Ever heard the phrase “dance of the lemons”? It’s a term invented to describe the rather distasteful annual spectacle within public education wherein failed unionized teachers who cannot be fired by a public school system are merely shuffled from one bad school to another each summer.
In a different context, that phrase could also be applied to the collection of retreads, failures, and kooks assembled on stage in a Las Vegas casino ballroom Tuesday night in front of the CNN cameras for the first Democrat debate. The privileged, tenured, and thoroughly talentless politicians on display by that party gave us a two-and-a-half-hour demonstration of just how hollowed-out the Democrats are after seven years of Barack Obama, and made a prophet of Donald Trump who suggested most of America wouldn’t last more than 10 minutes in watching them.
We endured it so you didn’t have to. And here are seven moments illustrating just how awful it was.
1. HILLARY: “I didn’t take a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.” Yes, she actually said that, and the context of the statement didn’t help her. It came in answer to a question about her serial flip-floppery over the course of her career, and it was preceded by a declaration that everybody on the stage had changed their positions once or twice.
She then dropped the Keystone dodge-as-principle bomb, in the knowledge that Democrat primary voters are, generally speaking, the people the Nigerians seek out to victimize in e-mail scams. Were they not, the sheer audacity of making a virtue out of a long-standing display of political cowardice before buckling to Tom Steyer would be too much for them.
2. SANDERS: The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails! Anyone who thinks Bernie Sanders is somehow a threat to get elected president ought to have had that conceit dispelled when Sanders committed political seppuku by allowing himself to be used as a shill for the frontrunner. Even before he said it he admitted it was stupid politics to defend her, and then proceeded to do the stupid thing.
Earth to Tovarisch Bernie: when your enemy is bleeding out, don’t supply a tourniquet.
Everyone knows that the Hillary e-mail scandal isn’t over, that it’s a drip-drip-drip destruction of her campaign and that it’s as likely as not to end in her indictment. Even Democrats, who don’t seem to think she’s very honest or trustworthy, are worried the e-mail scandal is a cancer on her prospective presidency.
So what does he do? He validates her, in the midst of a debate where she spends 2½ hours painting herself ideologically as Bernie Sanders with a vagina. Here’s a lightweight without a whole lot of skill and even less chance at the nomination. Republicans ought to pray he’s the only one left standing when she finally implodes.
3. HILLARY: I’m not a political insider, on account of my indoor plumbing. By now it’s pretty obvious that Miz Clinton has doubled down on the Michael Pfleger narrative about what she’s owed, but she’s no longer entitled to the presidency because of her last name and said so in the debate.
Instead, it’s about the fact she’s female, something she said repeatedly — including actually declaring that she can’t be considered an “insider” because of it.
Democrats don’t seem to find this pathetic.
4. SANDERS: The planet won’t be habitable in a generation unless you give up your Chevy Tahoe. Tovarisch Bernie was hardly alone with the global warming alarmism, but he was bound and determined to own the issue and make himself the biggest, juiciest watermelon (green on the outside, red on the inside) on that stage. He actually parroted Obama’s line about how global warming is the greatest national security threat to this country.
We know that global warming talk really touches the erogenous zones of Democrat voters, but to the rest of us it certainly seems like the party is out of touch with an America that frankly couldn’t care less about that issue. For Sanders, of course, and for his mini-me Martin O’Malley, who spent the debate attempting to convince the voters that he’s as big a pinko commie as Sanders is and proved it as governor of Maryland, global warming isn’t about global warming — it’s about the power to punish the productive classes. Neither were very subtle on that score, though you have to substitute “billionaires” or “the one percent” for the bourgeoisie.
5. HILLARY: Edward Snowden ought to get prosecuted for letting sensitive information fall into enemy hands. Yeah, about that…
Oh, never mind. That cruel irony will surface soon enough.
6. SANDERS: I think Vladimir Putin already regrets taking Crimea, and it’s a matter of time before he’ll regret his Syria policy and come to us for help. The criminal stupidity of Tovarisch Bernie’s foreign policy statements haven’t quite gotten the attention they deserve thanks to the even more criminal stupidity of his economic program, but the foreign policy stuff is actually more entertaining.
It’s one thing to demur when it comes to American leadership, and it’s one thing to refuse to get American troops involved in foreign conflicts at all costs. Those are defensible, if not in all cases. But to cloak those positions in overt wishful thinking sans a shred of evidence is another thing altogether.
Even Tovarisch Bernie’s supporters have to take his psychoanalysis of Putin as a mark of his presidential deficiency. Then again, none of them could care less. He offers free stuff and punishment of people who make more money, and that is enough.
7. O’MALLEY: “I think Assad’s invasion of Syria will be seen as a blunder.” A strong statement there. The fact that Assad is actually the president of Syria probably isn’t the most convenient fact available to the man who played a large part in making Baltimore the city it is today.
Sure, O’Malley was attempting to mimic Sanders’ critiques of Putin and gaffed, but that was only the most prominent of his dumb statements on the night. Of the three minor candidates on stage (Jim Webb is clearly in the wrong party and Lincoln Chafee might be the worst presidential candidate in the television age), the former Maryland governor was the one with a faint hope of gaining some traction; he killed that notion tonight. O’Malley’s answer for questions about the fate of Baltimore was essentially that there are lots of terrible people there, and touted his gun control agenda for its properties in holding down one of the nation’s worst murder rates.
It’s tempting to say Joe Biden was the winner of this debate, and that’s true if you assume Hillary will be indicted before the Democrat convention. But until Biden gets in the race, Hillary is the clear favorite for her party’s nomination.
That’s not a validation of her political talent. There isn’t much. It’s an indictment of just how unmitigatedly awful the field around her is.