Democratic debate: Will the real progressive please stand up?

posted at 8:41 am on February 5, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

One has to think that Republican campaigns will use this clip, and more than a few other sound bites from last night’s Democratic debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, to prepare salvos in the general election. Last night both Democrats fired plenty of salvos at each other too, but one of the oddest exchanges came in this clip featured by the Washington Post. Who’s more progressive — an ideologue, or a pragmatist? And who is more thin-skinned about the definition?

Hmmmm. Let’s go to the judges on that one:

As they had at a town hall forum the night before, the two remaining Democratic presidential contenders also squabbled over the modern definition of the word “progressive,” which has become the preferred term for the Democratic left.

“A progressive is someone who makes progress,” Clinton said.

Sanders, who enjoys enormous enthusiasm among the party’s liberal base, continued to make the argument that Clinton is too heavily dependent on those who have financed her campaign and made her personally wealthy. He said that he does “not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. I am very proud to be the only candidate up here that does not have a super PAC.”

Clinton accused Sanders of engaging in a “very artful smear” of her character. She insisted she had never changed her position on any issue based on having received contributions from special interests.

A “very artful smear”? Sanders stated a fact — Hillary’s raising money from super-PACs and he isn’t.  Like I tweeted at the time, this sounds very familiar coming from Hillary:

Sanders also repeatedly hammered Clinton on progressive authenticity, helped in no small part by a tough question from Chuck Todd on various flip-flops executed by Hillary when running for president. The tone got nasty at times, and was contentious almost all the way through the debate.

One notable point of comity came when Todd raised the question of Hillary’s e-mail scandal, and repeatedly pressed her to offer a “one hundred percent” guarantee that it wouldn’t result in an indictment or any other political disaster for the Democrats. Hillary insisted that there was no real problem except for Republicans attempting to smear her, surprisingly bringing up Benghazi as a triumph for her over the GOP conspiracy against her. (Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, the MSNBC panel didn’t follow up to ask why her leadership left Benghazi without adequate security and resulted in the first American ambassador killed in the line of duty since the Carter administration.)

Given the opportunity, Sanders once again refused to “politicize” the e-mail issue. That caused plenty of groaning on Twitter among conservatives, but once again, it makes sense in the context of a Democratic debate. Voters tuning into these forums don’t care about Hillary’s e-mail scandal, and it’s out of Sanders’ hands anyway. He noted that the FBI investigation continues (which Hillary laughably called “a security review”), and shrugged off any further comment. That’s smart; if the FBI and DoJ return an indictment, then Hillary’s finished. If not, then his input’s not going to make much difference in the Democratic primary. As an electoral issue, it’s only going to hurt Democrats in the general election, which was the reason for Todd’s question. The only thing that truly matters to Sanders is that the question got asked.

The biggest takeaway from last night’s debate is that Hillary feels the pressure from Sanders more than at any time in the campaign. She didn’t come out to rise above the fray, as in earlier debates; she came out swinging … and yelling. At times, it sounded like both Democrats needed their hearing aids adjusted. Neither of them has much skill at modulating their tone for effectiveness, and for most of the debate (I missed the first 20 minutes), the last two Democrats standing sounded very much like they couldn’t stand each other. There’s an opening for a Republican who can sound optimistic and energetic in the general election, and fortunately the GOP has more than one of those candidates who can fit that bill.


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Comments

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy was already taken.

TimBuk3 on February 5, 2016 at 8:45 AM

Democratic debate: Will the real progressive please stand up?

…Rube…the immigration progressive didn’t attend.

JugEarsButtHurt on February 5, 2016 at 8:46 AM

The video wouldn’t play for me….
Not that I care much.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 8:46 AM

Just for giggles, this is the headline on Facebook “Chelsea Clinton: Philanthropist Accidentally Refers to Bernie Sanders as ‘President Sanders”

Philanthropist? Chelsea? Gee, I wonder if Facebook is in the bag for Hillary?

Zaggs on February 5, 2016 at 8:47 AM

Make Getting Off My Lawn Great Again

mjbrooks3 on February 5, 2016 at 8:48 AM

The first one that admits they will roll tanks to confiscate private property and force citizens to check in weekly with their neighborhood Democrat Party official…wins.

artist on February 5, 2016 at 8:48 AM

“A progressive is someone who makes progress,” Clinton said.

Progress being defined as enormous wealth and power for the ruling class, and crumbs for the little people.

darwin on February 5, 2016 at 8:49 AM

Time to draft Carter.

Limerick on February 5, 2016 at 8:52 AM

Time to draft Carter.

Limerick

Shiz, time to draft Zombie FDR!

Zaggs on February 5, 2016 at 8:53 AM

(which Hillary laughably called “a security review”),

100+ full time FBI Agents is not a Security Review grandma, it’s a full blown Criminal investigation of about the same size that took down Al Capone.

Johnnyreb on February 5, 2016 at 8:54 AM

Hillary insisted that there was no real problem except for Republicans attempting to smear her,

lol..some things never change..it’s always those republicans and the vast right wing conspiracy trying to take her down. She’s guilty as sin for numerous things and should be in jail. This is not a partisan issue and she damn well knows it.
I loath this b!tch.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 8:55 AM

Hillary sounded awfully shrill and angry.

darwin on February 5, 2016 at 8:56 AM

The biggest takeaway from last night was that any of the top 3 Republican candidates can beat either of these two. Yes, even Trump. It was painful to suffer through that debate, but it’s enlightening to see how radical the Democrat Party has become since 2004. And unlike a decade ago, they’re not even attempting to hide it anymore.

Doughboy on February 5, 2016 at 8:59 AM

“A progressive is someone who makes progress,” Clinton said.

Incomplete sentenced.

The implied ending is “… toward a national debt of $1 quadrillion, then $1 quintillion, then $1 sextillion, then …”

ShainS on February 5, 2016 at 8:59 AM

Hillary sounded awfully shrill and angry.

darwin on February 5, 2016 at 8:56 AM

…she was different?

JugEarsButtHurt on February 5, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Talk about howler monkeys. Two were on full display last night.

vnvet on February 5, 2016 at 9:03 AM

Doughboy on February 5, 2016 at 8:59 AM

They’ve gone so far left and yeah..arent hiding it-there is no where for the old school dems to go. My bio father is more of a blue dog dem and isn’t happy with his choices. We just disgusted it recently..he’s actually looking at the R field or may not vote. I’m sure he isn’t alone.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:04 AM

“A woman running to be the first woman president…”

Well no shiite, genius.

Bishop on February 5, 2016 at 9:05 AM

Sanders, who enjoys enormous enthusiasm among the party’s liberal base, continued to make the argument that Clinton is too heavily dependent on those who have financed her campaign and made her personally wealthy.

Liberals don’t care who buys Clinton. They didn’t care when Obama got money from the same people he was hammering.

Yet let the Koch Brothers donate one dollar to any Republican and they shoot blood out of everywhere.

darwin on February 5, 2016 at 9:08 AM

The biggest takeaway from last night was that any of the top 3 Republican candidates can beat either of these two.

Doughboy on February 5, 2016 at 8:59 AM

I pray you’re right. That’s what I thought in 2012-remember people saying a ham sandwich could beat O? And if Killary picks Castro as VP..we may have problems with the Latino vote..which now is larger then the black vote.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:08 AM

Will the real progressive please stand up?

…Odoooshbag used this successfully in 2008 to paint the Skank as a “republican”…

(Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, the MSNBC panel didn’t follow up to ask why her leadership left Benghazi without adequate security and resulted in the first American ambassador killed in the line of duty since the Carter administration.)

…you’re expecting the LSM (Democrats with by-lines) to actually do their jobs…now that’s funny…

..and oh BTW…

ISIS fighters in Libya surge as group suffers setbacks in Syria, Iraq

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 5, 2016 at 9:09 AM

I challenge any “progressive” to point out any significant differences between the Democratic Party platform and the Program of the Communist Party USA: The Road to Socialism USA.

There are no significant differences between them.

ITguy on February 5, 2016 at 9:09 AM

I need libfree’s take on this.

Two ancient whiteys cocooned in the upscale embrace of government almost their entire adult lives are telling everyone they’re down with the struggle.

Bishop on February 5, 2016 at 9:10 AM

The video wouldn’t play for me….

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 8:46 AM

Kind of surprised you even tried. I didn’t.

cozmo on February 5, 2016 at 9:11 AM

Hillary sounded awfully shrill and angry.

darwin on February 5, 2016 at 8:56 AM

I didnt watch, but was there blood coming out of her eyes

jaywemm on February 5, 2016 at 9:11 AM

The biggest takeaway from last night was that any of the top 3 Republican candidates can beat either of these two. Yes, even Trump. It was painful to suffer through that debate, but it’s enlightening to see how radical the Democrat Party has become since 2004. And unlike a decade ago, they’re not even attempting to hide it anymore.

Doughboy on February 5, 2016 at 8:59 AM

…yeah sure the new “center-right” darlin Rubio can beat the Skank…sorry not sharing your enthusiasm…she’ll paint him as the republican Obama and it’ll be all over just like it was with Romney…

…we need a REAL opposition party in this Country and Mr Gang of Eight/Schumer butt-boy Rubio ain’t it…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 5, 2016 at 9:12 AM

Bishop on February 5, 2016 at 9:10 AM

He got so excited he is still in his bunk.

cozmo on February 5, 2016 at 9:12 AM

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 8:46 AM

Kind of surprised you even tried. I didn’t.

cozmo on February 5, 2016 at 9:11 AM

Actually Coz, I was busy last night or would have watched the debate.
I like to know what the enemy is saying/doing. I watch all debates on both sides/usually.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:13 AM

The biggest takeaway from last night was that any of the top 3 Republican candidates can beat either of these two. Yes, even Trump. It was painful to suffer through that debate, but it’s enlightening to see how radical the Democrat Party has become since 2004. And unlike a decade ago, they’re not even attempting to hide it anymore.

Doughboy

Problem is that its the GOP nominee against Dem nom AND the media. Though if Rubio wins going to be kinda hard to paint him and richie rich like they did Romney.

Zaggs on February 5, 2016 at 9:14 AM

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:13 AM

I know I’ve called you this before, but that comment cements it.

Masochist

cozmo on February 5, 2016 at 9:15 AM

I pray you’re right. That’s what I thought in 2012-remember people saying a ham sandwich could beat O? And if Killary picks Castro as VP..we may have problems with the Latino vote..which now is larger then the black vote.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:08 AM

Obama for all his faults could pull off the nice, appealing(or clean and articulate if you’re racist Joe Biden) politician. Hillary couldn’t if her life depended on it. And while Bernie does do a good job talking the talk, he can’t change the fact that he’s an old, white Socialist who has a tendency to shout. I just don’t see either one of them generating enough enthusiasm to win this November. Especially since they’ll be running for a third Obama term and this country is a mess right now.

Doughboy on February 5, 2016 at 9:15 AM

Hahahahahhahahahahahahaha

Clinton accused Sanders of engaging in a “very artful smear” of her character

The horrid Hillary invented the artful smear. Along
with Betsy Wright, back in Arkansas. Ever hear of the
BillClinton “Bimbo Eruptions” , and how these women preyed on by Bubba were dealt with?

And now this horrid Hillary person is whining like a little pOS.

But in reality, Hillary is being confronted with FACTS, but since she is guilty…she try’s to make
YOU think it is “a smear of her character”. What a joke. More lies and bullshlt from Hillary.

BigSven on February 5, 2016 at 9:16 AM

…yeah sure the new “center-right” darlin Rubio can beat the Skank…sorry not sharing your enthusiasm…she’ll paint him as the republican Obama and it’ll be all over just like it was with Romney…

…we need a REAL opposition party in this Country and Mr Gang of Eight/Schumer butt-boy Rubio ain’t it…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 5, 2016 at 9:12 AM

Kinda hard to paint someone as the Republican Obama when she’s openly embracing Obama himself and is running for his third term.

Doughboy on February 5, 2016 at 9:17 AM

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:13 AM

I know I’ve called you this before, but that comment cements it.

Masochist

cozmo on February 5, 2016 at 9:15 AM

Sometimes you gotta be. :)
Know thy enemy.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:17 AM

Attack, Bernie, attack!
Call her a liar over and over and over.

albill on February 5, 2016 at 9:18 AM

Know thy enemy.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:17 AM

I know what you mean. I tried watching the view to figure out the enemy women, but I don’t think Walters, Whoopie and the gang are women.

cozmo on February 5, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Vintage Clinton, stating an obvious fact about her is a “smear”. Democrats are the World’s champions at artful whining.

grumpyank on February 5, 2016 at 9:21 AM

Doughboy on February 5, 2016 at 9:15 AM

Again, I pray you’re right. So much is at stake.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:22 AM

Two ancient whiteys cocooned in the upscale embrace of government almost their entire adult lives are telling everyone they’re down with the struggle.

Bishop on February 5, 2016 at 9:10 AM

Brilliant summation. I’m stealing this.

docflash on February 5, 2016 at 9:22 AM

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:17 AM

I know what you mean. I tried watching the view to figure out the enemy women, but I don’t think Walters, Whoopie and the gang are women.

cozmo on February 5, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Talk about masochism! I’ve only seen clips of that show..it was nauseating.
I’m not a violent person but if I was a guest..I think it would be hard to resist not punching one in the mouth. Those women are vile.

bazil9 on February 5, 2016 at 9:25 AM

A “security review”? The FBI doesn’t do security reviews. Clinton can’t open her mouth without telling a whopper. She’s trying to put the public asleep.

grumpyank on February 5, 2016 at 9:25 AM

“A woman running to be the first woman president…”

Hillary, the definition of redundant.

Fallon on February 5, 2016 at 9:28 AM

Kinda hard to paint someone as the Republican Obama when she’s openly embracing Obama himself and is running for his third term.

Doughboy on February 5, 2016 at 9:17 AM

…is she more “experienced” than Rubio or not…??

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 5, 2016 at 9:32 AM

Wait. There was a Democrat debate last night?

LoganSix on February 5, 2016 at 9:33 AM

Doughboy on February 5, 2016 at 9:15 AM

I no longer underestimate the blind devotion of lefties, not when I’ve spent summer after summer riding around the Twin City lakes and seeing brand new “Wellstone!” signs in the yards.

I’m not joking, newly made signs for a dude who has been dead for 13 years; people just can’t let it go.

Sanders is a crank but he talks a good game, and Killary may be a shrill, murdering harpy but I don’t know a single left-leaning person who hasn’t said “She’s still better than any rethuglican!”

Bishop on February 5, 2016 at 9:37 AM

Bernie brought up the link between Hillary and Wall Street speaking fees, but what about Hillary as Secretary of State and speaking-fee based policy? That’s a huge problem.

Ricard on February 5, 2016 at 9:48 AM

Who’s more progressive — an ideologue, or a pragmatist?…

“A progressive is someone who makes progress,” Clinton said.

Well, let’s see.

You did not serve in any elected office until you were in your 50s.

You got that office by carpetbagging to New York to fill an empty(ing) seat.

You backed an immigration bill that never made it out of the Senate, and proposed federal mandatory enforcement of ESRB ratings in video games (never made it out of committee).

…. did I miss anything?

I’m not joking, newly made signs for a dude who has been dead for 13 years; people just can’t let it go.

Bishop on February 5, 2016 at 9:37 AM

Well, you are talking about the people that left polls in Missouri open long past the time provided by election law, so they could elect a dead guy to Senate over John Ashcroft.

The Schaef on February 5, 2016 at 9:50 AM

I know what you mean. I tried watching the view to figure out the enemy women, but I don’t think Walters, Whoopie and the gang are women.

cozmo on February 5, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Well, they’re not “women” women.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 5, 2016 at 10:04 AM

“A woman running to be the first woman president…”

Hillary, the definition of redundant.

Fallon on February 5, 2016 at 9:28 AM

These days (Caitlin Jenner), not necessarily…

SaveFarris on February 5, 2016 at 10:06 AM

Diana West is uncovering interesting connections between Sanders and various communist union activists in the late 50’s and 60s that ties in the ‘mentors’ of Obama, Axelrod, Jerret, et. all.

What a sweet little family that makes.

TerryW on February 5, 2016 at 10:14 AM

Democratic debate: Will the real progressive please stand up?

Ask that question of the candidates, they’d both answer “What? I should break a hip?”

If both those two hit the pavement at the same time, it would sound like twigs in a campfire.

BlaxPac on February 5, 2016 at 10:23 AM

Wow talk about 2 completely unelectable, awful candidates.

One is a corrupt, lying, horrible human being. The other is an incompetent dolt.

Sucks to be a democrat this cycle….

Hank_Scorpio on February 5, 2016 at 10:43 AM

smear = stating a fact not in contention

attack = repeating the candidate’s own words back to them

Gotta love politics…

HornHiAceDeuce on February 5, 2016 at 10:47 AM

As they had at a town hall forum the night before, the two remaining Democratic presidential contenders also squabbled over the modern definition of the word “progressive,” which has become the preferred term for the Democratic left.

That’s easy.

Progressive: The belief that you have a right to other people’s money, and that a bureaucrat a thousand miles away who knows nothing whatever about your neighbor and his situation, cannot lose his job by failing to get results (or even through incompetence and/or criminal malice), and cannot lose his funding because his customers don’t have the option of “voting with their feet” and taking their money elsewhere, can nonetheless spend your neighbor’s money more wisely than your neighbor can.

“Progressives” believe that the VA killing veterans by the thousands is the way US healthcare should be.

“Progressives” believe that the EPA poisoning rivers is the way “environmental protection” should be.

“Progressives” believe that the Dept. of Interior enabling the worst environmental disaster is US history by allowing BP to “do their own inspections” is the way natural resource management should be.

GrumpyOldFart on February 5, 2016 at 10:48 AM

They should have asked her what she thought of the muslim “refugee” rape gangs in Europe and how she felt about importing them here.

darwin on February 5, 2016 at 10:55 AM

What choice? Both are communists (or if you wish, Bolsheviks!) Neither good for the country due to mentally and physically ill, truly old and useless and both lived on and sucked at the public tit their whole lives!

Roselle on February 5, 2016 at 11:01 AM

“…and resulted in the first American ambassador killed in the line of duty since the Carter administration.”

Uh, no, sorry but that was Arnold Raphael under Reagan.

Oops.

Mike from NC on February 5, 2016 at 11:08 AM

“A progressive is someone who makes progress,” Clinton said.

Since there hasn’t been any ‘progress’ this last 7 years it’s safe to say progressive’s haven’t lived up to their mantra.

But it will go right over the liberals hazy rational state of mind.

plutorocks on February 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM

I’m not surprised that modern democrats prefer the word “progressive” to describe themselves. It is the same word communists used in the 1950s.

The communists also used the exact same tactics, blaming everything on “Wall Street”, and promoting racial division to cause hatred.

Watch these movies from the 50s about the Korean War and you’ll see examples of it.

1951 The Steel Helmet

1954 Prisoner Of War

1955 The Bamboo Prison

1956 The Rack

Today’s modern democrats sound just like Chinese communists from the 1950s.

jaime on February 5, 2016 at 11:32 AM

Uh, no, sorry but that was Arnold Raphael under Reagan.

Oops.

Mike from NC on February 5, 2016 at 11:08 AM

I presume that he means killed as in murdered, not as in “died in plane crash”.

Though I don’t know, maybe you’re implying an assassination plot…

The Schaef on February 5, 2016 at 1:11 PM

Gotta love it!

Bernie’s people chanting:

She’s a liar!

She’s a liar!

She’s a liar!

Neitherleftorright on February 5, 2016 at 2:01 PM

100+ full time FBI Agents is not a Security Review grandma, it’s a full blown Criminal investigation of about the same size that took down Al Capone.

Johnnyreb on February 5, 2016 at 8:54 AM

I would respectfully disagree. The current investigation involves magnitudes of more agents. At the time Capone was taken down, “The Untouchables” consisted of only 9 agents.

GAlpha10 on February 5, 2016 at 2:51 PM

At the time Capone was taken down, “The Untouchables” consisted of only 9 agents.

GAlpha10 on February 5, 2016 at 2:51 PM

8 after Sean Connery died ;)

The Schaef on February 5, 2016 at 3:03 PM

Ho Chi Min vs. Imelda Marcos.

Galtian on February 5, 2016 at 3:24 PM

I’m not surprised that modern democrats prefer the word “progressive” to describe themselves. It is the same word communists used in the 1950s.

The communists also used the exact same tactics, blaming everything on “Wall Street”, and promoting racial division to cause hatred.

Watch these movies from the 50s about the Korean War and you’ll see examples of it.

1951 The Steel Helmet

1954 Prisoner Of War

1955 The Bamboo Prison

1956 The Rack

Today’s modern democrats sound just like Chinese communists from the 1950s.

jaime on February 5, 2016 at 11:32 AM

THANK YOU, Jaime!

I am looking for resources like this to help open the eyes of my well-educated friends, who for some unexplainable reason don’t understand why socialism/progressivism is so dangerous.

I watched the debate last night. My top takeaway lesson from the debate is that Bernie Sanders is not kidding when he says he wants to lead a “political revolution”.

We all need to start educating our friends and family about what “progressive” really means NOW, before it is too late.

wren on February 5, 2016 at 3:37 PM

The Schaef on February 5, 2016 at 3:03 PM

lol. That was a great movie. Too bad the rest of Elliot Ness’ career wasn’t as successful as his time with the “The Untouchables”.

GAlpha10 on February 5, 2016 at 3:37 PM

A woman running to be the first woman president…”

Well no shiite, genius.

Bishop on February 5, 2016 at 9:05 AM

I caught that but the second part is what made me shake my head:

CLINTON: Well, look, I’ve got to just jump in here because, honestly, Sen. Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment. And I’ve got to tell you that it is …It is really quite amusing to me.

Are “running to be the first woman president” and being part of the “establishment” mutually exclusive?

Would Representative Nanzi Pelosi and Senators Ma’am, Dianne Frankenstein and Air Claire McCaskill be considered “establishment?”

I’m thinking … yes.

Pain Train on February 5, 2016 at 5:01 PM