Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

THE DEBATE


The complete lack of response to my meditation on the nature of moral and political philosophy suggests that you are all fixated on the riveting presidential campaign, so herewith my take on last night's Democratic Party candidates' debate.  I consider myself well-prepared to a offer substantive, thoughtful reaction because Susie and I turned off the TV and went to sleep after the opening statements by the candidates.  Some early-morning check of the TV talk shows and a bit of web-surfing filled me in.

The boffo line of the night clearly belonged to Bernie Sanders, though it inured to Clinton's benefit, as they say.  After the egregious Anderson Cooper got done pressing her on the matter of her e-mails, Sanders broke in and called for a discussion of important issues.  Then he turned to Clinton, standing next to him, and blurted out, "the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails!"  Clinton, who had just been handed a gift of inestimable value, burst out in delighted laughter.  Bernie's campaign, by the way, received $1.3 million in small donations in the next few hours, triggered by the remark.  It was an entirely authentic, honest, generous, non-self-interested utterance, and Bernie is the only person in either party capable of having made it.

So where do things stand?  O'Malley, Chaffee, and Webb are toast.  Biden now has no good reason to enter the race, since his only hope was to step in and replace a faltering Clinton.  She is clearly not going to falter.  Clinton will be the nominee, and Sanders will remain the sentimental favorite of the party faithful.

As for the general election, the Republican Party Chairman, Reince Priebus, had better start negotiating with his Democratic Party counterpart, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, for the fewest presidential debates possible, because Clinton will eat the Republican nominee for lunch, whomever  he or she may be.

5 comments:

mesnenor said...

The "sick and tired" line reminded me of a classic Monty Python political sketch: "I think all righthtinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. Well, I'm certainly not! And I'm sick and tired of being told that I am."

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Perfect! You can count on Monty Python every time. Thanks for the reminder.

William Cameron said...

Prof. Wolff, I think you're too hasty in predicting that Secretary Clinton will "eat the lunch" of any Republican whom she'll debate next fall if, as you (and I) expect, she is the Democrats' nominee. I say this for two reasons.

First, and less significantly, there are a few adept debaters in the Republican clown car. The egregious junior senator from Texas is one; Chris Christy is another; and there's also Carly Fiorina. None of this trio looks likely to be the GOP candidate at this point. But not a soul has yet cast a vote in a Republican primary or stood up to be counted in an actual caucus. So anything's possible, even if it doesn't seem likely.

More serious is the second reason. l am afraid that for many members of the American electorate a strong resume, a polished delivery, and displaying a facility for scoring points through well-developed arguments will not serve any Democratic candidate well in the debates you're anticipating, and will least of all serve Secretary Clinton well. I say this because of (a) who she is and the baggage she brings nationally as Bill Clinton's spouse, and, perhaps more apprehensively, (b) whom she seeks to succeed in the White House.

Since Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2008 we have heard from the right-wing sound machine, most notably from Fox News but even more relentlessly from Rush Limbaugh and his imitators, and from many other sources, as well, including venomous websites, that the Obama presidency has been a disgrace and a disaster in all regards. Hillary Clinton will have to face the accumulation in our political culture of almost eight years of rightist viciousness, nonsense, unrelenting partisanship, racism, and cynicism when she eventually debates a Republican candidate. That Republican need not be a skilled debater. There are dog whistles a-plenty for her or him to blow here. Secy. Clinton must simultaneously defend the Obama administration in most if not all of its works (she now opposes the TPP, for example ) and separate a sizable portion of the national electorate that chooses to educate itself through right-wing media from its fixation on one or several of the anti-Obama points I noted if she is to eat that Republican's lunch in debates. That will depend on her having run a campaign prior to any debate that convinces that portion of the electorate that buys or at least tolerates the bilge that's been pouring from the right for seven years, that the pile of its propaganda is exactly what it smells like.

Chris said...

All metrics say Hillary lost the debate, so why count out Sanders so quickly, and why count Hillary in so quickly?

http://www.alternet.org/media/bernie-won-all-focus-groups-online-polls-so-why-media-saying-hillary-won-debate

Chris said...

And here's a list of media outlets clouding the facts that Sander's won the debate:

http://usuncut.com/politics/6-reasons-bernie-sanders-actually-owned-the-debate-despite-what-pundits-claim/