Columnists, political pundits and editorial writers throughout the country will spend the week reviewing and analyzing each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the good and bad one-liners that came out in the debate.
There are a number of things that I think most pundits will miss that are important take a ways which should be examined.
Only one pundit caught what I thought was an important observation. That was when he noted that, Senator Webb was very knowledgeable and did a excellent job on the issues but probably needed to be in the Republican debate. There is more then a kernel of truth to that off hand comment. Senator Webb impresses me as one who could, like Dwight Eisenhower run on either ticket. His positions on a myriad of issues are very much in the middle of the political spectrum which is a tough position to be in given that the word “progressive” has become the buzz word of the Democrat party just Republicans want to be called “conservatives”. Because the Democrats have, in my view moved a bit left, and the Republicans have moved a lot right this has left a larger middle, which in a primary is not beneficial, but in a general election gives a great opening for a moderate.
Senator Webb’s foreign policy positions are quite sound and in some cases to complex to be put into debate format one liners. That plus not getting the amount of time he felt he deserved hurt his performance but it is the terrible logistics of his campaign that really put him out of contention.
Former Governor Lincoln Chaffee has a similar problem. As was noted in response to a question regarding his former political affiliation, “I did not leave the Republican Party , it left me.”-but at the end of the day he was an ‘R”.
Again, his positions are probably better suited for a general election then a primary.
On another note, as a former lobbyist who understands the system I felt it was patently unfair to hold him responsible for his lack of knowledge on the Glass-Steagall vote. The moderator castigated him for his position, when if he had voted against leadership as a brand new senator his ability to get any thing else done would have been zilch. If we want that kind of politician then Senator Ted Cruse is your guy.
It did not look to me as if Senator O’Malley had any difference on positions between himself and Clinton or Sanders and with a lack of foreign policy experience probably will stay in single digits.
That said with Clinton’s ability to attract more independents then Sanders it looks like Clinton will be the strongest candidate assuming Democrats want the best chance at winning the general election.
Bernie can be pleased he brought the issue of the middle class to the forefront so that the next president, Democrat or Republican must deal with it. That can be his legacy and finally, unless things change a lot on the Republican side I would guess the next president will not be a male or Republican.