Whew. That was one crackling, energetic, informative and substantive Democratic debate Sunday night.
If you didn’t watch, you missed a doozy. I know it was on a Sunday night of a holiday weekend, but hey, this is sadly as close to a big audience as the DNC is going to allow the primary candidates this year, and all three of them put on a hell of a debate. (here’s a 2-minute video recap)
Quick thoughts on the 2-hour affair:
— Bernie Sanders was outstanding on the economy. He had his best debate yet (yes I’m biased as a supporter of his), being forceful, shouting less and pointedly telling voters the differences between he and Hillary Clinton. He dominated on the economy, and scored morality points by refusing to talk about Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct. He did nothing to hurt his recent rise in the polls.
— Hillary was very strong as well. She dominated on foreign policy; she wipes the floor with any candidate in either party on that one. She tried hard to paint Sanders as a position-shifter on guns and was effective in trying to say his health care plans are unrealistic. She attacked Bernie as strong as she ever has, and yet… she was still unable to explain how she’d be tough on Wall Street, when she’s taken so much of their money.
— Martin O’Malley had about two minutes to speak the whole night. Poor guy was railroaded but I thought he had some great answers, critiquing Hillary on her Wall Street ties, and on drug treatment.
— Bottom line for me: If Democratic primary voters think this election is about the economy, Bernie has a great chance to score the big upset. If it’s about terrorism or foreign policy, Hillary wins as expected.
— It’s ridiculous we’ve had only four Democratic debates, and no more before Iowa. Ridiculous.
**Next up, another dramatic weekend of NFL football, setting up a fantastic Championship Weekend next Sunday. Patriots at Broncos, with Brady and Manning facing off probably for the last time in a big game like this. And then Carolina hosting Arizona, the two best teams in the league all year going head to head. Fantastic stuff.
Couple thoughts from the weekend, and then one big thought that gave me a lot of pause, that I’ll hopefully expand on more in another post.
— That was an incredible comeback by Seattle Sunday, down 31-0 and roaring back to only lose 31-24.
— But then again, you have to also fault Seattle for getting totally destroyed in the first half. Where the hell was the defense?
— The Arizona-Green Bay game was just nuts. Nuts. Arizona finally takes the lead late, gives up a 4th and 20 to Aaron Rodgers to keep the game, alive, then this ridiculous Hail Mary (the 2nd of the year for Rodgers!) that tied it and sent it to overtime.
Then in the extra period, the Cards’ Larry Fitzgerald makes that incredible catch and run, and Arizona wins.
After the game, I went on Twitter and as usual after a big sporting event, people were losing their minds with excitement. I got caught up in it and Tweeted something to the effect of “no matter how many CTE lawsuits and concussions happen, football will survive because of awesome games like this.”
Well, my good friend and former boss Dave saw that and we got into a terrific text exchange. Dave likes to call me on things I say and write, which is good, because we all need to be checked sometimes.
His solid point Saturday night, which I am trying to square my heart with, is that he can’t really get excited about football anymore knowing the longterm damage it does to so many brains, and bodies. And he wondered how I could justify still obsessively following the NFL when I know the horrible pain it causes.
He said “I don’t think, as a society, we should simply excuse the real effects as the price of a great game.”
I’ve been thinking about that a lot for the past 24 hours. I don’t have a good response. It bothers me that I read and write about the horrors of what football does to a person, and yet scream and yell on Sundays and can’t wait for next week’s title games.
Definitely something I need to think more about. And maybe change my behavior.
**Finally today, it’s not often there’s any kind of good news out of Iran, but Saturday we finally got some in the “case” against Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Rezaian, an Iranian-American, had been detained for more than a year on ridiculous and nonsense “spying” charges after he was reporting for the Post in Tehran.
The Iranian courts had arrested him, did God knows what to him in the notorious Evin Prison, and allegedly sentenced him to death just a few months ago.
Finally on Saturday, after months and months of negotiations, the U.S. and Iran struck a deal to release Rezaian in exchange for other Iranians held in America also being released.
It was a prisoner swap, and no one’s ready to back-slap Iran for doing a wonderful deed. But Rezaian is by all accounts a first-rate reporter who did absolutely nothing wrong, yet was imprisoned for 545 days.
Thank God he’s free.