Oh Was It Glorious: Last Night’s Democrat Slugfest was the Greatest Debate in History

Top Moments from Wednesday's Democrat Debate in Nevada

By John Podhoretz

Forget Lincoln and Douglas. Forget Nixon and Kennedy. Oh, was it glorious — the sheer raging hostility spraying across the stage as every campaign besides the Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg bids faces the desperate possibility that each might fade into the woodwork against the Bernie surge and the Bloomberg billions.

Last night’s Democratic primary slagfest in Nevada was the greatest debate in all of human history.

It’s not that the gloves were off. No, my friends, everybody was wearing steel-tipped boots and going right for the crotch. Those weren’t snowflakes. They were nunchucks.

Some priceless highlights: And then there was Elizabeth Warren, desperately trying to get back in the game and spraying fire at everyone else on stage like Machine Gun Kelly. She spared no one, and by the end, she had yelled herself hoarse and seemed like she needed an oxygen tank.
Warren’s signature moment came at the very beginning, when she went right for the jugular.

“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against — a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg,” Warren said.

So how was Bloomberg? In that first hour, Bloomberg wasn’t just a Not Ready for Prime Time Debater.  At the midpoint, it seemed like he had just spent the past three months lighting half a billion dollars on fire, given just how disastrously he had performed.

Everybody took a turn beating him up, and his responses were painfully clueless — especially when he said that his company struck nondisclosure agreements with ex-employees to protect them.

He apologized unconvincingly for stop-and-frisk, and when he was asked a second time to explain himself, he got huffy and basically said, hey, he’d already apologized!

He staged a bit of a comeback in the second half, when he got an opening to face off against Bernie Sanders and offer the stark rationale for his own campaign.
After listening to Sanders offer a passionate defense of his Democratic Socialism, Bloomberg said:

“I can’t think of a better way to elect Donald Trump than for people to listen to this conversation.”

The thing is, even if the entire night had been the epic disaster the first hour suggested it would be, Bloomberg isn’t going anywhere — and he is likely only to increase his insane level of spending to do what he can to erase memories of his performance.

Buttigieg, who appears to have won Iowa and came basically within a point of winning New Hampshire, nonetheless didn’t quite seem like a formidable player. He focused his strangely calm scorn on Klobuchar, who’s crowding him. Her loathing for him, in turn, was so palpable, it’s lucky she didn’t have a stapler or something on her podium that she might have launched at his head.

Klobuchar wouldn’t do that, of course, because she’s actually disciplined and controlled and rose to the occasion with a second great performance … that may not do anything for her. Biden had his good moments and his bad moments, but just didn’t seem like he was even a serious part of the discussion.

The free-for-all on the stage had, I think, the effect of leaving Bernie Sanders pretty much unmolested at the summit of the race. Bloomberg didn’t really lay a glove on him when it comes to the politics that will govern the caucus voting in Nevada on Saturday.

And if Sanders wins there convincingly, as the cognoscenti think he will, his path forward as the national poll front-runner and the King of the Bros will be secure as the major contests land over the 10 days that follow Nevada.

And in Bloomberg, he’ll have the un-woke billionaire of his dreams to serve as a continual punching bag as he charts his course for Milwaukee.

John Podhoretz is the editor of Commentary Magazine, a columnist for the New York Post, the author of several books on politics, and a former speechwriter for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.