But Why?

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I still heard Warren being declared a debate "winner" by the talking heads, because she is queen of the Twitter-and-Pronouns educated white progressive wing of the party, and national journalists at papers like the Times and the Post are all card-carrying members of this cohort.

Dem Debate: Warren Debunked; Looking At Amy And Pete

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Warren's failure to answer the medicare cost issue hurts her. Her wealth tax is likewise improbable and likely unconstitutional. Time to look at Amy and Pete.

The Debate Of No Trump, No Biden

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Nobody really disqualified themselves, though no one really stepped up to dominate. Inslee had a great first answer on climate change, painting his state...

Disturbing and Bullying

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The pundits are predictably divided, with prominent Democrats expressing shame at the caustic disunity on display to a world worried about the future of America's democracy.

Trump As Not-Trump. But It Doesn’t Matter

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So, Joe Biden = Ronald Reagan. A uniter, not a divider. Which may be why he’s going to win.

Clamoring For Attention

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A quick take on the second 10: My overriding takeaway tonight is that the NBC interviewers did a terrible job of keeping the discourse orderly...

Goooooooal! (Not)

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Biden talked of kids “torn from the arms” of parents; Trump went on about coyotes and cartels, murderers and rapists. Biden promised a “path to citizenship” for millions and preservation of DACA. It went downhill from there, Trump declared himself “the least racist person in the room” and appeared totally incoherent on climate change.

The Ninja Warriors Debate

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TV entertainment now deeply undergirds the forms of our political discourse.  In the year 2016 we had the framing power of The Apprentice.  NBC’s answer in...

Killer B’s: Buttigieg Too Soon, Biden Too Late, Bloomberg Too Vulnerable. So Bernie Or…

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Mike Bloomberg showed what happens when you have so much money and power that people don’t talk back to you; you’ve lost the ability and the edge to debate.

Dem Debates: Down To The Big Three? Please, No!

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Axios on Monday heralded “a steady and indisputable trend: The Democratic 2020 race is a three-way brawl between 70-somethings.” Not so fast.