June 28, 2019

Demo Debate 2: ‘Food Fight’

Along with pushing further left, this contest featured far more personal attacks.

If the Democrats’ first presidential debate was an exercise in pushing the envelope as far left as possible, the second debate involving the next slate of candidates was a political cage match of personal attacks.

The candidates Thursday night: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, and Eric Swalwell.

The punches were primarily thrown at Biden, who leads the field. And the hardest ones were thrown by Harris, who Mark Alexander argues may join Biden on the ticket. After last night, they’d have to bury a few hatchets.

Harris the prosecutor showed up to tell the jury why Biden isn’t the right guy. She hit him for his record on race, saying, “I do not believe you are a racist … but it was actually very hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and careers on the segregation of race in this country. … You also worked with them to oppose busing.” She recounted how she benefited from busing as a little girl.

Biden, the vice president for America’s first black president, shot back, “It’s a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists.” In fact, he said, “I ran because of civil rights.” After bickering with Harris over his record, Biden eventually gave up, saying, “Anyway, my time’s up.” Wrong thing for a 76-year-old with a near-50-year career in Washington politics to say.

Biden 2020: “My time’s up.”

On that note, one of the other zingers of the night was from Swalwell, who said, “I was six years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said, ‘It’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.’ That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden. Joe Biden was right 32 years ago, and he’s still right today.”

Sanders, 77, didn’t take too kindly to that, blasting the assertion as “ageism” in post-debate comments. But though the old socialist tried to set himself up for the debate with an op-ed selling socialist snake oil, he fell rather flat. His most memorable line might be that he opened the debate by admitting that taxes will necessarily go up for the middle class to pay for his income-redistribution schemes. “Yes, they will pay more in taxes,” he said, “but less in health care for what they get.” The question is this: What kind of health care will we get? It won’t be good.

Sidebar on immigration and health care: All 10 candidates raised their hands when asked if government health care should be provided for illegal aliens. Astounding.

As for “Mayor Pete,” he is the Democrats’ version of John Kasich. He made his mark by sanctimoniously telling Christians how to do politics. Buttigieg lectured, “For a party that associates itself with Christianity to say … that God would condone putting children in cages has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.” It’s a tiresome act now, just as it was for Kasich in 2016.

One stand-out line: Harris, the media’s consensus “winner,” stopped a lot of crosstalk arguing by saying, “You know what, folks, Americans don’t want to witness a food fight. They want to hear how we’re going to put food on their table.” That is not the president’s job, and it’s exactly what’s wrong with today’s Democrat Party, brought to you by a woman who promises to do everything by executive order.

The next Democrat debates are July 30 and 31 in Detroit.

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