Opinion Outpost: Oct. 20


The Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.

Democratic debate

There are a lot of ways to contrast the Democratic debate with the Republican debates, but one thing I believe would get agreement across the spectrum – voters Red States and Blue States, liberals and conservatives: Democrats avoided personal attacks and insults and debated the issues; Republicans have spent much more time during their debates attacking each other, with the vitriol and bile of Donald Trump leading the race to the bottom.

… I actually believe who “won” the debate is far less important at this early stage than the fact that the real winner was the Democratic Party – in contrast to the Republican Party, whose brand has been further soiled by vitriol and personal attack politics that has alienated so many Americans of all political stripes.

— Lanny Davis

Fox News

My takeaways: Debates matter. The DNC is making a big mistake not sanctioning more debates. This was an interesting, lively and substantive one. We got to see a productive exchange of ideas by the candidates, and this is good for the candidates, good for the voters and good for democracy. Allow more debates.

To my party, the Republicans, I say: It’s amazing how many informative discussions on important national issues you can get to when not wasting time making fun of Rosie O’Donnell and other candidates on the stage. It’s time to get serious.

— Ana Navarro


After a couple Republican free-for-alls where the focus was on personalities, not policies, there was something bizarre about watching a debate about the issues. But the way Democrats chose to spar about them revealed something even more freakish: the presence of some decidedly un-left-wing tendencies. In fact, not just one right-of-center streak runs through the party, but several. Game on.

— James Poulos

The Week

Hillary Clinton

She was, in short, a man among boys. And that’s why the debate was so important to Clinton. She may have had a rough time as the Democrats’ presidential front-runner, but her advantages in experience and composure were clear when she shared a stage with her rivals for the first time. Vice President Biden, if he was still pondering a run while watching the debate on television, would find the rationale for his candidacy diminishing.

A month ago she was in “free fall” and “plunging” in the polls, giving those who watched her campaign collapse in 2008 a sense of déjà vu. Sanders was closing in, the draft-Biden movement was in full force, and Republicans were giddy with anticipation of her upcoming grilling by the House Benghazi committee.

— Dana Milbank

The Washington Post

The question is not whether she’s pandering but how negative the real-world consequences of her pandering will be.

Clinton seems keenly sensitive to that question. She has been carefully calibrating her pandering, keeping her options open and the stakes as low as possible — and often without granting that activists’ ideas even make sense. Because they often don’t, and she almost certainly knows that.

… Even if you believe she is making the inevitable compromises necessary to succeed in politics, Clinton can’t pull them off without looking cynical, including to the people she’s trying to placate

—Stephen Stromberg

The Washington Post

The Vegas debate introduced a more relaxed woman than the nation probably expected. The new persona began to emerge during her time at State, and is on display in candid interviews she did for a 2015 film about Richard Holbrooke, The Diplomat. The debate was probably the first time most Americans had a chance to see how she’s evolved since the start of a cloistered campaign in which she appeared to have reverted to the protective crouch of the First Lady years.

—Nina Burleigh


For what it’s worth, Mrs. Clinton had the better case. Mr. Sanders has been focused on restoring Glass-Steagall, the rule that separated deposit-taking banks from riskier wheeling and dealing. And repealing Glass-Steagall was indeed a mistake. But it’s not what caused the financial crisis, which arose instead from “shadow banks” like Lehman Brothers, which don’t take deposits but can nonetheless wreak havoc when they fail. Mrs. Clinton has laid out a plan to rein in shadow banks; so far, Mr. Sanders hasn’t.

But is Mrs. Clinton’s promise to take a tough line on the financial industry credible? Or would she, once in the White House, return to the finance-friendly, deregulatory policies of the 1990s?

Well, if Wall Street’s attitude and its political giving are any indication, financiers themselves believe that any Democrat, Mrs. Clinton very much included, would be serious about policing their industry’s excesses. And that’s why they’re doing all they can to elect a Republican.

—Paul Krugman

The New York Times

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