‘Nobody Took Her Down’; Post-Debate MSNBC Panelists Boost Warren

Late Tuesday night, MSNBC struggled to form a cohesive narrative following night one of the second set of 2020 Democratic presidential debates. While some admitted they were “shattered” and “shook up by tonight’s debate” and had some far-left proposals, others hailed Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) as the big winner and even appeared “presidential” at times since “nobody took her down.”

Hardball host Chris Matthews went first, stating that “I was shattered by it today, shook up by tonight's debate” with the “[z]ealous difference in point of view and passion” with the less-radical candidates going after Warren and fellow far-leftist candidate Bernie Sanders for their “wish list[s].”

 

 

“The people on the left were like Butch Cassidy in The Sundance Kid. I mean, Warren and Bernie were basically covering each other as they fought off everyone else. It was interesting to watch,” Matthews added.

That said, Matthews still had plenty of praise for Tuesday’s ten candidates (click “expand”):

Well, I think they were dealing with serious issues tonight. There's no doubt about it. With serious issues, there's no doubt. Let's talk about the issue that really drove Donald Trump's campaign last time, immigration — illegal immigration, undocumented workers, if you will. They talked about making it non-criminal to come in the country illegally. Okay. That's going a little bit further away from Trump. On health care, they talked about basically Medicare your whole life or government-run health care. That's going to cost more money. Obviously, if you pay in, all of us do now for Medicare if you reach age 65, you'll have to pay more into it to pay for health care your whole life. Warren wouldn't answer that question, Bernie said that's Republican talking points. On the third one, they really disagreed on the Green New Deal. So, past, present and future, it seems like they hit on the big ones tonight. 

Another notable moment in the A-block of post-debate analysis was Lyin’ Brian Williams with pot shots at the large field and CNN moderators Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, and Don Lemon. On the second point, he was joined in the CNN-bashing by Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson (click “expand”):

WILLIAMS: And I noticed our friend Rick Wilson said on Twitter this evening, ten people makes for bad television, as he put it there, I said it. Senator, since you are the one in the studio whose name was last on a ballot, I am so curious to hear what you made of what you saw tonight. By the way, there were other issues we'll get to. What was that on Mayor Pete's forehead? A huge issue on social media and we're going to have to talk about the moderators in moderation tonight, a huge topic on social media.

(....)

ROBINSON: I mean, look, I want to go there. The clear intent was to spark fights. 

JOY REID: Yes.

ROBINSON: “You go after you, and you over there, go after that one over there.” That was — seemed to be the point of the moderation, and so in all that fighting about policy, I'm not sure any of the candidates got that much of a chance to be presidential, to show leadership. 

AM Joy host Joy Reid argued that “among the moderates, the job was to then narrow it down and become the moderate because right now Joe Biden occupies that lane of being the moderate and the only alternative to him is going to be a governor or maybe Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” but largely failed on that front since “[t]hey're all at one, zero percent.”

As for who won, Reid said former Congressman John Delaney (MD) “did a good job as the pugilist to take down Warren and Sanders,” but overall, “I think was a good night for Warren” because “[n]obody took her down.”

The Last Word’s Lawrence O’Donnell agreed about Warren, hailing one exchange as making her appear “presidential,” which led Reid to gush that “nobody really laid a glove on her” (click “expand”):

 I strongly agree with that last line that it — it really — it was Elizabeth Warren's debate going in and it stayed that way all the way through. I didn't see anybody gain on her at any point in it. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, I don't think so much they made a tactical decision not to argue with each other....I think there might be three categories there, the moderates, the — the liberals, and Pete Buttigieg who I think wants to sound like a moderate in some moments and wants not to in other moments and I think chooses those very carefully, so I think he actually lives in between those two spaces. Of the people clearly occupying the moderate side of the stage, I actually thought Tim Ryan had the best night by far. I thought he — he never had a misstep. You can disagree with his policies, but he was very clear in stating them....and the other one who is kind of near that category is Beto O’Rourke that, because he's from Texas, does not embrace all the liberal positions....but at the top of the game tonight, Elizabeth Warren seemed to hold her position and had, I think, some very, very strong moments in going back against candidates like Delaney and Governor Bullock, especially on the nuclear first strike question. Elizabeth Warren had a real presidential posture in the way she expressed herself about that....I felt she dominated that section really strongly. 

Moments before the panel tossed to a Matthews interview with Delaney, Lyin’ Brian and former Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) injected some reality about how socialist proposals could turnoff Trump supporters and swing voters (click “expand”):

WILLIAMS: Senator, a very direct question having to do with Youngstown, Ohio, having to do with a place I used to live, Joplin, Missouri. What happens when you walk into those communities and say, “great news. You're all going to get green jobs. We'll need the keys to your F-150s because we're going all electric.”

MCCASKILL: It would not be good.

WILLIAMS: Yeah.

MCCASKILL: And I think what Tim Ryan is trying to express is a bucket of cold water, which is reality about where America is. America is generally not as far along the left line as Bernie and Elizabeth. Free stuff from the government does not play well in the Midwest because they're just convinced that they're never the ones getting the free stuff. You know, they're working really hard and they can't afford to retire and that was part of the thing that Trump did. He said basically, I'm going to tap into your anger and your angst. We're going to blame the Mexicans and the Muslims for everything that's wrong with the world, and a lot of people who voted for Barack Obama said, you know, maybe this guy is finally going to — you know, let's pull the pin on the grenade and toss it and see what happens. Now, as it turns out, that was a dumb thing to do, but I think the reality is that if you start saying that we're going to elect folks coming across the border have no criminal penalty — and we're going to allow them to get access to free health care through Medicaid programs, then you are going to lose a whole slew of voters that aren't crazy about Donald Trump that are not — not going to go there. It really would be, I think, a very difficult thing to overcome in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, the states that we really need to win. 

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s post-debate analysis on July 30, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Decision 2020: Post-Debate Analysis
July 30, 2019
10:48 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I was shattered by it today, shook up by tonight's debate. To me, it was a very — really — what's the right word? Zealous difference in point of view and passion. I think four or five of the people came in tonight to take on the progressive left, to take on Bernie, to take on Elizabeth Warren, certainly came in and said they got a wish list. The other guy, Delaney, said they were free everything. They were offering free everything. Ryan said they're going to — for backing fantastic economics he called it. Hickenbooper [sic] said, you know, it's all big government jobs for everybody. Not going to sell. So those people were challenging the people on the left tonight. The people on the left were like Butch Cassidy in The Sundance Kid. I mean, Warren and Bernie were basically covering each other as they fought off everyone else. It was interesting to watch. I thought they might go to battle with each other. In fact, they were fighting everyone else. So it was a left — left against a center situation tonight. 

(....)

10:49 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Chris, this happens in debates as much a discussion about who they are, how they want to present themselves as a party, as their was how they're going to beat this guy in 2020 if they're going to be successful. 

MATTHEWS: Well, I think they were dealing with serious issues tonight. There's no doubt about it. With serious issues, there's no doubt. Let's talk about the issue that really drove Donald Trump's campaign last time, immigration — illegal immigration, undocumented workers, if you will. They talked about making it non-criminal to come in the country illegally. Okay. That's going a little bit further away from Trump. On health care, they talked about basically Medicare your whole life or government-run health care. That's going to cost more money. Obviously, if you pay in, all of us do now for Medicare if you reach age 65, you'll have to pay more into it to pay for health care your whole life. Warren wouldn't answer that question, Bernie said that's Republican talking points. On the third one, they really disagreed on the Green New Deal. So, past, present and future, it seems like they hit on the big ones tonight. 

WILLIAMS: Alright, Chris, we're going to come back to you. I know you're going to start receiving a steady stream of some of the ten figures we saw on the stage tonight. 

MATTHEWS: Yes. 

WILLIAMS: And I noticed our friend Rick Wilson said on Twitter this evening, ten people makes for bad television, as he put it there, I said it. Senator, since you are the one in the studio whose name was last on a ballot, I am so curious to hear what you made of what you saw tonight. By the way, there were other issues we'll get to. What was that on Mayor Pete's forehead? A huge issue on social media and we're going to have to talk about the moderators in moderation tonight, a huge topic on social media.

(....)

10:53 p.m. Eastern

JOY REID: But among the moderates, the job was to then narrow it down and become the moderate because right now Joe Biden occupies that lane of being the moderate and the only alternative to him is going to be a governor or maybe Mayor Pete Buttigieg. I was looking to see if one of them was going to stand out as the one guy who could be the last moderate standing. I'm not sure that any of them stood out for me in a sense that they were going to be able to eliminate the others. They're all at one, zero percent. I thought Buttigieg did a good job of laying claim to being the one that was young that could maybe be moderate to a party that wants a future sort of candidate but still wants a moderate and somebody who wants to scare them. I thought Delaney did a good job as the pugilist to take down Warren and Sanders. I was surprised that Warren and Sanders didn’t try to differentiate between themselves. So, you know, because she was kind of on paper first, I think was a good night for Warren. Nobody took her down. 

WILLIAMS: Lawrence O’Donnell, fellow Bay State

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: I strongly agree with that last line that it — it really — it was Elizabeth Warren's debate going in and it stayed that way all the way through. I didn't see anybody gain on her at any point in it. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, I don't think so much they made a tactical decision not to argue with each other. There’s nothing to argue about, so it would look very strange if one of them tried to find a sliver of space between them. I think there might be three categories there, the moderates, the — the liberals, and Pete Buttigieg who I think wants to sound like a moderate in some moments and wants not to in other moments and I think chooses those very carefully, so I think he actually lives in between those two spaces. Of the people clearly occupying the moderate side of the stage, I actually thought Tim Ryan had the best night by far. I thought he — he never had a misstep. You can disagree with his policies, but he was very clear in stating them. He's from Ohio, which we must never forget, and he doesn't let you forget —

WILLIAMS: He's given us eight presidents. 

O’DONNELL: — yeah and the other one who is kind of near that category is Beto O’Rourke that, because he's from Texas, does not embrace all the liberal positions. He stressed the 38 votes in Texas because there’s a new poll out today that shows Beto O’Rourke beats Trump by double digits in Texas. Beto O’Rourke is by the far the strongest Democratic candidate there and he was trying to demonstrate that there, but at the top of the game tonight, Elizabeth Warren seemed to hold her position and had, I think, some very, very strong moments in going back against candidates like Delaney and Governor Bullock, especially on the nuclear first strike question. Elizabeth Warren had a real presidential posture in the way she expressed herself about that. The governor started to stumble in his struggle with her over should we have a policy of announcing that the United States will never use nuclear weapons as a first strike. Elizabeth Warren said yes, we should have that policy. The governor tried to argue about that, and it looks like she really — I felt she dominated that section really strongly. 

REID: Can I say she also had the line of the night. Elizabeth Warren's line, why even come here if all you're going to talk about is what we can't do. This sort of, no, you can't argue against Delaney. I thought it was the line of the night and because of that and the fact that nobody really laid a glove on her —

CLAIRE MCCASKILL: I don’t know. Pete Buttigieg’s line —

EUGENE ROBINSON: I don’t know. Pete Buttigieg’s line — I thought —

MCCASKILL: When he looked at the camera and challenged all the Republicans, that was a very strong moment. 

ROBINSON: But I thought — I thought his — Buttigieg's line of the night was, if we go with a bunch of far left policies, they're going to cause a bunch of crazy socialists and if we go with a bunch of conservative policies, guess what they’re going to do? They'll call us a bunch of crazy conservatives. I thought that was a solid line. I thought — I mean, look, I want to go there. The clear intent was to spark fights. 

REID: Yes.

ROBINSON: “You go after you, and you over there, go after that one over there.” That was — seemed to be the point of the moderation, and so in all that fighting about policy, I'm not sure any of the candidates got that much of a chance to be presidential, to show leadership. 

(....)

11:05 p.m. Eastern

WILLIAMS: Senator, a very direct question having to do with Youngstown, Ohio, having to do with a place I used to live, Joplin, Missouri. What happens when you walk into those communities and say, “great news. You're all going to get green jobs. We'll need the keys to your F-150s because we're going all electric.”

MCCASKILL: It would not be good.

WILLIAMS: Yeah.

MCCASKILL: And I think what Tim Ryan is trying to express is a bucket of cold water, which is reality about where America is. America is generally not as far along the left line as Bernie and Elizabeth. Free stuff from the government does not play well in the Midwest because they're just convinced that they're never the ones getting the free stuff. You know, they're working really hard and they can't afford to retire and that was part of the thing that Trump did. He said basically, I'm going to tap into your anger and your angst. We're going to blame the Mexicans and the Muslims for everything that's wrong with the world, and a lot of people who voted for Barack Obama said, you know, maybe this guy is finally going to — you know, let's pull the pin on the grenade and toss it and see what happens. Now, as it turns out, that was a dumb thing to do, but I think the reality is that if you start saying that we're going to elect folks coming across the border have no criminal penalty — and we're going to allow them to get access to free health care through Medicaid programs, then you are going to lose a whole slew of voters that aren't crazy about Donald Trump that are not — not going to go there. It really would be, I think, a very difficult thing to overcome in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, the states that we really need to win. 

NB Daily 2020 Presidential Debates Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Brian Williams Joy Reid Eugene Robinson Lawrence O'Donnell Chris Matthews Elizabeth Warren Bernie Sanders Tim Ryan
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links