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Democrat Debate Lowlights

Maybe it was chivalry, but four men refused to hit a woman.

Maybe it was chivalry, but last night we witnessed four men refuse to hit a woman. The first Democrat presidential debate — all too appropriately held in “Sin City” — featured frontrunner Hillary Clinton outpacing her four male challengers by a wide margin, and re-establishing her claim to “inevitability” status.

In truth, only Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders can even be considered a “challenger,” and even he will fade. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Republican Lincoln Chaffee are mere props. Webb spent his time complaining about not having more time, while Chaffee’s most memorable moment was griping that a question about one of his earliest votes in the Senate was unfair. Thanks to CNN’s rules, Clinton and Sanders far outpaced the other candidates in air time in part because they scrupulously avoided naming Webb, O'Malley or Chaffee so as to eliminate the latter’s rebuttal opportunities.

So we’ll also focus our attention on Clinton and Sanders, after one other brief note: CNN’s Anderson Cooper is listed as a “notable past member” of the Clinton Global Initiative. And he promised before the debate that he would give these “serious people” a chance to “talk about the issues” — almost surely an effort to protect Clinton from attack.

Class warfare and economy

Clinton: “I have been very consistent over the course of my entire life. … Take the [Trans-Pacific Partnership] trade deal. I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week, and, in looking at it, it didn’t meet my standards.”

Actually, she said the TPP “sets the gold standard in trade agreements,” not that she hoped it would. And she publicly lobbied for it often.

Clinton: “I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.”

Boy, there’s a great reason to trust her after yet another flip-flop.

Sanders: “I think most Americans understand that our country today faces a series of unprecedented crises. The middle class of this country for the last 40 years has been disappearing. … What this campaign is about is whether we can mobilize our people to take back our government from a handful of billionaires and create the vibrant democracy we know we can and should have.”

What a ringing endorsement of the Obama “recovery,” along with some good class envy red meat.

Clinton: “Bill and I have been very blessed. Neither of us came from wealthy families and we’ve worked really hard our entire lives. And I want to make sure every single person in this country has the same opportunities that he and I have had, to make the most of their God-given potential and to have the chances that they should have in America for a good education, good job training and then good jobs.”

Not only is that a long way from her lament last year about being “dead broke” upon leaving the White House, but if she considers making $300,000 speeches “hard work” she’s really not connecting with working Americans.

Sanders: “[W]hat democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of 1% in this country … own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%. … That when you look around the world, you see every other major country providing health care to all people as a right, except the United States. … I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.”

National Review’s Kevin Williamson notes, “For those of you who are keeping score, the Heritage Foundation, which literally keeps score, rates Denmark’s economy as slightly more free — slightly more capitalistic — than that of the United States. … What Denmark does have — what all the Nordic countries have — is relatively high taxes on the middle class, which gets double-whammied with income taxes and a value-added tax.” Perhaps Sanders would like to make the case for that.

Sanders: “Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little, by which Wall Street’s greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No, I don’t. I believe in a society where all people do well. Not just a handful of billionaires.”

Again, the only way to make socialism’s equal misery even remotely attractive is to couch it in populist envy as Sanders does.

Guns

Clinton: “We have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone on too long and it’s time the entire country stood up against the NRA.”

Her gun control plan would do nothing to save lives, but that doesn’t stop her from demonizing the NRA — whose members aren’t the ones out killing people or advocating for doing so.

Sanders: “I come from a rural state. And the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we like it or not.”

He’s correct, though he also loves to boast of his D- rating from the NRA.

Foreign policy, Benghazi and Clinton’s emails

Clinton: “[The Benghazi] committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee. It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican majority leader, Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise. And that’s what they have attempted to do. … I’ve been as transparent as I know to be.”

It’s true McCarthy’s blunder worked to Clinton’s advantage, but her role in the Benghazi scandal is undeniable and the committee is doing solid work getting to the bottom of it.

Sanders: “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails. … Enough of the emails. Let’s talk about the real issues.”

It works to Sanders’ advantage with his own constituency to downplay Clinton’s email scandal, and it also undercut any possible criticism coming from other candidates on stage last night. Chafee came closest, saying of Clinton, “We need someone that has the best in ethical standards as our next president.”

Not surprisingly, the debate didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Democrats support income redistribution in the name of “social justice,” they oppose the Second Amendment and they (particularly the Clintons) lie for personal gain. And the party is scared enough of Hillary to avoid any serious challenge to her terrible candidacy.

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