There is a media narrative developing around Tuesday night’s Democrat presidential primary debate and it’s up to us to put an end to it. While Hillary Clinton may have performed better than her competitors, that really isn’t saying much. Her challengers for the Democrat nomination are a veritable “Who’s Who” of boring, milquetoast candidates, and it really shouldn’t take much to rise above them in a debate.
Nate Silver from FiveThirtyEight Blog explains further that the media is overestimating her debate performance.
Indeed, I thought Clinton did reasonably well in Las Vegas, and so did my FiveThirtyEight colleagues…
But Clinton was far from perfect. She gave ambiguous or evasive answers on several questions, such as on marijuana legalization and health care benefits for children of immigrants who entered the country illegally. On other questions, she gave answers that might have played well to liberal Democrats but which might not be received as favorably by general election voters (such as saying she’d “make the wealthy pay” for paid family leave and other welfare programs). Sanders gained more Twitter followers during the debate than Clinton, meanwhile, and got considerably more Google search traffic.
Put another way, Clinton gave about the performance that might reasonably have been expected from a frontrunner who gained a ton of experience as a debater during the 2008 Democratic primary: pretty good. Poised, polished and highly competent at appealing to various segments of the Democratic electorate. But also risk-averse and without all that many high notes.
The media judged Clinton’s night to be way better than “pretty good.”
Over on Fox News, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, offered a similar assessment of the debate performance.
It is a false positive for Hillary Clinton, she won the night, but… it does not matter that she can beat Martin O’Malley. I had no idea that he was that dull… How did he get elected to anything?
Tammy Bruce may have said it even better, “Obviously Hillary (won), but she was in the room with a bag of rocks so you have to win. She won clearly, it was effectively structured that way. Even Bernie Sanders was bowing, helping her with the emails. This is the best the Democrats could do, they’re clearly in trouble.”
The effusive praise for Hillary Clinton goes way beyond the pale. Winning the debate against that group of tedious old men means nothing. Nothing.