Friday, February 12, 2016

A Clarifying Encounter - Hillary v. Bernie //Josh Marshall // Talking Points Memo

No soundbite can resolve the strategic divide between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders; between an overarching left message of economic equality, and a broader, more pragmatic, and therefore less inspiring message.  The two candidates are rivals but not enemies.  I urge progressives not to indulge in character assassination or hagiography.  But instead to ask the questions: How to hold on to the Presidency?  Retake the Senate? Hold gains and move forward despite the GOP hold on the House of Representatives (perhaps Senate) - and a strong position in State Houses and State Legislatures? Josh Marshall's discussion of last night's debate frames the divide well. - gwc
A Clarifying Encounter
by Josh Marshall // Talking Points Memo

I cannot help noting the quality of this debate itself - how it was organized, the moderators, the quality of the questions. It was a throwback, but a good one. I do not think it was an accident that this one was organized by PBS or that they managed to bring it to a punctual conclusion. After all, this wasn't a ratings or a ad sales driver for them.

On the candidates, I thought the debate began very well for Clinton and quite shaky for Sanders. He got a very basic question about the size of government, one he would certainly get in a general election and one which I do not think he should shy away from. But he wouldn't touch it. Clinton was as strong and specific as he was hesitating and resistant to addressing specifics.

As the debate went on though I thought it became more of an even match. I cannot help but say that it surprises me that Sanders is as quick on his feet as he's managed to get in these debates. That may sound a bit condescending. After all Sanders is in his seventies and he's been in politics for decades. But there's nothing quite like the intensity of big national presidential debates. I don't care how long you've been a politician or how many local or even state debates you've been in. There's nothing like it. And virtually no one is a natural.


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