The first Democratic debate aired on CNN tonight; it was held at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Sin city is a perfect setting for professional politicians to gather and entertain the masses. I watched the debate online at CNN.com.
The debate started with a pre-recorded visit from President Obama who said, that he is asking us (as Americans) not just to work hard, as was done during his campaign, but we need to work harder. Work harder, for what? Work harder to legitimize the illusion of choice? What a corny message. I think it is the politicians that need to work harder to prove they deserve to earn a vote.
Then came a commercial break….or a visit from the sponsors of the big show, if you will.
1–Lockheed Martin –Why would Lockheed Martin need a commercial during the democratic debate? It is not like US citizens can go to the Lockheed Martin store and buy an F35A fighter plane. Makes me think that it is a legal payoff for continued business that the dems (and repubs for that matter) give this company. Oh ya, and the F35A has been the most expensive project ever for the department of defense.
2–NYSE–Same question as above…Why does the NYSE need a commercial?
3–Kyocera– I wonder why this Japanese company would choose this platform? They do have a new line of solar panels that would help combat climate change. Maybe they might get a couple government contracts.
4–Federated income funds– I’m sure most of the people watching are looking for privately managed equity accounts!
5–Great Big Story Teaser– No idea what this is.
6–CNN Go–Okay, I get this one. I was actually watching the debate on CNN Go.
7–Anthony Bourdain–Who doesn’t like Anthony Bourdain!
And now the debate starts! Opening Move… who is this Jim Web guy? I like him right off of the bat. His intro was heartfelt and he seemed genuine. Then O’Malley jumps in and presents his cutting edge standard talking points. Nothing new with this guy. Bernie is next, he has a lot of key points. I like his stance on campaign finance reform, and overcrowded jails. Hillary follows him with her issues. Her opening move is that she wants to help children, raise minimum wage, help the middle class, fix the inequality divide, and be the first woman president (the latter being a consistent theme). Nothing notable from Lincoln Chafee.
The first volley between contestants, er I mean candidates was fairly generic. It was reported, or should I say, the public was reminded earlier in the day that Anderson Cooper has connections to a foundation ran by Hillary and Bill to help them raise money for a “Global Initiative”. So, there were a few softball questions that I believe were meant to be perceived as hardball to counter any questions about him being biased.
Then the candidates get into Gun Control. Bernie and Jim do very well in my opinion discussing this topic carefully and honestly. Bernie goes on to say that in rural areas, such as Vermont, gun control is thought of differently than in urban areas and those opinions need to be taken into consideration. Hillary starts her “common sense” gun reform talking points without skipping a beat, she had this part of the speech very well prepared. She says that gun companies need to be held accountable for who they sell to. In other words, if a gun store legally sells a gun or ammo to a guy or gal who uses that in an illegal way, the gun store should be held accountable. She goes on to say that everyone has to be accountable. Gee, really Mrs. Clinton? What about the drug companies with their vaccines? How come it is illegal to hold them directly accountable? What about the financial companies? Not only are they not held accountable, they are bailed out. Please do not choose who should and who should not be held accountable to best suit your interests. Another argument that comes up is, I hear the gun lobby is in control. The NRA and the gun lobbyists are to blame for not getting so called (newspeak) “Common sense gun laws” enacted. Well, do you know who the gun lobby represent? Mostly, citizens of the USA. The gun companies are relatively small beans in comparison to other lobbies like the defense industry, lets say. Lets take Smith and Wesson and Ruger for instance. Both of these companies are the 2 largest publicly traded firearms companies. Their market cap is roughly$1B dollars each You look at a company like Lockheed Martin who has a market cap of roughly $65B dollars, then you can ask yourself, who has the more powerful lobby? Why are Hillary and others so quick to demonize gun owners as criminals on one hand, then talk about bombing countries or killing people in other countries while laughing on the other hand? Jim Webb brings up a good point that basically asks the question…why do millionaires and politicians get armed guards and yet the U.S. citizens gun rights are being widdled away?
After roughly 3o minutes of gun control speak, it was time to move on to international affairs. Hillary wants to stand up to Putin, not sure what she’ll do, specifically, but the generic soundbite is cute. Bernie is for no war, bring the troops home, which I like. Lincoln Chafee said he didn’t vote for the war in Iraq, which is good, then later stumbles in regards to his yea vote for Glass-Steagall, which he excuses by saying it was his first vote in the Senate and that he had a couple of other personal problems he was going though at the time. Some economists would argue that the repeal of Glass-Steagall was the bedrock for the 2007 crisis. By allowing commercial banks and investment banks to once again become one, it allowed the banks to speculate with more money, thereby over leveraging their already risky positions. Jim Web says that he is the best suited to deal with international affairs due to his service in the military and his stint in the defense department which included Secretary of the Navy and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. All that and his family had a service record in the military. Jim, his dad and son all served. Actions speak louder than words, and typically, people who have seen the horror of a combat zone are less likely to jump quickly into war.
Then, a word from our sponsors…Lockheed Martin, Samsung, Geico, Best Buy, Chick-Fil-A, NYSE and Chase. Interesting how the same names keep popping up, huh?
Then the issue of Hillary’s email scandal came up. You know, when she was Secretary of state and during an already questionable US Embassy in Libya debacle that led to a US Ambassadors death, she kept her work emails on a personal server. Bernie Sanders gets some applause from the crowd when he says “American people are sick of the emails”. I’m not sick of them Bernie. I think that the emails are very important. It goes into who she is as a person. It brings to the forefront the decisions she has made while she occupies an office.
After a few more rounds of back and forth, it became apparent it was the Bernie and Hillary show. O’Malley would jump in and disagree with Hillary every now and again, even if only to let her have more time because her name was mentioned. It felt like O’Malley was already vying for a Veep nomination in a Clinton adminstration. Lincoln either had a bad night, or isn’t suited to be president. Jim seemed to be a real guy, with some good ideas.
Illegal immigration was the next item up for bid. Hillary promised that she would do more for illegals (pandering to their vote). O’Malley wants to do more for illegals and said that people who didn’t were either xenophobes or immigrant haters. I don’t know about that, but, I think that if you want healthcare and education in the United States, you also need to be a citizen. Before any tax payer benefits are bestowed, one needs to learn about the culture that is held very dear by most living in the U.S. as citizens. There are very valid reasons why countries maintain a border. U.S. citizens get treated like criminals when they go to the airports, and yet the borders are mostly open. Does this make sense? If we are so worried about terrorists as to clamp down on law abiding citizens, why are we not at least equally concerned about our porous border?
Lighting Round… One of the last questions by Anderson to the pack. “How will you be different from Obama”
O’Malley–Control the banks better.
Clinton–I’m a woman.
Bernie–Wall st., Drug Company, policies will be different, political revolution.
Webb–Change executive authority, work with people.
And that concludes the show! Everyone please leave the ballroom, good luck at the casino, and don’t forget to bribe, er I mean, tip your politician!