I have read both Erick and Kimberly’s posts and I stopped before reading Leon’s so that I would not be influenced.
First off, four of the five candidates sounded like quadruplets. If I did not know better, I would think Martin O’Malley was auditioning for VP. Everytime he spoke for the first half of the debate, Clinton would turn in his direction and nod her head in approval. I smell a backroom deal like in House of Cards. However, in almost every respect, these candidates rarely disagree on anything, except for Jim Webb.
Jim Webb is the Rick Santorum in the room. He appeared to me to be genuinely angry and grumpy. I was not even sure why he was there, given how many disagreements he has with the others. I could have just as easily seen him on the Republican stage. In short, he has a snowball’s chance in Hades of winning the nomination. He and Chafee stand out for different reasons.
Chafee was in way, way, way over his head. How you can refer to yourself or your policies as a “block of granite” when you have changed parties and come from one of the smallest states in the nation is beyond me. He sounded like a grandfather who is more concerned about when lunch will be served than a serious candidate, at least to me.
Although Webb was in this debate, it really came down to Sanders vs Clinton vs Biden for me. I felt that Clinton used every opportunity to beg the President not to encourage Joe to run. She complimented Obama at every turn and by name. She does not want Joe Biden in this race and she let Obama know at least four times how great he is and how she would not and will not criticize him. Her team’s goal appears to be to get Joe to stand down, in effect making him a debater not present.
So the real debate in terms of these candidates came between Sanders and Clinton. The two of them will be a combined 144 years old by the time of the election. Age will indeed be a factor in this race and for right now, Sanders is representing the Daily Kos and other organizations in pushing the agenda as far Left as possible.
There were several interesting themes to me. All of them except Webb kept pandering to special interest groups. But where it was most interesting was the theme of releasing minorities from jail and replacing them with the 1%. Considering who the major donors are to the Democratic party, especially Hollywood, this is a typical example of where these candidates say one thing but mean quite the opposite.
Overall, from my sofa, it appeared that Webb, O’Malley and Chafee can go home now. Biden, if he joins the race, scares Hillary the most. Sanders is benefiting mostly from Clinton’s unpopularity, not from his stellar campaign skills. At this point, what happens next all depends on Biden. If he runs, he is the sole candidate who can beat Clinton, unless she is forced out by scandal. Otherwise, the nomination is hers.