Wow, they booed Bernie Sanders. Hadn’t heard that before, but the Dems hadn’t debated anyplace as conservative as South Carolina. The majority in the hall were supporters of Joe Biden, feisty and breathing, but claiming 150 million Americans had been killed by guns since 2007. He meant 150,000. Earlier in the day he said he was running for the Senate. Sigh.
As last time, the candidates spent more time attacking each other than incumbent Donald J. Trump.
Unlike last time, there was no consensus loser. That was Mike Bloomberg last time, but he was better prepared this time — as when Elizabeth Warren again came after him on the subject of the non disclosure agreements.
Pete Buttigieg hammered Sanders, who fought back, as Amy Klobuchar claimed the middle lane while Tom Steyer played the really nice billionaire. He also paid more attention to race inequities than his signature subject, climate change.
Bloomberg made a couple of stabs at humor, which fell flatter than a New York manhole. He said he was surprised the others showed up because he beat them so badly in the last debate, har-de-har, and also referenced a “naked cowboy,” which is one of the colorful characters who “entertain” in Times Square. Few west of the Hudson got that.
Early on, Bloomie uncorked a line suggesting Sanders was a favored candidate of Vladimer Putin, which was a low blow, but Mayor Pete pressed Bernie on his praise of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Sanders’ praise of Castro’s literacy program sounds a little like Mussolini getting the trains to run on time. Literacy and health care in Cuba are outweighed by the murder and incarceration of opponents. Not to mention the equality of poverty.
Biden clobbered Sanders for his past opposition to the Brady bill, a position Bernie says he has changed while bragging of a D- rating from the NRA.
That was old stuff. What was new were questions about Israel. Would he move the U.S. embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, where Trump had moved it? Sanders said he would consider it, Warren ducked it, Bloomie said he’d leave it where it is.
Trying to prove his bona fides, Sanders said he lived in Israel for a few months (a really long time ago), but condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “reactionary racist.”
A pro-Israel commercial aired during a debate break, which condemned Sanders and painted him as a foe of Israel. There were at least two pro-Bloomberg commercials featuring many women employees singing his praises, blunting Warren’s second bite of the misogynist apple. I think that issue is dead.
On race, the great American subtext, Steyer reminded everyone he is in favor of reparations. Not to be out-pandered, Biden promised to appoint a black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court (cue Michelle Obama)?
In a gracious moment, during a discussion of the coronavirus, Amy gave the website of the Centers for Disease Control rather than her own for fundraising.