For those who missed the fun, Heather Wilhelm describes the action.
If you watched Tuesdayâ€™s Democratic debates, you probably noticed a whole lot of yelling. Indeed, the event, sponsored by CNN, was a veritable white-knuckle ride of hollering, with most of it coming from just one guyâ€”a guy who looked like he just received a nasty shock trying to jump-start his DeLorean in a shed filled with half-baked inventions and sad, peeling posters celebrating the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. This guy also specialized, I should add, in occasional, disgusted harrumphs.
Iâ€™m talking, of course, about Bernie Sanders, who may not have won the debate, but who certainly set the tone. It was amazing to behold: In a country where just 26 percent of voters describe themselves as â€œliberal,â€ the Democratic Party has apparently gone full-bore, hair-on-fire Oberlin dorm room progressive. …
hen Hillary Clinton was asked if she was a moderate or a progressive at Tuesdayâ€™s debate, she got so excited she almost ate her microphone. â€œI donâ€™t take a back seat to anyone when it comes to progressive experience and progressive commitment,â€ she declared, her long-repressed inner life force flaring, despite the fact that this wasnâ€™t actually true. â€œIâ€™m a progressive, but Iâ€™m a progressive that knows how to get things done.â€
The subtext of this statement, which came out loud and clear, was this: â€œIâ€™m a progressive, voters, but not a loopy, reality-challenged, inept one, like Old Half-Baked Quasi-Redistributed Tuft-Haired Vermont Maple Crumble Cake over there.â€ This would be wonderful and reassuring if progressivism werenâ€™t by definition loopy, reality-challenged, and inept.
And so on Tuesday night, we watched people cheer for free college, perhaps funded by the elusive Gender Studies Phantom who dwells in the basement of the National Endowment for the Arts. We watched candidates call for free college for illegal immigrants, too, because hey, why not? We watched repeated implications that climate change is going to annihilate us all, likely by next year, unless we vote correctly. We saw people gathered in an air-conditioned auditorium in Las Vegasâ€”Las Vegas, that strange and mysterious capitalist beast, a place where a million glitzy desert lights shine, and to which many in the audience had flown into on a gas-guzzling, cocktail-addled, bargain-basement flightâ€”cheer at the thought of giving up fossil fuels. …
The script on Tuesday night was clear, at least for Bernie and Hillary: All socialism, all the time. How ironic to see two ’60s retreadsâ€”people who see themselves as progressive, open-minded, forward-looking, and advancedâ€”so terribly confined by a tired, failed narrative. Letâ€™s hope theyâ€™re also sorely mistaken as to what the rest of Americaâ€™s preferred script might be.
Read the whole thing.