After that Democrat debate, the US looks like the real loser
Published 15/10/2015 | 02:30
They do things differently in America - and their political debates are a perfect example. While we may have tried to import a whiff of West Wing politics into this country, it's never going to have the same sort of showbiz energy the Yanks have mastered, and the run up to Tuesday's night's Democrat debate was treated by American news channels as if it was a crunch NFL playoff game, rather than a collection of people auditioning for the biggest job in the world.
Even Irish viewers who wouldn't ordinarily tune into such debates found themselves watching the first Republican shindig on Fox News during the summer.
That was largely down to the increasingly surreal presence of Donald Trump, of course, and while the Democrat face-off promised fewer fireworks it was equally compelling - and depressing.
Ultimately, whoever becomes the next president of the United States will have a direct impact on our own lives, and as the entire Middle East continues to slide inexorably towards complete and utter chaos, the world will want a strong POTUS. But they won't have seen that person standing on the dais in Las Vegas being grilled by Anderson Cooper.
Even when her husband was merely the Governor of Arkansas, Hillary and Bill were known as the Bonnie and Clyde of American politics and watching her stiff, condescending, arrogant and astonishingly entitled performance the other night reminded any neutral observer that this is a woman who seems to think that scandals are for little people.
Her demented approach to inconvenient facts knows no bounds, it seems. She has changed her story more often than her pant suits (Benghazi, gay marriage, those emails, etc) she was even able to stand tall and claim, with a straight face, to be an 'outsider' in Washington, which was a stretch of hubris remarkable even for her.
But while she may have been the front runner, her star is rapidly losing its lustre even though her main rival, Bernie Sanders, just comes over like a cross between Jeremy Corbyn and a puppet from Team America: World Police, blaming Wall Street and those evil corporations for everything.
That may have played well with an increasingly radical Democrat base, and his assertion that climate change is the greatest threat to national security will also have received approving nods.
But let's be honest, only a mad person, or John Kerry, honestly thinks that climate change is a bigger threat to world safety than a depraved ISIS, an emboldened Russian bear or Iranian nukes.
This was all about running their credentials and philosophy up the flag pole and seeing which ideas would fly, which was why Clinton was so desperate to play the gender card, saying on more than one occasion that: "I can't think of anything more of an 'outsider' than electing the first woman president, but I'm not just running because I would be the first woman president."
Just why exactly she is running still remains a mystery - with many observers arguing that she is doing so simply because that's what a Clinton does whenever they get a sniff of political office; a lust for power kicks in and their animal instinct takes over.
If we learnt one thing from this week's first Democrat debate it was this - America is screwed.
The Republican front runner to many seems unfit for high office yet seems to increase his lead in the polls with every gaffe he makes. Ben Carson, the other potential candidate, is quietly impressive but has a worrying habit of talking about his belief in the 'End Times', which is always rather troubling coming from someone with access to nuclear weapons.
For the Democrats, on the other hand, their front runner is a proven and noted phoney disliked by the public and whose entire campaign could be moot if the FBI decide to prosecute her over the email scandal, while Bernie Sanders is, to put it politely, a nut.
So who won the debate?
Ironically, it was probably Joe Biden, who still hasn't even announced whether he is going to run.
It's going to be a long campaign.