The CNN moderators for the debate: Jake Tapper, anchor of “The Lead” and “State of the Union,” along with CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash, and Don Lemon, anchor of “CNN Tonight.”
CNN producers, or Jake Tapper, or some combination of joint stupidity decided that this debate should not be about candidates explaining their policy proposals to the American people, but rather trying to instigate personal attacks among the candidates by framing every question in the classic “He says your mother sits around the house, oh snap! Your response?”
For some reason, CNN designated self-funding millionaire former congressman John Delaney as CNN’s smirking secret weapon against socialist Democrat Bernie sanders and progressive champion Elizabeth Warren:
Former Maryland representative John Delaney barely registers in polling for the ongoing Democratic presidential primary contest. So he surely had to have been delighted when CNN debate co-moderator Jake Tapper invoked him in the first question of the night, which went to top-tier candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Sanders.
Let’s start the debate with the number-one issue for Democratic voters, health care. And Senator Sanders, let’s start with you. You support Medicare for all, which would eventually take private health insurance away from more than 150 million Americans, in exchange for government-sponsored health care for everyone.
Congressman Delaney just referred to it as bad policy. And previously, he has called the idea “political suicide that will just get President Trump re-elected.” What do you say to Congressman Delaney?
SANDERS: You’re wrong.
This is how it went all night, pitting one candidate against another, trying to create a WWF steel cage wrestling match for CNN’s entertainment. We need conflict! It’s fight night! We also need to promote that badly worn out meme “Dems divided” — well no shit Sherlock, you have 20 candidates all with their own variations on policy trying to convince voters that their vision makes them the best choice to be the Democratic nominee. Of course they are not all singing from the same hymnal.
And as several candidates accurately pointed out in their comments, CNN was using the framing of Republican talking points in their questions to the Democratic candidates. Mayor Pete Buttigieg expressed his frustration with CNN’s Republican framing the best:
BUTTIGIEG: It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say. Look, if —
If it’s true that if we embrace a far-left agenda they’re going to say we’re a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they’re going to do? They’re going to say we’re a bunch of crazy socialists.
So let’s just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it. That’s the policy I’m putting forward, not because I think it’s the right triangulation between Republicans here and Democrats there — because I think it’s the right answer for people like my mother-in-law who is here — whose life was saved by the ACA, but who is still far too vulnerable to the fact that the insurance industry does not care about her —
Left unsaid: “So fuck you, Tapper.”
The late night comics said it best about this CNN farce. CNN Pits Democrats Against Each Other (sample):
Trevor Noah criticized the CNN moderators for cutting off the candidates when they went over time and then trying to pit them against each other.
“Half of those questions might as well have been, ‘Pick three people on this stage: eff, marry, kill, go, go. Like, I felt like at any moment they were about to go, ‘By the way, Elizabeth, did you notice that Klobuchar totally stole your look? Just saying.’” — TREVOR NOAH
“It’s hard to sum up what happened tonight, but most of tonight was a bunch of guys with no chance to win the Democratic nomination yelling Republican talking points at the people who can. It was like watching the seven dwarves offering Snow White a poison apple.” — STEPHEN COLBERT“
I’m not sure the guy polling below 1 percent should be talking about math right now.” — STEPHEN COLBERT, on Delaney debating Sanders on health care
“After the first half of tonight’s debate, Google searches for former congressman John Delaney increased 3,400 percent, and still no results.” — SETH MEYERS
Note to CNN: Picking John Delaney as your “secret weapon” demonstrates how superficial you are. Delaney is not representative of the center-left Democrat in last night’s debate. That would be Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who has a proven track record of legislative success. One can make the argument for former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and and Montana Governor Steve Bullock as the centrist Democrats as well. So when you can’t even get the obvious right, don’t promote your analysts as the best and brightest political commentators on cable TV. I assure you that they are not, especially that insufferable Jake Tapper.
So will CNN do better tonight with the next round of 10 candidates? I ask this facetiously. Of course they will not. We need conflict! It’s fight night, baby! Bread and circuses for the masses.
UPDATE: Was CNN working with its rival Fox News aka Trump TV to set this up? Fox News Gushes Over ‘Super Smart’ John Delaney: ‘He Helped Us A Lot Tonight’:
Fox News reacted to the July 30 Democratic debate by praising former Congressman John Delaney, a centrist candidate. Before CNN ended its debate broadcast, Fox News began showing clips on Laura Ingraham’s program, The Ingraham Angle.
Ingraham called Delaney a “super smart guy” before playing a clip of his criticism of Medicare for All.
“That was a killer moment,” Ingraham insisted.“What in the heck is he doing on that stage with those people?” Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee agreed. “He’s not a Trump fan or anything like that but he’s clearly not in sync with the rest of the Democratic field or the rest of the Democratic Party.”
This morning, Delaney went running to the embracing arms of Trump TV. John Delaney Trashes Elizabeth Warren On Fox And Friends:
Former Rep. John Delaney has become the newest All-Star for Fox News.
Fox and Friends was Johnny on the spot to give him a platform this morning among Trump-loving viewers. And he did not disappoint the three-headed propaganda machine.
Fox News co-host Ainsley Earhardt commended Delaney for exposing Warren and said, “We all knew that kid in school that beat you when you were running for student body president who promised to put snack machines in all the classes.”
She continued, “You know that’s not going to happen, but the kids hear that, and they vote for that person.”
Earhardt’s view is, “Democratic voters are children that want to get free cookies at school” instead of “every Democrats want every American to have healthcare coverage that doesn’t bankrupt them.”
F&F played the video clip from the CNN debate that showed Elizabeth Warren castigating and crushing Delaney for his old school and uninspired responses.
“I genuinely do not understand why anyone would go to all the trouble of running for president just to get up on this stage and talk about what’s not possible,” Warren said to resounding applause.
Earhardt asked, “What’s your reaction to that?”
“I mean you’re running for president because you’re being honest with the American people. I don’t understand why people run and then they promise stuff and then it never happens?” she said.
Not to be too condescending, but her questions sounded like they came from a fifth-grader.
Delaney took aim at Warren and said, “Well, that’s the response when someone really can’t defend their plans.”
Delaney must be vying for a job as a Fox News “Fake” Democratic analyst after he gets ousted from the next set of debates.
As John Amato says:
I think he has that job about all sewn up.
Introducing the new Zell Miller.
Your 15 minutes are over, Dude. Fade away.