Sunday, October 18, 2015

Watching Them Squabble

Another melange of political opinions:

Even with considerably fewer candidates, the first Democratic primary debate was not without its high points. The winner --by decision, not TKO-- was Sec. Clinton, who looked poised and comfortable throughout. Sen. Bernie Sanders was a good sparring partner, but his limited stance on the issues was his one big fallback; he seemed naive about foreign policy (especially on the Putin question) but positively nailed questions about the economy. Martin O'Malley pulled punches, Lincoln Chafee completely tanked (see the Patriot Act question), and I almost forgot Jim Webb was there. In situations like this less is more, and the 2016 Democratic nomination is now without dispute a two-horse race.

On the other side, the GOP primary race is both benefiting and being hindered by a lack of a Mitt Romney-like presence. I'm not talking about the man himself per se, but the one perceived "safe" candidate that consistently finishes second in the polls when another candidate surges. You may recall all the front-runners that soared and ultimately crashed and burned in 2011-12, leaving Romney as the party's choice; his opponents were favored by those who thought Mitt was too safe or too moderate. You would think that honor would go to Jeb Bush, but after an early lead he has gradually slipped away in the polls; it's getting harder to imagine him surpassing Donald Trump or Dr. Ben Carson, as deeply flawed as both candidates are.


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