Jim Webb’s Departure Silences Democrat Debate

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) (photo credit: John Pemble via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

The mulling is done. Jim Webb is out of the running for the presidency as a Democrat and positioned to run as an independent if he so chooses. He has jumped the Democrat ship, one I wished he’d stayed aboard if only to engage the debate about the party’s hard turn toward socialism. Once the media boomlet surrounding Webb’s defection has passed (wait for it…okay, now), it will be left to the Republicans, who are having their own issues controlling the helm of their party, to point out the fiscal, national security and social icebergs dead ahead should Dems prevail in 2016.

After all, Jim Webb was one of their own crew and his mixed but principled opposition to where the Democrats are headed would have made for interesting debate and, perhaps, even a fair hearing among the media. But the Republicans will get no such deference and, thanks to Webb, will be once again easily caricatured as the party of ’NO’ for wanting to take away all of the freebies the Dems are promising.

The truth is, both parties have an identity crisis, though Webb’s early departure signals the Democrats have pretty much decided on some form of Bernie-ism even That Great Centrist Hillary Clinton can’t avoid. The Republicans, though, still have the fall to sort out whether they prefer Boehner/McConnell business-as-usual over their rank-and-file’s desire for conservatism as promised. At least they will have a debate about it as evidenced by the large number of candidates still standing on both sides of that divide. Continue Reading

Biden Says He Will Not Run!

Vice President Joe Biden (photo credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Biden just refused to jump in. Jim Webb just dropped out. It looks like Bernie Sanders is the only alternative to Hillary Clinton. This is good news for the GOP, I think.

Hillary is the ultimate insider in the ultimate year of voter rebellion against insiders.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Hillary Won the First Dem Debate Because the Others Are Even More Terrible Candidates

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The consensus of the talking heads is that Hillary Clinton was the clear winner in last night’s Democratic debate. But some focus groups and online polls suggested that Bernie Sanders held his own. Clearly, she did better last night than she has so far in her controversy-mired campaign.

There were some sharp exchanges, but none of the other candidates managed to damage her. In one sense, Clinton prevailed because her opponents were so weak.

For example, conservative commentator Erick Erickson observed, “I’m still amazed the other four candidates made Hillary Clinton come off as the likable, reasonable, responsible Democrat.”

National Journal’s Ron Fournier wrote that Hillary Clinton won “because she’s a strong debater. She won because Bernie Sanders is not.”

Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker summed it up well: “Hillary Clinton won because all of her opponents are terrible.”

What They Discussed

Bernie Sanders used valuable airtime last night to defend socialism, saying that “countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway” were models we should emulate.

He and other candidates offered a wish list of new spending plans — while we are still running $500 billion deficits — and I don’t recall Anderson Cooper asking any of them, “How are you going to pay for it?” (According to one analysis, Sanders is proposing about $18 trillion in new spending over ten years.)

They bemoaned the state of the economy, stagnant wages and the struggles of middle class families — all valid concerns. Continue Reading