Saying dumb things at presidential debates: It's not just for Republicans anymore! We’ve now been treated to the first Democratic primary debate, and while it did have its high notes — Bernie Sanders' fury at the focus on Hillary Clinton's "damn emails" comes to mind — it wasn’t all pretty. The Democrats said plenty of stupid things at tonight’s debate. As it turns out, Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, and Martin O’Malley can make fools of themselves just as capably as Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, and Mike Huckabee.
To be sure, it’s entirely possible that when the story of the 2016 campaign is written, Wednesday night's gaffes will be nothing more than footnotes. They were certainly entertaining to watch, but make no mistake: We’ve got a long campaign and many, many more debates ahead of us before the election comes to a close. In the best-case scenario, the candidates will straighten up and perform better from here on out; in the worst, they’ll say things at future debates that make tonight look measured and level-headed by comparison.
But that’s all still hypothetical. For now, let’s take a moment to marvel at the most dim-witted, vapid, and ignorant things the Democrats said on the debate stage in Las Vegas tonight.
Martin O'Malley On Syria
"I think Assad's invasion of Syria will be seen as a blunder." — Martin O'Malley
Errrr, Assad didn't invade Syria. He is, in fact, the President of Syria. This was probably just a mix-up — O'Malley likely intended to say "Putin," not "Assad" — but it didn't look good.
Jim Webb On Democratic Principles
"[W]hen we create diversity programs that include everyone, quote, 'of color,' other than whites, struggling whites like the families in the Appalachian mountains, we're not being true to the Democratic Party principle ..." —Jim Webb
Despite Webb's claims, "we need to help out white people" is more of a GOP party principle than a Democratic one.
Martin O'Malley's Associations
"I want to associate myself with many of the items that the senator from Vermont mentioned." — Martin O'Malley
This is the kind of thing you say to a political advisor when you're plotting campaign strategy behind the scenes. It's not something you explicitly tell voters. "I want to associate myself with x on" is a far cry from "I firmly believe in."
Jim Webb On Iran
"[T]he recent deal allowing Iran to move forward and eventually acquire a nuclear weapon ... sent bad signals, bad body language into the region about whether we are acquiescing in Iran becoming a stronger piece of the formula in that part of the world." — Jim Webb
Once again, this is more likely to endear Webb to Republicans than the Democrats whose votes he's chasing.
Hillary Clinton On Keystone
"I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone." — Hillary Clinton
Well, that's true. So true, one could argue, that it's not really worth saying.
Lincoln Chafee On Staying Scandal-Free
"What I'm most proud of is that in 30 years of public service, I have had no scandals." — Lincoln Chafee
That's admirable, yes. But public servants should ideally be proud of more than the fact that they never got in trouble.
Jim Webb On Black Lives Matter
"Every life in this country matters ... I have had a long history of working with the situation of African-Americans." — Jim Webb
He could have saved words and simply said, "I don't agree with the Black Lives Matter movement," but that must have been too concise for Webb's tastes.