I missed last night’s Democratic presidential debate, having a previous commitment at my church … and for my sanity. The PBS debate had at least one success in ending a debate on time, which sounds like it would be easy with only two candidates, but perhaps not with these two candidates. The previous Democratic debate on MSNBC (which I did watch) ran over by several minutes.
Thanks to the magic of YouTube, however, I still managed to catch this rather odd moment from moderator Gwen Ifill.
IFILL: Senator, do you worry at all that you will be the instrument of thwarting history, as Senator Clinton keeps claiming, that she might be the first woman president?
SANDERS: Well, you know, I think, from a historical point of view, somebody with my background, somebody with my views, somebody who has spent his entire life taking on the big money interests, I think a Sanders victory would be of some historical accomplishment, as well.
Er … does Ifill not realize that Sanders was the first Jewish-American to win a major-party primary contest, as Sanders did in New Hampshire on Tuesday? Or does history only apply to Hillary Clinton? Speaking of whom, her answer was even more odd than the question:
CLINTON: You know, I have said — I have said many times, you know, I’m not asking people to support me because I’m a woman. I’m asking people to support me because I think I’m the most qualified, experienced, and ready person to be the president and the commander- in-chief.
Ahem. Other than just a naked desire for power, that’s about the only coherent reason Hillary has put forward for her candidacy. Remember “44 Boys Is Too Many“? The nonsensical accusations of sexism against Sanders for criticizing her? How about the trio of geriatric feminists last week who claimed that young women supporting Sanders were gender traitors just out for a good time with the boys?
For that matter, the age of the debate combatants was never more in evidence when the two candidates began arguing over … Henry Kissinger:
SANDERS: Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference, in the last debate — and I believe in her book — very good book, by the way — in her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.
IFILL: Secretary Clinton?
CLINTON: Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is.
SANDERS: Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger. That’s for sure.
Old and busted: Votes on the 2002 Iraq AUMF. New hotness: Rehashing the 1960s! Yes, nothing will engage that over-80 demographic like a robust debate on Henry Kissinger. Everyone else … not so much.
Andrew Malcolm did watch the debate, but noticed a few issues got missed in favor of history-thwarting and Kissinger support:
Of the 16,000 words uttered by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and moderators Gwen Ifil and Judy Woodruff, not one of them concerned Clinton’s deepening email scandal. Not one mention of the words email, e-mail, private server or FBI.
Not a single media question or opponent mention of the huge legal cloud hanging over the party’s presumptive nominee. Nor of the ongoing FBI investigation into unauthorized use of her unsecured private email server for government business, including loose handling of Top Secret documents endangering national security intelligence-gathering and covert operations.
Not any reference to the State Department Inspector General’s subpoena to the Clinton Foundation exploring possible connections between foreign government donations possibly trying to curry favor during Clinton’s four-year tenure as Obama’s secretary of State.
Oh, and not a single word either about Benghazi, the murder of four Americans there, the phony video excuse, the lack of rescue or reinforcement attempts and any Clinton responsibility for the well-documented poor consulate security. Nothing on tax or entitlement reforms. National debt.
A complete pass for Hillary Clinton. Whoosh! Home free. Other than that, it was a serious grilling about being female, admiring Obama, taxing the rich more, free stuff and other liberal issues.
Sounds like we didn’t miss much. Maybe Debbie Wasserman Schultz had the right idea on scheduling these debates after all.