Yesterday, Joe Biden announced that he would not seek the Presidency, effectively ceding the field to Hillary Clinton. I had planned to write up my thoughts on each of the contenders, but we’ve already lost two Republicans and two Democrats. What’s worse is they were some of the better candidates out there. I should write up my thoughts on Chafee before it’s too late.
Webb and Biden were my two favorite Democrats, although that’s not saying much. Webb I liked because he is, in many ways, more of a Republican than a Democrat. Biden was the best of the real Dems, to me, because he seemed likable and not corrupt, even if he’s been wrong on most of the issues other than his support for Amtrak. But let’s be honest: I would almost certainly never have voted for him.
What excited me about a Biden candidacy, beyond an indecent schadenfreude in seeing her discomfited, was the thought that if he were to get in, it would have to mean that he knew something was coming down for her. Something bad. Something disqualifying.
I figured that Biden jumping in, against his better judgement, would have meant that he knew Clinton would be indicted for her crimes and that the Democrats would need some suave Trans Am enthusiast to save them from Sanders and his legions of Wobblies. Now that Biden’s out, the same thought process makes me fear that he knows the fix is in, which leaves him with no shot.
There’s still a chance that President Obama’s Justice Department will indict a former member of his cabinet, but that chance is a little smaller today.
The story of the night at the Democrats’ Las Vegas Debate was that Hillary 6.0 was ClintonCo’s most bug-free release since 2009. She made no obvious errors, and her anger subroutine was almost as good as real live angry man Bernie Sanders. Her logic programming was still flawed, as shown in the discussion of whether she was progressive or moderate, but flawed logic may be a feature, not a bug, with the Democratic electorate. All in all, though, I think she calmed the Democratic Establishment’s nerves, and may have helped to stave off the Draft Biden movement. There will be more stumbles–Hillary is still a deeply flawed candidate–but this competent performance may stop the slide, for now.
Sanders’s performance was also strong. He came off at times as a crazy, partially deaf old man, and at one point he definitely wasn’t paying attention, but he, too, made no obvious errors. Sanders projected his weird vision of bourgeois socialism as effectively as his followers could have hoped, and recovered from his earlier struggles with black Democrats by showing that he had been adequately reeducated in the new dogma (which he likely believed all along, but lacked the adequate buzz words to convey).
As to the rest: O’Malley sleepwalked through most of the debate, but showed some flashes of fire at the end when discussing green energy, an issue no one cares about. Webb spent half his time complaining that he wasn’t given enough time, and the other half demonstrating that there’s no place for men like him in the Democratic party. I’d love to see him on stage at the next Republican debate. And Chafee. Even though he’s had months to prepare, his answers sounded like what you’d hear if you broke into his house in the middle of the night, woke him up, shined a flashlight in his eyes, and demanded he explain his PATRIOT Act vote. I don’t think he or Lessig have much of a shot, but I know who would’ve added more serious content to the debate.
On a lighter note, here are some of the best debate tweets of the night:
Dodging the question:
The PATRIOT Act:
And my favorite, on legalizing marijuana: