Even within the suffocating confines of the Democratic machine, last night's debate was practically Lincoln-Douglas compared to the recent Republican circuses. And I give high marks to moderator Anderson Cooper, who was somehow able to resist asking the candidates who they'd like to see on the $10 bill.
The mass media are, of course, making gleeful hay out of Clinton's attack on Bernie's gun control record. Er... make that gun "safety" record. The Democrats no longer talk about actually controlling guns, because that might hurt the feelings of responsible, liberal gun owners. The emphasis is now upon restricting gun sales to the happiest, most mentally healthy well-adjusted people out there, those who carefully keep their Sig Sauers locked up in designer cabinets rather than leaving their shotguns propped upon against the wall of a red state trailer for the kids to get hold of and shoot each other over puppies.
For whatever reason, Bernie did not go on the counterattack. He did not, for example, point out that Hillary Clinton sold $20 billion worth of lethal weapons to Saudi Arabia while she was Secretary of State, and that Saudi royals then turned around and donated nearly $1 million to the Clinton Foundation. He didn't point out that Saudi Arabia is using these weapons to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians as well as continuing to behead dissidents and stone women to death in their own country.
As Bernie himself unfortunately admitted, he is no "pacifist." He would continue Obama's drone policy of rendering Muslims into bug-splat. And even though he was the sole Senator to vote against the Patriot Act, he still believes that patriot Ed Snowden should face criminal charges. He did not refute Hillary's specious claim that Snowden would have found justice by going through Congressional channels instead of giving evidence of government spying to the media.
So since Bernie can't or won't, let's talk more about Hillary Clinton's horrible record on guns and all manner of high tech weaponry. David Sirota should have been invited to help moderate the debate, because he conducted a thorough analysis of her record just last spring, when she was busily riding in her Scooby van and shmoozing the scripted neoliberal love to "everyday Americans":
The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.
In other words, the Clintons are major arms dealers who, in a reality-based world, would be given an A+ rating by the NRA -- on top of their A+ ratings from Wall Street war profiteers and defense contractors.Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.
But this is an insane world presented to us as fair and balanced and mentally healthy by corporate media hacks whose jobs depend upon the successful alteration of our reality. According to the New York Times, Hillary "turned up the heat" on Bernie so much that they might as well have reported that his hair caught fire and he had to flee the Vegas kitchen. According to the Huffington Post, she crushed him into bug-splat with the merest flick of her pinkie finger. (OK, so he later recovered sufficiently to feebly wave a surviving tentacle in her general direction.) The Washington Post proclaimed that Hillary towered like an Amazon over the sniveling guys flanking her on the stage. She was "fluid, steady and calm" to Bernie Sanders' maniacal shouting into a microphone, sniffed Dana Milbank.
I haven't yet read all the reviews, but so far, a puff piece by former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni is the one that really takes the cake. From his current perch atop the op-ed page, he gushed in his typical one-sentence paragraphs:
Wait. It gets worse:I never doubted that Hillary Clinton had many talents.
I just didn’t know that seamstress was among them.There were moments in the first Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night when she threaded the needle as delicately and perfectly as a politician could.
He seemed bowed, irascible. She seemed buoyant, effervescent. It was as poised a performance as she’s finessed in a long time, and while I’ve just about given up making predictions about this confounding election — I never thought Donald Trump would last so long, and I never saw Ben Carson coming — I think Clinton benefited more from Tuesday’s stage than Sanders did.How is one bowed (crushed) and irascible (feisty) at the same time? I have just about given up on making any sense out of Frank Bruni. But wait. It gets even worser:
And she benefited from the visual contrast when she stood side by side on TV next to Sanders, with his slight hunch, his somewhat garbled style of speech, and a moment when he cupped his hand behind his ear, signaling that he hadn’t heard the question.
Bernie apparently does not speak in the pristine Bruniesque one-sentence paragraphs that make up the ideal word salad. But speaking of sorceresses, who are, I suppose, good witches as opposed to hags (Hillary at least puts the bubble back into toil and trouble), here is my published response to Brunhilda:He evoked yesterday. Despite many decades in the political trenches, she didn’t. It was a nifty trick. Turns out she’s a bit of a sorceress as well.
Come on now. Did anybody really expect the paper of record and a centrist columnist to declare Bernie Sanders the winner of this debate? The corporate media, Frank Bruni included, have been bending over backward to avoid even mentioning the guy's name. They seem not to have a clue about the mood in this country.
The resounding campaign theme way out here in the sticks is "It's the Corruption, Stupid!" Not about who is the most polished debater with the best hair and makeup, the most nuanced wonky talking points, the straightest posture, and the most discreet hearing aid.
Yes, Hillary Clinton performed very well at the Democratic debate. She has had 26 of them in which to hone her skills -- unlike in this season, when the Democratic leadership is so rattled at the prospect of ABH (Anybody But Hillary) that they drastically limited them to six (the rest coming on weekends and holiday seasons.) So I bet Debbie Wasserman Schultz is kicking herself, seeing as how Hillary had a relatively easy time of it last night.
And I can only imagine how thrilled Hillary must be that Frank Bruni's idea of a rave review is to call her a talented seamstress. Can a description of a female politician get any more chauvinistically 19th century than that? Not only does Bruni need a Miracle Ear to cure his tone-deafness, a transfer to the Style Section might be in order as well.
And by the way -- the USA turning into Denmark on steroids sounds like an excellent plan to me.