Live Blog: Democrat Presidential Primary Debate #4 in Detroit (Second Night)

The fourth Democrat Presidential debate starts in one-half hour, at 8:00PM ET. Again, CNN says, the debate will be hosted exclusively on’s homepage, and across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Android TV. (Readers may come up with alternative streaming sites; I had no problem with CNN. Very much unlike MSNBC!) Here is a link to last night’s live blog, which gives images of the outside and inside of the venue.

Readers, this will be a truly open thread, as I cannot be present to watch and curate. Here’s tonight’s card:

Last night’s debate ended up being a three-tier event, with Sanders and Warren being attacked by a gaggle of faceless centrists (egged on by the moderators), and the established candidates like O’Rourke and Buttigieg essentially standing aside. It’s hard to look at the list above, and see it separating into layers in the same way; there aren’t enough faceless centrists for the moderators to egg on; only Bennet, I suppose. Not Deblasio: “John Delaney was a friend of mine. Mayor, you’re no John Delaney.” Of course, it would be fun to see Biden and Harris create a bloody tableau of mutual destruction, rather like the final scene of Hamlet (“so shall you hear Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause, And, in this upshot, purposes mistook Fall’n on the inventors’ heads”) but who knows? Maybe, as the front-runners, they’ll team up against the others, much as Warren and Sanders did. Beyond that, I’d very much like to see Inslee get his footing, since his Green New Deal plan really is the most comprehensive, and I’d like to see Tulsi Gabbard survive, for her message of sanity on foreign policy.

Finally, I’ll repeat the suggestions for Matt Taibbi and his followers for drinking games:

I’d suggest “folks,” and Biden saying “Barack” (as opposed to “Obama” or “President Obama”).


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. dearieme

    I hope someone asks Biden about his hands-on experience with XYZ. Any old XYZ would do.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      What? Did Biden claim to be part of the X, Y, Z affair? Or are you marking that joke and I missed it?

  2. Fiery Hunt

    Tom Perez giving a back-handed slap at the Progressives in his pre-game speech…
    “Achievement wing is best…screw the big idea people!”

    1. Yves Smith

      Lambert said “curate,” not “moderate”. I don’t have the patience to watch debates; I get angry way too quickly, so I entirely sympathize with wanting to smash china (one of my friends settled upon throwing shoes at a closet door. That apparently makes a gratifying amount of noise without doing permanent damage). I won’t attempt to fill in for Lambert. But I will endeavor to clear the mod queue frequently.

      1. sleepy

        Understood. With McAullife doing the pre-debate show, I’ve already put up anything fragile.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Maybe the solution is to have a nerf gun on hand – the type that just shoots foam darts. If they are soft enough you can shoot them at the people on your TV screen.

      2. inode_buddha

        You and I have the same temper. That is why I am so grateful for the debate threads.

      3. MichaelSF

        If you have a pet that will chase stuff, get it out of your system by throwing things for them. It releases your tension and gives the animals some fun.

      4. bruce

        I don’t have the patience to watch debates like this either, I can read about them afterward. Ten different contestants isn’t a debate, it’s a circus, and I suspect that the networks are deliberately trying to sabotage the D party by making it look like its usual chaotic mess because corporations make more money in R administrations. Who wants to listen to Bill de Blasio anyway? Can you imagine a world where the mayor of NYC is outpolled by the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, perhaps even among New Yorkers?

        Agree with Lambert that we need to hear more from Inslee and Gabbard. Disagree with the Hamlet thing. Never liked that, the prince or the play, because his actions didn’t make a lot of sense. If I had come back from summer vacation to Elsinore and found that, stuff would have happened faster. Much prefer a Macbeth-style ending where Bernie or someone mounts Dunsinane Hill and informs Trump that he was not born of woman in the natural sense, but was instead “untimely ripped”.

        1. Susan the other`

          Inslee, Gabbard and Yang. Wow. Where did Yang hang out to have such rational, good ideas. He’s obviously not political enough to go very far but maybe his ideas will have legs. I had to turn the TV off early. Biden made me ill.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Perez is worse than a joke. After Obama stood him up as DNC chair, he purged the Rules and Bylaws Committee of every single Sanders supporter. If the Iowa caucuses are decided by coin flips again, and the Sanders campaign complained, the RBC is the body that would adjudicate. And it’s already been rigged. Liberal Democrats are bad at so, so much, but keeping control of the party machinery is not one of them.

  3. katiebird

    Are the same questions asked in each debate? I am thinking of the questions that focused attacks on Sanders. Can they ask such questions if he can’t respond?

    But is it fair to ask different questions?

      1. richard

        Well, in job interviews we are required to keep questions the same for different candidates. Why not this job?

        1. ambrit

          That depends on how much the “moderators” pander to Biden. That alone will be edifying.

  4. John

    Not being a party to CNN, I shall follow the debate through your comments. Have at it?

    Is Tulsi Gabbard to be permitted to speak this evening? Tom Perez and those of his ilk would consign her to outer darkness but lacking cojones, they will mutter and beseech the blob to make her disappear.

    My ticket: Sanders-Gabbard

    1. Philonius

      Why not Tulsi at the top of the ticket? Whenever her name is put up for serious consideration it’s always as a #2.

      1. John

        I have a bias toward experience especially after being burned by Obama. Four years as Bernie’s Vice President and she would be ready for the top spot. Just being cautious; although why be cautious since if the prognostications about climate are correct we have a dozen years until the tipping point. Since I will be 95 in 12 years, I am looking out for your future.

      2. Los Paranoias

        Probably because her path to the nomination is a long shot at this point. I’d like to see her at the top of the ticket more than just about anyone, but it’s far more likely she’ll be chosen as a running mate rather than get to choose a running mate.

        1. Philonius

          I see where your coming from. It just seems from all corners the default option for Tulsi is second fiddle at best. Maybe she would be more effective as Defense Sec than Pres or Veep. And I guess all the minor candidates and under are trying to burnish their resumes here.

            1. none

              She is not eligible for secdef without some special exception, since secdef is normally required to have been out of the military for 10 years before taking office. That’s to prevent a revolving door from the military so I guess they do a lobbyist stint in between, which is at least as bad.

        1. Cuibono

          exactly. I like and donate to Tulsi but her record is sparse and has some things everyone should be concerned about.

  5. ambrit

    I’m interested to see how Gabbard handles domestic questions. Her fitness for a Sanders or Warren Veep slot would depend on that. (Unless she is angling at Secretary of Defense in a Democrat Administration.)

    1. Cal2

      Here’s a longshot;

      Tulsi doesn’t get a commitment from Bernie for V.P.

      Instead BIDEN chooses her. I’d vote for that, if Bernie were not the nominee.

      1. ambrit

        Oh good heavens! My spidey sense is tingling! Biden bows out after throwing the convention into ‘broker mode’ and the ticket becomes, Clinton/Gabbard 2020! The smart money says that Michelle doesn’t want the hassle of being veep, too much like a real job. It all fits!
        Cynicism knows no bounds!

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        The Harris campaign isn’t the only entity smearing Gabbard on Syria/and RussiaRussiaRussia (i.e., she got in the way of the war The Blob wanted).

        I would say that’s a strong signal that Gabbard is persona non grata as far as the establishment is concerned; beyond the pale. They’d do the same to Sanders, except he has too much clout.

        1. Mike

          They “would”, Lambert? Are we not getting the moderators attack and divide mode? What about the Post and Times, who have not given up on dumping their “opinions” whenever they deride Sanders or anyone to his left, which seems to be the overarching message? All this seems to be the DNC’s way (via third party “ops”) of defenestrating any clout Sanders has.

          I refuse to put lipstick on the pig of the DNC or its sponsors, the established boars of intelligence. The message to Sanders, Gabbard, et al (AOC, are ya listening?) is crystal clear- get out and try to form your own party, if you dare. Then the vote fraud will really gear up.

  6. richard

    Okay, I don’t know if I can handle this w/o bernie – the music and reality show presentation. Actually, a cross between a reality show and one of those old ‘70s variety shows. I got the oddest sense of Donny and Marie last night….

      1. Matt Hussmann

        The healthcare section was like a 20 minute Harlem GlobeTrotter spin action play, where nobody makes a bucket.

    1. Warminghut

      Did you just comment on only the women’s outfits? That was either brilliant sarcasm or, as they say in the South, bless your heart.

  7. CarlH

    This nationalism disturbs me. There is no need to have the national anthem played or sung before every gathering of more than three people.

    1. ambrit

      It’s normal for late Empire political gatherings. A sort of self reassurance that the world is under (your) control.
      Real Patriotism is something entirely different.

        1. ambrit

          That’s because you look beneath the surface of things. As becomes your status as a member of the NC commenteriat.

    2. sleepy

      It’s just like a sporting event. At least the PTB are honest with the conflation of politics as they view it and sports.

    3. mle in detroit

      Agreed. Especially since the last line, the one that gets drowned out by cheers and applause, has become a lie.

    4. Oh

      Same as in sports activities. It’s a misuse of the national anthem and the flag. It demeans both.

  8. Fiery Hunt

    Jesus, did Biden just greet Harris as “Kid”???

    I predict full flame out tonight for Creepy Joe.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      she’s 54, literally old enough to be Mayor Pete’s mom
      How is Bernie the youngest 75+ person on Earth at the same time Biden is….like this?

  9. andrwrf

    Biden already off to a bad start when he shook Kamala’s hand saying, “go easy on me, kid”

    1. ambrit

      Creepy Joe is using a standard Patriarchial dominance tactic there. “Kid” implies a subservient position. “Go easy on me” implies a lack of fear or respect for the capabilities of the ‘other.’ Very Meta games-playing on Creepy Joe’s part.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This goes back to his constant touching. He’s not a “touchy feely guy.” He’s asserting power. Biden is a thug.

            1. ambrit

              I’m surmising that he is assuming the continued primacy of the status quo. No transformational ideologies need apply.

  10. anon in so cal

    Tulsi Gabbard is wearing a white pants suit. I hope she can maintain her poise and composure in the face of any potential attacks.

    “White, the emblem of purity, symbolizes the quality of our purpose,” reads a mission statement for the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage in a passage cited by The New York Times.

    It’s also been suggested that suffragettes wore white because its connotations of virginal purity helped shield them from the accusations of sexual immorality that were often hurled at them from the movement’s opponents.”

    1. ambrit

      Also consider the religious symbolism of white to Hindus, Gabbard’s professed religious faith. Besides the usual ‘suspects,’ purity, and mourning being primary uses, white also represents wisdom. A plain declaration of fitness to lead.
      Nothing is left to chance in a well run political campaign.

          1. MichaelSF

            That was interesting (though I have no idea who Kisten Dunst is since I haven’t searched to find out) but the Vapors’ vocals are better.

            Sometimes covers stand on their own, other times they don’t measure up to the original.

            1. Carey

              I don’t know a lot about Kirsten Dunst, but she
              was good in von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’, especially the first half-or-so, IMO.

            2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Virgin Suicides, Spider Man, and my particular favorite Drop Dead Gorgeous!

              Used to have a MEGA CRUSH on her 20 years ago…

    2. Jeff W

      I hope she can maintain her poise and composure in the face of any potential attacks.

      Gabbard’s equanimity is preternatural. For me, it’s one of her best personal qualities.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Tulsi in all white. Not sure what to make of that but she sure does stand out. Guess she got the memo that Kirsten would be wearing red.

    1. ambrit

      Red queen and White queen from the Alice books???
      Will one of them shout “Off with her head!”

      1. Spring Texan

        Someone said it was “fire Pantaleo” (police officer who killed Eric Garner).

  12. zagonostra

    Notice the photo of Bernie taken out of context waving his arm on the site that is airing this debate?

    1. ambrit

      Yang has support among the educated “hip” twenty somethings of this town. I have heard him mentioned favourably by representatives of that demographic several times over the last week or so. The UBI has been mentioned in regards to his candidacy.

      1. nippersmom

        Unfortunately, it would end up costing people truly in need, since he would eliminate other programs that provide benefits greater than the amount of the UBI.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            Alright, I just went to Yang’s website and he is so 60% right. He needs to stop calling it a UBI – it’s a dividend – and he needs to give it to everyone on top of benefits they are already getting. And he needs to learn some MMT. But he wants to eliminate the cap on SS (he should also exempt first 15-20K), institute a VAT, and add a financial transactions tax, all of which I am down with.

            He also just gave an excellent answer to the permanent war question.

            1. ambrit

              The VAT is regressive, as it effects items most people need and cannot do without. It would raise the cost of living for the bottom cohorts disproportionately.
              Yes to the financial transactions tax. Make the FIRE sector pay a bigger share of the tax burden, even though it would really be social engineering.
              Getting rid of the permawar would free up vast amounts of resources for more pressing concerns.
              He sounds like a likely Cabinet pick. Say, Bureau of Labour.

              1. kramer

                the VAT is regressive, but that can be mitigated if the money is spent in the right way (eg. medicare for all.) The advantage of the VAT is that it places some of the tax burden on imports unlike other taxes such as the payroll tax.

                1. ambrit

                  Political Systems theory states that no tax, once enacted, is ever repealed. Unless, of course, it is on profits.

                  1. kramer

                    Republicans have partially repealed the income tax and estate tax. This is especially true for ultra high incomes where rates used to be as high as 90%.

              2. Warminghut

                VAT *can* be regressive. Decide not to VAT basic necessities and it ceases to be regressive. In the EU, staple food, printed material, children’s clothing, certain sanitary health staples, public transpo, energy-saving materials, things for people with needs for specialized equipment like wheelchairs, certain medical equipment, etc. are not subject to VAT. Like a sales tax, it *can* be made to be neutral or even progressive.

                Whether or not such progressive policy could happen in the US is another argument altogether…

    1. andrwrf

      Were they shouting black lives matter? That’s what I thought but it was hard to make out

  13. chuckw

    In true Soviet fashion, we get no information on what the hell the heckling was about that seemed to be aimed at Spartacus.

    1. ambrit

      I’m responding to commentary here, not having a good connection to the debate. Why was she disappointing? (Sorry for the query. Anyone?)

        1. Cal2

          And a nice dig, “I’m the only veteran on this stage.”

          Her boilerplate is what voters remember.

          1. none

            It really bugs me whenever she goes off on that. A noun, a verb, and militarymilitarymilitary. Also the right wing mil forums are swiftboating her now, insinuating that some of her service badges are bogus. Not actually fraudulent, but given out too easily.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Agreed. Very milquetoast opening speech. Meanwhile Mayor Bill is taking the progressive mantle thus far in this “debate” …

      1. dearieme

        Isn’t it about time that Warren Wilhelm Jr. changed his name again?

        How about Bill O’bama?

    3. Yves Smith

      Sorry, this was an “approve and reply” to a comment in moderation that I was trying to liberate and my comment weirdly appeared unconnected to the comment I was reacting to, which criticized Tulsi’s opener.

  14. nippersmom

    What the (family blog) does Creepy Joe know about souls? If he ever had one, he sold it long ago.

    1. ambrit

      Imagine all the lost and wandering souls of the people just in the United states his policies have damned to early death. He sold them. They must want recompense.

    2. Laughingsong

      To rip off a line from”O Brother Where Art Thou?”. . . . . He sold it because he figured he wasn’t using it. Too bad he asked to be Senator instead of being able to play a guitar really well.

  15. DJ3

    Is it possible that Harris and Biden will sound thoughtful when neither of them intend to do anything about the status quo?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      If you want a Restoration of the first Obama administration, Biden is your guy, and nobody else. (And let’s not forget that the 10% on upward sailed right through the recession.)

  16. Montanamaven

    Ditto that Tulsi was disappointing. Bland. And too much about her. And she’s the only one I’m interested in,

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        No, its just we (the electorate in general) don’t hold these people accountable often enough as we (society) are worried about the great other. You should see the state wide office holders in Virginia. Yeesh.

      2. edmondo

        HA! Look at Colorado’s gift to the nation – Hickenblooper and Bennett. Colorado has a lot to answer for. Of course, legalized marijuana could explain them both

        1. Oh

          IIRC, “Wall Street Bonds” Bennett is an Obama boy chosen over the more popular primary candidate.

      3. WheresOurTeddy

        California here. We give you Pelosi, Harris, and Gavin Newsom, as well as schmucks like Swalwell.

        None of them are my rep but I assure you mine is garbage too.

        Really sorry about all of the above.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      she is an introvert; she can’t help having no charisma but it’s unfortunate

        1. Yves Smith

          ~70% of CEOs are introverts.

          I bet Eisenhower was an introvert. Inc agrees:

          10 U.S. Presidents Who Were Introverts

          Thomas Jefferson….
          James Madison. …
          John Quincy Adams. …
          Abraham Lincoln. …
          Woodrow Wilson. …
          Calvin Coolidge. …
          Dwight D. Eisenhower. …
          John F. Kennedy.

          1. richard

            Well, looking at their list, what can we say? Take away Wilson (and maybe Coolidge, who I know little about), and you might have a list of some of the least objectionable of the type.
            I had no idea about all those ceos – maybe none of this makes any difference also

  17. Montanamaven

    “Obamacare is working”, says Biden and he’s pitching the sparkle pony of the Public option

  18. Darthbobber

    Oh, Lambert. If you’re wishing for a Shakespearean denoument, why not Titus Andronicus?

      1. flora

        ‘Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
        That I may see my shadow as I pass.’

        1. ambrit

          “And yet will he abase his eyes on me,”
          “That cropped the golden prime of this sweet princess”
          “And made her widow to a woeful campaign?”
          “On me, who’s all not equals Hillary’s moiety?”

          1. richard

            what’s “moiety” again?
            i’m pretty sure i equal hillary’s moiety
            at least, if not beating her
            but remind me what it is again

            1. ambrit

              Archaic usage means “part,” thus, the narrators ‘whole’ doesn’t equal a part of the ‘fair dame.’
              Thus, in supposition, the entirety of the candidates on the stage equal not the merest particle of Hillaries’ lustre.
              (I would not wonder at the exactitude of the true definition therein appended.)

              1. richard

                okay! I missed the “all” part equaling the “moiety” which would have explained that for me a little

  19. DJ3

    Is anyone else confused about how anti for profit insurance this centrist debate is, vs say the framing from last night when they were talking to people who legitimately opposed for profit health care?

  20. richard

    dui of canny “talk less” advisors
    he shuts up the second the moderator cuts him off

    1. ambrit

      Oh yes. An indicator of DUIdom!
      Time for a half a Tramadol and a shot of brandy, (cheap of course.)

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        as to who might be under the influence, Booker seems to be having a mighty good time up there

        1. ambrit

          Good heavens! I have not built up a sufficient tolerance for the required amount of “soma” this crowd demands of my partaking! Down to slivers of tabs now, for safetys sake.

  21. Dita

    Oh for crying out loud Americans pay thousands upon thousands a year for insurance, plus thousands more to reach deductibles – at the very least there should never be co-pays. Gabbard drew a little blood from harris, who prefers addressing biden, clearly.

  22. nippersmom

    Thank you for bringing up the Sebelius connection, Tulsi.

    And your rebuttal did not refute her main point, Ms Harris.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Tulsi needed to assert her privilege and take another whack at Kamala cop, after her name was mentioned. Missed opportunity to keep in the middle of the scrum. I also agree that the rebuttal did not refute her point.

  23. Carey

    Gabbard effective on healthcare just now.

    Bennet having some speech issues.

    Harris is smug (friends in high places?)
    and slippery.

  24. Lee

    Biden and Harris git down in the weeds of their repective Rube Goldberg plans. I’m trying to not doze off.

  25. Montanamaven

    Biden just made a frowny face when Tapper cut him off on his disingenuous claim that his plan will cover everybody.

  26. Lee

    Healthcare as golden handcuffs is a good line of attack. Well, maybe not exactly golden but you know what I mean.

      1. ambrit

        D–n! That’s a potent mix! Which dewey young staffer offered up their life for that high?

  27. Montanamaven

    Boy, Bennett is awful and to Kamala’s Credit, she just called him a Republican. Why isn’t Tulsi able to interrupt like Kamala? Do you have to be mentioned by name to be able to talk?

    1. EoH

      Bennett, yep, pretty awful speechifying for this level of competition. What was Colorado thinking? De Blasio talks faster, but has less to say.

      Joltin’ Joe is defending Obamacare like Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Pity Biden has never been good at math. His $1000 deductible spiel is laughable, given the tens of millions who could not pay for a single $400 emergency.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      The moderators are supposed to divide it up but they have their fingers on the scale, of course. The rules of the debate allow for certain points to be rebutted, including if you are mentioned by another candidate. Otherwise the moderators are going to direct fire towards the leaders and occasionally lob one around to the less central podiums.

  28. cripes

    Harris, phony that she is, at least smart enough not to join the “we can’t do ( what every major country has) it” crowd on health care. But she won’t deliver.

  29. CarlH

    Yang’s M4A defense was effective. I don’t know his actual positions on the issue, but that answer was a good one.

  30. richard

    Harris, for gawd’s sake, i don’t want f(*&ing choices around health care. I Want Health Care! Full stop you dullard on purpose. You’ve had all the time in the world to figure this out and evolve your position and get it right. Stop pretending.

  31. Montanamaven

    Andrew Yang just scored. He team tagged with Harris to push Medicare for All reality against Bennett’s awfulness.

  32. Lee

    Healthcare off the backs of business also good. I like sowing division among major sectors of the capitalist economy. Let’s hire half of the capitalist class to kill the other half and then we can just mop up the rest.

    1. Warminghut

      +20 if you change “kill” to something more creative, Lee. Channel your inner Stoic!

  33. Carey

    De Blasio making nice noises on healthcare, not that I trust him.

    D’oh! Biden about the same as last time, despite his efforts.

    Overton window moving left, at least by *appearances*.

    Biden talking jailing healthcare execs.

    1. chuck roast

      Yeah, I just tuned in and heard the jail execs…it was truly guffaw-worthy.
      But, man, what a bunch of lameos!

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        yeah, there’s really nothing happening tonight; I have only watched on and off. this feels, with the possible exception of Harris or Booker, like a bunch of also-rans.

        sadly, Inslee is probably the most important voice of either night, but we as a nation aren’t up to the challenge

  34. DJ3

    meaningless talk; nonsense.
    “don’t give me that malarkey”

  35. Dita

    That’s right joe, and that’s why trump wants employers to contribute to hsa’s and throw employees onto the Obama care exchanges

  36. Sam Adams

    Does Biden have dementia? He’s coming across as the old guy on the porch yelling at the kids with the ball on his lawn

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      He’s simply an evil and particularly stupid man who is now being watched. He’s not just praising segregationist. He was their friend when he was young. This is Joe Biden.

      The reason stayed silent in 2008 was he was probably not going to succeed Obama and getting him out of the Senate was a positive in of itself.

      1. edmondo

        If you watch the debate with the sound off, Biden looks like an older Clint Eastwood.

    2. dcblogger

      He has definitely slowed down. I wonder if his son’s death took the wind out of him. This is not the same man who packed Ryan away so effectively.

      1. nippersmom

        Ryan is a dullard. It didn’t take a tremendous amount of skill or intellect to pack him away.

  37. Montanamaven

    Team tagging worked for Bernie and Warren. Team tag against Biden. Biden is abominable. A liar.
    And my drinking game phrase is “”here’s the deal” and I just knocked one back as Biden came thru with that folksy phrase.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      My drinking game phrase for Joe is Mr. President. I got drunk during his opening remarks.

  38. sleepy

    Bennett is lost in space. I can’t offer a more substantive critique than that, at least on the terms of a liveblog.

  39. Lee

    Harris lands a solid left hook on Mr. Status quo Biden. She’s like Manny Pacquiao, she can hit you from any direction. But where she really stands no one knows.

  40. CarlH

    When Biden finally does have to bow out of the primary, I hope it happens in spectacular, legendary fashion. The kind of exit that could never be massaged or spun by sleazy historians trying to rescue his horrid legacy.

    1. ambrit

      He’ll hang on until the convention just to spoil Sanders chances. Then bow out in favour of Hillary.

  41. EoH

    Harris laughs when she inhales to say, “With all due respect,” exposing the cliche’s intended meaning.

    The debate rules are laughable. They are intended to generate sound bites but not thinking.

  42. zagonostra

    Can’t wait to see the stats on how much time each candidate got, Tulsi I’ll bet anyone is at the bottom.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The opportunity is during the discussion about the border. She knows why there is a crisis in Central America, stemming from Reagan-era (and even prior) interventionism. It’s her central issue and she needs to forcefully make the point that the problem stems from the MiC. But swing and miss, by talking about herself.

  43. urblintz

    I’m lagging here, watching a dvr’d debate so I can ff thru the moderators and commercials (what’s the difference, huh?) but I can’t forget that less than 4 years ago HC was saying M4All was “never, ever going to happen.”

    1. ambrit

      That indicates that the “unofficial” Democrat line is not in opposition to Trumps Wall at all.

  44. Hank Linderman

    Yang’s answer on health-care was best so far – concise and clear. The rest of them are in the weeds.

    Kamala Harris seems off-center generally.

    Someone call out Biden for the complexity of the plan he is proposing. It reminds me of Monty Python’s “Meaning Of Life” sketch, instructing the boys where to hang their coats depending on whether they had had a haircut unless they were playing in the Masters game…

    “With all due respect” (…snicker…) is being used as “Well bless her heart…”

    Yikes. This is “The Bickersons.”

    1. Carey

      “Yikes. This is “The Bickersons.””

      According to plan.

      Funny to watch them all very temporarily racing to the left.

      Only one I’d consider trusting is Gabbard, who is way out
      of her element but doing OK.

  45. Dita

    I’m a little disappointed in gabbard. Soldier she is, but her elbows ain’t sharp enough to get to the front of this crew.

    What are people telling i can’t make it out

  46. zagonostra

    Dotage is setting for Biden, it’s obvious ..number 1, number 2, number 5, here is the deal, Obama, Obama, Obama…

    1. Carey

      I think Biden will be saying “guys, here’s the deal” as he falls into the casket


  47. Montanamaven

    I love Tulsi but she needs to pull rank. Think like a general, not a subordinate

  48. urblintz

    Tulsi’s reference to Kathleen Sibelius was gutsy even if she misspoke about her writing the Harris plan. She got a cheer after that one.

  49. richard

    Ugh, everybody tonight is “choices” and “buy in” and “universal coverage”- no one except Tulsi, maybe, to push back with:
    everybody say it with me now
    Free At The Point Of Service

  50. DJ3

    I have major reservations about the talking points tonight, but they are having a better conversation than last night. Is it the moderation? The questions and framing? I’m not sure, but the difference is palpable.

    1. zagonostra

      No way, compare discussion of M4A with last night, no comparison last night was more substantive and better all around.

      Tulsi should have mentioned Biden sponsored the law that made it impossible to discharge student debt through bankruptcy laws when talking about student debt

      1. DJ3

        That’s fair. The M4A discussion was worth the price of admission last night, though it was hitting both the “progressive” notes and the “republican” points.

        It drew a clear distinction.

        But tonight flowed better. It seemed like the people on this stage (tonight) were aligned more closely in their approaches and solutions.

        The questions weren’t as divisive, and they also didn’t help clarify the real differences between candidates.

        I’m not sure if I’m explaining my problem well. I feel like last night was more important, but tonight had a higher production value, or something.

        1. Big River Bandido

          All the people on that stage tonight (save Gabbard), irrespective of what they say, subscribe to the idea that true universal healthcare must be prevented. With such unity of thought, of *course the “debate” flows more. There is no debate among these clowns.

          1. DJ3

            Yeah, that’s probably it… I guess I just wish that the reality of their agreement was as starkly illustrated as the previous night’s divisions.

            I’m still having trouble articulating my dissatisfaction. It’s like, if you weren’t listening really closely, you might believe that all of tonight’s candidates were more or less on board with M4A, while last night was a knock-down, drag-out, CQC style event.

      2. jawbone

        Why has no one gone after Biden about how horribly his student loan vote has worked out –for the lenders only, of course.

        If these Dems want the votes of those who are being destroyed by student loans, they should press on Biden’s role in this over and over.

        Bring it up at every possible time Biden talks and other candidates talk about him.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      totally disagree: last night was the best of any of these multiplayer corporate televised debates including those of the Republicans in 2016.

      Sanders and Warren working together to shut down the moderators and centrists, spiritual notes sounded courtesy of Marianne, Elmer Fudd and creepy preacher man, it was a blast!

  51. Hank Linderman

    “Here’s the deal” should be part of the drinking game – for the rest of the election.

    1. richard

      has anyone ever then proceeded to tell you what the deal is?
      i ask seriously.
      I mean, what is the deal?
      I have been waiting my entire life to find out.

      1. Carey

        the deal:

        “We the few get to extract rents from, immiserate,
        and eliminate all whom we consider below us in
        social station. No recourse; no alternative.”

        We’ll see about that

        1. richard

          true that
          of course a lot of people were holding him accountable, making sure that he did so

  52. Dita

    None of this is an argument against the wall though, which is what he promised. Trumps winning that one

  53. Montanamaven

    Oh this is getting fun. Even Booker is throwing a punch. After di Blasio got some licks in. Oh dear. They are punching Obama.

  54. DJ3

    I’d like some cole slaw with my fried Biden. Cannibalizing elder Americans tastes Kentucky fried good. #FingerLicken

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      As President, Obama was a fact of life, but he simply wasn’t the paragon of virtue and accomplishment so many claimed he was. There is no there there, and how do you explain covering for the guy for eight years?

      Outside of a narrow range, who celebrates the Obama economy? The ilk of DailyKos use to rag on Shrub for his cruel remarks to a woman working multiple part time jobs, but under Obama, those part time jobs became gig jobs.

    2. Yves Smith

      Yes, love the way Biden takes credit for his policies (the bailouts, yikes) when convenient yet renounces having anything to do with his deportations.

  55. Anonymous Coward

    Mayor Bill and Booker just tag-teamed that hit on Biden. Well played. So far Joe looks like the doddering fool that he is. Not a good look.

  56. Barbara

    Last night’s debate was a pleasant surprise. Although I thought early on-how much better the debates would be once the false padding candidates left the field.

  57. Frobisher

    Wow. CNN-Go just ran an attack ad on Biden in the commercial break….saw in Colorado.

  58. michael hudson

    Nobody was brave enough to point out that Obama/Biden overthrew the Honduran government and put the crooks and gangs in power, driving the population to emigrate.
    Tulsi could have said this. They won’t criticize Obama.

    Booker’s eyebrows go up and down and he squints his eyes for emphasis as if he’s an SNL comedian doing a parody of himself.
    Gillibrand’s voice squeaks too high.
    This is nowhere near last night’s level.
    No updates here for over half an hour, by the way.

    1. DJ3

      How do we compare and contrast last night and tonight? I feel like it is a different standard. I’m not sure how to frame it.

      1. sleepy

        Last night clarified the isues and the candidates more than tonight imho, although tonight has been better than I thought it would be in terms of showing up Biden.

        1. DJ3

          Last night clarified two very different “wings” of the democratic party… IMHO, tonight muddied those waters. The questions were softballs by comparison.

          That is what I’m struggling with.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            the questions aren’t different, it’s the respondents: THEY are softballs, as it were

            1. Rod

              I think Yang connected to the spirit in last nights debate when he closed by pointing to the artificiality of the event at such a critical time.

  59. Jaye Lee

    It’s gonna be a long long night for Biden. Everyone seems to be aiming at him, and he seems totally unprepared for it.

  60. Ryan

    This game-show format of debate is so pointless. How many diligent, earnest, upright leaders do you know who would perform well in this format? And yet it’s so critical in influencing votes. Depressing.

  61. John

    Based on the comments of the Naked Capitalism commentariat, Tulsi is in the next debate. have I heard the name Gillibrand tonight? Sounds like Biden is bloodied; is he bowed or unbowed?

    1. ambrit

      Biden will do what his handlers tell him to. After all, unspent campaign money can be turned to more “appropriate” uses after one has dropped out of the race. The longer he holds on, the more money he’ll have to ‘retire’ on. Plus, his main purpose is to siphon support away from Sanders.

    2. nippersmom

      Biden lives in his own reality. I’m not sure he realizes how bad he looks and sounds.

      1. ambrit

        I don’t think he cares about how he looks or sounds. Just being there is his core function.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          He’s Brett Favre on the Jets and Vikings – doesn’t know what else to do with himeself

          1. ambrit

            What’s curious about your comment is that Brett Favre lives about five or ten miles outside of our town on his six hundred acre ranch. I’ve actually encountered him several times on my peregrinations. An interesting alpha male sort of man.

  62. michael hudson

    Nobody was brave enough to point out that Obama/Biden overthrew the Honduran government and put the crooks and gangs in power, driving the population to emigrate.

    Tulsi could have said this. They won’t criticize Obama.

    Booker’s eyebrows go up and down and he squints his eyes for emphasis as if he’s an SNL comedian doing a parody of himself.
    Gillibrand’s voice squeaks too high.
    This is nowhere near last night’s level.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


      Tulsi couldve gutted all of them tonight but for whatever reason she played it safe.

      Like Mayo Pete she has a military officers bearing that isnt suited to CNN 30 SEC Lightning Rounds.

      PS #HUDSON2024

      1. jawbone

        Our vaunted free press, aka Mainstream Corporate Media, has done so little to inform the public that Tulsi would have to use up all the time til’ 10 PM for huge percentage of the public understand what she would be criticizing re: Honduras –and the other Hillary abominations.

        BTW, long ago and far away, I was a strong supporter of Hillary. Then she became Sec of State and showed her true colors as a war monger. I totally lost faith in her.

  63. Montanamaven

    “Here’s the deal” again. Said Biden about prison reform. I knocked back another.

  64. TMoney

    Funny, DeBlasio mentioned all the “illegals” who are part of our Economy, without mentioning the very rich criminals who illegally employ them. Undocumented immigration creates a class who will work for less than Americans. I wonder if the undocumented rate is 3/5s of the regular rate. I must remember to ask our overlords.

    1. Rod

      I too feel someone either debate should have connected illegal immigration to illegal employment to wage suppression and worker miss-classification. All of which undermine hourly workers stability. Universal employer compliance with e-verify seems a vanilla enough suggestion.

        1. TMoney

          Flip the script Monty, amnesty for undocumented illegals, in exchange for a list of people and companies who illegally employed them.

  65. Lee

    Hmmm. So far Harris is strangely silent on crime and punishment. No one is going after her on this issue.

    1. Yves Smith

      Wrong, Tulsi’s best moment was calling Harris out on incarcerations and fighting the use of evidence that would have exonerated someone on death row.

  66. richard

    How come harris gets to talk over the moderator
    “no, this is important!”
    okay. we get to do that?

  67. Clark

    Tulsi gives hard-hitting, fact based criticisms of Harris’s record. Kamila responds with blather …

    1. Anonymous Coward

      About time. She could have lobbed back one last comment about knowing what it’s like to be under fire. I love Tulsi but she misses the opportunities. Easy for me to say. :0

  68. richard

    Gabbard fires on harris
    weak ass response
    tulsi then proceeds to what gamers might call the double tap
    you hid evidence that would have cleared death row inmates – apologize

  69. Montanamaven

    Castro: Education! But most of that is a scam. So, no. It’s about wages. Or a basic income.

  70. Montanamaven

    Gillibrand makes a lot of sense. Has passionate speech. But I would lose the eyelashes. (Although they might make her more listen able).

    1. inode_buddha

      I am going to make him an artisanal belt buckle that says “Here’s the deal”

  71. Carey

    Poor Biden… just completely out of touch on AGW. Stick a fork in him.

    Harris pandering again.

  72. zagonostra

    Trump would crush anyone on this stage…they are not touching what moves people like Bernie did last night, no, no one on this stage is a serious threat to Trump.

  73. Levi

    This just in – NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio Bans Element Lead! Pb to be removed from periodic table, Mayor tells plumbers they have 2 weeks to find new name.

  74. CarlH

    Bold move by Castro to brag about involvement in Flint. I would not have gone there myself.

    1. ambrit

      I’m going to have to take a re-look tomorrow. She seems to have done better than I surmised.

  75. Anonymous Coward

    Tulsi has improved over the course of this “debate” but she could take it to another level with a few rhetorical techniques. In her response on climate change, she could have linked investment in climate change to imperialism and other places where our money is spent. That’s an important point that resonates. Mike Gravel would have said it. She is not good at hogging the mic.

    1. anon in so cal

      Agree. Though she did, finally, link the Flint water crisis to military spending.

  76. Barbara

    I hope Biden doesn’t last up to the time we have one debate rather than two. Bernie vs Biden is gonna be a cremation.

  77. anon in so cal

    Tulsi: “We’re spending $4 Billion a month on Afghanistan” and not on Michigan.

    Corey Booker blames Hillary’s loss of Michigan to the various factors including Russians.

  78. Cpm

    Biden is the Guiliani of this iteration of the game show….
    Barack (our administration,we) is his substitution for Rudi s 9/11.

  79. DJ3

    If I didn’t know who Booker really is, I’d be giving him a second look right now. Why can’t we mouse over the candidates and see their sponsors / contributors?

    1. Samuel Conner

      sounds like a useful programming task for young progressive coders, once they finish building Sen. Sanders’ digital infrastructure.

    2. bassmule

      14 0f the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies are in New Jersey. They are his constituency.

    3. none

      Someone suggested a while back that all politicians should have to wear corporate logos all over their suits showing who was paying them, like nascar drivers have logos all over their cars and uniforms.

  80. zagonostra

    Yang will not go on the attack, smarts will only get you so far in politics. He was given an opportunity to say why Biden is not the man to beat Trump and he redirect his answer to innocuous statement, no Yang doesn’t have the political instinct to beat Trump.

  81. Carey

    Biden dissembling again, now on Detroit (“I spent two years..).
    OK, he got a couple of minutes of sympathy, time’s up.


    “don’t be hasty, now..”

    Tentative entitlement rankings:

    Bennet (poor guy, get some rest)

    1. Carey

      I think Inslee’s done surprisingly well so far, considering he’s a bearer of bad news; not typically allowed in USA USA! .

    2. 3.14e-9

      Not as decent as you think. He looks good, sounds good, then does exactly what he wants out of the public view — which is to say, what corporate friends want — and totally ignores the will of the voters. I left this comment on the first debate blog (June 26, 10:33 pm):

      All you need to know about Inslee’s commitment to the environment:

      I was among those who wrote to his office, arguing on scientific evidence against methanol as a “greener” fuel. His office was uniquely condescending. He ignored tribal protests. Then he decides to run for president and suddenly sees the scientific evidence.

      Same thing with super delegates.Bernie won Washington something like 71%. Inslee endorsed Hillary anyway. His attitude was nothing short of “F you.” If he doesn’t listen to voters in his state, he’s not going to listen to voters in the country. I’d vote for the airhead [Beto] before I’d vote for this guy.

      1. 3.14e-9

        NCer Wellstone’s Ghost responded with this:

        As a resident of Seattle I totally agree with you. Inslee is corporate DNC all the way. Even after they told him to STFU about climate change. Jay Inslee’s idea of leadership is to lick his finger and see which way the wind is blowing. [June 26, 2019 at 11:05 pm]

      2. urblintz

        I stand corrected. Was responding to what I saw and heard tonight with no knowledge of his record in WA. Your response is great, thorough and convincing. Thanks.

        1. 3.14e-9

          You’re very welcome, and I hope I didn’t sound judgmental. I understand your initial impression; it’s part of what’s so infuriating about the guy. FWIW, I suspect he was just being a good DNC foot soldier by adding his body to the numbers against Bernie. Doubles as his job interview for a cabinet position, should Dems prevail in 2020.

        2. Yves Smith

          He not only appointed Marcie Frost to head the WA Dept of Retirement Services (which is just a back office, not at all comparable to CalPERS) but put in an important position on a commission to implement “lean” processes in gov’t (this to deal with the post crisis revenue crunch). Frost increased headcount at DRS by over 10% with no even remotely comparable increase in underlying activity. But she can now prattle as if she knows something about innovation.

          1. 3.14e-9

            Oy. And that’s not all. A friend texted me earlier this evening saying that Inslee is trying to take credit for Washington’s generous paid family leave, when it actually was the result of a three-year push by the public employees union to get it through the state legislature. Apparently the only heavy lifting Jay did was picking up a pen and signing the bill under the glaring lights of TV cameras.

            1. 3.14e-9

              FYI, this same friend, a long-time union guy, says they would NOT lose their insurance under MFA. To the contrary, it would be a big advantage for him, since he’s getting close to retirement, and union retirement benefits don’t include health insurance.

  82. Left in Wisconsin

    What Yang just said about what we value was brilliant. Bernie needs to steal it.

    If you were zoning out when he was talking (like I was), see if you can rewind.

  83. Anonymous Coward

    Watching this online. The commercials lead me to ask does anyone else remember when Erin Burnett was on CNBC? I think that was back when Kudlow and Cramer had their schtick. Look at them now. Who’d a thunk Jim Cramer would be the least successful of the three in subsequent days.

    1. Monty

      Biden admits Saint Obama did a tried to foist a bad deal on us with the TTTTP(P). Will he be off the xmas card list?

  84. Paul

    Yang: Helicopter money! Never mind that the Nordic countries already tried this and it was canceled as a failure.

      1. Paul

        I’m still waiting for the architects of 2008 to be prosecuted and go to jail. Sigh. Neither party has the political will to punish the banks.

    1. Carey

      “..Helicopter money! Never mind that the Nordic countries already tried this and it was canceled as a failure.”


    2. Left in Wisconsin

      How is helicopter money a failure? I could absolutely use another 1K per month. I would imagine most USAmericans could.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Finland: “This is really about seeing how a basic unconditional income affects the employment of unemployed people.”
          “While UBI tends often to be associated with progressive politics, Finland’s trial was launched – at a cost of around €20m (£17.7m) – by a centre-right, austerity-focused government interested primarily in spending less on social security and bringing down Finland’s stubborn 8%-plus unemployment rate. It has a very clear purpose: to see whether an unconditional income might incentivise people to take up paid work.”

          Yang is wrong to call his proposal a UBI. It’s a dividend – helicopter money. It shouldn’t be intended to solve any social problem, except helping people pay off some bills or have a little extra spending money (which might be a lot to them).

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          I’m not sure those articles say what you think they say about Yang’s proposal. He shouldn’t be calling it a UBI but that first article on Finland says this:

          In fact, the experiment’s stated goal was about “promoting employment” — the government wanted to see if having a basic income leads people to accept more work, even if it’s low-paying or temporary.

          By that metric, the experiment was a failure: Receiving free money didn’t impact the likelihood of people entering the workforce one way or another.

          But here’s what the basic income did do: It made recipients feel happier and less stressed. “The basic income recipients of the test group reported better wellbeing in every way than the comparison group,” according to researcher Olli Kangas.

          That’s a very positive result, and the fact that it wasn’t what Finland was shooting for shouldn’t be allowed to overshadow it.

  85. CarlH

    If Biden’s polling numbers don’t start falling after tonight I will definitely not trust them. I don’t now, but that will quash any remaining faith.

  86. Lee

    I think Biden should file a complaint for elder abuse. As an old man myself, I am fully authorized to make such jokes.

    1. Minimus

      You may be overestimating how many people watch these debates. How many people want to watch the likes of Gillibrand and DeBlasio, plus commercials, for 2 and a half hours?

      1. Carey

        The “folks” the pollsters so-carefully choose to sample are surely watching these debates.

        CarlH has it right, I think.

  87. Otis B Driftwood

    Came in late, but only Yang and Castro seem on their game tonite. Like others, I wish Gabbard had more fire.

  88. scarn

    Booker, servant of rich people who suck money out of our dying Empire, refuses to commit to what even scam-artist Pete committed to: ending war in Afghanistan.

    Tulsi and Yang have had less speaking time than space wasters like Gillibrand. I guess that’s the utility of a Gillibrand, to suck up time from worthy candidates.

  89. Yves Smith

    What Biden bullshit about the inspectors having anything to do with the Iraq vote. Hans Blix, the UN weapons inspector, was going thought sites in the order of priority and had gone through 75% of the sites when we invaded.

    1. Carey

      Biden’s assuming everyone’s memory is as bad as his.
      We remember well what his ilk did to Blix, and Ritter.

      1. ambrit

        But the general electorate doesn’t have the political curiosity and sophistication of this commenteriat. They will not remember unless someone reminds them, and frequently.

      1. Monty

        She was trending #1 on Twitter till she said that. Then she was deleted from the list instantaneously. I think I heard the sounds of MAGA aneurysms popping all over the USA.

  90. DJ3

    Oh gaawd…

    The moderators invoked #RussiaGate

    If Obama could “pardon” GW’s war criminals, can everyone agree that if the Dems win that we will move on from this nonsense?

    1. Carey

      Kidding, right?

      RussiaGate and thus keeping down the many is all they have.

      Their narrative’s getting shaky, even among the hoi polloi..

      “all wokepersons on deck!”

    1. ambrit

      This is Gabbard’s big chance! Grab it woman and squeeze hard! Expose the propaganda for what it is. She has the credentials to go against the “official” narrative and put in a strong anti-war message.

  91. Anonymous Coward

    Gabbard should find a way to get to 2% and sufficient backers to make the next debate. She certainly improved as the night went on. My recommendation is she visit debate coach Mike Gravel.

  92. Detroit Dan

    Russiagate answers are depressing. Let’s pursue impeachment on the basis of the great Mueller report! Nevermind the fact that Trump is right on the fundamental charge of Russian collusion.

  93. CarlH

    I hate when obviously evil and corrupt individuals are given juvenile nicknames like “Moscow Mitch” especially when the pejorative is based on BS. It takes the spotlight off their reprehensible actions and makes you look like a grade schooler in the process. As an added “benefit”, it gives your ostensible target another layer of teflon by making any legitimate critique of him/her you make in the future be perceived by many as just another frivolous attack from a “hater”.

    1. scarn

      I hate that, and I hate the self-congratulatory fake news about it even worse. I saw dozens of news pieces and youtube videos produced yesterday that said that McConnell hates his new nickname and it makes him very sad and angry that people call him this name. Seriously. First, liberal elites give this guy a nickname instead of fighting his policies, and then they produce fake media about how this hurts the guy’s feelings, and then their followers read that nonsense and pat themselves on the back, thinking that they have accomplished something. It’s the same with that orange baby trump balloon. Trump does something bad, and they bring out the balloon. That will show him! The whole thing is performance and self reference instead of work and accomplishment. Post modern post modernism post modernizing, ick.

      1. Detroit Dan

        Yup. I had Castro rated pretty highly, but then he threw in “Moscow Mitch”, which eliminates him as a serious candidate in my eyes. Booker was top rated candidate tonight UNTIL the question about Russiagate.

        How these people can exalt Mueller and be taken seriously is beyond me. Mueller testified that ole Saddam Hussein had WMDs of all sorts in 2003 and posed an existential threat to U.S. He spent several years investigating supposed Russian collusion and doesn’t know what Fusion GPS is, says nothing about the Steele report that the Dems have been quoting and was key to the whole story line, and sees no evil with regard to US/UK intelligence assets posing as Russians.

        Gabbard was best of the group tonight, in my view.

  94. zagonostra

    Whole night boils down to “Lets beat Trump, ” big disappointment from last night’s debate. CNN did a good job protecting Biden…no candidates were willing to go after the putative leader who if elected will guarantee 2nd term for Trump

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Disagree. You’re judging too much from closing statements. Biden was wounded tonight. As was Kamala. Tulsi might have clawed another 1-2% . Yang is in the next round. The debating improved as it went on.

  95. DJ3

    Thanks to all of YOU. You make it easier for me to stay sane. Sane-ish. :-|

    Dang Yang. Driving some serious points home.

    1. Detroit Dan

      Yang strikes me as too much of a libertarian. The world is threatened by out of control technology and his big thing is to give everyone $1000 every month, as if that will solve our problems.

      1. Carey

        “we can make ’em go away for a grand a month, and we’ll get it all back in rents anyway..”

        hard pass on Yang.

  96. Amfortas the hippie

    I’ve chosen to ignore the whole goddamned thing and get high and drink some beer and ride around in starlight with my boys in the tricked out golfcart(rifle rack, etc).
    my youngest and i made Rundebbilrun Oil, and we went and Listened to the World for a while.
    (graveyard dirt, and all!)

    I hope that it’s as much of an earworm for you as it is for me.
    Usque ad Finem.
    …and the Jawbone of an Ass, and all…

        1. 3.14e-9

          Occitan? I’m [family blogging] impressed! Having lived in the Languedoc region for several years, I was exposed to quite a bit of it, but I don’t know many people who even know what it is, much less read it. My roots are French Canadian, though, so I appreciate your musical interludes, and I offer one in return. You’ll understand enough of it to know that it pairs nicely with your alternative debate activities. :-) This is early some of their stuff, back when one of the original members and founders was still with them, a guy named Yves Lambert. How funny is that?

    1. ambrit

      Be of good cheer!
      Some of us who did involve ourselves in the scrum managed to get ‘bent’ too.
      Curious that politics has traditionally been associated with drunkeness and ‘altered states of consciousness.’ Think poor old E A Poe getting drunk thanks to an election campaign and later expiring as a result. So, I’ll channel Evola and appeal to Tradition annet political campaigning and intoxicants.
      See cooping:

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        my real name is bohemian hebrew for “Cooper”…as in “barrel maker”.
        and it’s neat to think about my great-great-great grandad, Jan, in Dubinec, outside of Prague, telling his boys to abscond for America, to avoid yet another imperial war.
        They came back ten years later(1880 or so) to get their momma(Jan had died)
        I know that i am fortunate to have such history under my tongue.
        on another branch, i count the brother of one David Crockett among my direct ancestors.
        but i am a strange duck, and have been yelled at all my life that i’m not a real Texan…

        1. ambrit

          All the tales and fables of this New World add up to the sum of our dreams. America somehow became the receptacle of the worlds’ hopes.
          As I commented on another thread about Gabbard’s forebears, we have entered the age of convergence. One and all, world wide, we are Terran Humans. Let there be no more race cards in our decks. The game has become too fraught with peril to countenance cheating of any sort.
          Sleep the sleep of the just good sir, and lady.

          1. ambrit

            Oh man. A good friend from my Northshore days was a maternal descendant of P G T Beauregard. The Gulf South is full of living history.
            Time to make some history of our own.
            Be sweet, stay safe.

  97. Levi

    I’m not sure if I think he has good policies, but Yang definitely seemed the most willing to speak uncomfortable truths.

    “We’re 10 years too late on climate change”
    “We’re all up here wearing make-up like a reality show, and that’s part of why we elected a reality TV star”
    “Most Americans can’t afford their bills”

    1. Detroit Dan

      But his solution is inadequate, IMO. Still, credit for recognizing the general predicament.

      1. Levi

        I agree on the freedom dividend, its hard not to believe that rent would just get bid up along with other necessities to take most of that 1000 a month. It would be a good 6 months for us proles and then the rentiers would capture most of it.

        1. jrs

          $1000 a month would work if healthcare AND rent was free. It literally WOULD I believe, not much room for non-necessities, but shrug. So first remove the rentiers and then it works. I’m already paying more than $1000 a month for rent currently.

  98. DJ3

    8 more years of Donald Trump? Biden is off his meds. I think he about forgot his plug… He is the walking wounded.

    1. ambrit

      Wait, surely you mean 4 more years of Trump. 8 more years would suggest the imposition of a “State of Emergency” for some time to come. Hmmm…..

    1. Detroit Dan

      Yeah, I was willing to give Harris a chance, but she confirmed the bad things I’ve heard about her tonight. I think it was Gabbard who clarified the situation with regard to Harris. Harris’ response regarding the death row case was not good.

    1. Detroit Dan

      (c: That was funny. I’m not sure what he was trying to say, or why his website would have such a weird name.

  99. anon in so cal

    Kamala Harris’ closing speech was a bald faced lie. She refused to prosecute OneWest bank, leading to 1000s of homeowners losing their homes while the fraudulent banks remained unscathed.

    I think @Caitoz warned about this after the first debate. Kamala Harris is unscrupulous and slippery.

  100. fnx

    OMG! Harris says we have a predator in the white house…well Harris, we have a predator Treasury Secretary because you just lied about being tough on banks during the foreclosure crisis. You did NOTHING to help every homeowner victim of Mnuchin’s predatory mortgage and foreclosure policies before, during and after that time!

  101. chuck roast

    The Apaches used to bury their enemies up to their necks next to ant hills. Yeow!!! I always thought that this was the worse kind of torture.

    But after the little that saw I, this is right up there with the Apaches and should be against the Geneva Convention.

  102. Carey

    Did Biden just say that “we can handle four more years of Donald Trump, but we can’t handle eight more years!”?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought he said.

    theater for the rubes (like me)

  103. shinola

    Well, it’s over (thank gawd)

    1st overall impression:

    -More “I’m the anti-Trump” than last night – more rhetoric, less substance.
    -Gabbard was not very impressive presentation-wise (hoped for better)

    Biden is toast.

    1. Detroit Dan

      I agree. Tulsi was good. She destroyed Harris, deservedly. That was the most effective exchange of the night, IMO. Her composure and demeanor was good. It would have been interesting to hear her take on the impeachment question.

      1. Levi

        I like Tulsi’s anti-imperialism stance and like her as a candidate, I think I said this after the last debate – she has my vote as long as she is in.

        However, and this is a big however – she needs to get more comfortable with the national spotlight, and not say, zoom off in to talking about nuclear weapons in her closing when that scenario isn’t anywhere near as concrete to voters as some other issues that she knows plenty about and she only has 30 seconds to talk. Also her closing was prepared so she wasn’t exactly zooming, ie, that nuclear detour was planned, she could have mentioned something about climate change or how our military is the single largest oil consumer on the planet in her closing and didn’t. I’ve seen her in interviews answer more thoughtfully, completely, (and probably more authentically) than about 50% of what she says in these debates. Granted, this format seems designed for the fake reality stars and not for genuine thought or conversation. Maybe she is over-coacehd. And Tulsi, we get it you’re from Hawaii, lose the schtick, or maybe at least don’t bring it up every time you answer?

        1. Rod

          Agree. That was a turn. She has a wider range of issues with emotional resonance to highlight.
          God forbid she was signaling from congressional priveledge…

        2. Carey

          Thanks for this good comment. Agree that she should ditch
          the Hawaii mentions and at least some of the makeup, too.

          1. Yves Smith

            Disagree. She had the best makeup particularly eye makeup. Women who are not heavily made up on TV look dreadful. Plus she appears to have a marked case of adult acne, so she also needs the makeup to cover that up.

            1. scarn

              Yup, she looked great. Makeup and suit and hair were on point. The Hawaii focus seems natural and normal to me.

        3. dk

          I think Tulsi doesn’t get a lot of prep compared to most others, her staff is very small. She is well studied for likely doing much of it herself, and still a sitting Representative in addition to campaign travel.

          Found some staffing info:

          Compare to other candidates’ campaigns:

          Marianne Williamson for example has a considerably larger staff than Gabbard and with deeper political resumes. The smallest listed seems to be Joe Sestak (but they don’t have Mike Gravel). “Smaller” campaigns like Gabbard and de Blasio (and Beto) seem to be mostly from in-house/in-state (see final link).

          So Tulsi Gabbard seems to be punching above her weight at least on the debate stage. And I don’t think it’s insulting to consider her campaign as much introductory and message-bearing as a serious run for the Dem selection. That mindset would explain some of her comparative reticence to go all-out. And she is an evolved progressive, somewhat like Warren but more recently (being younger of course..).

          The question is always how much a candidate is presenting a popular campaign posture vs their more deeply held views. Even Biden grudgingly shifting, inch… by… nope. I remember observing Harris in the 90’s in CA, she’ll say anything with conviction, but wasn’t nearly as responsive once she achieved office. In her (mild) defense, prosecutorial roles aren’t supposed to be bully pulpits.

          A more condensed listing of key staffers is here, where one can more easily compare the mix of experience and political/professional staffs of the candidates:
          – Three former Clinton staffers for Harris
          – DCCCers for Biden, Booker, Bullock, Buttigieg(2), Castro, Gillibrand(2),
          – DSCCers for Gillibrand, Harris, O’Rourke and Warren.


          1. Nax

            A cynical person might wonder if another campaign fed oppo research to Gabbard about Harris and had enough reach with the moderators to make sure that she was teed up with a suitable question.

            Harris would be unlikely to have oppo on Gabbard memorized so it would be hard for her to swing back at Gabbard thus she’d have to be defensive. Whereas if, say, Biden made that same attack then she’d doubtless deflect onto his record while hinting that he’s sexist and racist for attacking her.

            1. Yves Smith

              This is hardly “oppo”. We’ve featured multiple articles about Harris’ terrible record as a prosecutor. All the stuff Gabbard mentioned was there, and the video where Harris laughed about smoking marijuana got lots of criticism, including from her own father!

            2. dk

              Biden did take the first shot on Harris in the exchange, a transcript (which begins before the selection in the video clip) here:

              Biden leads with a more detailed accusation against Harris, in one of several rough spots for him in this debate [sic] :

              BIDEN: When Senator Harris was attorney general for eight years in the state of California, there were two of the most segregated school districts in the country, in Los Angeles and in San Francisco.

              And she did not — I didn’t see a single solitary time she brought a case against them to desegregate them. Secondly, she also was in a situation where she had a police department when she was there that in fact was abusing people’s right.

              And the fact was that she in fact was told by her own people that her own staff that she should do something about and disclose to defense attorney’s like me that you in fact have been — the police officer did something that did not give you information of what (inaudible) your — your client. She didn’t do that. She never did it. And so what happened.

              Along came a federal judge and said enough, enough. And he freed 1,000 of these people. If you doubt me, google 1,000 prisoners freed, Kamala Harris.

              Harris defends with “I am proud of the work we did,” counter-attacks Biden on his past senate votes on sentencing.

              Tapper then pivots to Gabbard with:

              TAPPER: I want to bring in Congresswoman Gabbard. Congresswoman Gabbard, you took issue with Senator Harris confronting Vice President Biden at the last debate. You called it a quote, false accusation that Joe Biden is a racist. What’s your response?

              Gabbard snubs Tapper’s offer to carry water for Biden, goes high(er) with “I want to bring the conversation back to the broken criminal justice system …” (and gets light applause at the end of that sentence, Gabbard watchers may recognize this pivot to a signature line). She doesn’t follow up on Biden’s school district angle, instead brings up “marijuana” and death-row sentencing.

              As Yves points out these are all easy shots against Harris that can be found with basic and even cursory research. If there was special “oppo” circulated, we didn’t hear about it in this exchange, and Biden went for deeper detail than Gabbard did on follow-up. The problem with cynicism is that it allows us to project what we want to see on what is already there, but tends to obscure detail instead. So the impulse is a good excuse for us to take a second look.

    2. Cal2

      Wow, Tulsi is The Most Searched Candidate on Google, in the following states:


      screw it. ALL 50 STATES!

      Damn, my finger is sore from hitting the Tulsi button… :-)

  104. JCC

    I didn’t listen to the after-game report on CNN last night but I listened for about 15 minutes tonight before I turned off.

    If someone from outside the US that had no interest in watching the “debate” happened to listen in I’m sure they would have been thoroughly confused, never have heard of football teams or horses with names like Biden, Harris. Warren, etc.

    Others have mentioned this often, and it’s true, we really need The League of Women Voters back in America.

    1. Detroit Dan

      I listened for a few minutes and was astonished that their take matched mine. “Elizabeth Warren won.” (CNN’s commentators didn’t think any of the challengers tonight, including Biden and Harris, could hold their own against Warren or Sanders.)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > CNN’s commentators didn’t think any of the challengers tonight, including Biden and Harris, could hold their own against Warren or Sanders.

        The constant assaults have toughened them up, and both of them were tough to begin with.

  105. Carey

    All I’m interested in after this “debate” are Gabbard’s and Biden’s
    supposed polling numbers. They’ll be telling, as far as any
    notions of legitimacy go.

  106. Cal2

    Kamala Harris has been talking acting lessons from Balinese stick dolls? What’s with the jerky hands? She looks like invisible strings are controlling her arms.

    1. Carey

      Harris tilts her head left and slightly forward when she want to seem soulful™ and sincere, as surely as the day is long.

      Not buying what she’s selling (and she *is* selling).

        1. dk


          That’s a great way to engage the gut sensitivity, works in any conflict situation. Body language and relative positioning speaks volumes. I do wish we were getting more long shots of the horde(s) on stage, see the ripples of reactions, the side-eyes, the resolute jaws.

        2. chuckw

          I noticed that too — she slumps, her chest sunken. As far as her voice is concerned, she often starts speaking with a strangely detached, far-away hollowness. When she gets going the shrillness takes over. I also think she throws in some ‘y’all’s to prove her African American bona fides, and I wonder if it plays so well with the intended audience.

  107. Elizabeth

    Fact of the matter is – Joe Biden was deplorable – he wants the TPP back and have $1,000 deductibles for health insurance – this debate was totally uninspiring. The only one I’d consider is Tulsi for her sane foreign policy. After the debate was over, I noticed CNN kept the spotlight on Uncle Joe – saying he’s the front runner. I’m getting the feeling this primary will be rigged – again.

    1. ambrit

      I’m getting the same ‘vibe.’
      However, as I have stated lately ad nauseam, I look to see Hillary being advanced to the nomination yet again as a “Unity Candidate.”
      As Lambert is fond of paraphrasing; the Democrat Party has forgotten nothing and learned nothing.

  108. JBird4049

    I could not make myself watch this charade because, while I rarely get angry enough to want to throw dishes, I do get seriously nauseous watching. Feeling like I need to truly vomit has happened. For those who were conscientious or insane enough to watch this “debate” I wish you all a full recovery.

    1. ambrit

      When the ‘enhanced’ pain killers wear off, I’ll get back to you. (Or some miserable and degraded portion of me will. I get horrible hangovers the next morning when I drink more than one alcoholic beverage in a night.)

      1. richard

        ambrit, take some of that airborne stuff before you go to bed, if it’s not too late
        no hangover tomorrow

  109. anon in so cal

    Apparently, while Tulsi Gabbard was challenging Kamala Harris on her record during the debate, Harris’ press secretary (Ian Sams) was tweeting smears against Tulsi Gabbard along the lines that she’s a Russia tool who loves Assad.

    1. ambrit

      I’m thinking that this is going to be the most evil political campaign in living memory.

      1. Carey

        Oh, yeah; and they’re just getting started..

        There are some bright spots though.

        Solidarity- imagine the possibilities

    2. Tom Doak

      Not just the press secretary. CNN’s post-debate coverage had Booker and then Harris. They spent a lot of time going after Booker for his record in Newark. And then they played Gabbard’s exchange with Harris, and let Harris dismiss Gabbard as someone with “what’s she got, zero or one percent” and attack her as an Assad apologist, free from the possibility of rebuttal. Anderson Cooper in particular was very buddy-buddy with Harris; they must go to the same parties.

      1. Carey

        Our Dems are going to:

        1) Stop *any* policy that might benefit most of the citizenry
        2) Reinstall Trump
        3) Blame the Left for #2.
        4) Up the authoritarianism to unimaginable levels
        5) Be woker-than-thou all the while

        Hope I’m wrong.

      2. Tom Doak

        Adding: CNN did have Gabbard on their post-debate show at around 12:30 EDT and let her answer Harris.
        Anderson Cooper must have asked her about Assad 20 times, but she held her ground that the real issue was her opposition to regime change wars, and that Trump’s policy in Syria is actually supporting Al Qaeda, which is a betrayal to everyone who has served since 9/11. At the end, when Cooper continued to press her on Assad being a torturer and murderer, she said she had no argument with that. If she’d said that four minutes sooner, we might have gotten to hear even more of her thoughts on policy.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          Mr Cooper could have asked the same question about a few of the US’s more recent presidents and got a yes too.

    3. Brindle

      MSNBC pundit already tweeting that Gabbard’s big showing on google search could be related to foreign (Russian ?) influence.

    4. scarn

      Hey anon, if you are down for an irl “pro Tulsi anti-imperialism, and comment’s on NC” meetup in socal, let me know. I’m in OC and would be down for coffee, tea, or beer and conversation about all sorts of stuff. Hit me up at anticapped @ protonmail dot com if you want. I’d DM but wordpress.

  110. richard

    Just adding some analysis of last night’s debate: J. Dore with a kind word for Warren, and why the hell was delaney getting so much screen time anyway?

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