Dems Round 2: Harris Wilts, Biden Survives, Gabbard's Pantsuit Wins
Night Two of the second round of Democratic presidential primary debates was expected to be a fireworks display between former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and CNN did its best to light the fuses early on. Sadly -- for the viewers who didn't want to be bored, anyway -- all of those fuses were duds.
The following is my assessment of the painful display, using some of my live tweets from the evening rather than having to type more. Thank you in advance for indulging me, dear readers.
The first ten minutes of Wednesday's debate was mostly a snooze-fest of Biden and Harris delving into real or imagined details of their respective health care plans. Even they seemed bored by it.
Worse yet, Harris was stammering and defensive, even as the debate wore on and the other candidates were targeting Biden. As I noted:
It was quite obvious that the strategy of every candidate not named Joe Biden was to attack Joe Biden. Whether they were asked to or not, most of the candidates would invoke the former vice president in the first sentence of their early answers, attempting to get a pile-on going.
It wasn't really working:
Booker connected a few times, actually. One of his best shots came when Biden was being pressed on deportations under the Obama administration.
White House hopeful Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said former Vice President Joe Biden “can’t have it both ways” when discussing former President Obama when he declined to discuss conversations the two had over immigrant deportations.
“Mr. Vice President, you can’t have it both ways,” Booker said at Wednesday night's primary debate in Detroit. “You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign. You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then dodge it when it’s not.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio kept touting his accomplishments in fixing things at a local level, without realizing that he was probably undermining his case for being president:
Businessman Andrew Yang handled the spotlight better than most of the candidates and generated some applause, but still isn't going to be around long.
On a night when most of the people on stage kept trying to force sound bite applause breaks and failing miserably, the most impressive may have been the one who just kept being herself: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
Hitting the stage in a stunning white pantsuit that immediately spoiled Yang's plans to set himself apart by not wearing a tie, Gabbard distinguished herself by not seeking to run as far to the left as she could on every issue, as most of her opponents have the last two nights.
Gabbard was mostly calm and thoughtful in her answers, but when it came time to battle, the combat veteran in her emerged ever-so-slightly:
Gabbard's claim to fame in this debate was that she was the least insane of all of the people on stage, both personally and policy-wise.
As for frontrunner Biden, he may have taken a few shots but nobody even knocked him down. The MSM will probably try to nudge that along in the coming days, but Crazy Joe the Wonder Veep survives for now.
To Rep. Gabbard: thank you for your service. Both in combat and for giving us a white pantsuit to remember that helps us purge a most painful moment from our memories.