5 Reasons To Be Glad You Watched The CBS Democratic Debate

The candidates observe moment of silence at CBS Democratic debate.

Hillary Clinton got pressed on Wall Street, CBS asked a loaded question, and 3 other reasons to be glad that you watched the CBS Democratic debate.

1). CBS Asks A Loaded Question About Obama And ISIS

The Democratic candidates were asked if the Obama administration will be remembered for not being on top of ISIS. Clinton said that the bulk of the fight did not belong to the United States. O’Malley tried to play catch up in the polls by disagreeing with Clinton. Bernie Sanders tied the founding of ISIS with the war in Iraq. Sanders said that he didn’t think any reasonable person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to ISIS.

The question by Face The Nation John Dickerson was short-sighted and wrong. One can’t understand how ISIS came to be without considering the role of the decision by the Bush administration to invade Iraq. Trying to blame Obama for ISIS would be like blaming FDR for the Great Depression. The idea that Obama is to blame for ISIS was flat out wrong and more superficial media nonsense. Clinton talked about the broader underlying historical factors that led to the extremism. Sanders called for the Muslim countries to lead the effort against ISIS. Clinton disagreed and said that was unfair to countries like Jordan, who have made a great effort. Clinton agreed with Sanders that many of the countries have to make up their minds on their role in the fight against ISIS.

2).The Amount Of Debate Time Given To The Question Of ISIS and Extremism Benefited Clinton

Nearly 30 minutes of the debate was dedicated to a discussion of ISIS and radical Islam. This discussion benefitted Hillary Clinton because, as former Sec. of State, she was the most knowledgeable on foreign policy issues. Bernie Sanders is very well informed and has a solid worldview, but Clinton was at another level. As a former governor, Martin O’Malley was doomed in this discussion.

The events in Paris effectively put this debate right into Hillary Clinton’s wheelhouse. Clinton took apart Marco Rubio’s claim that the United States is at war with radical Islam. Sanders brought up a great point that much of the military spending is being wasted and not being properly used to target the terrorist threat.

3). O’Malley and Clinton Hit Republican Immigrant Bashers With The Facts

After calling Donald Trump an immigrant bashing carnival barker, Martin O’Malley said that net immigration from Mexico has reached zero. Hillary Clinton backed him up and said that it is a fact. Clinton then laid out her vision for immigration reform. According Pew Research, Clinton and O’Malley were correct, “In 2012, 5.9 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico lived in the U.S., down about 1 million from 2007. Despite the drop, Mexicans still make up a slight majority (52% in 2012) of unauthorized immigrants. At the same time, unauthorized immigration overall has leveled off in recent years. As a result, net migration from Mexico likely reached zero in 2010, and since then more Mexicans have left the U.S. than have arrived.”

4). Sanders Tells Clinton That Her Answer On Regulating Wall Street Is Not Good Enough

Hillary Clinton said that her record shows that she will battle Wall Street, and pointed out that two billionaires are running a super PAC against her. Sanders replied by going to town on Clinton’s record, and he brought up the common sense point that all of those campaign contributors expect something.

Clinton fired back and said that Sanders had impugned her integrity. Clinton said that she was proud that she helped Wall Street after 9/11. She said that her proposal is tougher than Sanders’ plan to restore Glass-Steagall because she goes after all of Wall Street. Sanders played his trump card and said that it isn’t enough for Democrats to say that they will repeal Citizens United. He said that Democrats must lead by example.

O’Malley got his chance to talk and called Clinton’s proposal to regulate Wall Street “weak tea.” O’Malley killed his momentum though by agreeing with Sanders that Glass-Steagall must be restored. Clinton said that Wall Street needs to play by the rules, and Sanders replied that the Wall Street business model is fraud.

The Democratic candidates finally disagreed on something. The result was an enlightening discussion on how Wall Street should be reined in.

5). Distinctions Are Drawn When The Candidates Are Asked About The Crisis That Shaped Them

For Hillary Clinton, it was advising Obama on whether or not to go after Bin Laden. Martin O’Malley didn’t have a crisis. Sanders talked about his time as Chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee. Sanders said he was determined to make VA care the best in the world. He discussed his role in shaping one of the most important pieces of bipartisan legislation for vets.

The crisis question was really an experience question. Clinton and Sanders were light years ahead of O’Malley on experience. If Democrats are looking for an experienced leader, the choice is between Clinton and Sanders, with Clinton being ahead of the senator from Vermont in the kind of experiences that look good for a potential president.