Well, the first debate was last night, and I saw it with a crowd of enthusiastic viewers. (We clapped a lot.) Nationally, 15.3 million people watched, which is not as much as the viewers of the recent Republican debates, but I think it's still pretty respectable for cable. Due to technical difficulties and speeches from the local party leaders, we missed the national anthem and the first two speeches by Chafee and Webb, but I don't think it mattered much.
I did not appreciate how CNN tried to hype a possible appearance by Joe Biden (so glad he didn't take the bait) and to criticize Hillary about those damn emails. Bernie was totally right that we don't want to hear any more about those emails. I can't believe Anderson Cooper had the nerve to scoff at Hillary, "How can you call it political?" when she just brought up Kevin McCarthy. He fucking admitted that the committee was purely political! Shame on you, Anderson, for that, and the disgraceful question about conscientious objector status somehow being a disqualifier for being commander in chief. "Commander in chief" does not require military experience; it is a civilian status, just saying that the POTUS has supreme authority over the armed forces. I'm glad that Jim Webb didn't take the bait, but otherwise, I didn't like his performance. He gave very bad, Republican-ish answers about the Iran deal, and kept bringing up China. CNN also irrelevantly brought up whether Bernie had smoked pot; what the fuck does that matter? Just ask about their policy on legalizing marijuana, Anderson, not juvenile shit for soundbites!
I liked how Hillary brought up abortion rights, and how she responded to some questions with good points. She did weasel out of some things like the trade deal, but so did Bernie about gun control. I expect that from politicians, of course. Chafee had a laughable excuse for his first vote after his dad just died. Martin O'Malley did pretty well, bringing up climate change and scoring points against Bernie about gun control. He had to defend his record in Baltimore, though. I know the real choice is probably between Hillary and Bernie, but I still can't decide. I mean, Hillary already pissed me off about Israel and she seems hawkish, yet other people kept talking about Israel as "our greatest ally"--blech! Bernie's ideals about inequality, healthcare, criminal justice reform, and climate change are fine, but I don't know if he can get major things through Congress. He's certainly learned about Black Lives Matter too, but I keep worrying that it's like Pope Francis pretending he's so cool and liberal, but being disappointing in reality. Texas Democrats have heard promises about our state finally going blue before, and I don't know if Bernie will be committed to a 50 state strategy or just write us off. I so dislike his raving fans on the internet too.
I will vote Democratic in 2016 no matter what, but I'm really not feeling enthusiastic about anybody in the primary. I don't even care about Biden, and want him to stay out of the race. I'm jaded and cynical and tired of this, and it's only 2015. The people next to me did complain that the CNN moderators kept asking questions mainly of the center three, while skipping the guys on the ends. It did seem unfair to me, even if those guys poll low, and I didn't like that Cooper would only give each person seconds to answer. I hope the next debate will be run better.