The Great Debate … #5

I just finished watching most of tonight’s Democratic debate (I had to take a 15-minute break to roll a pack of smokes).  This is the first of the debates this year that I have watched for a number of reasons.  One, when there were 20 candidates on the debate stage, it seemed pointless.  No way was any candidate going to be able to have enough time for us to get a good feel for his/her platform, ideas, and persona.  Second, I actually hate watching debates.  Why?  Because I do not like to see the infighting that typically takes place … the sly remarks, the arguing, the cutting of other candidates.  Third, because as a rule, I see little value in them … it often turns into more of a personality contest than an actual presentation of ideas.  Tonight, the field was narrowed to a more manageable, though still twice as large as it should be, number of candidates (10), the infighting wasn’t too bad, and I came away with a somewhat better idea of the differences between the candidate’s platforms.  I wanted to share my (unsolicited) thoughts about the debate while it is fresh in my mind, for by tomorrow I will have forgotten half of my impressions.

Overall, my biggest complaint about the debate topics was the omission, once again, of any meaningful discussion about climate change.  It was touched on briefly, but far too little relative to its importance, and only in the most general of ways.

The candidates, in my order of least to most likely to win the nomination (I have included links to their Politico profile which includes their platform):

Tom Steyer speaks well, has some good ideas such as term limits for Congress, and is an environmentalist.  He is not, however, qualified to be president of the United States.  He is a billionaire businessman … we do not need another of those.  He stands no chance and would be doing the nation a favour by dropping out, so that future debates can focus on the more viable candidates.

I found Tulsi Gabbard to be incredibly arrogant and combative.  Gabbard is a veteran of the Iraq War, and I respect that.  But, she has been highly critical of such people as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as the Democratic Party in general, while cozying up to the likes of Steve Bannon, and has among her fans, the ignominious Tucker Carlson.  She struck me as somehow ‘false’, not genuine. She is polling very low and, like Steyer, would be better off dropping out.

Amy Klobuchar has some very good ideas, such as ending Citizen’s United (one of my top priorities), and is well-spoken, but something about her bothered me, and quite honestly, I don’t know what it was.  She had one line, however, that brought the house down and had me laughing out loud:  “If you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day.”  That line alone should bring her up a few points in the polls!  I have mixed thoughts about Klobuchar, however since I don’t expect to see her in the top 3, I’m not going to overthink it.

This was the first time I really took much notice of Andrew Yang, and I liked what I saw and heard.  He was very down-to-earth, his humanitarianism seemed genuine, and he came across as very intelligent.  However, he has no government experience of any sort, is an entrepreneur, and that just simply falls short of the qualifications in my book.  It might not have three years ago, but after the experience of the current administration, I want somebody in office who at least halfway knows what they’re doing and how our government operates.

Kamala Harris has always impressed me, and tonight was no exception.  She has some experience in government at both state and federal levels, having been the Attorney General of California for 6 years, San Francisco District Attorney for 7 years, and has currently served as a U.S. Senator from California since 2017.  She speaks with passion, intelligence, and I found nothing in her platform that I disagreed with.

I like Cory Booker.  No, I don’t think he stands a snowball’s chance, but I like him, like his ideas, his platform, and think that while maybe 2020 isn’t his time, perhaps 2028 might be.  I disagreed with him on one thing, that he is against increasing taxes on the wealthy, though he said he definitely does support estate taxes and capital gains taxes, and he agreed that the nation needs to find additional sources of revenue.  He was friendly, congenial to the other candidates, and his closing statement brought a tear to my eyes when he noted that Representative John Lewis, a hero in my book, was in the audience and referred to Mr. Lewis’ civil rights heroism of the 1960s.

Pete Buttigieg was ranked as one of the debate ‘winners’ by The Washington Post, and I would agree.  He is intelligent, and while his governing experience is limited to being Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, since 2012, it is certainly more than the current president has.  He speaks well, has some good points, such as in the areas of housing, minimum wage, and education.  He took some guff tonight, as was expected given that he has been rising in the polls of late.  I rank Mayor Pete fourth of the ten remaining candidates.

Which brings us to the top three.  I truly cannot rank these as #1, #2, #3, because they are all excellent candidates and I am very much torn between the three, yet all three have the same Achilles Heel … their age.

bernie_palestine_debateBernie Sanders did a great job tonight.  He was passionate, spoke with strength and compassion, had all the right answers, in my book.  He had many good moments in the debate, but I think the one that received the warmest audience response was when he said, “It is no longer good enough for us simply to be pro-Israel. I am pro-Israel. But we must treat the Palestinian people with the respect and dignity they deserve.”  The concern with Bernie Sanders is his age and health.  He is 78 years old and recently suffered a heart attack.

Elizabeth Warren had the most speaking time on the debate stage, and I absolutely loved the passion with which she spoke, not to mention that I always like her ideology.  One of the most controversial topics was Medicare-for-All.  I liked many of the ideas that were floated, but I think perhaps I liked Warren’s best, for hers was to phase it in over a three-year period in order to have time to work out the kinks, and to give people time to “feel it and taste it and live with it”.  As with Bernie Sanders, her age is a factor, at 70.

I have thought, since the beginning of this never-ending campaign season, that Joe Biden is the most viable candidate, and … I still think that, with reservations.  Biden, obviously, has the most relevant experience, and he is more moderate than some of the others that I like.  The sad truth is that next year’s presidential election is not about any issues … it’s not about climate change, health care, education, foreign policy, housing, or any of the other issues.  It is about one thing and one thing only:  Who can beat Donald Trump.  Everything else is secondary.  Biden is, of the ten remaining candidates, the most qualified, and the most ‘trusted’, for he is a known factor, while the others are unknowns, relatively speaking.  Biden would be a good president.  However, as far as the debates, I must admit that relative to almost all the others, Joe Biden was not exciting … in fact, he damn near put me to sleep. Additionally, Biden gets cantankerous when challenged … not a good thing.  At the moment, I think he is the best choice to beat Trump, but … for a number of reasons, that may change.

The most recent polls …

Candidate Economist/YouGove Politico/Morning Consult
Biden 30 32
Warren 22 17
Sanders 12 20
Buttigieg 9 8
Harris 4 5
Bloomberg 0 3
Yang 2 3
Gabbard 3 2
Klobuchar 2 2
Booker 1 2
Steyer 1 1

Overall, the debate was worth watching, and I was glad I did.  I’ll likely watch one or two more if I can.  Though it wasn’t captioned, the audio quality was excellent, and I had no trouble hearing the candidates.  I would like to see the next one, which I believe is later this month, whittled down to five candidates, but I am not holding my breath there.  The candidates engaged in a bit of humour from time to time, which helped, and I chuckled aloud more than once, ‘til finally daughter Chris asked what the heck I was watching!

I will have more on the candidates and their platforms in the coming weeks/months, but those are my thoughts about tonight’s debate.  It’s gonna be a loooooooooonnnngg 12 months, my friends.

26 thoughts on “The Great Debate … #5

  1. honestly, while I like and admire Joe, he just needs to go to bed and leave the pack. He came across to me (and the hubs) as a bit arrogant, wholly confused and easily irritated. Not presidential. What the heck was wrong with Amy? she shook like a leaf all night. Didn’t look as cool and collected as in the other debates. Yang, while being extremely interesting is too early in the eon to win the nomination. I absolutely hate it but frankly he is far too “oriental” for the morons who vote. he has zero chance of winning. I don’t think America is going to go for businessman Tom either. we’ve seen what happens when a “businessman” is in office. Kamala, Elizabeth and Bernie all came out in front……..Kamala most of all IMO. George thinks Pete did better. He (again imo) let his anger get him when Ms. Gabbard spread misinformation yet again about him. Ms. Gabbard frankly needs to go away. I am sure she is a nice person under all that snark, but Russia for some reason LIKES her and that is enough for me not to. The most “likable” candidate IMO is Booker. He’s a terrific guy…BUT, I do not see him gaining the nomination nor if he did gaining enough votes to be pres. I honestly think it should be between Kamala, Elizabeth and Bernie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Overall I agree with your assessment of the front running candidates. Joe is a nice guy, but getting on in years. As an establishment centrist, he will accommodate big money donors from Wall St, banks, Big Ag, oil and so his administration will be beholden to special interests like the Repugs. Which means no major change in policies that matter to the common folk. This is one of the fundamental problems which led to 2016 election result, the surprise win going to Trump b/c independents and most progressives stayed home, protested the election. That’s where the DNC miscalculated, underestimated Bernie & Jill Stein supporters.
      Incidentally Hillary smearing Jill and Tulsi as being Russian agents is not helping, no one is silly enough to believe that without hard proof. Also anything Hillary says is a kiss of death, the DNC is praying with bated breathe that she would simply stay quiet. Every word out of her tend to backfire and hurt her own party. Trump would luv nothing more than to have Hillary run again!
      Realistically the race is between Warren and Bernie, altho the party will try it’s best to push Joe as the nominee. If… and this is a huge if… Bernie wins he will return the favor and select Tulsi as his VP. That may be what it takes to upset the apple cart and defeat the elitist powers and corporations who support Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I fully agree re: Biden. I think he needs to go to bed and just sleep through the election. Unfortunately, the “voting public” disagree with this notion.

      Re: Amy … I noticed that shaking as well and was a bit concerned. Do you think it was just nerves … or could it be an actual health issue?

      At this point, as I’ve expressed elsewhere, I’m still pulling for Pete … even though I’m well aware of his chances. Nevertheless, I would really like to see some “young blood” running this country.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think most people have long ago chosen between trump and ANY democrat and we won’t change that fact.. however those on the fence, undecided, are the ones that could be affected by the debates and the dirt about trump dug up in the impeachment hearings.

    To me the key is to get democrats to vote period. And it seems the younger generations that would lean away from trump and such conservatism, are the very ones who often are apathetic and don’t.

    I do think age is a factor, especially Bernie.

    Warren, whom I like very much, makes the wealthy nervous because many, not all, don’t want to give an inch $ to help others get a fair shake in life.

    Pete, another favorite of mine, I don’t believe will be hurt by being gay, because most liberal to moderate voters are not hung up on that, and those that are are probably trump supporters. It might be his youth and lack of experience.

    I really don’t want to see it being Biden, but again, ANYONE is better than trump.

    Usually a Vice President pick doesn’t count for too much, but this time I think it will.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s interesting to read other people’s take on the debate. 🙂

    While I tend to agree with you as regards the debaters and their presentations, I’m still not all that thrilled with any of the top three. For me, age is definitely a factor (personal reasons). And I must admit this plays a role in my desire to see Buttigieg pass one of them in the polls … and stay there. If elected, he’d probably stumble around a bit, but I think he’s very intelligent and would quickly learn the ropes (something the current POTUS REFUSES to do!).

    I hadn’t really given Andrew much though since he tends to focus more on technology than actual government issues. But as far as the lack of experience, like Buttigieg, I think he would be open to learning.

    I liked Kamala at the beginning — not so much now. And like you, I have mixed thoughts about Amy. Tulsi is definitely out of the picture and I think Cory is too emotional.

    As I watch the candidates, one thing I sometimes wonder about is how would that person look when addressing the American people? Would Bernie fling his arms all over the place? Would Cory get all emotional and practically spit discussing issues close to his heart? What about Elizabeth and her “focused” stare? Of course none of this really matters when push comes to shove … but it is something I sometimes think about as I watch them during the debates. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well done Jill. Thanks for your detailed thoughts. Both Andrew Yang and Pete Buttiegieg impress with their knowledge and ability to engage in thoughtful conversation. I also think Cory Booker is one of the more well rounded candidates with his multiple layers of experience. I felt Hillary Clinton should have picked him as her running mate.

    Amy Klobuchar is also excellent, but critics say she is tough on people. I don’t know, but it seems that a man seems to get a hall pass on this, but a woman is labeled more harshly,

    Gabbard should back out. She seems to have little traction. Kamala should be doing better, but she may run out of money.

    Steyer does have good ideas and would stand a better chance on the Dem platform if he was not so wealthy. I do think he could beat Trump, but he won’t get the chance.

    The caliber of the candidates us strong. I do think they need to be more thoughtful on making change – shore up, improve, introduce while studying more substantive. As a retired benefits professional, I have long advocated extending Medicare eligibility to age 60 or 62 and introducing an younger person option where there is only one carrier. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Keith! My pick of the entire litter, I think, would be Buttigieg, though he would surely have a learning curve, for being the Mayor of South Bend and being president of the 50 disUnited States are a world apart. But, I think he’s smart enough to learn quickly, and has a perfect attitude … pragmatism coupled with humanism. I, too, like Cory Booker quite well and would love to see him become the nominee’s VP, giving him an edge 4 or 8 years from now.

      Again, there was something that put me off about Klobuchar, and I cannot quite put my finger on it. You’re right … women are held to a higher standard on this, and I think it is because we are expected to be warm, motherly figures, whereas it is overlooked if a man is gruff and demanding. Gabbard disgusted me to no end, and I detected a lack of sincerity about her.

      You’re right that there are some very strong candidates on the stage, but y’know … there isn’t a single one that I think has the capability to excite those voters who are sitting on the fence, or those who likely won’t vote because they are disillusioned with the whole thing. I think Warren could be that person, but … her age does go against her. Booker … maybe. But, as I watched last night, I thought that none of these people have that perfect combination of intelligence and excitement. I guess the best hope is that enough people are so fed up with Trump that they will come out in droves to vote him out of office.

      Like

  5. Even though it’s not my country I’m a die hard Bernie fan all the way, and if not him then Warren. I feel like Biden will flop against Trump like Hillary since he’s just another part of the establishment. I feel like some progressives would do the country good. And didn’t Donald Trump just have a heart attack too?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love both Bernie and Warren, but … somewhere along the line, I think we need an infusion of younger blood. Biden has some advantages against Trump, for those who are desperate for a return to the ‘status quo’, the stability and sanity of three years ago, the pre-Trump era. He’s like the trusted old uncle. Sigh. Bottom line is that I will support whomever becomes the democratic nominee. I’ve said before that I would support Attila the Hun … but I’d really have to bite my tongue hard to support Tulsi Gabbard, for I do not trust her one whit. Nah, whatever went on with Trump is “hush-hush”, but I doubt it was a heart attack … probably extreme indigestion caused by too many Big Macs! Good to see you, Wolf Boy! 🐺

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good to see you too. But Uncle Biden isn’t really young blood though either is he? lol…

        I think AOC will be your female president one day. She might be my first political crush.

        How’s the blogging going? I’ve really slowed down on mine lately. Posting occasionally, but really focused on school.
        Watching these impeachment hearings with popcorn though whenever I can 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • No, none of the top three are spring chickens … and I would love to see some younger blood in the White House, but I suspect this election isn’t going to be the one. My hope is that whoever the nominee is will choose a younger candidate as his/her VP.

          You could be right about AOC … she’ll need to gain some experience, and become a bit more moderate first, though … she rubs a lot of people the wrong way with her brashness. I love it, but there is a time and a place.

          The blogging is taking up far too much of my life these days! Never a dull moment in Washington, always a new abomination to rant about. I rant more often than not these days. How’s school going? You’re quite right to make that your main focus for now … it’s the foundation for your entire career ahead!

          Enjoy the hearings and the 🍿! Have a great weekend!!!

          Like

  6. Excellent insights Jill, and great post as always. I watched most of the debate as well. There are still too many on stage. I’m with you. Let’s get it down to 5. That way, it won’t feel as though the candidates are rushed, and we can have some real substantive discussions. I too, hate it when the moderators ask questions that are meant to deliberately stoke the fire. I thought last night was a bit better than usual in that regard at least.
    But, to your main point of who the top three are? No arguments here. And it really is all about who can beat Trump. That’s numero uno for me as well. I will contribute what I can in $$ and however else in order to elect whomever the Dem is. Isn’t it ironic that all of the top three are 70 plus years old? I saw Michael Moore on MSNBC afterword and he brought up a good point. He’s backing Sanders and someone brought up the age issue. He went on to say that in times of crisis and uncertainty, there’s something about looking to the wise and elderly for guidance and comfort. They’ve seen it all, been through a lot. It was a point I had not heard anyone really bring up. Perhaps he’s right. If it is the orange menace we’ll be facing, maybe an older, wiser, and more mature candidate is what the American people will look for. Yes, I do worry about Bernie’s health. But I don’t think you can argue about his passion and energy. Same for Warren and Biden. If it is one of those three, I’m sure they’d pick a VP running mate who will be significantly younger. Several on that stage would work for me…Harris, Booker, Mayor Pete, Amy K. I think any of those combos would be pretty formidable.
    Full steam ahead Jill!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sigh. So much angst these days, my friend. So many questions, so few answers. Frankly, I don’t feel any great excitement about any of the 10 remaining candidates. My pick, all other things being equal, would be Mayor Pete. We need some younger blood in the Executive branch. I could be happy with Cory Booker, too … but again, I think his time will come, just not right yet. Michael Moore’s point has some substance, I think, but then again, I would have felt comfortable in any circumstance, I think, when Obama was president. His calm and grace, the dignity and intellect he brought to the office, just gave me a sense that I could sleep without worries, that all would be well. Oh, for those days to return … 😥

      Liked by 1 person

      • There aren’t any Obama’s are there Jill? He was one of those once in a lifetime candidate. He had it all and served two terms. I remember not even knowing much about him, until he won Iowa. I thought, holy crap! If this African-American guy can win in nearly all white Iowa, he’s got a chance. I was with him from that day forward. I do miss him, terribly. He wasn’t perfect. But, he represented us so well. And we could be proud. Not anymore. The next candidate will have a lot of work to do Jill. I hope someone emerges from this pack. Like you, I’m not doing cartwheels over any of them….yet.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s gonna be a long 12 months, but for us, my friend, there will not be a dull moment! My niece posted on Facebook yesterday that she was “so bored … I need a new hobby … can someone teach me to knit?” I wanted to scream! Now can anyone be bored??? I’m working on my blog and related things 12-14 hours a day, house chores another 3-4 hours, and take time out for a shower, to roll smokes, and email a special friend daily — that is my only personal time. Bored??? I don’t know the meaning of the word! We may not get another Obama, but whichever candidate we nominate will be a vast improvement over the present occupant in the Oval! We can do this!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, we can, and must do this! It’s frustrating as hell isn’t it? People who do this, like you and I, have so much passion about what’s going on in our country. Others? Not so much. My sister and brother, who are both still in Ohio, are very much locked into what’s going on. We talk on the phone and text. And, we do talk politics. I just wish more people were paying attention. We can’t force them though, can we? All I know is, my fingers on this keyboard will be getting one hell of a workout over the next year!!

            Liked by 1 person

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