Hillary Clinton and some other people will step onto the stage to debate tonight in CNN's Democratic presidential candidates' debate in Las Vegas.
Charlotte Allen has already commented on the liberal media scramble to make excuses for expected low viewership tonight.
As far as I am concerned, there are only two questions for the evening: 1.) Which Hillary Clinton will show up? (2.) Will the mainstream media panel protect her?
The latter will be important going forward, as they say.
When it comes to the issues, Andrew Malcolm sums up what we're likely to see:
Look for the usual LGBT allegiance vows, denunciations of inequalities of all kinds, recitals of GOP assaults on women, females and ladies.
Malcolm on what the pundits will say after the debate:
Watch for CNN analysts to opine that [Bernie] Sanders had a good showing introducing himself and not so subtly stressing he's been on the left long before Clinton. He won't bash her. And, the TV talkers will say, she didn't hurt herself, the goal of every front-runner in these media events.
Still, I am morbidly interested in which Mrs. Clinton will show up tonight.
Will it be the combative, shrewish "What Difference At This Point Does It Make?" Hillary of the Benghazi hearings? Will it be Hillary as Everywoman (wait–that is so last summer). Heck, we may get a whole protean passel of Hillaries in one evening.
How the panel treats Mrs. Clinton and those other people is also of interest.
The panel's attitude for CNN's GOP debate was, "We'll hold your coat while you and Donald Trump slug it out." I've seen a news clip to the effect that there will not be a similar attempt to set candidate against candidate tonight. But the real question is how (if?) Mrs. Clinton's email scandal will be addressed. Benghazi itself is important but I'm not seeing a CNN panel going there, unless it's to give Hillary an oportunity to portray the investigation as nothing more than a GOP witch hunt.
On the other hand, the emails have been covered by the mainstream media. It is beyond dispute that classified information was not protected as it should have been. Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff has said that an email exchange between Mrs. Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal contained the name of a CIA operator and may have put the spy's life in jeopardy. Isikoff says that this is “evidence of a commission of a federal crime by somebody,” but possibly not by Clinton.
How will the panel handle the emails?
Will they find a way to go soft on Mrs. Clinton?
If Vice President Joe Biden were on the stage tonight, the press, knowing that there is an alternative to Mrs. Clinton, might be harder about the emails.
Oh, and those of you who are expecting a breakout moment from Martin O'Malley? Not gonna happen.