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Author Topic: Democrat vs. Republican Debates
AI Wessex
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Anyone care to comment on the qualitative aspects of the different parties' debate style and substance, and differences between them?

Pros and cons, but please try to avoid simple name-calling.

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cherrypoptart
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I'd rather observe the different treatment of the parties by the media, how one group was asked questions that overwhelmingly lead them to confrontation with one another while the other group had their questions steered toward positions so instead of breaking each other down they could focus on the issues. So it was less about the different parties' debate styles and more about the media's different debate styles they forced on the different parties.

I'll let everyone guess which group the media steered toward the issues and which group was treated worse than Michael Vick's dogs.

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cherrypoptart
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Having said that, obviously the Democrats had the higher quality and substantive debate because the quality of the questions they were asked was superior. Kudos to Anderson Cooper for that. His execution was much superior to anything we saw at the Republican debates and the performance of the Democrat candidates was elevated as a result.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
Having said that, obviously the Democrats had the higher quality and substantive debate because the quality of the questions they were asked was superior. Kudos to Anderson Cooper for that. His execution was much superior to anything we saw at the Republican debates and the performance of the Democrat candidates was elevated as a result.

"Kudos"
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Pyrtolin
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Cooper did put a stick on the table at one point and Sanders actively declined to pick it up, even calling Cooper out for trying to bring it into play. Chaffee tried to take a swing, but came off pretty incoherent.
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scifibum
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The closer question was designed to elicit juicy soundbites, so there's that to console you, cherry.
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D.W.
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I missed the Democratic debate.

I think the reason for the discrepancy is obvious though. The whole narrative for quite some time now is the family feud that is the Republican party. It's news because both factions of Republicans are interested in which side will come out ahead. The Democrats are equally fascinated at the outcome of what is seen as an inevitable skirmish.

Does anyone see a candidate coming out of the Republican primaries where Tea Party and Mainstream Republicans (if that's a fair description still) both agree represents them? It's like we are all waiting for the first bracket to finish before figuring out who goes on to the finals.

"The Story" is that the Democratic party is not fractured. It's more of who is most fit to lead the party than a battle of ideals. While that's terribly simplified or naïve, it is the narrative we've been fed for a long time now.

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AI Wessex
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Trump and Carson have written a letter saying the won't participate in the next debate unless their (shared) demands are met that the debate last no more than two hours and the candidates are allowed to give a statement at the start. That sounds like the Democrat's format, and I think they have good points.
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Pyrtolin
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I'd be interested to see if they're also willing to actively decline invitations to fight each other similar to the way Sanders did. As much as the moderators may have offered them the opportunity to go after each other, it only matter because that's what they had been doing and because they took the bait and did it.
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Fenring
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D.W., I don't think I agree with your assessment that the Republicans are fractured while the Democrats are more or less on the same page. I think this is the narrative the media wants us to believe, but it's not true.

Behind almost every Republican candidate (which you divided into regular conservatives and Tea Party people) looms the silent presence of the Neocon war-hawks, and the only Rep candidates whose allegiance in this respect I'm not sure of are Paul and Trump. The rest of them can pretend to be different on irrelevant issues but at the end of the day they'll all be much the same, answering to the same people.

In the case of the 'allied' Democrats, though, we have two leading candidates in Hillary and Bernie, and they couldn't be further apart in belief and allegiance. Hillary is most likely just another secret war-hawk at truce with the Neocons - in other words, complete status quo. Bernie, as far as we can tell, is against everything she is for. Any semblance of the Democratic candidates believing in the same things would be a deception, if anything.

I was secretly hoping for a Sanders-Paul election, but since I don't think that can happen I'd be satisfied with a Sanders-Trump election. That would be different enough from status quo to offer some possibility of change.

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AI Wessex
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Carson announced that he is "suspending" his campaign until October 28, the day of the next debate. The reason is that he will be on a national book tour hawking “A More Perfect Union”. So far, he's stayed under the radar and not been attacked for his outrageous comments about different things. It will be interesting to see if that makes him a target at that debate.
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Fenring
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On a separate note, I'd like to point out how the Republican nominees were quite happy to disagree with each other wildly about what to do with the country, whereas the Democratic candidates appeared to be clamoring to pretend they all believe in the same things, including:

-We want to fix wealth inequality
-We want paid family leave
-We want to reduce foreign aggression (Hillary notably didn't make this claim)
-We want to create jobs

A lot of what the Dem candidates said was therefore vacuous, since some of it was tying to co-opt Bernie while other points were trying to co-opt Hillary. The three candidates other than Bernie and Hillary came off as weak and having no real ideas of their own. Hillary, to my sense, came off as smug and self-satisfied, while Bernie was standard Bernie for anyone who knows him from before.

The debate had a more collegial tone than the Republican debates, but this may possibly be attributed purely to the presence of Trump in the latter.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
A lot of what the Dem candidates said was therefore vacuous
So, when the GOP candidates climb all over each other to be tougher than anyone else on the same issues, that's good diverse opinions, but when Democrats do something you think is similar, that's vacuous? I don't know what that statement even means.
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Greg Davidson
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I hope that in two of these debates they ask the same question to Democrats and Republicans, and then we could compare their answers.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
A lot of what the Dem candidates said was therefore vacuous
So, when the GOP candidates climb all over each other to be tougher than anyone else on the same issues, that's good diverse opinions, but when Democrats do something you think is similar, that's vacuous? I don't know what that statement even means.
It's vacuous purely because Chafee is a joke, O'Malley hasn't found a good brand for himself, and Webb can't honestly say what he thinks about things without the Democrat audience booing him. He's barely a Democrat by the party's standards. And so various of them pretend that their platform includes the stuff Bernie is talking about, while even Clinton has backpedaled and in some cases blatantly lied about having as her agenda taking on Wall Street. Which is funny, because her donors are primarily Wall Street and pharmaceuticals. But in any case Clinton has agendas all of her own and despite trying to pretend she agrees with Bernie on a few populist issues she is her own candidate. But the other three really are not and so yes, I think this makes the Dem debate different from the Republican debate.

For better or for worse the Republicans disagreed on various issues, and although at times it was a race to the bottom in being war-hawks and anti-immigration, they at the very least didn't seem to be hell-bent on pretending to be like each other except for all apparently venerating 'the great' Ronald Reagan.

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D.W.
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quote:
D.W., I don't think I agree with your assessment that the Republicans are fractured while the Democrats are more or less on the same page. I think this is the narrative the media wants us to believe, but it's not true.
That was the point I was trying to make.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
quote:
D.W., I don't think I agree with your assessment that the Republicans are fractured while the Democrats are more or less on the same page. I think this is the narrative the media wants us to believe, but it's not true.
That was the point I was trying to make.
I just read your post again; man, I read it badly the first time, sorry about that. I guess we agree then.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
For better or for worse the Republicans disagreed on various issues, and although at times it was a race to the bottom in being war-hawks and anti-immigration, they at the very least didn't seem to be hell-bent on pretending to be like each other except for all apparently venerating 'the great' Ronald Reagan.
So they race to the bottom, but at least they're not vacuous [Wink] .
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
For better or for worse the Republicans disagreed on various issues, and although at times it was a race to the bottom in being war-hawks and anti-immigration, they at the very least didn't seem to be hell-bent on pretending to be like each other except for all apparently venerating 'the great' Ronald Reagan.
So they race to the bottom, but at least they're not vacuous [Wink] .
Your partisan affiliation is noted.
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AI Wessex
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My partisan affiliation or yours? I see the Republicans climbing all over each other to be more extreme, but the Democrats challenging each other to be pragmatic. I still can't get past you calling them having similar policy objectives with different solution approaches vacuous. If that is not partisan, it is at least not terribly objective.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
My partisan affiliation or yours? I see the Republicans climbing all over each other to be more extreme, but the Democrats challenging each other to be pragmatic. I still can't get past you calling them having similar policy objectives with different solution approaches vacuous. If that is not partisan, it is at least not terribly objective.

I was contesting a media narrative being put forward (and apparently was only echoing was D.W. said) and your response was a random dig against the Republicans. If you took my comment as a dig against the Democrats then you may want to 'check your affiliation.'
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AI Wessex
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We do this dance a fair amount, I reckon. I was taking issue with your contrasting meaningful debate among the Republicans who have differences in opinion with those of the smaller collection of Democrats, whose differences you label as "vacuous**". That's an insipid characterization that is both dismissive and denigrating. I'll be generous and say you didn't mean what you said, but you did say it.

Vacuous:
1. without contents; empty the vacuous air.
2. lacking in ideas or intelligence: a vacuous mind.
3. expressing or characterized by a lack of ideas or intelligence; inane; stupid: a vacuous book.
4. purposeless; idle: a vacuous way of life.

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Fenring
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But you think that because I called statements from three of the Dem candidates vacuous that I am partisan. You replied by insulting all of the Republicans as a whole. My stated point was that the Republicans were substantively different from each other in certain respects and didn't have to pretend to co-opt each other's positions. Three of the Dems did just that, and Hillary did to an extent in regards to Wall Street.

But if you think by this that I somehow favor the Republican candidates over the Dem ones then you need to read more carefully (something I've suggested before already). You make all kinds of assumptions that are based on your biases and not on the text.

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AI Wessex
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You stand by the depiction of "vacuous", even after I showed you the definition?
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jasonr
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quote:
That's an insipid characterization that is both dismissive and denigrating.
I tried to watch a little of the debate and could barely go 10 minutes. It was vacuous.

But to be fair, I'm sure the Republican debate was no better.

These debates are nauseating spectacles.

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The Drake
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I find it hard to classify the debate participants as vacuous. Simply read the transcript, you'll find logical arguments, facts, and refernce to past action.

On guns, for example, Sanders discusses his history on gun control and where he would draw the line. Clinton differentiates and shows how her record is different from how Sanders voted. O'Malley goes a little more emotional, but does stake himself out closer to Hillary's position. Interestingly, Sanders keeps calling out his experience governing a "rural state" which may be a tactic to win New Hampshire? The neighboring Governor could have an edge.

Webb is a lot less substantial particularly in this stretch. He seems to be straddling the issue trying to be on both sides, but goes hard on the need for people to be able to defend their families from violence. This is a little stronger than the usual Democrat out of respecting hunting, and Anderson did start by pointing out that the NRA considers Webb a friend by his voting record.

Chafee has a hard road by coming last in this question. It is difficult not to sound like everyone else when the spectrum has been established. The oddest move he makes is to say that he's going to bring the gun lobby in and find common ground.

I think that there's a difference between an absence of ideas, and ideas that are not appealing.

There's a lot of interesting stuff in there, including the fact that Chaffee was the only Republican to vote against the Iraq war.

I do find it easier to read transcripts of the debates than to watch them. I think I'm conditioned differently when viewing video material. I'm used to being more entertained than thoughtful in that medium.

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AI Wessex
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Honestly, I can't watch the debates. It's like watching Saturday Night Live as Republicans would do it.
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Fenring
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Speaking of which, did anyone watch the SNL parody of the Dem debate? The script was inevitably the usual garbage, but I enjoyed the first few moments of Larry David's Bernie. But one line from the debate resonated when the fake Anderson Cooper finished introducing the first three candidates and then said "Now that we've met those people let's bring out the real candidates." The joke is that in the debate the three candidates in question acted like they already knew this was true. Or maybe it was them reacting to the audience who knew it was true.
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AI Wessex
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Rachel Maddow will moderate the next Democratic debate, which might actually make it fun to watch. Webb and Chafee apparently won't be on stage. There's a rumor that Webb may decide to run as an independent, which would probably boost his poll numbers by several orders of magnitude, perhaps from 00.1% all the way up to 00000000.1%.

Biden will announce soon. I'm betting that he will decide not to run, but if he does run he will drain support from Sanders more than Clinton. That's not because he will steal Bernie's thunder on specific issues, but because ultimately the Democrats *want* a conventional candidate. It would become a contest based on a difference without a distinction.

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AI Wessex
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Chafee is now out. There can be only 3.
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AI Wessex
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Anyone want to rank the GOPers? I'm trying not to pay attention to the polls, but instead to what the candidates say and do (both figurative, because most of what they say and do is posturing).

1. Trump -- He's actually turned out to be the Democrats secret weapon and the GOP establishment's worst nightmare: a Republican candidate who makes up his own mind (however nasty) about things.

2. Carson -- He plays into the very worst subliminal hate harbored by a surprisingly large number of people on the right. Just today he told Dana Loesch that if he is elected he will clamp down on Liberal speech on college campuses. Yep, you heard me right.

3. Rubio -- Such a nice boy. He can't mean the absurd things he says.

4. Cruz -- Utterly insane, but what every Republican secretly wishes for: a rabid conservative. Such things aren't supposed to exist in the real world, but if you remember or read about Goldwater, sometimes they escape the reservation and make it onto the stage.

5. Fiorina -- um, never mind.

6. Bush -- Yes, at no better than #6. Under water, dumping campaign workers and docking the pay of the rest by 40%. He's met his match and that enemy is himself. Can't answer questions he didn't prep for that are more complicated than which is his favorite super hero (He says Supergirl, because she's hot). He's got nothing and nothing to show for all he's spent to put it on display.

7. There is no 7, 8, 9....

Dare you disagree?

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Wayward Son
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With only three debaters left, I say they should let the Republican Jr. Leaguers join in, if only to liven things up. [Smile]
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LetterRip
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Lessig is still in the Democratic race. If he can get his name in the polls for the newspapers (they have systematically left him out of most polls) he should be able to participate in the next debate.
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