The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Bait

The first Democrat debate is notable for one thing—the candidates didn't take the bait. That is, they didn't attack one another, focused their outrage on the GOP opponents, treated front-runner Hillary Clinton with kid gloves, and overall, performed reasonably well.

This compared to the second GOP debate in which the many candidates tore into each other, spent far too much much time arguing, and made themselves look out of step by emphasizing social issues that are clearly not going to win presidential elections for them. They spent far too little time focusing on the many, many failures that can be directly attributed to Democratic administration over the past seven years.

Part of that came from the difference in CNN moderators and tone. Jake Tapper, the CNN moderator of the second GOP debate, encouraged personal attacks via the structure and content of his questions, and the GOP candidates took the bait. The result was a series of verbal attacks that did nothing to distinguish one from another and made them all look petty.  CNN's Anderson Cooper did a good job, asked reasonably tough questions, but was much less aggressive about encouraging attacks. He didn't follow-up in a way that would have probed the veracity of many of the outrageously inaccurate statements that were made, and never even mentioned critically important domestic issues like the debt, underemployment, the failure of Obamacare's promises, to name only a few of the many missteps that can be tied to this Democrat president and therefore, the Dems themselves.

To the debate itself.

As I predicted, the discussion was pretty much class warfare all the time. It was as if all of the candidates (with the exception of Jim Webb) were trying to outdo one another with how much they wanted to tax "the rich" and spend, spend, spend. Oops, sorry—the operative phrase is "invest, invest, invest."

Sure, there was limited discussion of the implosion of the Middle East, blamed entirely on George W. Bush. Not a bad word about Barack Obama, who, if you are to believe the silence of the five Dem candidates, has done a masterful foreign policy job—despite the disintegration of Iraq and Afghanistan, genocide in Syria, the Russian takeover of Syria, an expansionist China, Crimea, the Ukraine, failed states in North Africa, ISIS, Iran's ascendance as a hegemon, and mass Muslim migration to Europe spurred by the chaos. It's 100% Bush's fault—all of it!

Democrat Bernie Sanders, the bombastic class warfare candidate, railed against "billionaires" as if there were billions of them, suggesting disingenuously, that raising taxes on them would fund his many proposed government programs. To shore up the youth vote, college would be "free." To shore up the senior vote, social security would be expanded. To shore up the middle class vote, universal health care would be provided. To shore up the independent vote—its jobs, jobs, jobs.  All derived magically through socialist programs emanating from a big intrusive government.

Of course, no realistic details were provided on how this would be paid for, but never mind. CNN's Anderson Cooper conveniently forgot to ask Bernie the price tag for all of his expansive programs—you know, the programs that would cost the shrinking pool of American taxpayers an estimated $17 trillion over 10 years.

And Hillary Clinton? She did a good job—from a political perspective. She was smooth, in command, and relaxed. Too bad she's a serial liar and an opportunist who "doesn't take a position until she takes a [poll tested] position."

I'm sure Democrats are beaming. Their guys did well in the debate.  As Bernie Sanders correctly observed, if the Dems can get enough low information voters to take another kind of bait and turn out in November, 2016, the Dems just might have a winning strategy.

Only problem is that debates and election victories are not governance. The bait—divisive class warfare politics coupled with a Big Government giveaways—might be good for winning elections, but its toxic for the country.