I watched the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders last night on PBS/CNN. You can too (complete video below), but you probably don’t want to. I understand. Nevertheless, one is reminded of things that matter by the exercise.
The Democratic Party is united in staking its future on fundamental falsehoods, from race and crime and sex (discrimination) and illegal immigration and the position of the United States abroad. Watching Clinton and Sanders speak to these matters in tandem is almost shocking. We are in the realm of all-embracing lies.
Despite her manifest limitations as a candidate for elective office, last night Hillary Clinton appeared formidable. She had Sanders on the defensive most of the evening. She has hitched her wagon to President Obama. Sanders presented as a sort of a leftist hippie throwback decrying the malign influence of Henry Kissinger on Hillary Clinton. One almost expected him to share his memories of Woodstock in the summer of ’69. Of all the things on anyone’s worry list in 2016, I think it is safe to say that the influence of Henry Kissinger on Hillary Clinton must rank somewhere near the bottom. Sid “Vicious” Blumenthal would be another story, but Sanders isn’t going anywhere near it.
Clinton is abetted by a friendly press. Last night the friendly press was represented by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff of Democrat State Television. They asked not a single question about the scandals lapping around Clinton’s feet. Woodruff is even a contributor to the Clinton Foundation. Republicans live in an alternative universe, alright.
Although Clinton and Sanders seek to continue and deepen the legacy of Obama, and although we are in year eight of the Age of Obama, in the United States life is hell. Charles Krauthammer captures the weirdness in his weekly column today with respect to Sanders: “Bernie Sanders is careful never to blame Obama directly, but his description of the America Obama leaves behind is devastating — a wasteland of stagnant wages, rising inequality, a sinking middle class, young people crushed by debt, the American Dream dying. Take away the Brooklyn accent and the Larry David mannerisms and you would have thought you were listening to a Republican candidate. After all, who’s been in charge for the last seven years?”
John Podhoretz puts it this way: “The two candidates for the Democratic nomination spent most of two hours arguing over who was the better diagnostician of the moral diseases, ideological calamities, spiritual infirmities, racial injustices and downright evils that are being visited upon the suffering 320 million who have found themselves through no fault of their own trapped between two oceans in a dystopian oligarchic hell they call America.”
Clinton makes a point of Sanders’s purported disrespect of President Obama, but Clinton decries Obama’s reign of terror over illegal immigrants allegedly threatened by law enforcement and deportation. As with Sanders, Obama remains unmentioned. He is an innocent bystander. And illegal immigrants are referred to as “undocumented.” It’s the “law.” Indeed, it’s one “law” with respect to which Democrats believe in merciless enforcement.
Clinton now seeks to ground Sanders’s lightning with cold calculation. She is staking her campaign on core Democratic constituencies including blacks, Hispanics, and big labor. I think it is past time for Republicans to aim their fire in her direction. Like the prospect of being hanged in a fortnight, the prospect of Hillary Clinton should concentrate the mind wonderfully.
UPDATE: I see that NR’s Brendan Bordelon has a good counterpoint to my take on the debate.