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Five Takeaways from Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate

by | Jan 18, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion Sen. Bernie Sanders and pro-abortion former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Pro-abortion Sen. Bernie Sanders and pro-abortion former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

I confess that I arrived late last night to the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (yes, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was there but he could just as easily been a potted plant). But this morning, watching more of the debate and then reading the transcript, I believe what took place is worth considering for a few minutes.

#1. As I listened to the former Secretary of State, I could not help thinking of what columnist and author Peggy Noonan said this week. Clinton’s voice is grating (to be charitable). Noonan wrote

Democrats who like her all say the same thing: She’s having trouble because she’s not really good at campaigning. That’s true as far as it goes. She is especially poor at the podium, where, when she wants to emphasize an applause line, her voice becomes loud, flat and harassing to the ear. She lately reminds me of the landlady yelling up the stairs that your kids left their bikes in the hall again. Literally that’s how it sounds: “And we won’t let them roll back the progress we’ve made. Your kids left their bikes in the hall.”

#2. It really does say something about something that a Democratic Socialist should be setting the bar for what constitutes being a “progressive.” Are they running for president of Sweden? Clinton sharpened her attack on Sen. Sanders, once again making the case that were she president, she could work better with Republicans. That is laugh-out loud funny.

#3. From the beginning, the most interesting question was how closely would she tie her fortunes to President Obama’s apron strings. Each debate makes the conclusion ever-more obvious: closer than [fill in the blank].

If you’re a Slate magazine columnist, you can’t be more happy. Not only did Clinton exhibit “principled leadership with a strong practical bent,” that “mixture,” according to Isaac Chotiner, “along with her strength in close-quarter combat and an ability to wrap herself in President Obama’s record—something that played well to the Charleston crowd in the auditorium—was what won her this debate.”

Yet if you’re a columnist for the Washington Post whose sympathies are equally with the Democrats, you write a column under the ominous headline, “Hillary Clinton just handed Republicans a devastating ad against her.” What did Chris Cizzilla mean?

That not so long ago Mrs. Clinton was assuring people that she was not running for anybody’s third term, neither President Obama’s nor her husband’s, President Bill Clinton.

“That phrasing was born of a desire to ward off Republican attacks on Clinton in a general election,” Cillizza wrote. “She — and her team — knew that, among critical independent voters, being regarded as simply an extension of Obama’s eight years in office is very problematic.”

You think? Then why is she “Hug[ging] President Obama — at all costs”? Simply because Sanders is on a roll both in Iowa and New Hampshire.

To Cillizza’s dismay, Clinton handed Republicans the most effective kind of ad material– “the ones featuring the candidate herself saying things that seem to contradict other things she’s said.” He concludes

Clinton handed that ad to Republicans on Sunday night. She might have had to do it — you can’t win the general election if you can’t get to the general election — but it comes with a major downside that Clinton will feel if she is the Democratic nominee this fall.

#4. Abortion was not mentioned…again. As we posted previously, pro-abortionists were not happy when President Obama avoided all mention in his final State of the Union address. But at least one Juana Summers offered a quasi-defense of the omission in last night’s debate. She used as an example

Asking the candidates about the Hyde Amendment, a law that prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions, would also likely expose a rift among the Democrats.

Among which “Democrats” would a discussion of the Hyde Amendment cause a rift? Sanders and Clinton? Of course not. It would among those many Democrats who simply disagree with their party, believing that tax dollars should not go to pay for abortions. Period. And…

#5. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate, told Fox News this morning, “If there’s anybody that has any doubt any longer that Hillary Clinton would be a third term of Barack Obama, they should have watched that debate last night.” I reiterate the linkage because so tightly tying her fortunes to President Obama’s is to be also associated in toto with ObamaCare, which considerable swathes of the electorate wish to change, if not dump altogether.

And as the world grows ever more dangerous under Obama’s watch, Mrs. Clinton, as an active participant and now whole-hearted defender of the president, will be called to account.

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