Monthly Archives: November 2019

My undebatable thoughts on last night’s Democratic Party presidential debate


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There still are too many candidates, but as the Iowa caucuses approach, the Democratic Party presidential debates are gaining importance. I’d say that in last night’s debate in Atlanta, the inarticulate, often-addled Joe Biden did the worst, hands down.

I watched the Democratic presidential debate last night. I knew that so much of it would be rehashed stuff, but I figured that because the Iowa caucuses are only two and a half months away, I could spend two hours-ish watching.

Some thoughts on it as I think of them:

Joe Biden has lost it. Let’s see: Apparently forgetting that a black female U.S. senator was standing very close to him. Saying that we need to keep punching away (he used that term) at violence against women. His bizarre, antiquated, suddenly gung-ho closing statement, ripped from a time capsule from the 1950s or before, that clearly was rehearsed but was not delivered with any real feeling.

Strike three, Biden’s out, but his supporters, like “President” Pussygrabber’s supporters, blindly ignore his flaws, so no, he’s not out. Depressingly, he remains the front-runner, at least in the nationwide polling. (He’s hardly been coronated already, however; he’s at around 30 percent, which he could build upon — or could hemorrhage.)

I have lived in California for more than two decades. I can tell you that Kamala Harris’ relaxed jive talking is a cynical contrivance apparently meant to appeal to black voters. As California’s attorney general for six years, she never talked like that. Do with that information what you will.

It was interesting watching the Kamala Harris-Tulsi Gabbard catfight, though. Funny that two candidates who are polling so low — Harris is around only 4 percent nationally and Gabbard is around only 2 percent — would pull each other’s hair out like that on live national television when neither of them is going to be the presidential nominee. Whatever. We needed some entertainment, I suppose.

Cory Booker wasn’t as annoyingly ingratiating and cloying as he usually is, but he’s still toast (he’s around 1 percent nationally), and “Uncle Joe” did need to be accosted over his incredibly backwards, outdated, wholly out-of-touch recent assertion that marijuana is or may be a “gateway drug.”

All that Pete Buttigieg had to do was to Look Serious (that is, Presidential). He succeeded. I cannot support such a blank-slate centrist who’s only been the mayor of a relatively small city, but he sure looked the part. (Polling at only around 8 percent nationally, I don’t see Boy Scout Pete actually getting the part, however.)

Shrill centrist Amy Klobuchar I just don’t understand — why she still is even polling enough and taking in enough cash to still make these debates, I mean (she’s around 2 percent nationally). I hear the well-rehearsed words that Klobuchar says, but I don’t feel any feeling behind them. I see why she’s at 2 percent.

Tom Steyer to me is kind of like a ghost. He talks, but as we have no history with him nationally, I can’t think of why I should invest in anything he says. I’m not saying that I disagree with him on a shitload of stuff — I’m just saying that I’m not willing to invest in a candidate who joined the race fairly late and who polls only at around 1 percent. (Also, of course, I’m not at all big on billionaires running for office.)

Andrew Yang can be funny, even though his laugh lines seem rehearsed, and he strikes me as smart and quite knowledgeable in some areas, but I’ve never understood his appeal. And like with Steyer, I’m not saying that I disagree with a shitload of what Yang puts forth; it’s just that I’m not going to invest in a candidate who’s polling at only around 3 percent. Yang has done well for a rather complete and total outsider, but we won’t be saying “President Yang.”

Elizabeth Warren was lackluster (for her, anyway), but she did not make any big mistakes or suffer any big body blows. That said, recently she has dipped below 20 percent in nationwide polling, so her moment might have come and gone. Last night’s adequate-but-not-impressive debate performance probably won’t give her any appreciable bump in the polls.

Bernie Sanders was Bernie Sanders. While I agree with pretty much every word that he says, I’ve been following him since 2015, so it’s not like he says anything new.

But with Bernie that’s not a bug — that’s a feature. I quite like that he is consistent and that what you see and hear is what you get. He is solid. You know where he stands and you know that he has stood there for decades, very most likely.

Bernie doesn’t change his speaking style or his political stances to match what he or his advisers consider to be the political mood of the day. (That said, he does seem to have gotten his fly-away hair under control, which was a reasonable change for the better…)

Bernie made no notable flubs and was not savaged on stage last night. In a way he’s kind of ignored — not only by his fellow candidates but also by the corporately owned and controlled mainstream media, which often omit mention of him entirely when the Democratic presidential front-runners are discussed (and yes, he is one of those front-runners) — perhaps as not being serious or viable enough, which I think is fine, because sometimes, while the flighty hares are all trying to outdo each other and take each other down, the unassuming, unexciting, but solid turtle quietly — and slowly, but surely — crosses the finish line first, often under the radar, because he took the long view and because he did it unspectacularly.

P.S. Primarily based upon their low polling and their tiny chance of winning the nomination, the five candidates who appeared in last night’s debate who I’d remove from the race if I had such power are, in order: Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang. (If I were going to remove six of them, the sixth would be Cory Booker or Pete Buttigieg.)

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Barack Obama needs to STFU

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He needs to take his own advice right about now.

By chiming in to the 2020 Democratic Party presidential race now, former President Barack Obama apparently is trying to do two things: retroactively justify his own centrist, milquetoast presidency and encourage the voters now to choose his hand-picked do-nothing successor, Deval Patrick.

Among other things, Obama recently proclaimed — to an audience of Democratic donors, of course — that “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it,” and that “We also have to be rooted in reality and the fact that voters, including the Democratic voters and certainly persuadable independents or even moderate Republicans, are not driven by the same views that are reflected on certain, you know, left-leaning Twitter feeds. Or the activist wing of our party.” 

So although the Repugnicans never walk on eggshells or apologize for their very existence, but just ram their right-wing agenda through as much as they can, Obama and his milquetoast ilk advise Democrats to (continue to) be pussies — and thereby lose elections because the voters clearly see that they’re pussies who won’t take anything remotely like bold action to improve their lives.

Obama sorely needs to shut the fuck up.

I took a leap of faith on that ubiquitous “hope” and “change” bullshit and voted for Obama in 2008. I fucking regretted it. After it became clear during his first term that he was more interested in trying to please the Repugnicans than trying to please his base by even trying to pass a progressive agenda while he still had both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in his own party’s control in 2009 and 2010 — once the House was lost to the Repugs in November 2010 for the remainder of Obama’s presidency, there was no way that he was going to have any significant progressive achievement — there was no way that I could vote for Obama again in 2012, and so I did not; I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her campaign promises. (Call me old-fashioned!)

Now, after eight years of an unremarkable presidency — indeed, presidential scholars rank Obama at the bottom of only the second quartile of all U.S. presidents* — Obama is encouraging us to go with his clone. And we need to say resoundingly: Oh, hell no!

It was no secret that when Deval Patrick first considered running for president no later than in 2017, he had Obama’s backing. It can be no coinky-dink, then, that now that Patrick tardily has entered the race in a disrespectful, egomaniacal manner, Obama is piping up now in praise of the do-nothing Democrat who doesn’t scare many to even most Repugnicans — and most importantly, doesn’t scare big-money donors to Democrats.

This bullshit didn’t work when Obama was president; indeed, the Obama presidency led us to the Pussygrabber presidency. Had Obama presided progressively — had he used the power of the office to better Americans’ lives (no, Obamacare, which required people to buy health insurance from for-profit insurance companies, is not progressive) — the Democrats would have won in November 2016.

But now, Obama encourages us to repeat his own failures.

And by doing that, and by trying to put his finger on the scale for Deval Patrick, Obama only further taints his own legacy. Obama did us no favors when he was president, and he is doing us no favors now from the past-presidential peanut gallery.

*In other words, Obama is just one notch above having been ranked in the bottom half of all U.S. presidents. See for yourself. (In the table, hit the sorting icon at the top of the last column, “Most frequent quartile,” and then look at where Obama lands.)

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Give the egomaniacal late-comers the cold shoulder that they deserve

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Deval Patrick, left, and Michael Bloomberg, right, actually think that we want them now, with less than three months before the Iowa caucuses.

As I have noted, the 2020 Democratic Party presidential field already is too large, yet now we have billionaire Michael Bloomberg and corporate whore Deval Patrick entering the race when the Iowa caucuses are less than three months away, each apparently believing that he has That Special Something possessed by none of the other candidates who already have been campaigning their hearts out for months.

With Julian Castro’s impending implosion — he didn’t qualify for this month’s debate, so say sayonara to him* — and now the entry of Bloomberg and Patrick, we have taken one step forward and two steps back.

Why Bloomberg believes that the billionaire lane is untaken when his fellow billionaire Tom Steyer is languishing in the polls (he’s at 1 percent nationwide) eludes me (except, I suppose, that Bloomberg has held elected office [well, he bought it, but nevermind…]).

Why Patrick is running is, I think, fairly obvious: I think he didn’t run initially because he’d thought that the black lane, already occupied by Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, was too crowded.

But because Harris and Booker are languishing in the polls (at about 5 percent and 2 percent nationally, respectively), I surmise, Patrick believes that he could have done — and still could do — better than either of those two.

I disagree. The Democratic presidential caucus and primary voters actually aren’t hankering for yet another corporate whore trying to leverage identity politics to get into the Oval Office. (Yes, as I’ve noted, after Patrick left his job as governor of Massachusetts in January 2015, he joined Repugnican Mittens Romney’s Bain Capital, where he was employed until yesterday.)

And the percentage of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters polled nationwide who remain undecided is only around 8 percent, per Real Clear Politics, so no, it’s not like the voters are very unhappy with their current choices; most of them have found a candidate they like.

I don’t see Patrick or Bloomberg qualifying for any of the debates that will be held between now and the Iowa caucuses, and, as others have pointed out, the lion’s share of talented consultants and staffers of course already have been employed by the campaigns that have been going on for months.

And while Bloomberg has plenty of his own money, as he demonstrated when he bought the mayorship of New York City, what about Patrick? The New York Times notes that “He will start with zero campaign cash.”

And both Patrick and Bloomberg initially were going to run, then decided not to run, and now have decided to run after all. If decisiveness is something that we want in our president, as well as the possession of good timing, then neither Bloomberg nor Patrick is our candidate.

I personally am put off by someone thinking that he or she is so fucking great that he or she is entering the race now. It shows, I think, a huge amount of egomania and utter disrespect for the process (which is that you actually fucking campaign).

The voters should give these egomaniacal late-comers the cold shoulder that they so deserve.

*The 10 who are scheduled to appear on Wednesday’s debate stage in Atlanta are Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang.

Beto O’Rourke and Castro are the only two who appeared in last month’s debate who won’t appear in this month’s, O’Rourke because he dropped out (knowing that he wouldn’t qualify for this month’s debate, apparently) and Castro because he didn’t meet the polling and fundraising benchmarks for this month’s debate.

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More should follow Beto’s example and get the hell out of the way already

Updated below (on Sunday, November 3, 2019)

We’ve got a lot more culling to do…

Beto O’Rourke lasted longer than I’d probably thought that he would — way back in December of last year I wrote that I hoped that his presidential campaign would fail — but he finally dropped out of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential race yesterday.

Politico reported yesterday:

Des Moines — Beto O’Rourke, running out of money and flat-lining in public opinion polls, abandoned his presidential campaign [today], exiting the contest just as a crush of better-funded, higher-polling candidates arrived here for an Iowa Democratic Party event.

Speaking to a group of tearful supporters on a lawn across from the convention center where O’Rourke had originally been scheduled to appear, O’Rourke pointed to the campaign’s inability to raise sufficient money in recent months.

“This is a campaign that has prided itself on seeing things clearly, on speaking honestly and on acting decisively,” O’Rourke said. “We have to clearly see at this point that we do not have the means to pursue this campaign successfully.” …

A campaign adviser said O’Rourke will not run for [the U.S.] Senate next year, despite persistent prodding. Leaving the gathering, O’Rourke declined to answer several questions about his departure from the race. But he said he will do “whatever I can for this country, no longer as a candidate, but with my fellow Americans.” …

Before his exit yesterday, O’Rourke had been polling, on average, at only 2 percent in nationwide polls.

But also still polling at no more than 2 percent on average in nationwide polls is Amy Klobuchar, who also should take a fucking hint already.

And Andrew Yang, polling only around 3 percent nationwide on average, also should drop out, but he’s become a bit of a cult candidate, so I don’t expect him to drop out until he at least fizzles out in Iowa on February 3.

I have no special animosity toward Yang, whom I’ve never had the desire to research since he’ll never be president anyway, but, like O’Rourke was and like Klobuchar still is, he is taking up oxygen from the room when he has no long-term chance for survival.

When you absolutely cannot win, then your continued presidential candidacy is just your little vanity project, and I’d say that solidifying support for one candidate (or, OK, for right now, anyway, for up to no more than two or three candidates) to take on “President” Pussygrabber is far more important than is any one individual’s little vanity project.

On that note, several candidates are even below 2 percent in nationwide polling averages yet they still plague us with their “candidacies”; among these bottom-bottom feeders are Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer and Julian Castro.

All of them should drop out now.

Most of them probably won’t, so hopefully the increasingly higher requirements for the subsequent Democratic Party presidential primary debates will shut them out of the debates, and their campaigns will die the natural deaths that they deserve.

Indeed, The New York Times recently reported that thus far, only four candidates have met the significantly stiffer entry requirements for the December debate: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

That’s not surprising, since those four are the top four nationwide-polling candidates.

I’m not on Team Buttigieg — that he’s a fellow gay white man isn’t nearly enough for me; I find his Clintonian centrism to be way off-putting — but right now his national polling average is around 8 percent, putting him at No. 4.

Because Boy Scout Pete is doing this well, I can’t really say that he should drop out right now.

But Kamala Harris is the black female version of Beto O’Rourke: Why, exactly, we’re supposed to support her message-free, inspiration-free candidacy remains a fucking mystery.

(Well, maybe not such a mystery: Like with Cory Booker, I’ve always believed that Harris’ “tactic” all along was her stupid belief that, because of toxic identity politics, it would be a cakewalk for her to be Obama 2.0 — even though [like Booker], unlike Obama, she has zero charisma. [I mean, Booker tries for “charisma,” I guess, but it comes off as what it is: insincere, complete and utter goody-goody-two-shoes bullshit that is far more nauseating than it is anything remotely like heart-warming.])

The news yesterday that Harris’ campaign, apparently in panic mode, is putting most of its resources into Iowa now indicates that she’s desperate.

She’s doing poorly even in Iowa — she’s now at sixth place there, with only 3 percent — and even though she supposedly was going to do great in South Carolina because of her race and identity politics, she’s at only fourth place there, with only 7 percent.

And losing your own home state is never a good thing, so how is Harris doing here in California? Oh, she’s in fourth place, with only 8 percent.

Stick a fork in Harris because she’s done, but she’s probably still hoping for an undeserved No. 2 spot on the 2020 Democratic Party presidential ticket — I mean, the top four candidates all are white — and so I expect Harris to linger for a while longer, at least through Iowa.

How is my man Bernie doing? As I’ve said about a billion times before, as long as he remains in the top three and in the double digits in the nationwide polling averages — and he does — I’m fine with his chances of becoming the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

Now what we need is further culling of the herd.

O’Rourke was a nice start; hopefully, the others who have a snowball’s chance will follow his lead and relieve us of their bafflingly continued vanity projects.*

Update (Sunday, November 3, 2019): Politico reports today that Kamala Harris has made the December debate, keeping her campaign alive. (Well, “keeping her campaign alive” is my analysis, not necessarily Politico’s…)

So thus far that’s five candidates who have qualified for the December debate, in order of their nationwide polling: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Harris.

If the December debate consisted of no more than six or seven candidates, that would be swell. (If it were only five, that would be even sweller.)

*The New York Times also recently reported that nine candidates have made it to this month’s Democratic Party presidential primary debate: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang.

Again, in my book, Booker, Klobuchar, Steyer and Yang don’t belong on that debate stage because of their tiny level of support, but I don’t expect more than one or two of them to drop out before this month’s debate, and, indeed, none of them might drop out before then.

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