I think I mentioned it’s Star Wars Week.  So the MadDoc and I had to watch The Last Jedi last night to be fresh for Rise of Skywalker today.  I’ll probably have a full on Star Wars movie ranking after I see Episode IX today, but that’s for another post.

All that means that I didn’t get to watch the debate live, as I normally do.  Instead, I decided to do it backwards and read about the debate the morning after then watch on DVR this morning.  [watches debate and post debate commentary] . So here are my thoughts, followed by a ranking of how I think the candidates did.

As I’ve done all of these debates, I’ve taken to noting the answers that I thought were especially good.  It’s good to go back and look at who had how many good answers.  I also noted a couple of awkward or bad answers.  Interesting that I noted the most good answers from Yang – four.  I had Warren with three, Biden and Klobuchar with two each and Pete with one.  I also thought Bernie had two awkward answers.  I thought most of the closing statements were standard stump type things.  Warren had the best closing statement with how she personalized it.

The questions on foreign policy (China and Afghanistan) were really good.  A lot of good answers from all of the candidates in there.  The last section about a gift or forgiveness was stupid.  It was interesting that the women asked forgiveness and the men gave gifts.  Still, we could have done without that section.  The answers to the questions on immigration were pretty boring, since there’s really not a lot of daylight between the candidates in this area.  In the section on the economy, all of the candidates were ready to point out that the Dow Jones is not the only way to determine whether the economy is strong.

The headlines include the attacks on Pete from Warren and Klobuchar.  Pete was prepared with his counters, so he wasn’t devastated.  But he’s on weaker ground on this issue, so Warren got the better of him.  Plus #winecavepete.  For my money, Klobuchar clearly won her back and forth with Pete on the question of electability and experience.

Healthcare wasn’t much of an issue, but it was interesting to me how Joe described his healthcare plan.  He said that people could sign up for Medicare if they want it.  This seems like another move in the direction of the Democratic position toward Pete’s plan.

On the education question, I think Warren and Sanders have a better view of the idea of making college free.  The universality question works for primary education and they’re just advocating to extend that to 4 year public college.  The problem is I think Warren and Sanders get bogged down along the way and aren’t really explaining that as well as they could.  The problem on the other end is when Pete or one of the moderates talks about making sure the rich pay for college, they’re coming at it from the idea of the current structure for public colleges.  Warren and Sanders are talking about creating a different model.

Now the ranking:

  1. Andrew Yang – The thing with Yang is that his answers are good, but don’t sound like they’re from a politician.  He’s funny and smart.  He had the most of what I considered were good answers.  He did a good job.
  2. Amy Klobuchar – I think the extra time with only seven candidates really helped Klobuchar.  She made good points, didn’t seem nervous and had a great overall debate.  I’m not sure this moves the needle for her, but I’m probably moving her up in my rankings based on this performance.
  3. Joe Biden – The important thing for Joe is that he gave solid answers, didn’t fall back into rambling Joe.  His answers were good and kept it up throughout the entire three hours.  He’s still not going to be my preference for candidate, but I can get more strongly behind this Joe if he ends up with the nomination.
  4. Elizabeth Warren – Warren is still my choice and I thought she had a good debate.  It’s interesting on the after debate interviews on CNN how they seem to push her harder than Pete on the same questions.  Just an observation.  I’ll be interested to see if she gains or loses in comparison to Klobuchar and Pete after their fireworks.
  5. Pete Buttigieg – Pete did a solid job in answering his questions, especially when it gets to foreign policy.  He was a little on the defensive and basically lost his fights to the women on stage.
  6. Bernie Sanders – Bernie had a couple of awkward moments and was just Bernie being Bernie the rest of the time.  His best moment was when he came out in support of Palestinians.
  7. Tom Steyer – He just didn’t make an impact.  I appreciate that he is now the climate change candidate, but he doesn’t have anything new to say.  I can’t help but think that he would be making a bigger impact if his money was still in the impeachment area.