Home | About | Donate

A Democratic Debate Report Card

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/28/democratic-debate-report-card

If the overall theme was mainstreaming what Sanders has been saying for decades why is there even any debate?


I can not take this article seriously. You do not measure debate performance based on your personal opinion on what each Candidate said. When Mr Dreier indicated Tulsi Gabbard sounded too isolationist , he is interjecting personal opinion as debate performance.

This should read “which candidate said the things I most wanted to hear and whose opinions most in line with my own”. There nothing wrong with that but it hardly means these grades mean a thing. A person whose opinions as to what the most important issues that do not align with Mr Dreier will have a totally different take on who won.


I have contributed several times to Bernie, my wife has too.

That said, I want to raise a topic no one around here will appreciate. I would grade Bernie’s performances as a “C” and not the “B+” the author awards him.

Bernie is still unable to explain clearly how medicare for all will be implemented and paid for–a major weakness on his part. Last night, for example, he could have linked pentagon budgets and the aggregate cost of our wars as examples of monies that could be diverted to college tuition, debt forgiveness, and medicare for all. These should have been added to his mention of a tax on wall street speculation–which is a great idea. But he didn’t do that in support of his central campaign plank (medicare) and in my book, that’s either stupid, lazy or disrespectful to potential voters. Answers and clarity are important, but Bernie continues–after all these years–to default to slogans as answers to quite specific questions. That, plus his clearly communicated disdain for the process of sharing his views, his tone, his expressions of irritation–an almost constant facial expression.

It pains me to say this, but I am falling out of love w Bernie. A candidate who lacks grace, a modicum of gentleness and humor, and who can’t bother to coherently answer challenging questions with examples of a well thought plan for implementation–will never be a good leader, a good president. Such a candidate will finally be unable to clearly educate Americans on the merit of his/her proposals–which is precisely what is also required in this race.

I am in full sympathy with his closing remarks. They were appropriate as a finale. But all the things that should have emerged prior to those remarks remained hidden, obscured. That’s fatal.

If I were Bernie’s campaign director, I would be kicking his butt this a.m.


Ayuh. The election is 16 months away. I never had a teacher issue a report card based on a pop quiz held during the first week of the school year.


You’re a troll, buddy.



No, he mishandled the shooting in his town badly. He hasn’t answered for his incompetence.

Additionally, a Mckinsey type isn’t going anywhere with voters who don’t also work for corporate law firms and wall street. Who in his/her right mind wants to vote for Chelsea Clinton?

1 Like

Payroll taxes largely paid by employers. Ever heard of Canada?



Also, Dreier gives Swalwell a B which is a joke. He was easily the most annoying person on the stage. He gives Williamson a WTF and accuses her of wanting speaker fees (she’s not going anywhere but she made some good points). But seems like Peter’s trying to suck up to Swalwell, who is a cipher and a menace.


You and the clowns who seconded this are the trolls. I have my bonafides; you come from nowhere. Begone.

1 Like

Yes and when he ticks off all of the corporatists who are ripping us off he often fails to mention the bloated defense budget.


It doesn’t matter whether you, I or anyone else on CD understands how this can be done… Duh. What matters is whether Bernie lays it out clearly and believably to those do currently don’t see his candidacy as viable, or to those who get hung up on the big S word. He doesn’t seize the opportunity to do this. It’s just a fact. He can and he should. He’s had friggen years to prepare for these moments.

1 Like

My wife and I mulled over the “charisma” factor. Two unfortunate things about charisma: 1) television washes it away, and 2) the in-person assessment is only effective in Iowa and New Hampshire; thereafter we’re all filtering television cameras.

What candidates think and what they propose is less important than how and where they handle the surf–what context they provide for their thinking-- which we rarely see. The Joe Rogan interview with Tulsi Gabbard is an excellent illustration of her policies placed in that context. When she talks to Rogan, you believe she has a long view supporting her statements along with a clear understanding of administrative strictures she’d have to hurdle for implementation. (To be clear: long view and experience are not the same. Biden has plenty of experience, but his ill-made compromises x-out any consistent long view.)

So I have a fair idea of how Gabbard would manage the Oval Office and congressional legislation. THAT’S what this voter is searching for. The search, then:
— I get an inkling of long view from Buttigieg and Harris.
— My vibes on Warren and Gillenbrand envision a certain freneticism, though they’d both make tough-as-nails presidents.
— Why do the male candidates come off as a collection of empty suits?
— I gave monthly checks to Bernie last time but haven’t committed to date.
— Could Rogan arrange 3-hour interviews with all of them? Is that what it takes?

So yes, my esteem for Gabbard rose there. (On the other hand, I’ve seen her in person, and she doesn’t have major charisma.) But the major media news personalities–print as often as television–only want to posit whose policy is to the left or right of the last person speaking (or the personality himself, herself is)–and how that position presents itself against the whatever-poll-I-want-to-shove-in-your-face’s position.

My wife tells Clinton’s loss assured any woman from being nominated in 2020. I don’t think so but I have learned to respect her gut hunches.


There are about 1200 health insurance companies in the United States… In any given state or region there are as many as 200 companies. Each of them has an army of clerks to do the work, like billing or determining eligibility, processing claims and telling physicians what they can and cannot prescribe. All healthcare providers—hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, physical therapists, etc. must have a large clerical staff to process the paperwork required by the insurance companies’ armies Then there are the insurance company profits and C.E.O compensation. Thus, overhead adds up to 20 to 30 per cent of the health care dollar that is wasted by these bureaucracies. By contrast, the overhead for traditional Medicare is less than three per cent of the health care dollar. The virtue of a single payer system is that all healthcare is financed by a single public fund. There are almost enough savings in bureaucratic waste eliminated to cover everyone. But there will still be a role for the insurance companies, however, because they already have the network to collect the bills from the providers and pass them along to the payer. For this they will receive a small commission. The overhead for conventional Medicare the overhead is less than three per cent of the bill. There is almost enough money in the system to pay for the uninsured. Should a person or company need to pay a tax, it will be less than the premiums, co-pays and deductibles that they now must pay. So Elizabeth Warren is wrong; there will still be a role for the insurance companies. But there will be no premiums, co-pays and deductibles, and everyone will be covered… See SPANOhio.org

That said, our system in this country is that before we can have Medicare for all nationally, we must first have it in a state or two. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said in the 1930s, “The states are the laboratories of Democracy.” About twenty states are working on state plans Accordingly, House Bill 292, The Ohio Healthcare Security Act, will soon also be before the Ohio State Senate. The Single Payer Action Network of Ohio (SPANOhio.org) is working to get these on the ballot.

There is almost enough money in the system as wasted bureaucracy to pay for it. Any increase in taxes needed will be less than the premiums, co- pays and deductibles that people are now paying.


This gives you away:

Thanks for your “concern”.

Common Dreams clearly thinks that Sanders won the debate last night with his final statement.

This reads much like efforts to dismiss Sanders in 2015 and early 2016:

Which moments? Winning the 2016 primary?

He’s not going to go around attacking Biden the way Harris did. Nor is he some McKinsey Consulting company destroyer like the mayor from Indiana.

When you and your wife donated to Bernie before, what was your rationale at that time? I ask because I’ve not seen Bernie or his commitment change. Something about this one performance was off for you apparently.

I would like to caution anyone from judging a person’s ability as the country’s president based on a performance in a circus-like environment such as the debate on MSNBC.

The most important qualities for me: Honesty and Ethics. That’s it. I want a person who doesn’t lie and who values all human beings. A person who has both those qualities most likely has empathy as well. I can say with 100% certainty that the vast majority of candidates who were on the stage on one of the two debate evenings is NOT running for us or for the betterment of the U.S. as a whole. Most human beings do not have the empathy and integrity to do anything that doesn’t first benefit themselves - that’s just a sad fact of our species. Currently, I think that possibly two candidates actually give a damn about what will happen to all of us if they were to win the presidency, Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Warren. I’m actually surprised to be saying this about Elizabeth. I am starting to believe that she has done some ‘waking’ up in the last decade. However, I’m a firm believer in Bernie as he has shown his concern for others for many decades and that is what we really need in a leader in the U.S.


All this says is that Dreier supports corporate dem Harris and pseudo-progressive capitalist-true-believer Bernie-lite-posing Warren.

If “Every Democratic candidate is [even more so than in 2016] echoing some version of what Bernie was saying” than Bernie’s the ONLY authentic candidate, and the rest are windsocks blowing whichever way they think the wind blows and have no ideas of their own.

They can be either for or against big money but not both - they’re trying to do the impossible splits and have no real courage or convictions.

I have a longtime monthly donation to Common Dreams but postings such as this by Dreier is a BIG red flag. I donate ONLY to the most consistently genuinely progressive news-services and causes.


It wasn’t a debate. It was a press conference designed to confuse the electorate with a barrage of candidates mostly using Bernie’s talking points


If you want to know how medicare is going to be funded, go read the bill.


Gabbard was with Sanders in 2016 and one of the first to expose the DNC. She was Vice-Chair and left the position in protest. Before AOC, Gabbard had already introduced comprehensive and exhaustive climate change legislation. I’d give her a pretty high authenticity score as well.