The unique perspective and provocative opinions of Joe O’Neill
observers—and more than a few participants—would likely agree that the
Democratic presidential “debates” have been a grandstanding mess so far.
Entirely too many candidates, most of them long shots looking for their
center-stage, viral moment. Part of the problem is the criteria to
determine who makes the cut. The bar for the first two rounds–65,000 donors OR
hit 1 percent in three polls–was practically subterranean. The ante will be
upped for the September gatherings in Houston. Candidates will need 130,000
donors AND at least 2 percent in four polls. That’s still too low a bar if you
really want “debates”—and not high-stakes reality TV.
rate.” We’re hearing that insider term more often now,
because it applies to candidates’ credibility and staying power. It means how
much a campaign has spent relative to its fund-raising. It’s an
issue for anyone not named Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, Sanders and Warren.
of you candidates need to focus on Trump. Some of you others need to go home
and run for the Senate!”—That was Eugene Robinson of the Washington
Post, speaking for a lot of us.
we’re nowhere near “post-racial” America, and political campaigns still
racially strategize away. Here’s some interesting context, thanks to Steve
Phillips, the founder of Democracy in Color. In every presidential election
for the last 50 years, a majority of white voters have voted against the
Democrat, and the overwhelming majority of people of color have sided with the
are gonna think that I’m trolling but compared to what else is up on this
stage, I think Marianne Williamson is actually winning this thing.” That
was the debate take of Donald Trump Jr. Have to wonder what he would
have said had he been trolling.
don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president
of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t
fight for.”—Sen.Elizabeth Warren.
Mathews, the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” was roundly
criticized for how he conducted a post-debate, drive-by interview with Elizabeth
Warren. He talked over her and was called out for a sexist approach.
I would disagree. That wasn’t Mathews being sexist in his off-putting interview
with Warren. That was Mathews being Mathews—obnoxious in how he handles too
are more worried about winning an argument than winning an election.”—Sen.
isn’t about just speaking to the obvious, that our president is a racist, it
has to be about how are you connected to the struggle of our communities.”—Sen.
yada” candidacy: How, well, ironic that Marianne Williamson, the self-promoting,
self-help guru, is the one proposing racial reparations of $500 billion.
never been good at synthesizing his thoughts into 30-second or 60-second
answers. He was just as awkward in ’88.” That was the perspective of Ed
Rendell, Former DNC chairman and former governor of Pennsylvania, on Joe
Biden’s “debate” showings.
this candidate-winnowing process shakes out, a line that will resonate–in the
2020 election or across presidential-campaign history–is Joe Biden’s “My
time is up” in the first debate. And it won’t be remembered for Biden’s
sole adherence to time-limit protocol.
ran on ‘yes we can,’ and you’re not going to win on ‘no you can’t.’” That was David
Axelrod, the key strategist behind Barack Obama’s political ascent to the
presidency, referencing those candidates who have been critical of certain
Obama Administration policies.