Some lesser-known pundits are not falling in line, it now appears
[Sanders’s] most newsworthy moment, of course, came when he declined Cooper’s invitation to attack Clinton for using a private email server. “[L]et me say something that may not be great politics,” he said. “But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”
Sanders was wrong: It was great politics. His statement made him look like a mensch and a man of principle, ensuring that the debate remained a surprisingly substantive exchange on the issues he cares about most, rather a GOP-style pro-wrestling match. He actually seemed less interested in taking down the front-runner than in elevating his own ideas. That’s hugely rare in a politician.
— Yes, Hillary Clinton Won the Debate …But Bernie Sanders set the terms, Michelle Goldberg, Slate, today
As with this matter, the punditry’s reaction to the above moment last night was, um, different than mine. After spending most of the first hour of the debate disappointed in Sanders’s performance—he seemed very, very nervous, and occasionally almost tongue-tied—I reacted to that comment by him with a “Wow! Yeah! He’s found his sea legs!”
My question today is: Why is this interpreted by the political analysts as a big victory moment for Clinton rather than for Sanders? Is this how most of the viewing public saw it?
I’m betting that answer is that they saw it as I did. And as this one journalist, Michelle Goldberg, saw it. As a victory for the Democratic Party. And a triumphant moment for Sanders.
I think it was win, win win. It was a win for Hillary because it was a rival saying what she has been saying all along. It was a win for Sanders because it distanced him from the typical politician who will say anything to get a leg up even if it is utter nonsense. It was plainly a win for the Democrats because it helped make sure the debate stayed among serious adults and did not veer into the clown show of the first two GOP debates. I think everybody was a little nervous except Hillary and remember not only does she have the experience of the 2008 campaign and her Senate campaign to fall back on she was also a practicing lawyer. For the life of me I do not know why she does not give a better stump speech or one on one interview. I thought Sanders did okay although he tended to repeat his stump speech lines a little too often. O’Malley got better as the process wore on. I thought his best line was in summation arguing that progressive ideas are winning because people under 30 do not think that everything which gets the GOP base riled up is even an issue. I do not think he is right, but it was good finish. Chafee should hang it up and Webb should be in the GOP debates. Maybe he and Kasich could split the GOP into the sane ones and the mouth breathers with the hope that future contests will be between the center right and center left rather than extreme right and center/center right. Overall, I thought Hillary had a very good night, Sanders had his biggest audience yet and is plainly influencing the discussion in the Democratic nomination process but did not make the case that he is electable or could get anything done if he did get elected, and O’Malley positioned himself as a possible vice presidential candidate or cabinet appointee if he gets a little more political following.
The top people all did well. The weakest point for Bernie was on gun control upfront. But he got his legs and this remark was great. People saw he has real solidity and principles.
The unpleasant sneaky thing that was pulled on him much worse than the interpretations of this part was Anderson Cooper’s bit about him honeymooning in the Soviet Union, which he did not directly reply to. But as has been pointed out on Daily Kos, the trip was part of a city to city exchange with Yaroslavl when he was Mayor of Burlington in 1988, and simply came after his wedding then, with both he and his wife calling this their “honeymoon” rather sarcastically. It certainly was not some pro-Soviet (or communist) ideological statement. Nasty bit there by Cooper.
BTW, Bernie should have called out Hillary more for her current hawkish positions, although some of this came out in her statement of who her enemies are near the end (“Iranians,” really?)
Wow. Barkley, I didn’t know that the Soviet Union honeymoon was because it was part of an exchange with a sister city to Burlington. I’d never heard about the Soviet Union honeymoon until a few days ago. I can’t remember where I read it,, but the article sure didn’t given the background info that you just gave.
I mean … like … WOW. I’m pretty tired of these mainstream Dem-leaning journalists constantly trying to sink Sanders’ candidacy.
And, btw, I did NOT think Cooper did a bang-up job. I think he skewed the first hour of the debate toward Clinton.
I agree with most of what you say, Terrry, although do think O’Malley was right in that comment you mention.
I did not listen to the debate.
However, Clinton saying Iran is an enemy is like trying to be John Ellis Bush and get a chance to hold the corrupt king’s hand.
Iran is only an enemy to the Sunni royals who have been after Shiites and now deserve Iran’s nuking.
Why (with the Iraq vote on ’03) I withhold support for Clinton.
US is left holding the Sunni’s bags in the Middle East, which is neither morally or strategically a plan
Beverly, I would like to believe O’Malley’s comments are right and I think they likely are on LGBT issues, but I saw too many people who voted for George McGovern and Jimmy Carter become card carrying Republicans and outside the college ranks, there are an awful lot of young white men with a lot of hate in them toward people of color, women, and anyone including the government who even suggests how they might want to live their lives .In other words Republicans.
I apologiize for repeating the honeymoon story elsewhere, but this really was bad. I agree that Cooper did some tilting to Hillary at points, although he did ask her some tough questions. I do not think he did all that great of a job, and this honeymoon bit on Bernie was awful.