CLINTON AND SANDERS HEAT UP ODD DEBATE

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Last night’s Presidential primary debate to help determine who will represent the Party of No Guts this November was packaged less like a debate and more like a survey of how yet another oddly-scheduled event will compete with Americans’ other pressing downtime priorities like enjoying the MLK holiday weekend or watching the Critics’ Choice Awards. Since this odd scheduling contunues to happen, you’re left wondering if the PoNGs national committee is attempting to help one or more of the candidates through obscurity.

It also seemed to me that Presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, received the largest share of questions from debate moderators Lester Holt and Andrea Mitchell, which interrogated Sanders’ policy positions. In contrast, the most difficult questions tossed to Secretary Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ opponent, had more to do with her former boss, President Barack Obama.

To complete the backdrop for this political show, the debate was held in South Carolina — a state where President Obama has a 90 percent approval rating — and was hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus. Therefore, you could quickly predict that a political chameleon like Clinton was going to energetically name drop Obama as if she were asked to invoke the power of deities during a Santeria ceremony.

By the way, I laughed when I heard CBC was involved with this debate. See this and this for background …

While I saw no big changes in this debate from the previous ones — okay, except for Sanders “clarifying” his gun control and healthcare reform thoughts — I also think the differences between Clinton and Sanders more clear than ever.

Secretary Clinton has positioned herself as an establishment candidate who wants to convince you that her Washington insider experience will drive the kind of pragmatic change America needs.

Sanders, on the other hand, says The Establishment’s integrity has been broken by the money of oligarchs, and that nothing short of a “political revolution” will drive change.

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Clinton would counter with “Did you see how the Party of No Brains created a hostile political environment for President Obama when he proposed even the smallest change since 2009? Suggesting anything more radical would be foolhardy.”

To which Sanders may say “It’s even more foolish to think the oligarchs who run Washington today would be willing to compromise on the profits they make through Washington’s subsidies and absent regulatory oversight.”

Don’t call my next statement a political endorsement but while I understand both points points of view, I think Sanders makes more sense here.

I’ll even go further and say that another Clinton White House term will show us why big money and politics are as toxic as Draino and chlorine.

The Insider vs Policy Revolution points of view became obvious when the topic of Obamacare (a.k.a., Affordable Care Act) came up for discussion.

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I don’t like ACA. For many reasons. It tries to reign in provider payouts while ignoring household costs. This is resulted in many families spending more on health insurance, including some retirees who have been pushed off their employee health plans and into more expensive exchanges.

Uh — thanks for that, President Obama.

Clinton had nothing but praise for Obamacare last night (ha, surprise).

Health insurance companies are intermediaries between you and your doctors, which makes the insurance premiums you pay a broker’s fee of sorts.

Clinton wants to keep the brokers in place while Sanders wants to get rid of them to radically drive down the costs of the system.

In other words, Sanders wants a bigger version of Medicare while Clinton — citing an uphill battle for radical change — wishes for a permutation of the status quo.

Clinton once again praised Obama’s leadership when she referred to the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill as one of the most significant pieces of financial services legislation since Glass-Steagall. Dodd-Frank that leaves in place the socially dangerous Too Big to Fail paradigm, reckless Wall Street gambling as well as provisions to bail out the banks with taxpayer money in case of another financial meltdown.

Thanks again, President Obama.

Mind you, the Dodd-Frank praise comes from a candidate who has no interest in reinstating Glass-Steagall or any other measure which would once again separate investment and commercial banks.

It’s no secret that the Clinton family has a close relationship with bankers. Sanders reminded the South Carolina audience as much last night.

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Clinton attempted to deflect that family history by telling us where the real financial danger lies – the shadow banking industry.

(Laughing) Apparently, we’ve been looking in the wrong place all this time!

I was initially surprised that Clinton can still sell that shadow banking bit without candidates Sanders or Governor Bill O’Malley calling her on that BS. I’ll save my detailed comments for a future post …

The debate moderators put pressure on Sanders by asking for more specificity regarding his health care plan — and I agree with those lines of questioning — but I saw no equivalent pressure on Clinton to explain how her policy thinking led to the current disasters we see in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

Of course such an explanation would have forced Clinton to throw Obama under the bus — something she could never do in a city whhere her former boss has a 90 percent approval rating.

Which makes me wonder again: why didn’t Holt and Mitchell press Clinton on Libya, Syria and Iraq?

I told you it was an odd night …

song currently stuck in my head: “miss movement” – chico hamilton quintet

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