The Stupidest Comments At The Democratic Debate Weren't Completely Horrendous, But They Sure Weren't Flattering

The second Democratic debate is done, and once again, it illustrated the vast chasm in maturity between the Democratic and Republican presidential fields. The candidates on stage tonight were more eager to attack one another this time than during the relatively-tame first debate, but still, tonight’s Democratic forum was primarily a substantive discussion of seriously policy issues, as opposed to the drunken pub brawl that the Republican primary has become. Despite this, however, there were still plenty of stupid things said at the second Democratic debate.

Two of the Democratic candidates for president have dropped out of the race since the first debate: Lincoln “Don’t be so rough on me!” Chafee and Jim “Give me more speaking time!” Webb. As quite a few of the more stupefying moments in that debate came courtesy of Chafee and Webb, the potential for idiocy at tonight’s forum was markedly lower than last time. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley largely stuck to the issues tonight, but the forum nevertheless had its fair share of head-scratching comments by the candidates. Let’s look at the dumbest moments of tonight’s debate — because it’s going to be another month until the next Democratic forum.

On Presidential Qualifications


"I don't think that there is a crisis at the state or local level that really you can point to and say, therefore, I am prepared for the sort of crises that any man or woman who is commander in chief of our country has to deal with." —Martin O'Malley

O'Malley was asked to name a crisis he'd dealt with that prepared him for the presidency. His response was basically, "there isn't one." Well, at least he was honest.

On Democracy In The Middle East


"The Libyans turned out for one of the most successful, fairest elections that any Arab country has ever had. They elected moderate leaders." —Hillary Clinton

Technically, this is true. It's also true that after these elections, Libya quickly descended into chaos and now lacks a functioning central government.

On The Fight Against ISIS


“This is a war for the soul of Islam. And those countries who are opposed to Islam, they are going to have to get deeply involved in a way that is not the case today." —Bernie Sanders

He clearly meant to say "...those countries who are opposed to ISIS," but still, it didn't sound good.

On Criminal Justice Reform


“I would [enact criminal justice reform] with more experience, and probably the attendance at more grave sites, than any of the three of us on this stage when it comes to urban crime.” —Martin O'Malley

Bragging about how many people were killed under your watch as governor isn't good optics.

On Wall Street's Influence In Politics


“I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan, where Wall Street is." —Hillary Clinton

This was in response to Sanders' implication that Clinton does the bidding of wealthy bankers on Wall Street. It's unclear what the attacks of September 11th have to do with this.

On Flip-Flopping


"In 2008, you were portraying yourself as Annie Oakley, and saying that we don't need [gun] regulations on the federal level.” —Martin O'Malley, to Hillary Clinton

This is an implicit attack on Oakley herself, an early pioneer of women's empowerment. Probably not a good line of attack to use against, you know, Hillary Clinton.

On Terrorism


"We have organizations, whether it is ISIS or Al Qaeda, who do believe we should go back several thousand years.” —Bernie Sanders

Maybe this is nitpicky, but doesn't it sound a bit weird to call ISIS an "organization?" That kind of makes it sound like a non-profit, or perhaps a think tank.