Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sanders Takes Hillary Down By a 'TKO' In 3rd Dem Debate

Sanders and Clinton sparred often on Saturday night, most notably on US intervention in Syria and on raising taxes for the middle class.
Bernie and Hillary battle it out in last night's 3rd Democratic Debate

Who in the hell was the genius that thought of scheduling the 3rd Democratic Debate for a Saturday night, to compete with a prime time football game and Xmas shopping? Well, it appears it was the illustrious DNC head Debbie Wasserman -Schultz likely at the behest of Hillary. Why would this be done? The answer was delivered by a guest on the MSNBC 'UP' show yesterday morning: Hillary realized that her error back in 2007 was in allowing too many debates with Obama which gave him too much exposure. Also, the more numerous debates back then created more opportunities for her to foul up as she did once on immigration. Thus better to keep 'em few and far between so only a limited number of voters get to know Bernie Sanders - her primary opponent.

Having said that , wifey and I tuned in to see the debate on ABC before watching the NFL football game on NFL channel. We were glad the "stolen  files" kerfuffle was rapidly disposed of especially after Bernie was gracious enough to offer his apology for what a misguided staffer did (looking at Clinton's voter files that had accidentally come into the Sanders' campaign's domain)

The debate itself was vigorous on the issues. We saw the two frontrunners clash more fiercely than usual on policy issues that will define the primary battle in the states.

“Now this is getting fun,” Sanders said, as he claimed the former secretary of state was “disagreeing with the vast majority of progressive Democrats in the House and Senate” by ruling out tax increases. (Indeed she had bruited about tax cuts which I already pointed out, e.g.

And in the debate shot back:

I don’t think a middle-class tax should be part of anybody’s plan right now,”

Immediately clarifying the significant ideological differences facing Democratic voters. Those who love 'bait and switch', i.e. pols cutting taxes at the front end then cutting Social Security at the back, and real Democrats who adhere to FDR's and JFK's visions. 

Of course, what she didn't say is that without middle class tax increases there likely will not be enough financial ballast to prevent later Social Security and Medicare cuts - especially after the just passed orgy of $680 b in special interest tax cuts that are actually permanent!

Speaking for myself,  the starkest difference came in the security segment with the respective assessments of the appropriate role for US forces in the Middle East, where Clinton said the US should lead efforts to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad alongside the fight against Islamic State militants.

Of course, this is nuts, because the Russians will not let this happen. Not as a first step nor will they tolerate the "no fly" zone she believes she can implement.  The correct course, as Bernie said and as I have noted before, is to destroy the ISIS bugs first then work on getting Assad out - preferably via a democratic process and not force.

As Bernie said, we "cannot be the policeman of the world".

He added, more assertively after shying away from foreign policy in previous debates:

Secretary Clinton and I have a fundamental disagreement: I am not quite the fan of regime change that I think she is,”.

He then brilliantly  linked Clinton’s support for the overthrow of leaders in Iraq and Libya to a history of failed US intervention overseas.  And btw, this is documented history which no one with two eyes and a working brain can deny. The fact is that the original rambunctious invasion of Iraq with no evidence to support WMD, led to the later resurgence of al Qaeda and then ISIS - after the secular regime of Saddam was destroyed.

As even Martin O'Malley observed:

"Our constitution says nothing about removing dictators from power in other nations".

On this Middle East issue in particular (but on taxes too) I gave Bernie a 'TKO' over Hillary. I also predict he will best her in the New Hampshire primary.

We will see.

But my main takeaway from this event, in concert with the others, is that the lackadaisical DNC leadership in scheduling so few debates - this the first in 5 weeks - is allowing the Republicans to suck all the oxygen from the national political atmosphere.

This cannot bode well for Dems and I hope it eventually sinks into Debbie Wasserman Schultz's cranium.

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