That was a momentous debate. Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker tried to out-Spanish each other with Julian Castro right fucking there, a confused man who claimed to be named “John Delaney” ambled onto stage, Tim Robinson showed up in character as “Congressman Tim Ryan” to do a live I Think You Should Leave sketch, and Chuck Todd reminded everybody why they wonder why he has a job.
Oh, and the microphones got all screwed up, or something.
I don’t want to make this debate sound like a total trainwreck. Compared to any Republican debate from the last election, it was the most tasteful, professional, and uneventful political function ever. And some of the candidates came off very well, like Elizabeth Warren, who actually answered the questions asked her, in what might be a first for a political debate. Castro also came off well, especially when going back-and-forth with O’Rourke on immigration, and somehow even Tulsi Gabbard got a showcase when she and Ryan went head-to-head on Afghanistan.
Still, it’s impossible to call it a success. There were too many candidates loitering the stage and dragging down the quality of debate, and NBC’s questions were reliably terrible, for the most part. (Seriously, Todd’s framing of the gun debate was criminal, and there wasn’t any room for any substantive discussion of climate change, which most candidates named as the biggest threat facing us today.) It wasn’t quite boring, despite what our president might have tweeted, but it wasn’t really constructive or beneficial in any way. It was a modern broadcast network political debate, which means it was basically just a sideshow, although a restrained one compared to what the other party offers.
That means one thing, of course: the best way to watch the debate was with Twitter open on your phone or computer. It made the whole thing tolerable, and also let us all collectively exult over Booker’s response to O’Rourke’s first attempt at Spanish. Here are the best tweets from tonight’s debate, from some of the smartest and funniest comedians and comedy writers on Twitter.
And remember: there’s another one of these things tomorrow night.