If you believe the 22 "experts, insiders, activists and political professionals" polled by Politico about the Democratic presidential debate of Thursday night, one thing is clear
And then the figurative fireworks:
"Castro was mean, and too biting."
"The loser of the night, hands down, was former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Castro for taking a cheap shot at Biden on his memory. Dinging Biden for his age was a calculated risk that failed. You can have policy differences without getting personal."
"Biden did little to dispel the notion that he has lost his fastball, though he may have received an inadvertent boost from Castro’s ill-advised, mean-spirited personal attack."
"Castro, on the other hand, secured the title of the biggest loser. His mean-spirited remarks directed at Biden drew boos from the audience and uncomfortable looks from the debate stage."
".... while irrelevant players like Castro took overly aggressive swipes toward the front-runner former vice president..."
"The underperfomers were Castro, Yang and Buttigeig. Castro came off as too hot."
"I doubt that—or Castro proving less effective than normal at knifing people—moves the numbers up or down."
"Castro’s attacks on Biden didn’t come off as calculated or strategic; they came off as mean. He came off as unlikeable and insensitive."
"In an evening marked by civility and calls for unity, Castro misplayed his interaction with Biden over what he could and could not recall."
The only positive comment about the confrontation in the first half hour between former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and former Vice President Joe "a noun, a verb, and Barack Obama" Biden came from political science professor Seth Maskett.
If you read everyone's statement, one obvious omission is consideration of whether Casro's charge was accurate. Although that's difficult to determine definitively- understanding Biden's health care plan is even more difficult than understanding the ACA- the verdict still should be yes.
I know that the problem with your plan is that it leaves 10 million people uncovered.
Now, on the last debate stage in Detroit, you said that wasn’t true, when Senator Harris brought that up. There was a fact check of that, and they said that was true...
If they choose to hold on to strong, solid private health insurance, I believe they should be able to do. But the difference between what I support and what you support, Vice President Biden, is that you require them to opt in and I would not require them to opt in. They would automatically be enrolled. They wouldn't have a buy in.
And then the figurative fireworks:
BIDEN: They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.
CASTRO: You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago. You just two minutes ago that they would have to buy in.
BIDEN: Do not have to buy in if you can't afford it.
CASTRO: You said they would have to buy in.
BIDEN: Your grandmother would not have to buy in. If she qualifies for Medicaid, she would automatically be enrolled.
CASTRO: Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can't believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you're saying they don't have to buy in. You're forgetting that.
BIDEN: I said anyone like your grandmother who has no money.
CASTRO: I mean, look, look, we need a health care system...
BIDEN: She — you're automatically enrolled.
Automatically enrolled? Not quite, Wilmington/Scranton Joe, for you had stated
The option I'm proposing is Medicare-for-all — Medicare for choice. If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance — from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don't have — no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in. You get covered, period.
Very likely Biden sneaked in the word "automatically" to assure voters that it would be easy to opt in- or simply to mislead them. He stated that individuals who want Medicare "can buy into this. You don't have- no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in." ("You get covered, period" emphasizes that the person will be covered as long as she buys in, with no further requirements.)
Castro was widely slammed for implying his rival was suffering from dementia because of the criticism
Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can't believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you're saying they don't have to buy in. You're forgetting that.
It was, we are to believe, "insensitive," "a cheap shot," and "mean-spirited," or at least "ill-advised." Perhaps Castro should have said "there you go again, intentionally misleading voters. We've already had too much of that the past four years," which would have implied that the former Senator and veep is a liar. But there was no reason that front-runner Joseph R. Biden should have been allowed to reverse course and contradict himself without someone calling him out on it.