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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Democrats’ debate – blame the Republicans!

Wow, that was quite a “debate” last night, wasn’t it? If you missed it, here’s a summary:

CNN Democrat debate--Hillary Clinton: America would be great without Republicans. And, oh yeah, my administration would be different from Obama’s for the obvious reason that I’m a woman! (She said this with a smile on her face. No joke.)

--Bernie Sanders: America would be great without Wall Street. Or rich people. And enough focus on those damn Clinton emails (the audience went nuts and so did Hillary).

--Lincoln Chafee: America would be great without all these wars.

--Martin O’Malley: America would be great if we only had green energy… and universal family leave. And the rich will pay for it. And my state (Maryland) loves illegal aliens thanks to me.

--Jim Webb: America would be great… not sure if you can sum up his purpose in the race, but for what it’s worth, he sounded by far the most reasonable of the Democrats, which guarantees he has no place in the party.

Webb even had the nerve to say America needs to have borders. What, no applause, audience?

The debate was boring and stupid at the same time. Where’s Joe Biden? At least he’s entertaining… and would likely get in some zingers against Hillary.

Richard Viguerie summed it up well. “The most striking thing about the Democratic debate was that not one media question contradicted liberal orthodoxy on the Democratic candidate's far-Left agenda. No one questioned why the federal government should gift free college to someone, no one asked ‘is global warming real?’ and no one asked ‘what's fair about income redistribution?’

“It was just assumed by the media panel that Democrats are right about all of those radical encroachments on constitutional liberty and the only issue in the Democratic Primary should be who will be most efficient in redistributing the booty the welfare state extorts from producers.”

Right now there’s no one to legitimately challenge Clinton on the Democrat side. For those who describe Donald Trump as “clownish,” what about Bernie Sanders? Sheesh. That accent alone sounds custom made for a Saturday Night Live parody skit.

Should Republicans root for Hillary to win the Democrat nomination?

Perhaps it’s easy to say because he’s not officially running – yet -- but Republicans should hope Joe Biden doesn’t end up being the Democrat nominee.

Why? A new Fox News poll shows the Republicans would have a much easier time beating Hillary Clinton than Biden.

Al Weaver of the Washington Examiner reports, “Clinton drops general election head-to-head matchups with the three outsiders in the GOP field, Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina, as well as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. In the matchups, Carson beats Clinton 50-39, while Trump leads 45-40. In addition, Bush leads by four points (44-40), while Fiorina bests the former secretary of state 42-39.

“On the flip side, Biden continues to poll well in 2016 head-to-head matchups with the GOP, as he leads all of the GOP candidates tested. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio polls best against Biden and is losing by a single point, 44-43. Notably, Biden leads Trump by a 50-37 margin.”

As far as Biden is concerned, the poll results are suspect in terms of their long-term value. All of the press he’s received lately focuses on his “agonizing” decision on whether or not to even get in the race. It’s all positive, with people seemingly begging ‘ol Uncle Joe to get in.

Part of it has to do with Democrats’ realization that Hillary is damaged goods (as reported by Erick Erickson). Add the fact there really isn’t much of a race going on now on the Democrats’ side and they’re hankering for a real match-up to bring back the excitement of the 2008 campaign.

There’s nothing more boring than a one-candidate “coronation” primary election. It rivals the stimulation you feel when an incumbent president is running for re-election.

Last night’s debate could help Hillary in national opinion, since she was given two hours of free airtime to rehash the reasons why she deserves a chance to run at the top of the ticket. Many Democrats still believe she was slighted the nomination eight years ago and these same people believe it’s her turn.

That’s why she’s leading by such a wide margin in the Democratic race – even in a hypothetical match-up with Joe Biden.

If Biden gets in the race, you can bet his numbers vis-à-vis the Republicans will go down once people remember what he’s really like. Right now he looks like a lovable guy who just lost a son. But he’s got a closet full of skeletons just waiting to be exposed.

And let’s not forget he’s got the Obama presidency tattooed to his forehead.

Hillary versus Carly wouldn’t be a fair fight

A day after Hillary Clinton took center stage – literally – at the Democratic presidential debate, it’s time to make a comparison between the two major party female candidates.

All of the Republicans have taken shots at Hillary and the Democrats, but the one who’s been by far the most effective at scoring points has been Carly Fiorina. It’s even arguable that Fiorina’s initial rise from obscurity to contender was due to her fierce attacks on Clinton – especially highlighting the former First Lady’s penchant for lying during and after the Fox News debate in early August.

It’s an easy target, I know, but Carly makes it work.

Hillary on the other hand has largely refrained from returning the favor on Fiorina. There have certainly been criticisms (such as this piece from Time magazine on Planned Parenthood), though Clinton appears to feel much more comfortable in jabbing at the male Republican candidates.

Face it -- it’s a lot easier pinning a “war on women” badge on a man. Fiorina’s gender almost acts as a shield to whatever Hillary might throw at her. It’s a new phenomenon for Clinton – she’s never had to run against another woman candidate. She doesn’t know how to handle it.

Jazz Shaw of Hot Air references the Time story in arguing Hillary can’t be too critical of Fiorina lest she destroy the main reason for her candidacy.

“It’s still a possibility – though an increasingly unlikely one, statistically – that Clinton could wind up in an unprecedented general election battle featuring two women. The fascinating aspect of watching these two is the completely opposite approaches they are taking.

“For her part, Hillary doesn’t seem to have much of a choice. She can’t afford to go after Fiorina too hard without parsing her words carefully. Her entire identity as she tries to establish her viability as a candidate is that she’s the historic First Female President in waiting.”

It’s a fine line the Democrats walk when engaging in identity politics. Obama played the race card repeatedly in selling his candidacy in both 2008 and 2012. Hillary tried to use the gender argument in 2008 – but Democrats elevated race over gender in that one.

You can’t have it both ways, right?

On the other hand, it’s easy to spot the blatant bias in the way the media covers minority or female Republicans. Journalists relentlessly savaged Sarah Palin because she was a conservative, depicting her as an uneducated backwoods airhead who didn’t read newspapers and was fond of shooting furry animals – and then eating them.

They’re doing the same kind of character assassination now for Ben Carson (who thankfully seems much more adept at fighting back).

And let’s not forget the “high tech lynching” that took place during Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation.

Sadly, Hillary probably feels she doesn’t need to hit Fiorina too hard, because she knows the media will do the dirty work for her when the time comes.

A Fiorina-Clinton match-up would be fascinating to watch, no doubt. But don’t expect it to be even-handed where the media’s concerned.

Trump targets the wishy-washy crowd and his opponents

Donald Trump has based his populist campaign on inspiring people who are frustrated with the system and want someone who can lead and actually accomplish something. For that reason, his appeal goes beyond just being a Republican.

Along the way he’s alienated a number of conservatives with proposals and statements that aren’t ideologically conservative. We know Trump is not a conservative, but his message certainly is in many respects.

So it comes as no surprise The Donald recently stopped in to speak to a non-partisan “moderate” No Labels group in New Hampshire. Byron York of the Washington Examiner argues Trump is the perfect candidate for them, even if some in the audience didn’t seem to agree.

“[H]ere was a man with a bipartisan background who praised cooperation and offered actual examples of his work with officials of both parties. He is an authentic No Labels man, even if No Labels fails to recognize that.”

York is right. If there’s one candidate who would appear to embody “No Labels,” it’s Trump. He doesn’t deny he once considered himself a Democrat. He doesn’t mind admitting he thinks the rich need to pay more. He’s self-funding his campaign so as to remain above charges of being influenced by anyone but himself.

“Labels” don’t stick to The Donald. It’s helping him and hurting him at the same time, because he’s not winning over many conservative Republicans who swear they could never support him.

Speaking of labels, Trump affixed one to Marco Rubio, calling him a “perfect little puppet” because the Florida senator is apparently being favored by billionaire casino-magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Jesse Byrnes of The Hill reports Trump said via Twitter, “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!"

Trump also called Jeb Bush a “puppet” at the No Labels convention.

The Donald’s courting of the No Labels crowd and calling Rubio names is just in keeping with Trump being Trump. If he suddenly became a quiet, polite guy overnight, people would think he’s being phony.

Trump’s leading the pack and whatever he’s doing is working – at least with Republicans. Expect more of the same in the coming months.

Ben Carson’s religious beliefs aren’t strange

Finally today, Ben Carson has made it no secret that his faith is a big part of his life – and his campaign. Ben’s quoted scripture, mentioned Jesus is his role model and told and retold the story of how reading The Bible changed his life as an angry youth.

Carson’s also active in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which resides somewhat apart from more traditional protestant denominations.

Anthony Gockowski of the Daily Caller reports on the church’s main beliefs. “There are two fundamental tenets of the Adventist Church: Saturday, the original seventh day of the week, is the Sabbath, and Christ will return to earth to test and judge mankind.”

Mitt Romney fielded numerous questions concerning his Mormon faith and even delivered a speech detailing what he believes and how it fits with how he’d govern as president. Carson has also extensively spoken on the subject and there’s absolutely nothing “weird” about his belief system, no matter how hard the media might try to make it seem that way.

If Americans didn’t find Barack Obama’s religion – or lack thereof – strange, why would they turn on Carson for being a Seventh-day Adventist?

The media will try to find something odd about it…but Carson will likely come out on top on this one, too.

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