Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during a break in Sunday’s NBC News-YouTube Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, S.C. (Not pictured: candidate Martin O’Malley.) (Mic Smith / AP)

In the Sunday’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton tried to show voters she’s the “serious and sober candidate.” But “if there’s one thing we’ve learned about the political mood of the United States going into 2016,” writes former Bush speechwriter John Podhoretz at The New York Post, “it’s that the public doesn’t seem especially sober.”

“The country is in a rage, Democrats as well as Republicans, at the brokenness of our politics and the stagnation of the middle class,” Podhoretz continues. “Hillary cannot find a way to tap into that — and tapping into that is all Sanders does.”

[Clinton] had a genuinely creepy, Michael-Corleone-in-“Godfather 2” moment when she basically said “we’re both part of the same hypocrisy” after the third man in the debate, Martin O’Malley, criticized her for raising money on Wall Street.

She really doesn’t have a choice but to position herself as the insider’s insider, really, though she could do it more artfully. She talked about how O’Malley had gotten Wall Street donations when he was head of the Democratic Governors Association. “Well,” O’Malley replied, “I’m not getting them now.” […]

On health care, Clinton seemed to walk into a trap. She found herself defending the charge made (by her daughter!) that Bernie Sanders would dismantle ObamaCare.

He made incredibly short work of that by saying that he voted for ObamaCare and simply wants it to be the opening step toward what he calls “Medicare For All” — meaning a single-payer government health care system.

Once again, the fact that Hillary wasn’t comfortable taking that idea on directly shows the weakness of her anti-populist approach. She would say only that to raise new health care ideas would open a can of worms in 2017 that would give Republicans a way to abolish ObamaCare.

That criticism makes no sense. After all, the scenario she was addressing would involve Sanders having been elected president and sitting in the White House — which would mean he would have veto authority over any such Republican action and that the country had decided in 2016 to move farther to the left in any case.

Continue reading here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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