The Democratic Primary candidate debated last night, live on CNN. We have once again taken the lofty and presumptuous position of scoring them.
First of all, I’m not going comment much on the issues here. I’m an admitted conservative so much of this seemed like organized insanity. But as a committed propagandist, I’ve scored the debates based on how their performance will affect their poll numbers and their chances in the primary. Scores below are from +10 to -10.
CNN was wise to reduce this from 3 hours to 2 hours, it was not nearly as dynamic as its Republican counterpart. It will be interesting to see the audience numbers, which I anticipate to be half or less of Trump’s… er… I mean … the Republicans’ debate.
The questions were not as controversial as those thrown at the Republican set, no question really caused damage or caught anyone unaware.
Hillary Clinton +5 – Mrs. Clinton established herself as a leader on stage, she was poised, humorous and clear in her policy statements. Her explanations of the email scandal were easily accepted by the audience, supported by number two candidate Bernie Sanders. Sanders, in fact, probably put it to rest for good with “enough of your damned emails.” No serious challenges were made on Benghazi.
Bottom line, she is off the hook for the time being. In the eyes of Democratic voters these will no longer be issues. In fact it could very well be these will be dead issues by the time the general election comes around.
As I’ve said many times, never count out a Clinton. She mentioned being the first woman President several times, a good move on her part that clearly moved the audience.
I don’t think this performance will move her numbers much in the next couple of weeks, but she doesn’t really need it. This was about preserving her frontrunner status.
Bernie Sanders -3 – Mr. Sanders had his groupie section in the crowd but his posture was bad and it seemed to me he was always about to spit talk. I thought he talked in broad platitudes without presenting realistic plans. I continue to get the impression he is a caricature of himself.
Sanders’ illusory view of the world hit home with me when he said “Putin will regret his actions” in the Crimea and Ukraine and that the Russian people were going to send him a message.
Bernie, what color is the sky in the world you live in???
He did have some shining moments. His platitudes did have their effect on the weak-minded. His “forgiveness” of Hillary for her email scandal was actually a great leadership moment for him that will provide him with political favors far into the future.
Nothing here will have influenced undecided voters. Ultimately, I believe his numbers will go down as other candidate’s numbers rise.
Lincoln Chafee -10 – His posture, his mannerisms and the substance of his answers indicated weakness to me. There is nothing Presidential about Chafee. His only claim to the presidency is he doesn’t have any scandals.
He may get some additional support from undecided voters just because he was standing on the national stage, but anything he gets is merely “dead cat bounce” and his campaign is effectively over.
In his final speech he reminded me of Grandpa from the Munsters.
Martin O’Malley +2 – I had high hopes for Martin O’Malley. He presented very well and will get some national attention for this. I was actually thinking he would be a challenge to Clinton, but despite a good performance on his part, Clinton’s and Webb’s performances were better.
O’Malley perhaps did not distinguish himself enough. O’Malley could be a contender if Hillary implodes, but it doesn’t look like that will happen at this point.
James Webb +6 – Mr. Webb is the surprise winner in the debate, he was much more forceful than we have seen in the past. His comments on foreign policy were cogent and clearly respected on stage. Frankly, I did not like him before, but he had some impressive moments that clearly distinguished him from the field.
I’m looking for Webb’s numbers to rise based on currently undecided voters. He may not hit double digits yet, but he will be in a good position if Hillary implodes and Biden declines to enter. He has an outside chance if his stars align and he has some fortunate campaign moments. But he will need those moments.