If you're tired of politics as usual here's hoping you had the good sense to miss the CNN Democratic debate. By my reckoning after the introduction of CNN personalities, endless commercials and a horrific attempt at the Star Spangled Banner it was a full 18 minutes before the first candidate was introduced. In retrospect that was the high point of the evening. I was all down hill from there and while the verbiage may provide plenty of overtime for fact checkers the style, if it can be called that, was stultifying. It was like a Miley Cyrus lecture on non-Euclidean geometry or a dialogue between John Kasich and Charlie Sheen and it was insulting to the voters. Where have these people been for the last three months? Do they not know that the public is tired of slogans and platitudes? Carly Fiorina said more during her 1 minute rant on Planned Parenthood than 5 Democrats said in two hours.
One must assume this goes to either the difference between the sophistication levels of Democratic and Republican voters or just an extremely weak Democratic field. The Republicans had plenty of candidates who relied on poll tested talking points such as Jeb Bush who now runs fourth or fifth in most polls and candidates who would say anything that popped into their heads such as Scott Walker who is now gone but the outsiders who speak their minds extemporaneously now capture almost 60% of the vote. Candor and authenticity are in, hackneyed talking points are out.
What the debate lacked in style was not compensated by the substance. Probably the most asinine position of the evening, which came up during the NRA hatefest, was Martin O'Malley's account of how he had fought that despicable lobby and won and as governor had passed some strong anti-gun legislation forgetting that he had previously stated the violent crime in Baltimore was declining when he left there as mayor to become governor. And what does it look like now? The deficit was never mentioned as that would have dulled the appetite for the voracious spending promised by Sanders, Hillary and O'Malley, Medicaid for everyone, free college, paid maternity leave, and Obamacare for illegals. The audience was frequently reminded that no one went to jail following the financial meltdown of 2008 but never reminded that Eric Holder was the Attorney General during the following years. Only Jim Webb had the courage to say all lives matter when asked the question if black lives or all lives mattered. Hillary ducked that question.
No one expected this debate to come close to the Republican debates in terms of viewership but if this is as good as it gets the next debate won't match Mad About You reruns.