After months of fierce disagreements, sharp attacks and pointed rebuttals, the first half of the fifth Democratic debate on Wednesday was the most agreeable one yet. And it was not just Mr. Booker talking love.
For all of the hints before the debate about attacks on Mr. Buttigieg and Ms. Warren, most candidates delivered their lines, even their direct confrontations, wrapped in velvet — that is, when they weren’t just rattling off long segments from their stump speeches or taking whacks at Mr. Trump.
When Mr. Biden said that he would not, as president, direct his Justice Department to investigate a former President Trump, Mr. Sanders came in — to agree.
“I think Joe is right,” Mr. Sanders said.
Mr. Booker, whose campaign is in the most risk of missing the next debate of those onstage, did confront Ms. Warren over her wealth tax. But he did so quite politely. He said it was “cumbersome.”
After Mr. Steyer was asked if he was the “embodiment” of a special interest because of the hundreds of millions of dollars he spent, he was not attacked by those onstage who have run by railing against billionaires. He was defended by Mr. Yang.
“I just want to stick up for Tom,” Mr. Yang said, adding. “You can’t knock someone for having money and spending it in the right way.
Mr. Steyer seemed as surprised as he was pleased. “Thanks, Andrew,” he replied.
The fiercest clash in the first hour came far from the center of the stage, between Ms. Gabbard and Ms. Harris, who accused the Hawaii congresswoman of having “buddied up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump” and going on Fox News to attack Democrats.
Ms. Gabbard replied, “What Senator Harris is doing is continuing to traffic in lies, smears and innuendo.”
Soon, though, it was back to civility…..
Biden just gave a long answer that focused on civility. This is the great difference between Biden and the party’s activist wing, which doesn’t like him. Biden really believes that politics will be improved if partisans are less angry. He thinks American politics can be less divisive. Many liberals think that there is no way to compromise with Republicans and that the problem in American politics is the GOP, not a lack of civility or divisiveness.
Yeah, Nate, I agree that Biden has exceeded expectations so far. But this is kind of like saying in May that Mike Trout is on pace for 95 home runs. Biden often tails off toward the end of debates, so let’s reserve judgment for now….
Klobuchar talked about how voters might sometimes be inclined to vote for the person who is telegenic or charismatic over the person who would do the best job. That is in part a symptom of the very, very open primary system we have in America. In most other countries, people inside the party choose who the party leaders will be, and studies show that that results in better representation of women and more of a focus on experience and loyalty to party. Ironically, when Klobuchar mentioned Pelosi as a woman who beats Trump every day, she mentioned a leader who is chosen by party insiders (House members) and not the broader public.
Yeah, Sarah, I don’t know about Booker. But Klobuchar is about halfway to an honest-to-goodness Iowa bump (she’s at about 5-6 percent in the polls there now). So I think tonight could certainly get her into double digits if she gets good coverage coming out of tonight….