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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still toast (he’s around 1 percent nationally), and “Uncle Joe” did need to be accosted over his incredibly backwards, outdated, wholly out-of-touch recent assertion that marijuana is or may be a “gateway drug.”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.)