The second Democratic debate has, for all intents and purposes, been swallowed whole by events unfolding in Paris.
Nevertheless, there is much that can be gleaned from what was a substantive discussion among grown-ups, quite unlike the vaudeville performed on Republican debate stages.
I thought Martin O’Malley stepped forward rather effectively this time.
It is interesting that, as was the case with the first Democratic debate, the conventional media seems to be awarding the ‘win’ to Hillary Clinton, mostly because she already has a substantial lead in the conventional polls and didn’t commit a huge blunder on stage. They place Bernie Sanders second and O’Malley a distant third.
Quite to the contrary, it appears that alternative media and online polls give it to Bernie by a landslide, followed not shabbily by O’Malley, with Hillary the distant third.
Being a creature of the blogosphere, it probably isn’t surprising that I agree with the latter analysis.
What this disconnect tells us about the state of Democratic politics follows at least the leitmotif of their Republican counterpart. Democrats are a party divided.
Advancing deregulation and globalization have consolidated conventional media under so few corporate owners that they could all be counted off on a single hand; and Citizens United has sealed the deal on corporate ownership of the public platform.
Corporatist media will of course look more favorably on the conventional candidate who represents their own interest and investment; and this bias will carry through, more or less unconsciously, in the ‘talent’ they hire and the analysis they trust.
It is the way of the world.
The fact that there is an ‘alternative media’ to test this presumptive arrangement is such a recent scenario that there has been little opportunity for the corporatist interests to secure the paddock gates.
Make no mistake about it; if the whole battle over ‘Net Neutrality’ ends badly for us, it will result in full message coordination, based on corporate interests alone.
2016 could be our last opportunity to see a truly independent candidate like Bernie on the debate stage, whose widespread appeal can still be easily tracked online, despite the fact that he vigorously spurns participation in his campaign by big money PACs.
Did you ever think you’d hear, on the stage of a major party debate, discussions of socialism, free college tuition, healthcare as a human right, penal reform, a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens, legalizing marijuana and raising taxes on the rich?
Did you ever think the spouse of Bill Clinton would go so far as to style herself a ‘progressive?’
All these things are possible thanks to the populist support for Bernie Sanders, which you only know about thanks to the current situation of net neutrality.
I’ve gone on much longer than I had intended to before getting to what I thought was one of the most important take-aways from the evening.
With the Paris attacks not even fully in the rear view mirror, CBS was eager to shape the debate into a showdown over who would be toughest on ISIS.
After an awkward start, Bernie pivoted to the domestic platform which he earnestly commands; he refused to be distracted from his messaging mission. He knows how little time he has to energize his base for the revolution that is so badly needed.
Nevertheless, when he returned later to talk of ISIS and war in general, ably assisted by Martin O’Malley, he reminded Sec. Clinton and the audience of what exactly had precipitated the state of eternal terrorism in which we now find ourselves. Recognizing the folly that lay ahead, he voted against the Iraq invasion, whereas Hillary voted for it.
They both had the same information to rely upon, yet it was Hillary alone of the candidates, who followed Bush into a never-ending war.
While Hillary touted her experience with warfare in the past, both he and O’Malley pointed out that what is required in the face of twenty-first century terrorism is not a cumbersome and hugely overfunded machine of twentieth-century warfare, but a nimble and freshly conceived approach addressing the asymmetric threat all around us.
The U.S. military is something like three times the size of all the rest of the world’s military combined! Deploying conventional military assets to fight such an unconventional enemy amounts to using a steamroller to squash a swarm of flies around a sleeping dog. They’ll just scoot out of the way and its the hapless dog who will take the brunt…or, in the case of Syria, the innocent civilian population.
You probably won’t read a lot about that conversation in the conventional media because they are only concerned with whether or not Hillary did any damage to what they regard as her ironclad lock on the nomination.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.