It may actually make for fascinating watching: because I don’t think that the Democratic candidates are going to be entirely ready for the switch in focus. Or, indeed, that they are going to be ready at all. I am in fact a little surprised – pleasantly – that CBS decided to shift the debate questions at least a little to reflect foreign policy, particularly since this is traditionally* the weakest area for Democratic candidates, and certainly nobody in the current crop can be said to be what an objective observer could call competent on the subject. I mean, geez: Hillary Clinton is one of the reasons why we’re in this mess in the first place.
Which segues nicely into the question of, how do the Democratic candidates plan to answer the question “What do we do about Islamic State and its minions?” I mean, it’s an easy answer for Republicans – “You kill the so-and-sos until they run out of cultists” – but the only Democrat with the nerve to say that outright left the campaign trail a while ago. Besides, if somebody says something like tonight then there would be aneurysms popping off throughout the debate venue audience** as a result.
…Which is why I think that Martin O’Malley will end up being the one most likely to come the closest to trying to play for the percentage of the electorate that likes to see our enemies dead, and piled up in a heap. After all, Bernie Sanders is the hardcore Left’s darling, their darling, their darling: you think that he’s going to tell them NOW that George W Bush was right, and that they were wrong? No, me neither. And while Hillary Clinton might be inclined to sound tough, she knows full well that Sanders would love to attack her from the Left on foreign policy. So she’s going to have to come up with something on the fly, and Hillary Clinton does not make good decisions under pressure, and on short notice***.
So Martin O’Malley might in fact go for it. I mean, shoot, what does he have to lose at this point? He’s certainly not going to win as things stand now. I also assume that O’Malley will mess it up somehow, of course – but that’d just be his garden-variety incompetence on display.
PS: I will admit that it is possible that the Democratic candidates will all surprise me tonight and forthrightly throw the antiwar movement under the bus. It is not likely, but it is possible. If that happens, I will be too busy laughing at the expressions on the Hard Lefts’ faces to be embarrassed about guessing wrong. Seriously: I can’t lose, here.
*Well, it’s been that way since the end of the Cold War. Still counts, though. I mean, traditions have to start SOMEWHERE, right?
**Yes, that would be bad. These people have loved ones. Besides, think of the people who would have to clean that up.
***Which is half of the core criticism of her behavior about Benghazi. The other half being, of course, that she’s a brazen and incompetent liar.