Debate Night 2: Better Than Night 1, But a Little Too Nasty

Hey, maybe the 15-second rule and the constant interruptions from the CNN anchors weren’t as bad as I made them out to be yesterday. By staying tough on the time guidelines, the anchors made it clear to everyone that they needed to play by the rules, and tonight they mostly did. So maybe it was the right call.

Also, I thought the anchors were a little bit less harsh than they were last night. But I might just be imagining that.

Poor Joe Biden. You almost have to feel sorry for the guy. He just stood there taking incoming from every person on the stage. Unfortunately, I don’t think that was his real problem. His real problem is that he was noticeably hesitant and unsure on multiple occasions. Nobody had to make even a veiled reference to his age because it was obvious that he wasn’t at peak sharpness all the time. I suspect this is going to become more and more obvious as time goes by, and it will doom him.

Was Cory Booker the big winner? The CNN anchors seemed to think so, but I didn’t. He was hardly the target of any attacks—and did poorly on the one big attack he got from Biden—but nonetheless never really got a consistent vision across. At least, I didn’t think so.

Kamala Harris did OK, but I’m surprised she didn’t have better answers to attacks on her record as California attorney general. It’s not like she hasn’t had months to prepare for them.

All told, I found the whole thing sort of dispiriting because I hate to see Democrats engaged in such personal attacks. But that’s politics, I guess. In any case, I sure wish they could start winnowing down the field. If you can’t even manage to poll at 1 percent after two national debates, it’s not clear to me that anyone owes you any more TV time.

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