Conservative commentator Matt Lewis went up against Democratic strategist Maria Cardona in a debate about the 2020 Democratic Primary candidates being nicer.
CNN ran a video of former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) giving a nuanced answer on Israel, saying that one can dislike a leader of a country without disliking the entire country. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in a tight reelection campaign, and O'Rourke doesn't want to see him reelected but wants to see Israel succeed as a country. Lewis claimed that attacking Netanyahu was akin to attacking the entire country.
"He could be the sort of nice optimistic, hopeful Barack Obama sort of candidate, and instead, and I think he's being outmaneuvered now by Pete Buttigieg," Lewis said of the two candidates' answers on Israel. "You see Beto lurching left with the social justice woke group. I think it undermines the likability that Beto used to have. Beto used to be seen as temperamentally likable and moderate, and I don't think this is a good look actually."
Cardona said that she thinks O'Rourke is still likable, he's merely able to speak the truth.
"He's calling our ally a racist!" Lewis exclaimed.
"Now you're doing exactly what I said. You're conflating Israel with the prime minister," Cardona said. She explained that O'Rourke outlined the difference between attacking the leader of a country over the country and its people. Lewis, an anti-Donald Trump conservative should be well acquainted with denouncing a leader. The same can be said for attacks on Russian President Vladimir Putin not being akin to attacking all Russian people.
"You had a segment about this earlier as [Trump] trying to paint the whole party as anti-Semitic because they want to conflate any criticism we supply towards the Prime Minister of Israel or Netanyahu himself to paint us as being anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, and that is absolutely the furthest thing from the truth that there is, and Beto did a very good job of differentiating those two."
"He is the leader!" Lewis exclaimed. "He's the leader of Israel for right now."
"Does that mean we can't criticize--" Cardona tried to say before the host cut her off.
"People have used the same language about the United States, but does that paint the picture of all of the United States?" CNN's Frederick Whitfield asked.
Watch the full discussion below: