The “Great” Debate …

I actually managed to watch the full debate last night without once trying to punch my computer or throw it across the room.  In fact, there were several points at which I laughed aloud, causing the girls to look at me in awe, for it is a sound they don’t often hear coming from me these days.  Typically, I think the value of the debates is far over-rated by the pundits, but it is an opportunity to see the candidates speak for themselves, see how they handle pressure under fire.  But, if I want to know what their platform is, I will go to OnTheIssues.org  which is the best place I have found over the years to get all the candidates’ platforms in one place.

What follows is only my takeaway from last night’s debate.  I have no doubt that others will have different opinions, but since I gave up two hours of my life that I can never get back, I thought the least I could do is opine just a bit.

There are six democratic candidates left from the 20+ that entered the race:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Joe Biden
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Michael Bloomberg

The main reason I watched this debate last night … the first one I watched all the way through … was that I wanted to see how Mike Bloomberg handled the pressure of the questions he was inevitably going to get regarding his racist profiling in the stop-and-frisk policy he implemented in New York City, and the reports of sexist behaviour toward women in his businesses.  So, let me start with my take on Bloomberg’s performance last night.

The first word that comes to mind here is: arrogant.  His body language and facial expressions said:  I’m above all of this, I’m far above all these others, why am I even here?  Not one time did he actually smile, not once did he engage in any form of camaraderie with the others, and he rolled his eyes several times when asked a question that he felt unfair, or when critiqued by another candidate.  I sometimes think that body language and facial expressions tell as much as the words that come out of a person’s mouth.

But going beyond that, Mr. Bloomberg’s responses were unsatisfying, at best.  He seemed to defend his stop-and-frisk policy, though he has apologized for it.  But an apology is just words, and as they say, actions speak louder than words.  His defense of the reasons he started the policy was a turn-off for me.  Then there was the little matter of the treatment of women in his company.  Much of what women have alleged, Bloomberg denies, and yet … and yet, those women have been made to sign non-disclosure agreements.  One must ask why.  Elizabeth Warren called on Bloomberg to release the women from the agreements so the public could hear their allegations, but Bloomberg flatly refused.  According to much of what I have read, Bloomberg’s attitudes toward women, his vulgar language and crass remarks, are no better than Donald Trump’s.  If he wants transparency, what better place to start?

There were two candidates whose fire and genuine passion stood out last night:  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  The media have declared Sanders the winner of the debate, but in my humble opinion, while they were both great, I’d give Warren the prize.  Perhaps this is a slight prejudice on my part, for I frankly think the time has come for us to steer away from the old, white, male image of the presidency.  Nonetheless, Warren showed us what she’s made of, and I liked it.

Joe Biden.  Sigh.  Poor Joe … by most standards, and judging by history, Joe Biden should be the #1 frontrunner.  He has the most applicable experience, he understands foreign policy in a way that not a single one of the others do, and he has good ideas.  What he lacks, though, is the persona.  He simply hasn’t got the passion, seems to have lost his way somewhere along the line.  Perhaps it is still the effects of his son’s death that have turned his world to grey, or perhaps it is the constant barrage of mindless accusations by Donald Trump that have taken the wind out of his sails.  Either way, he just wasn’t quite … there.

I like Pete Buttigieg, though perhaps not quite as much as I did in the beginning.  A few things stood out last night, but the biggest one was his almost continual attacks on Amy Klobuchar, some of which seemed unfair, to say the least.  The media, and Pete, have made much of the fact that when asked the name of the president of Mexico last week, she couldn’t remember.  It has been blown far out of proportion, and Buttigieg seized on it last night … unrelentingly.  Heck, there are days that I cannot remember my own name, let alone the president of Mexico’s!  Buttigieg does his homework, but it would have shown humanity to have let it drop.  He disappointed me in his attacks on Klobuchar. Buttigieg has a few things in his favour with me, though, and one is that while the other five have a net worth in the millions, or in Bloomberg’s case, billions, Pete Buttigieg’s net worth is approximately $100,000.  This impresses me far more than Bloomberg’s $63 billion.

I thought Amy handled the stress of Pete’s attacks fairly well, but a few times she did seem overly emotional, such as when she said, “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb?” Far too much has been made over a bit of momentary forgetfulness, I think.  Overall, I was impressed with Ms. Klobuchar’s heart.  I believe she cares very much about people and would be a strong advocate for human rights, but I have to wonder if she’s a bit too emotional and too thin-skinned for the job of president, for more than once it seemed as if she was near tears.

As for the debate itself … two main takeaways.  First, while climate change and the environment was briefly discussed, it was altogether too brief.  When the DNC refused to hold a debate focused solely on climate change, they made a huge mistake, in my book, for this is the single most crucial issue on the ballot.  While each candidate said one of their first moves as president would be to re-join the Paris Accords, that’s about all we learned.  I want to know details!  I want to know more than the 5 minutes or so that climate change was discussed last night provided.

Secondly, I was put off and rather disgusted by the structure of the debate.  Candidates had small bits of time to answer a question, then when time was up they kept on talking, while all the others on stage were rudely interrupting, and with six people plus the moderators all talking at once, the closed captioning was useless and it was impossible to discern what anybody was saying.  I don’t know what the answer to this is for future debates, but I do wish somebody would come up with one.  It would have been far more helpful if all the candidates had stuck with giving their opinions of the issues rather than their opinions of their opponents.

Overall, I was glad I watched for I got a bit of a feel for the personas of the candidates, but as I said in the beginning, if I want to know their platforms and ideologies, I’ll turn to another venue.   Unfortunately, the infighting is doing nobody any good, and it is almost certain that no single candidate will end up with a clear majority by the time of the nominating convention in mid-July, which opens a whole ‘nother can of worms.  Sigh.

23 thoughts on “The “Great” Debate …

  1. I think that it is a great idea to turn off the mic’s except for the person invited to speak. I rarely watch TV debates.
    I am sorry that Steyer is falling short of the mark for you. I thought (like Keith) that he might have potential. But as I don’t have a vote anyway, it doesn’t matter what I think.
    Out of the front runners, I think I would like to see Warren take on Trump. She is strong and would appeal to the women’s vote I think (Whereas, Sanders may not and may not swing the vote the Dem’s way). Warren reminds me of Pelosi. She cuts no slack, and she is made of tough stuff.
    It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree … it is! I don’t watch them, either, but I watched this one (on my laptop, with headphones & closed caption) because I needed to see the candidates up close and personal, see their passion, or lack thereof. Steyer never really stood a chance out of the gate, but he did have some good ideas. What he lacked was fire and name-recognition. Warren is my #1 choice also, but … seems to be some pesky thing about a woman having the unmitigated gall to think she’s good enough to run for president. Among some, that is. Interesting indeed … if one defines interesting as the thing ulcers and high blood pressure are made of! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, you put your finger on the reason why I never watch political debates here in Canada or anywhere else. They are chaotic moments of theatre. There is no control by moderators – they should go home. The candidates are rude and have no respect for the debate rules. The Media feeds this nonsense and then audaciously proclaims a winner. I’ll have none of it!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. An interesting summary. Critical as I’ve been of Bloomberg, I was surprised with how unprepared he was. Critical as I’ve been of him, he tended to be a well-prepared, if uninspiring, debater during his previous runs, equipped with statistics and the like.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jill, have you read/seen anything about what the audience member was shouting? Like you, I depend on Closed Caption so I had no idea what it was all about. I did notice that it went on considerably longer than most audience hecklers. It’s usually just a shout or two, but not this time.

    As for your synopsis … I agree and disagree. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • From what I can find, it was about immigration, and surprisingly (to me, anyway), it was a group who came there with the sole purpose of protesting Biden! They were screaming that Biden had deported 3 million immigrants. Here’s the article I found: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/19/us/politics/immigration-protest-democratic-debate.html

      Okay, I’m curious … which do you agree with, and which do you disagree? And don’t worry … I can take disagreement, as long as you don’t call me an “ignorant bitch”, as somebody did on Facebook a few days ago. 😊

      Like

      • Thanks for the link … and actually, after I read the reason behind the protest, I have to agree! I hadn’t really considered how little time has been devoted to immigration by the candidates … especially the current administration’s treatment of these people! Noisy protests usually don’t accomplish what the group wants, but in this case? Maybe.

        I understand your curiosity about my agreement/disagreement, but really, it’s not worth quibbling over. For the most part, I think we see eye-to-eye. Let’s leave it at that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right … immigration, climate change, and many more topics have barely been mentioned. And why? Because this election is more about ‘who can beat Trump’ than it is about qualifications and issues and ideologies. Sigh. Sure, that works for me! I know we mostly agree … wouldn’t expect anyone to agree with me all the time on everything — that would be boring! 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, good summary. What puzzles me is how unprepared Bloomberg (and Biden in earlier debates) was for questions he should have known were coming. I think the arrogance is in the lack of prep work. He is not the warmest of folks, but has done many good things. Yet, he also needs to better explain his bad decisions or perceived ones.

    Warren finally reawoke. She needed to. She showed she is a good debater and what she will do to Trump if given the opportunity.

    I would like to see Steyer on the stage as well. He has a lot to offer. Dems need to be spirited in debate, but less petty. And. I agree, climate change (and the environment) is a differentiator from Trump. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed! Bloomberg has some baggage, and surely he must have realized it would require an answer, but he just kept trying to defend his rationale. No, Mike, it doesn’t work that way. In my opinion, a leopard rarely changes his spots. If Bloomberg once believed that most crime was committed by young, black, males, then in all likelihood he still believes it, and he did nothing to convince me otherwise.

      Yes, I was pleased by Elizabeth Warren’s passion and fire! She and Bernie impressed me most, but she edged out Bernie, though he has long been a favourite in my book.

      I might disagree about Steyer … not that I don’t think he has a lot to offer, but because we need to narrow the field, and Steyer doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance. He has some good ideas, but … I just can’t consider him presidential material. I still think there needs to be one debate focused solely on climate change, for it’s too important to relegate to a 5-minute snippet.

      Like

    • Heh heh … I can’t argue with most of what he says, though I didn’t much care for his name-calling. It was rather a brawl at certain points. Did you listen to it, Scott? I actually did laugh over some of it … it was just so … predictable!

      Like

  6. Thank you for such a fine picture of the night. I agree with you so much that facial expressions say an awful lot so Mr Bloomberg’s eye rolls must have spoken volumes. I suggest that next time they hold an event like this they either have a bank of microphones which can be turned off singly or as a group.That should restore quiet quickly. If they use a single microphone, it will work just as well to be turned off when peace is required.
    You paint a good picture of the protagonists some of whom I had no feeling for before this.From everything I’;ve seen and heard so far Elizabeth Warren is still my favourite but I’d be happy with some of Bernie’s policies if he had Elizabeth as VP. I’m lucky the weight of the election does not rest in my hands.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, David! I’m glad you found it helpful. Yes, I thought the same about the bank of microphones … it’s hard to believe, sometimes, that these are all adults, and all but two of them in their 70s (even older than us!), yet they act like juveniles! Like you, my favourite is Elizabeth at this juncture. For a long time, I was torn between her, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg, but the debate gave me a clearer picture. Biden was just really not on his game, Pete was a bit of a bully, and so now I like Warren & Sanders best, with Warren edging him out a bit because … I dunno … she was just so passionate and so … caring. And logical. Everything she said made sense. But, of course, she is, as I told Jeff, missing a few anatomical parts that will likely sink her boat eventually. Sigh.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

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